I am a strong supporter of project-based learning and problem-based learning in educational contexts. On Monday before my flight to California, I was interviewed on the phone by Suzie Boss, Executive Editor of The Learning Innovation and Technology Consortium. The sidebar quotation of the LITC is one of my favorites from Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

In the vision statement for LITC, we read:

The world needs genuine innovators—those who dedicate themselves to an ideal, draw from many domains, and reframe challenges as opportunities. Innovators not only move mountains but often change the entire landscape. That landscape defines the potential available to the rest of the community. When focused on important problems innovations can result in enormous social good. We plan to increase the potential for innovative solutions in areas where good ideas are needed most.

Amen! We absolutely need to be talking MORE about our need for innovation and creativity in schools, AND doing things to tangibly encourage students to develop/cultivate these characteristics IN SCHOOL as well as OUT of the classroom.

A key element of “school 2.0” (a term whose meaning is certainly up for debate, and I’ll be exploring on Tuesday next week at my NECC session) should be helping students tackle real world problems and issues, relevant in their own contexts. The LITC’s “Local Agenda” curriculum has this focus, as:

A comprehensive educational program that helps people create positive and sustainable change—in their own communities. Participants learn research-based and practical skills in problem identification, problem-solving, leadership, and planning. They gain critical experiences they need to tackle complex challenges with lasting, innovative solutions. For youth and adult learners, this program relies on local partnerships to support training and implementation. Local Agenda is participatory, positive, inclusive, and powerful.

Sounds excellent. I’m going to try and catch Suzi’s preso at NECC on Monday. This sounds like the sort of curricular focus many of our schools need.

The LITC’s blog is available on http://reinventingpbl.blogspot.com, and their Flickr group is on www.flickr.com/groups/reinventingpbl.

My favorite resource website and magazine related to project based learning is EduTopia! Register for the EduTopia magazine, it’s free! (If you are living outside the United States, however, you may not be able to receive a free paper version, however.)

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One Response to Reinventing PBL

  1. Suzie Boss says:

    Thanks for your encouraging words–and I hope to see you at NECC on Monday.
    Here’s a link to my story for Worldchanging.com that includes your comments. It appears today: http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/006927.html
    Thanks again for sharing your time and ideas!

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