When I was a kid, some of the things I enjoyed most about summer were swimming and banana splits! Yes . . . you heard right. Banana splits! They were my fave summer treat for many years, and I will always remember them with great fondness. As this summer has started, I've seen my PLN (personal learning network) sharing great ideas of how to spend the time in fun and frolic! I've also seen great ideas posted about how to get the most out of our summer learning time. I share this simply to say that as we seek ways to do some summer learning, we need to do it in a way that (like my banana splits) we will remember fondly.
Editor's note: Today is the sixth and final in a series of posts from PBL World, a global gathering of educators interested in project-based learning. Join the conversation on Twitter by following the hashtag #pblworld.
The five-day global learning experience known as PBL World wrapped up Friday with the announcement of a new online resource for teachers interested in project-based learning. PBLU, offering free professional development from the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), gets underway in late July.
More than 450 educators from around the globe, including 27 U.S. states, are converging on Napa, California, this week for the first-ever PBL World conference. Focusing on best practices in project-based learning and featuring a stellar line-up of daily keynote speakers, PBL World is co-sponsored by the Buck Institute for Education and the Napa Valley Unified School District. Can't make it? No worries. Thanks to social media, there will be plenty of virtual opportunities to expand your PBL toolkit right alongside attendees. Today is the first in a weeklong series of Edutopia blogs coming to you from the conference site, New Technology High School in Napa.
It started as a simple idea . . . What if it were possible to mentor a new teacher via a virtual mentor instead of the traditional 1-to-1 mentoring model? What if you used the power of digital resources to aid in this support, making sure that each had a particular strength in the key areas needed by a new teacher? What if you had key team members, virtual or on-site, that each took a role in that work?
For many of you in the northern hemisphere, the school year is coming to a close, and with it comes a likely drop in the stressors that build up and promote teacher (and administrator) burnout. It therefore may not seem timely to suggest interventions to prevent or reduce burnout. However, it is often not until we are away from a high-stress situation for a while that the brain can move out of reactive survival mode and into a relaxed state where it can ponder the big picture.
All great teachers do great work. And not only that, but they also do different work. Great teachers are always looking to improve practice, steal ideas and try new things -- all in order to meet the needs of their students. PBL teachers are no exception. Any teacher who is truly doing PBL would also agree that it's different. There is something about being a PBL teacher that requires different work, and work that is especially capitalized when implementing a PBL project. Because I work with so many PBL teachers, I feel there are some things that PBL teachers should specifically be proud of. I present them in these six affirmations.
As the end of the year draws closer, it is important for all teachers to start evaluating how things went. One part of this evaluation should be the use of technology. Much as a teacher will look back on the lessons that worked and did not work, it is just as valuable to look back on the technology tools that were effective and ineffective. As teachers, it's important to try bettering our craft, and reflection is one of the best ways to do this. Here are five steps to help make the technology reflection a bit smoother.