Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to ensure student voice in PBL? Ask the experts.

Encouraging student voice seems like a no-brainer when it comes to PBL. Designing projects to connect with students' interests is a surefire strategy for increasing engagement. Encouraging students to ask questions that matter to them helps to drive inquiry throughout the project.

But how often do we ask students to share their strategies for amplifying their own voice in learning?
Zak Malamed (@zakmal) started #stuvoice to ensure that students get heard in school reform conversations. What began as a Twitter hashtag has grown into a movement. Zak and team have formed a nonprofit (stuvoice.org), recruited corporate and nonprofit allies, and will host the second Student Voice Live! summit on Sept. 20 in New York. (I first met Zak at the Clinton Global Initiative for youth and have enjoyed watching him bring #stuvoice to a variety of settings, including #iste2014.)

How can teachers develop their ear for student insights? For starters, check out Student Voice in a Box, a collection of interviews and project ideas. Follow #stuvoice. Learn from (adult) experts like Russell Quaglia (DrRussQ), who combines research with practical strategies to ensure that students have a say in their learning experience. And invite your students to share their ideas. What matters most to them when it comes to learning? How and when do they learn best? What makes them curious? They might respond by generating project ideas you'd never imagine, identifying community issues they want to tackle, or lobbying for solutions to make their own education more relevant and engaging.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ISTE 2014: Thanks for Joining Us



ISTE 2014: The Reflective Teacher's Tips and Tools for Guiding PBL from suzieboss

Thanks to all who joined our ISTE 2014 session, "The Reflective Teacher's Tips and Tools for Guiding PBL."
I was thrilled to share the session with Scot Hoffman from the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, and Mike Reilly from the Center for Design and Technology at Lanier High in Gwinnett County, Ga. Both are educators who have been guiding their schools toward high-quality PBL for several years. I've had the privilege of watching their successes unfold, so it was wonderful to hand them the mic in front of a big audience at ISTE (both live and virtual) and let others hear their stories.
The links and resources mentioned in our session are captured on this Google Doc.
 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How do you tell your school's story?

Part of the cycle of innovation is paying attention to what works (and what doesn't), and documenting the process. If you're bold enough to make your reflections public, then others can learn from your experiences, accelerating the innovation process.
In education, it's rare to find schools that are transparent about their innovation efforts. Other than the occasional edublogger, we seldom see schools that take the time to document and share what they're learning--especially while change is still unfolding.
American School of Bombay is an exception. This independent school in Mumbai, India, not only has its own R&D department (another rarity in education!), but also publishes reports from the frontlines of innovation. Here's the latest issue of Future Forwards. I'm delighted to be a contributor. Check out my interview with art teacher Karen Fish, who describes her novel approach to assessment.
If want to learn more about innovation at ASB, look for their ISTE session: Design Your School's R&D.  Scot Hoffman, R&D coordinator, will also be making a guest appearance in my session: The Reflective Teacher's Tips and Tools for Guiding PBL on Monday, June 30, 2:15 p.m.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Face-to-Face with Global Issues

Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to watch students in two distant places--India and China--tackle some wicked global problems. At the Global Social Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by American School of Bombay in Mumbai and the Global Student Leaders Summit in Shanghai, developed by EF Educational Tours, teens from diverse contexts sat down to imagine sustainable solutions to issues like gender inequality, access to clean water, and improving education globally.

Both summits introduced students to the design thinking process, fostered team collaboration, and culminated with pitch sessions where participants had to convey their ideas to judges. The 21st-century skills that are so often talked about as learning goals were being put to practical use. What's more, students had to overcome differences of language and culture to get their teams off to a good start. And at both events, students had the chance to learn from role models who are doing the hard, creative work of social innovation.

What did students take away from the experience? In this post for Edutopia, I share insights from two teams of American students. On the ASB Findings blog, Karishma Galani, one of the summit coordinators, shares her hope that students will put their good ideas into action. I hope so, too. Thinking hard about solutions is critically important, but real innovation involves both thinking and doing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Join us at ISTE Virt Con

ISTE is launching its first virtual conference tomorrow (Feb. 13), and Jane and I are excited to be taking part. We'll be sharing some video clips from ISTE13 as we talk about "Signposts to Better Projects: Take Thinking Deeper in PBL." We'll also offer a sneak preview of our session coming up for ISTE14.
We're planning plenty of opportunities for audience participation, so we hope to see you there!
Registration is free for ISTE members. Sign up here. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

In Mumbai, a School for Innovators

Long time between posts--but plenty of travel and interesting conversations in the meantime. I'm just back from the American School of Bombay, an international school that is accelerating innovation on a number of fronts--design thinking, makerspaces, and project-based learning, to name a few.
My visit coincided with the school's TEDxASB event, attracting an audience of students, teachers, and parents. I was honored to share the stage with an inspiring young man named Eshaan Patheria to talk about social innovation. As a high school senior, Eshaan has already started one social enterprise and is hard at work on his next big idea. Read more in this Edutopia post. I was battling laryngitis, but managed to squeak my way through my talk.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer of Making, Writing, Innovating


How do we connect the dots between innovation, the maker movement, and writing in the digital age? That's the focus of an upcoming two-part webinar series hosted by the National Writing Project. I'm excited about the opportunity to discuss these timely topics with Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, director of national programs for the NWP. Here's what's coming up:
  • Wednesday, July 10, 10 a.m. PDT: Bringing Innovation to School Author Chat
    We'll talk about the ideas and case studies featured in my recent book on how to make innovation teachable.
  • Wednesday, July 31, 10 a.m. PDT: Meet the Innovators
    I'll be joined by three of the innovative educators, all active in the NWP, who shared their good thinking during my book research. Paula White and Chad Sansing will join from Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia, a district that provides seed funding for innovative classroom projects. Antero Garcia, formerly a high school teacher in Los Angeles, will share his experiences of teaching English through alternate reality gaming.
It's all part of the Summer of Making and Connecting, co-sponsored by the NWP and Mozilla Foundation with support from the MacArthur Foundation. Learn more about why writing--in all its forms--occupies an important place in the maker movement in this post for the New York Times Learning Network. Stay up-to-date on more events by following the hashtag #makesummer.