PBLNY 2015 provides participants with deeper learning around PBL principles and practices whether you are new to PBL or practice PBL. This year’s event is different from last year with new nationally known speakers, new breakout sessions, and new opportunities to learn and collaborate with others.
I am particularly excited to hear Sarah Brown Wessling, a featured keynote speaker, discuss how to “let go” and “get more” out of students in her keynote address titled The Let-Go that Gets More: Creating Classroom Culture for Deeper Learning. She will also host a breakout session titled, Creativity through Constraint: Projects that Enliven and Challenge. For anyone who has gone through our PBL 101 training, we use Sarah’s Grant Writing video, which demonstrates her ability to create projects that are Common Core aligned and authentic.
Another exciting opportunity at PBLNY is the movie screening of the movie Most Likely to Succeed. This movie not only answers why education must reform but how we can reform education designing PBL experiences.
Additionally, I am thrilled to be in the same room with Milton Chen, from the George Lucas Educational Foundation, on Wednesday, August 5, when he will discuss fundamental shifts to our thinking about education, technology integration, and roles of teachers and students. I want to know more about how to use technology to inspire and amplify student learning along with strategies to help students become self-directed learners. The picture shown is a group of Grade 6 students working collaboratively to generate a Need to Know list of questions. They will then identify the questions they need answer first and each member will research answers to their inquiry questions. When given the time, opportunity, purpose, and tools, students can self-direct their learning.
Recently, I worked with Sixth, Seventh, and Eighth grade level teams charged with creating a STEM program. There were quite a few questions about how to do this and some confusion about STEM and PBL. I imagine there are other school districts grappling with this very same issue— What is STEM? How does PBL fit in with this integrated program? What is the process for planning a STEM program using PBL as the preferred method of instruction? Discover the answers to these questions by attending Michael Gorman’s breakout session titled PBL & STEM and Tech… Making the Connection with Free/Inexpensive Resources.
In the same school district, I worked with the ninth grade team to plan for students entering high school who have been learning through PBL experiences for the past two years. In our coaching session, we discussed the possibility of integrated courses to create curricula where PBL is the preferred instructional approach. Learn more about the process of integrating secondary courses along with how to implement PBL in this co-teaching learning environment. Kim Mackey and I will host the breakout session Two Content Areas, Two Teachers: Approaching an Integrated Course. This session is for any teacher or administrator wanting to know more about integrated course models and the process to get started.
Part of my job is visiting classrooms to observe students learning through a PBL experience. This past week, I was able to attend students involved in a Mars Mission Robotics competition. Students were involved in developing Need to Know lists, working with technology to program robots, and using a 3-D printer to create parts for their robot. When I asked students what they were doing, they clearly articulated their roles, their responsibilities, and their learning. Students can learn and have fun through carefully planned PBL experiences. Hear firsthand from students and teachers about their PBL experiences by attending: Kids Talking about PBL, Elementary Teachers Present PBL Projects, and Secondary Teachers Present PBL Projects. You will walk away impressed and inspired!
My job not only involves working with teachers but also with leadership teams. The same question comes up: What is the best way to implement PBL? Of course, the answer to this question is not black and white—it depends on the school building or district. To deepen your learning about PBL implementation come listen to local administrators and teacher leaders discuss the process they used to implement PBL in the breakout session Local Leaders Tell Their Story. Another opportunity for leaders is the three-day breakout session Leadership Academy with Rody Boonchouy & Matt Best from BIE. This session might be helpful for a leadership team looking for direction and work time in gaining a deeper understanding of PBL implementation. Another session that might be appealing to leadership teams is PLC & PBL: Learning to Learn Together by Joanne Keim and Lynn Radicello. PBL experiences provide the perfect opportunity for grade level teams or interdisciplinary teams to collect data about student learning and share instructional practices.
During PBL 101 training, one question that always comes up is—How does PBL include students with disabilities? To find answers to this question, attend Project-Based Learning for Students with Disabilities presented by Randi Downs and Rosanna Grund.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the breakout sessions that focus on designing authentic, deeper learning, technology-focused PBL experiences. PBLNY offers the following sessions to help the novice to the experienced in designing PBL experiences that are rigorous and relevant for all students in any discipline area or grade level. These breakout sessions are:
- Kippy Smith, Expeditionary Learning: Deeper Instruction: PBL Day to Day and Designing Deeper Lessons
- Suzie Boss, BIE and Edutopia: Authentic PBL Work
- Stacia Snow, New Tech Network: Taking a Look at a Project from Beginning to End
- Michael Gorman, BIE: Online Resources that will Amplify PBL in a Blended Environment , Creating Student Centered Learning Experiences through Effective Technology Integration, and Beyond the Initial Technology Shine: Developing Lessons that Promote 21st Century Skills and Significant Content
This year’s PBLNY event is about diving into deeper learning about PBL whether you are new to the instructional approach or have made the shift in your approach using PBL principles and practices. Summer is the perfect time to take the plunge and dive into deeper learning; to register visit our PBLNY page.