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

Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

DEN VirtConfLive: Links from Keynote

Thanks to all who attended this morning's keynote, Connecting Classroom and  Community with PBL.  I saw some great connections and idea-sharing happening in the chat!
Here are links to all the projects and sites I mentioned this morning:
Edutopia PBL Resources
A Hero in My Eyes, Diana Cornejo-Sanchez's project from High Tech High
Green Business project described in this Edutopia post
Kickflip Project described in this NY Times Learning Network post
Soil Superheroes project featured in this Edutopia video
Krissy Venosdale, Skype in Classroom, featured in this Edutopia post
Girls STEM project (Edge and Back) in this Edutopia post
Revitalize Rochester project
Rosebud Indian Reservation project

More PBL Resources:
Buck Institute for Education 
Join weekly #pblchat every Tuesday, 5 p.m. Pacific/8 p.m. Eastern, on Twitter

If you have follow-up questions, please ask them in the comments here or connect with me on Twitter (@suzieboss).  Thanks!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Start Your Saturday with DEN VirtCon

I'm looking forward to presenting at the Discovery Educators Network Spring Virtual Conference on Saturday, April 20. My session starts bright and early--9 a.m. Eastern/6 a.m. Pacific. Hope you'll join me then to talk about Connecting Classroom and Community with PBL.  (Registration information for this free online event is here.)
We'll be using the conference chat to engage with viewers. But feel free to ask questions in advance, either by commenting here or on Twitter (@suzieboss).
Hope to see you then!

Friday, February 22, 2013

What's Your I(nnovator) Q(uotient)?

Thanks to Brett Jacobsen, head of school at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, for inviting me to join him in a conversation about bringing innovation to school. Our chat is featured as a podcast on his new site, Design Movement: 21st Century Learning and Leadership.
We'll be continuing this conversation in person next week at the National Association of Independent Schools Conference in Philadelphia. Joining us for a session on Thursday, February 28, will be Jonathan Martin, former head of St. Gregory School in Tucson. I visited St. Greg's and its Design/Build studio as part of my research for the book. It's a great example of how to make room for thinking and creative problem solving within the school setting.
Please join us if you're headed to NAIS, and let's grow the conversation about creating a new generation of innovators. Here's the podcast:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Links from Learning & the Brain

Thanks to all who attended my presentation on Bringing Innovation to School at the Learning and the Brain Conference in San Francisco. Not only was I honored to take part, but came away with fresh insights from researchers investigating what makes us humans so creative. Hard to beat sunny SF as a place to ponder big ideas--whether it was jazz as a metaphor for collaboration, simple but powerful ways to activate positive emotions, or the importance of rest and relaxation to fire up the imagination.
Here are links to the various sites and resources I mentioned:
Gallup HOPE Index for 2012
The Henry Ford Museum 
Maker Faire
Mt. Elliott Makerspace
HeroRat (a project of Apopo)
Fixes column in the NY Times
NY Times Learning Network, where I've been writing a series related to Fixes
Henry Ford Learning Institute, which offers a summer design thinking institute for teachers
Studio H 
MakerSpaces for Education 
Design for Extreme Affordability, cross-disciplinary, design thinking, PBL course at Stanford
Fail Faire
What are your action steps for bringing innovation to school? Would love to continue this conversation!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Time for a Make-Over

We're getting ready to revise Reinventing Project-Based Learning and invite your feedback about what needs updating for the second edition. Since we wrote Reinventing PBL in 2007, we've witnessed an explosion of Web 2.0 tools and new opportunities for colleagues to advance their professional learning by connecting online. Good example: Twitter and #edchats not nary a mention in our first edition.
Plenty of other changes are afoot, as well (anyone thinking about PBL and the Common Core?). But we think the reasons for doing project-based learning have only gotten stronger over the past six years. And for students and teachers alike, PBL continues to get better with practice. We'll include plenty of compelling project examples in the new edition.
Please share your requests for updates or additions, and tell us about projects that deserve a broader audience.