Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Passion-based learning in action: Brian Crosby at TEDxDenverEd

Do you consider yourself a passionate person? What are the things about which you are passionate? Are you passionate about kids and helping kids learn? Are you passionate about opening up new vistas of experiences and understanding for others which – absent your intervention – they might never experience? Are you passionate about creating moments of unforgettable learning? Learning that is SO engaging, so motivating, so interesting, and so fun – that those fortunate enough to experience it will NEVER forget it? Nevada elementary teacher Brian Crosby is this kind of person, and this kind of educational leader. Brian gave the world a seventeen minute glimpse into his 4th grade classroom a few weeks ago in Denver at the TEDx event. I strongly encourage you to set aside seventeen minutes of your day and listen to what Brian had to say.

Brian shares SO many elements of fantastic learning in this video, it’s hard to know where to begin. This video is a great one to share with faculty at your school at a faculty meeting to spark subsequent conversations. What did we see Brian DO that was right for kids? How did he structure a learning context which was authentically engaging for students? How did he weave the use of technology tools like blogs, wikis, videoconferencing software, and student laptops to help his students connect with an authentic audience and share their individual voices with the world? How did the assignments and learning tasks Brian’s students completed meet state standards? Why do we need to foster these kinds of learning experiences in our classrooms TODAY, and how can we do that?

The lessons Brian shares in this video were NOT easy to teach. Project-based learning, challenge-based learning, or passion-based learning is NEVER easy. It takes a LOT of time. It takes lots of planning. And it takes lots of passion. When it is done well, however, it can lead to unforgettable learning experiences and the kind of “deep” skill development for students which can’t help but “stick” for a lifetime.

Brian Crosby is the kind of teacher all our children deserve, and we all should learn a great deal from him. Project-based learning (PBL) is not an activity at school that should only be reserved for the “gifted/talented” (GT) kids, or kept in the closet until state tests are over in late spring. PBL is something in which we should engage year-round. It takes time. It takes hard work. It takes passionate, committed teachers. And it bears fruit sweeter and more impactful than any other learning context in our schools today.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Deanster1983

The video “Inclusion,” from which Brian included a short clip in his TEDxEd presentation, has been downloaded over 500,000 times to date. Follow Brian on Twitter and read more of his inspirational (as well as challenging) ideas on his blog, “Learning is Messy.”

Take a few minutes to watch Brian’s inspirational presentation in Denver. Share it with other educators and parents you know. Then go grow some PBL fruit. 🙂

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4 responses to “Passion-based learning in action: Brian Crosby at TEDxDenverEd”

  1. Joe Avatar

    I saw Brian’s presentation live and it was amazing. He is truly inspirational.

  2. Rachel Avatar

    I was truly impressed by Brian’s video and left wanting to learn more about the technology he described. I have always treid to bring authentic learning into my classroom and feel that this is the way to do it. Thank you!

  3. Kim Avatar

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I shared your post and the video with my grad students. They were very much inspired and it fits so nicely into our project based learning lesson for this week! I am very excited to meet you in person at the upcoming Christa McAuliffe Technology Conference in NH!

  4. Ben Nakamura Avatar
    Ben Nakamura

    That was amazing! Brian Cosby represents the best of what our country’s teaching force offers. I respect and honor his efforts.