Friday, March 14, 2008

Watching a Project Unfold

What do the myriad details of project-based learning look like in action? What sorts of questions arise when teachers agree to collaborate for the first time? How do you make sure a project adds up to more than a series of engaging activities?

The answers should become more clear in coming weeks, thanks to a dynamic high school math teacher who has agreed to open a window on her next project, from start to finish.

Jane and I met Telannia Norfar Thursday night during a conference call organized by Sarah McPherson, discussion leader for ISTE's SigTE book study group. Telannia told us about a class she teaches called Logic, Inc. She's the CEO. Students take turns sharing management responsibilities as they work on real-world applications of mathematics.

Telannia suggested that teachers would benefit from watching a project unfold--from initial idea through collaborative planning to implementation with students and engagement with experts. We agreed, and she gamely offered up her next project as a real-life, real-time demonstration.

Will it get messy? Maybe. Will everything unfold according to plan? Probably not. Will it be worth watching? I think so.

Already, Telannia is showing us some of the qualities that PBL teachers tend to exhibit. She's willing to try new ideas to meet her students' learning needs. She came to teaching after earlier careers in journalism and telecommunications. So she knows from experience that projects aren't just an interesting idea in education; they're how the real world operates. And she wants to make sure her students are ready and able to participate in life after high school.

I'll be checking in often to watch her next project unfold. (Her students will be blogging about their experience, too.) Stay tuned for updates.

5 comments:

Telannia Norfar, Logic CEO said...

Greetings from Telannia Norfar!

I realized the next day that my personal website would not be the most efficient way to blog. I can only update that website from my personal computer and I may need to blog before I get to my own computer.

I have created a blog on blogger for everyone to watch. People are welcome to check out my personal website as well.

However, for the day to day look at the project planning-check out http://pbl-birdside.blogspot.com/.

Thanks,
Telannia Norfar

Suzie Boss said...

Fabulous, Telannia! Can't wait to see how this goes.
--Suzie

Louise Maine said...

This is fabulous for us! Though I have Suzie's book, initiating a real change by creating collaborative projects yourself is daunting. a model of the process may encourage more to take the plunge!

Spring Creek Elementary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane Krauss said...

Louise, I agree! Here's another one to watch-- Dennis Grice in CA is holding pbl planning meetings with a group of teachers in his schools and he's chronicling the process. Not sure what he'll share publicly right now but we'll be watching and learning... Here's his blog. http://dgrice.blogspot.com