January 11

Why I do #PBL

Sheri Edwards recently posted about how working on hobbies helps instill a desire for #lifelonglearning and a willingness to #struggle. She pointed to #GeniusHour as one way to incorporate student-centered hobbies during the school day.

Absolutely! In my #PBL practice, I put a lot of thinking, planning/designing and #reflection into finding ways to make the academic work the teens do as compelling as possible. I apply the High-Quality PBL framework to my designs. As part of that framework, I offer students a lot of #VoiceAndChoice in how they develop their projects and in how they present their evidence of learning.

I commit to implementing projects that challenge, engage, and support students as described by the six #HQPBL criteria.

Notwithstanding, there are times I get frustrated with what I perceive as a lack of enthusiasm, or a lack of devotion to their work. It is in these moments that feedback from an outside audience reminds me of how capable these students are.

At our student showcase in December, a group was presenting a video documentary. They encountered some technical difficulties related to projecting from a laptop to a large screen. With no apparent anxiety, they persevered in their troubleshooting and soon the video was smoothly rolling for the audience to enjoy.

At the end of the showcase, one of the audience members came up to me and said, “Wow, it’s amazing that they knew how to fix the problem! I would have had no idea where to even start!”

It is true that my students, through regular practice, develop a variety of technology skills. Since they use #realworld tools and apps, and sometimes know more about the technologies they are working with than I do, they become adept at figuring things out. When they encounter #failure, or a product works differently than they expect, they momentarily retreat. Then, they consult among themselves, look at YouTube videos, “ask Google,” and occasionally even ask me.

In other words, they are #problemsolving, one of the “Seven Survival Skills” identified by Tony Wagner in his work on transforming education. It is moments like these that cause me to recommit to the chaotic, messy, exhilarating process called project-based learning.

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Posted January 11, 2019 by inspirepassion in category #DigiWriMo

About the Author

I am a process-focused leader who uses collaboration, authenticity, and mentoring as key skills to inspire passion among learners of all ages. Aggregate eclectic professional experiences have honed my ability to coach others in designing and implementing courses of study using inquiry-/project-based learning (PBL).

3 thoughts on “Why I do #PBL

  1. Sheri Edwards

    Yes– and while doing that problem-solving of their tech problem, they are analyzing information, communicating clearly to each other, collaborating on possibilities, adapting as they go, using their imaginations to figure out what to do, and taking the initiative to solve it rather than wait for an adult. I believe they’ve applied all seven survival skills. Thanks for that link. As always, I learn from you. And passion is a key, as I saw in the twitter feed of Dr Wagner: https://twitter.com/tickytecky/status/1083608716790816768 Thanks for sharing so we can learn from your passion! ~ Sheri

  2. dogtrax

    Thanks for this. I may have mentioned I am leading a PLC on PBL and I am still learning, and your posts are always always helpful. I might be reaching out again ..

    1. inspirepassion (Post author)

      Yes, it is very cool you are leading your school in that direction! I’m always happy to add my $0.02.


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