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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thinking Hard at ISTE




Thanks to all who attended our jam-packed ISTE session, “Signposts to Better Projects: How to Take Thinking Deeper in Digital-Age PBL.” (If you weren’t able to get in—sorry! The session was videotaped. I’ll share the link to the video as soon as ISTE posts it.)
To warm up the crowd, co-presenter Mike Gwaltney and I asked participants to do a bellringer activity. The prompt: How does my classroom or learning space set the stage for inquiry?
Their replies left me feeling optimistic about the learning spaces that at least some students are getting to experience. As we explain in Thinking Through Project-Based Learning, you may not be able to afford the luxury of a whole-school remodel. But there’s plenty you can do within the physical environment and culture of your classroom to inspire deeper thinking.
Here’s a sampling:

  • “Many teachers give time in their class for students to leave the classroom and work elsewhere (outside, tech rooms, sitting on the floor, etc.) in their groups to work on their projects.”
  • “Essential questions are posted in a lot of our classrooms. We use Socratic seminars to facilitate and encourage discussion.”
  • “My kids spend more time on the floor than in desks. Of course, they are middle school so they would not sit on the floor if directed...But they choose to do so regularly by choice. Collaboration is so much easier with the proximity.”
  • “Creating spaces for wonder. French conjugations printed on staircases, and lots of areas for documentation of student and teacher work processes.”
  • “The space is called The Collaboratory. It is warm, inviting, and conducive to conversation.”
  • “Allowing students choice of how they approach a topic—building on their interests.”

Slides from our ISTE session are posted here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

See You at ISTE!

It's that time again. ISTE is one of my favorite events for reconnecting with colleagues and meeting new advocates for real-world, project-based learning.
I'll be taking part in two sessions in San Antonio, both with a PBL focus. Hope you can join me for one or both:

Monday, June 24, 8:30 a.m.--Signposts to Better Projects: Taking Thinking Deeper in Digital Age PBL
I'll be sharing some of the "project signposts" that Jane and I introduce in our newest book, Thinking Through Project-Based Learning. By deliberately looking for opportunities to emphasize inquiry throughout a project, you can take students to deeper thinking.
Mike Gwaltney from Oregon Episcopal School and the Online School for Girls will be joining as co-presenter. He's one of the many deep-thinking teachers we profile in the book. (Room: SACC 217D)

Tuesday, June 25, 5-6:15 p.m.--PBL Birds of a Feather
Join fellow PBL enthusiasts for a participatory, informal session. We'll be crowdsourcing discussion topics and using a speed-dating format to keep things moving. Come with questions, resources to share, or invitations to collaborate on future projects. (Room: SACC 217BC)

Questions? Tweet 'em to me @suzieboss

Friday, May 17, 2013

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