Thursday, October 11, 2012

See YOU at K-12 Online?

I've enjoyed K-12 Online, a virtual conference, in the past but never presented before. That changes this year! I'm excited to join Wes, Kevin, and other great educators midmonth. Please join us!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Second Wind for PBL?

Will the Common Core State Standards create new opportunities for the authentic assessment that goes along with project-based learning? That's the hopeful conclusion of several administrators I interviewed for an article in this month's District Administration magazine. Check out "The Challenge of Assessing Project-Based Learning" to hear why school leaders think we're heading in a smarter direction when it comes to assessment. As one principal told me, "We pay attention to what we measure. If we can shift the measurement so that students are better prepared and more engaged learners, then let’s do it.”
Of course, there are many challenges ahead when it comes to developing the next generation of assessments. Breaking out of the bubble-test mentality isn't going to be easy. That's where the advance scouts for PBL can help lead the way, by sharing evidence of the deeper learning that comes with quality projects.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Daily Edventures: Global Conversation


I'm honored to be featured this week in Daily Edventures, a 365-day conversation about global education hosted by Anthony Salcito,vice president for Microsoft Corp.’s Worldwide Public Sector organization. Join the conversation by adding to the comments.

Monday, September 3, 2012

This Year, Turn Your Classroom into an Idea Factory

Over at MindShift, I recently posted an excerpt from Bringing Innovation to School, highlighting eight strategies to turn your classroom  into an idea factory.
My basic argument: PBL offers an excellent framework for teaching innovation:
Across disparate fields, from engineering and technology to the social and environmental sectors, innovators use a common problem-solving process. They frame problems carefully, looking at issues from all sides to find opportunity gaps. They may generate many possible solutions before focusing their efforts. They refine solutions through iterative cycles, learning from failure along with success. When they hit on worthy ideas, innovators network with others and share results widely.
In the classroom, this same process corresponds neatly with the stages of project-based learning. In PBL, students investigate intriguing questions that lead them to learn important academic content. They apply their learning to create something new, demonstrate their understanding, or teach others about the issue they have explored. By emphasizing key thinking skills throughout the PBL process, teachers can guide students to operate the same way that innovators do in all kinds of settings.
Read the MindShift post to learn more about these eight strategies:
1. Welcome authentic questions
2. Encourage effective teamwork
3. Be ready to go big
4. Build empathy
5. Uncover passion
6. Amplify worthy ideas
7. Know when to say no
8. Encourage breakthroughs

With the new school year just getting underway, now's the perfect time to introduce innovative thinking to your classroom. What are your strategies to help students become better thinkers and doers?

Photo credit: (CC) Johannes H. Jensen

Saturday, August 18, 2012

You're Invited! PBLchat for Connected Educator Month

Dab of Discussion in Tuesday night #pblchat Tweetup
A group of PBL enthusiasts use the hashtag #pblchat for anytime tweets on the topic of project-based learning. They also meet in real time for PBL twitter conversation on Tuesday evenings. This next Tuesday, August 21, in honor of Connected Educator Month, I'm sharing #pblchat hosting duties withTheresa Shafer from NewTech Network. We’re organizing discussion around the topic "What does connectedness mean for PBL?" We’ll pose several questions including but not limited to:

The teacher experience - What does connectedness do for us as PBL teachers? What are different ways you use virtual and IRL connections to enhance your practice? How does being connected feed your soul, feed your passion for teaching? Can you tell a story of an interaction that changed you profoundly?
The learner experience - What does connectedness mean for your students? What are different ways virtual and IRL connections contribute to their learning experience? Can you tell a story of an interaction that took your students someplace new, someplace they couldn't have otherwise reached?
The contributor experience - Beyond what connectedness means for us and our students, what does connecting do for others? I can tell tales about a respected author, a city council member, and a historian who were all changed by their interactions with kids. What stories can you tell?
Connectedness for change - What are the possibilities we've yet to explore? How can being connected not just contribute to our practice and to students' learning, but contribute to change in the world, too?

Please join us on Twitter Tuesday, August 21 at 9:00 p.m. eastern, set your filter to #pblchat and join the conversation.