Archive for January, 2012

A Framework for Designing PBL: Kindezi, Feb. 1, 2012

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

Through the support of our school, Bob Ryshke and the Center for Teaching, Bo Adams and I connected our learning with the learning and experiences of the adult learners at The Kindezi School.

Part I: Tuesday, October 11, 2011.

The conversation and learning with the full faculty centered around PBL (project-based learning, problem-based learning, place-based learning, passion-based learning, etc.).  Our mediated conversation plan can be accessed on Bo Adams’ blog post, Kindezi – PBL – CFT.  As with many projects, the plan was tweaked and improved in practice by the learners’ choices and voices.  How the conversation and learning evolved is documented on Jill Gough’s blog post, PBL PD – The Kindezi School.

Part II: Wednesday, February 1, 2012.

Framework Plans:

QUICK RECAP of what we did last time [SLIDES 1-7]
[Main point: you are already doing a lot of great stuff! Just seemed you did not yet have a systemic method for sharing and connecting…we recommend that you build and maintain that…you can do it, we can help]
  1. CHALLENGE: In groups of 2-3 people, prepare a 1-3 minute presentation about a PBL example from your current practice? [10 minutes to prep, and you need an “artifact” to show – physical or virtual/digital]
  3. CHALLENGE: How could our PBL examples be connected? [First, on a large post-it note provide a short summary of your PBL example that you shared at the start of the morning. Second, on a small post-it note, record a few thoughts about how you could connect your focus/specialty areas to a PBL example on a one of the large post-its. Third, repeat the small post-it process for other PBL examples.]

BIG QUESTIONS: What big questions do you have about PBL and your use of project time?

  1. Poll Everywhere – post up questions
  2. Post-It/Post-Up BIGGEST, burning question
  3. Affinity Map and Discuss
411 on PBL – Structure and Framework…you asked, “–Is there a step by step “how to” guide for improving project-based learning and making it PBL?”
  1. SLIDES 8-14
  2. Synergy2Learn Blog Resources
A Few Ways to Be Connected
  1. Posterous: Synergy and Learning Walks (Observing, Questioning, Networking)…Setting up Posterous for Kindezi
  2. GOOGLE doc
  3. Bulletin Board & Post-Up in Faculty Room
Brainstorming New Ideas…
Resources: Synergy 8 Slidedeck (via Vimeo and Scribd)

Categories: Kindezi Tags: , , ,

Synergy – Questions are the waypoints on the path of wisdom #EduCon #Synergy8

January 19, 2012 4 comments

EduCon 2.4

January 27-29 in Philadelphia

Synergy – Questions are the waypoints on the path of wisdom

Who: Bo Adams, Jill Gough
When: Session Two, Saturday, January 28, 2012, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.
Where: Room 300

Like a tribe around the fire, lets discuss how we implement PBL as an entire course rather than as an input to a class. The conversation starters will describe Synergy an 8th grade community-issues course. Then, through story exchange, we will share a variety of PBL ideas and implementation methods.


How can we engage learners in more real-world issues? Jill and Bo are excited to begin this conversation at EduCon 2.4. AND…we hope the conversation will continue and grow through the use of this blog, as well as through other means.

To begin the conversation at EduCon 2.4, Bo and Jill envision a three-part path…

  1. Showing our story of Synergy 8, a transdisciplinary, project-based course for 8th graders at The Westminster Schools; (1/3)
  2. Eliciting stories about other approaches to “community-issues, problem-solving experiences” from everyone in this gathering; (1/3)
  3. Imagining and designing the possibilities for “What if…” we all worked synergistically to unite our various efforts and increase the mass of folks collaborating on problems which challenge our world. (1/3 + post EduCon 2.4!)

Conversation Description:

In Westminster’s 8th grade, we are experiencing year two of a new course called Synergy 8. Synergy is a non-departmentalized, transdisciplinary, non-graded, community-issues, problem-solving course. While we begin with an alpha project to practice project process, we use the Falconer method to empower student questioning and curiosity. From the student questions, the entire team generates the projects on which learners of all ages ultimately work.

Our conversational focus will be PBL (project-based learning, problem-based learning, passion-based learning, place-based learning, etc.). We intend to generate ideas from an exchange of current practices and possibilities. We hope to move beyond mere conversation and bridge into collaboration by building for the future more student-learner generated PBLperhaps even big, hairy audacious PBL that unites our various schools and increases the mass of folks working on the problems which define our world.

For more detailed stimulus about Synergy and PBL, see categories and tags on Bo’s and Jill’s blogs: It’s About Learning (Bo’s blog) and Experiments in Learning by Doing (Jill’s blog).

Conversational Practice:

Jill Gough and Bo Adams intend to facilitate a participatory discussion and work session through various Gamestorming processes and other active-engagement protocols. Depending on the particular session dynamics, we will use a web 2.0 tool or two to facilitate ongoing work on big-picture PBL.