Monday, June 4, 2012

Project Based Learning-Teachers Rising To The Challenge

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It's not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. ~ Nelson Mandela

Recently, I was perusing the EdCamp Wiki gathering ideas from other EdCamp events for ideas to incorporate into EdCamp Atlanta on September 8, 2012. That is when I came across EdCamp Gwinnett, an "edcamp like" unconference with a focus on the Project Based Learning Model via Motorola's Center for Design and Technology Learning Module.

EdCamp Gwinnett is scheduled for June 4th and 5th. I used attending EdCamp Gwinnett on Monday, June 4th as an "excuse" to spend the weekend with my daughter and grandson in Atlanta.

EdCamp Gwinnett was fortunate to have Project Based Learning experts, Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, from Oregon in attendance and as moderators of the days sessions.  Those in attendance today included two main groups, those who had already taken the plunge into the world of Project Based Learning (PBL)  and those who had been asked to take the plunge for the 2012-2013 school year.  The morning consisted of introductions, sharing of successes and lessons learned from those who had used Project Based Learning in their classrooms, and questions about Project Based Learning.  The afternoon and Tuesday, June 5th sessions seemed to be leaning towards work sessions with participants preparing PBL lesson plans for the 2012-2013 school year.

One of the main concerns shared by both those old and new to PBL is advocacy/marketing. Many related experiencing negative backlash from parents, community members, administration and  "traditional" teachers.  In my 20 years as an educator I've learned that negative backlash in the face of new teaching concepts are mostly born out of fear.

I think that the issues with backlash will die down especially now that the test scores have come in and show promising successes when comparing the PBL students with traditional students:

I really enjoyed the brief time I spent with these brave, innovative educators and meeting Suzie and Jane.

I hope that the participants of EdCamp Gwinnett will join in the fun at EdCamp Atlanta on June 8, 2012 and share with other Georgia Educators the great successes they have experienced with Project Based Learning!