Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Galaxy of Projects

What does project-based learning look
like in your corner of the universe?

Join the Flickr group Reinventing Project-Based Learning ( 70 contributors to date) and share your images. Please tag your photos 'rpbl'.

This sphere, created with api Tag Galaxy, represents all flickr photos tagged rpbl. In the Tag Galaxy environment you can spin the globe and pop out individual photos for a closer look. See what you get when you put in tags 'flower' and 'macro'. Beautiful.

Thanks to Ewan McIntosh for sharing this great tool!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Transparent Teaching and The Glassine Surfer

net-efekt on flickr, cc license
I am teaching a new course through the University of Oregon this summer and need your input on the syllabus (pdf). If you are willing to critique, please let me know and I'll invite you to collaborate on a google doc.
**Update** I just created this course flyer (pdf), gives a good overview**
The course focuses on constructivist pedagogy underlying project-based learning, practical instructional design methods, and processes for implementing and evaluating projects. Most time will be spent in collaborative activity in which teachers plan quality projects they'll use right away. Along the way we use about twenty digital apps. We end the course with a 'critical friends' review and celebration. (I'll try to video stream the event.)

I'm operating from the belief that we can become great project teachers faster if we have the opportunity to learn in project mode ourselves. We will have a project strand called The Glassine Surfer (look it up) where we get busy as students would with a class project. On the surface it looks like a project on postage stamps but deep down it's about communication, culture, economics, and change over time.
-Jane Krauss
Please help me make this class great! Request an invitation to the google doc!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Join Us Tonight!

We're looking forward to tonight's conversation with Teachers Teaching Teachers, starting at 6 p.m. Pacific at EdTechTalk. Host Paul Allison tells me that many of his colleagues will be using Reinventing Project-Based Learning in conjunction with National Writing Project summer institutes. That's exciting news, and we're eager to learn from writing teachers about their experiences with digital-age projects. Teachers Teaching Teachers is a terrific example of the by-us-for-us professional development that's happening more and more. Please join us!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ben Christen's Rubber Stamps

My Custom Stamps!
Originally uploaded by benchristen

I really am going to get to my Philly blog entry soon, just too busy to give it the treatment it deserves. Meanwhile, in prep for a course I'm teaching where teachers use Flickr to find creative commons photographs on the topic of postage stamps, I came across Ben's rubber stamps. What rubber stamps would you have made? (I'd make a virtual one I could use on Twitter that says "Don't tweet that". :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Run Out on Rail in Philly

I visited Chris Lehmann at the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia today. We were getting along swell, talking a little about club sports at SLA. One thing led to another and suddenly Chris was saying: "I should kick you out of my office right now!" Small world and all that, turns out Chris coached the Ultimate team that my son's team beat at Nationals in Corvallis in 2004.

More later on the great tour by Devon, a ninth grader, and stories about School of the Future visit and Philadelphia Public Schools.

Reinventing in Pennsylvania

I had the pleasure of exploring project-based learning with forty educators from Montgomery County PA yesterday-- what a game bunch. We started with an activity I call "Mrs. Grable's Bag". (Mrs. Grable was my third grade teacher.) By the end of the day folks were wiki-ing and ning-ing away, and most importantly, had created the germ of a project. Today I'm off to the School of the Future (Microsoft-Philly Pub Schools collaboration) where I understand our book is guiding curriculum redesign. Next it's off to Science Leadership Academy (Chris Lehmann, principal), and finally a nice get-together with Paula Don's crew at Philly Public Schools. More soon! Here's our new Ning, we'll see how this goes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Watch a Project in Action

In a cross post at Edutopia's Spiral Notebook, I offer an update on the collaborative project that I first talked about here. Telannia Norfar, the dynamo behind this effort, is a reflective ninth-grade math teacher who blogs at PBL Birdside View. She is providing a wonderful window on all the nitty-gritty details of designing a real-world project that crosses disciplines and meets the needs of diverse learners. And now, the students have entered the picture! Stay tuned for more updates or visit her blog to find out what's new.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Willoby and Himrod Attend EditJam

By way of Diane McGrath, a great video from AfterEd at Columbia Teachers College.
Follow silly-smart guides Willoby and Himrod as they tour EditJam, where kids produce their own programming for a 24-hour Web news channel.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Improve Student Research with Google Custom Search

Imagine designing a customized search tool that limits hits to sites you know are useful for kids. You can do this now by creating your own Google Custom Search Engine.
This picture shows the widget of a custom search engine on the topic of postage stamps. A teacher can place such a widget in a blog, wiki or shared "start" page for students to use for topical searches. Another remarkably google-y thing? The creator of a custom search engine can invite up to 100 "volunteers" to contribute to and refine it. Imagine having kids develop an operational definition for project-suitable sites to be queried by the engine. That would require critical thinking of a high order!