10 Conversations at PBL World Focus on Students, Learning

Yesterday at PBL World, a project-based learning conference hosted by Buck Institute for Education, we heard many interesting conversations that focused on the powerful teaching and learning happening across the globe.

1. All You Need in a Lesson

Brought to you by keynote speaker Dr. Ramsey Musallum (@ramusallam), this short list is maybe all you need to plan a successful lesson. Ramsey is a high school chemistry teacher–(see his Ted Talk here and blogs at cyclesoflearning.com). His checklist has potential for all classrooms:

  • Does lecture happen later?
  • Are the products public?
  • Is feedback anonymous?

2. Bedtime Science

Ramsey Musallam (@ramusallam) has two daughters (ages three and six) and said he ,“Got tired of Pinkalicious and started doing bedtime science instead.” #SmartParents, take note. Inspire curiosity at home. Watch Ramsey’s videos of his two daughters as they talk about laws of physics and more science. And for more on activating student-centered learning (#SCLchat) at home, see our Smart Parents series (stay tuned! Our book Parenting for Powerful Learning will publish in August).

3. Seen and Heard

Deeper Learning partners New Tech Network (@newtechnetwork) presenting on college ready projects assessments into the PBL Classroom. ConnectEd (@ConnectEdorg) presenting on infusing rigor and tech in PBL.

4. The Posters Talk

There are lots and lots of project posters around the school that demonstrate project brainstorms from teachers – they are literally all over the PBL conference location – Napa New Technology High School in Napa Valley, California.

5. “If it’s not public, it doesn’t exist.”

This quote is brought to you Austin Kleon.

Student blogging is one way to make work public as we have written about here and here. Game changers: 1. Blogs are a medium that is changing the world. 2. Through blogs, all people can share and spread ideas. 3. Blogs provide a medium for reflecting on learning publicly.

6. Competency-Based Ed. “It’s all happening.”

We had a great chat with Dave Potter (@GlobalReady) from VIF (@VIFprogram) about their work to provide online professional development for teachers- badges and all! Look for more as this work partners with other organizations such as Digital Promise to provide microcredentialing. (And if you want to learn more about this, see our Preparing Leaders for Deeper Learning paper in partnership with Digital Promise).

7. Make It, Imagine It, Animate It

Destination Imagination’s (@IDODI) vision is “to be the global leader in teaching the creative process from imagination to innovation.” How does their program teaches 21st century skills? “We focus on skills for jobs that have not even been created yet.”

GoAnimate (@GoAnimate) showing teachers how students can animate anything and turn it into videos. We hear the kids love it.

Makey, Makey is cool (I can’t wait to order this for my daughter). Check out: Hack a banana, make a keyboard!

8. New Schools and Tools

Biz World (@bizworldorg) makes entrepreneurship fun for kids.

School4One (@School4one) allows teachers to post submit assignments, provide feedback & track student progress by standards all from one app. You can also read more about School4One in They Are Not Paperweights; an iPad Program That Works.

I ran into an old friend Amy who is starting the Valley School of Southern Oregon, a charter school based on the Montessori philosophy in Medford, OR. I’m excited to track Amy and the school’s progress as she opens in southern Oregon this fall for grades 6-8.

I had a chat with Shane Krukowski (@pblhq) about Project Foundry (@ProjectFoundry), where he’s the VP of Product Development. Project Foundry helps teachers scaffold project-based learning by providing tools to help manage workflow, portfolios and reporting tools.

9. #SmartThanks

At team Getting Smart, we have a tradition of giving kudos to others.

Thanks David Ross (@davidbie) for hosting and chatting about #globaled.

Thanks Bob Lenz (@pblbob)- I am looking forward to reviewing your book, Transforming Schools Using Project-Based Learning, Performance Assessment, and Common Core Standards (co-authored by Justin Wells and Sally Kingston).

Thanks to Ashley Auspelmyer (@AshAusp) for the discussion about what it means to be a leader in schools.

Thanks to Marcy Barton, Founder and CLO at ie21.org for the sage wisdom around the book writing process.

10. Summing It Up

Thanks Molly Anderson for the chat about parenting and your inspiration for Novareedu. (@novareedu), a platform that helps all stakeholders (teachers, students, parents) manage student-centered projects. She summed up project-based learning this way. “I truly believe the future of education is engaging students through project work by making learning meaningful.”

For more, see:

Bonnie Lathram

Bonnie Lathram is a student advocate and former teacher.

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