Category Archives: Project Based Learning

You Matter so Make it Matter #BCSLearns

Last year, our staff was involved in a professional learning experience focusing on oral and written communication as it relates to claim, evidence, reasoning and synthesis – a school wide goal of ours.  Toward the end of the session, we began to think about alternative assessment and we used this “Inner Net” video by David Bowden to capture its potential power.  In the below video called “Start Something that Matters,” Bowden, once again, through his powerful prose, gets us thinking about finding our “spark, light your fuse and start something the world can truly use.” He advocates that each of us matters, and, without us finding our passion, we will be missed – the world will miss us.  “What they’re missing is me.  What they’re missing is you.”  (If you want, you can check out the full set of Bowden’s lyrics.)

As I think about how we can go about finding our passion, these key ingredients come to mind:

  • discover what your care about and keep it in the center of your life
  • take calculated risks (just don’t over-calculate them and be stifled)
  • create new experiences
  • try new things
  • surround yourself with people you value and value you
  • find a life from which you do not need a vacation

Or, if you want to be tested, Take the Passion Profile Quiz from Clarity on Fire and get a sense of what you are passionate about.  You matter, so make it matter.  View Bowden’s short video to get inspired.

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These Trends Look Familiar? #BCSLearns

Following are the Most Popular Trends in Education from TeachThought. In reviewing these, I marveled at how many of these trends speak to and are deeply aligned with our BCS Vision, Mission, Values and Beliefs and how we approach learning at BCS.  In fact, noted after each, is a previous post referenced from my blog.  Which trends most resonate with you at a member of the BCS community?

  1. Growth Mindset (Growth Mindset – Fixin’ to See Its Implication for Adults & Kids Alike)
  2. Maker Learning (Can Our Students Change the World from Our Classrooms?)
  3. Bloom’s Taxonomy (Questioning: Powerful for Inquiry, Discovery & Curiosity-for learning!)
  4. Digital Citizenship/Literacy (Are You Future Proof?)
  5. Personalized Learning (Individualization, Differentiation & Personalized Learning – A comparison)
  6. Project-Based Learning (see links for #2)
  7. Team-Building for Learning (Give These Collaborative Team Roles a Try!)
  8. Blended Learning (Personalized Learning vs. Personal Learning)
  9. Genius Hour (see links for #5 and #8)
  10. Teaching Empathy (Now More than Ever! At BCS We Value Each Other through Empathy)
  11. Pushing Back on Education Technology (Is Your Technology Integration Rigorous and Relevant Enough?)
  12. Social/Emotional Learning (How You Feeling?)
  13. Alternatives to Traditional ‘School’ (see links for #2, #5, #6, #8 and #9)
  14. Robotics/Coding (The Hour of Code is coming)
  15. Alternatives to Letter Grades (Grading – How to Make it Less of a Herculean Effort)
  16. Brain-Based Learning (Empathy Equals?)
  17. Gamification (Can Gamers Make the World a Better Place?)
  18. Adaptive Learning Algorithms (see link for #5)
  19. Game-Based Learning (“Can Schools Have a Spirit of Entertainment & Play as Part of Their Learning?”)
  20. Mobile Learning (see link for #11)

I also came across this video of the “Top 20 Trends in 2017” where futurist and keynote speaker Jeremy Gutsche shares future trends for the year ahead in this 6-minutes.  Have a look at these business-related trends.  In thinking about them, maybe we ought to integrate more cuisine, travel, and wellness into our curriculum. 🙂

The Top 20 Trends are noted below the video for your review as well.
Which ones could be implemented in a school?

  1. Retail Kinship
  2. Big Data Concierge
  3. Quantified Self-Care
  4. Culinary Laboratory
  5. Extreme Wellness
  6. Prosumer Tourism
  7. Boomer Peer-to-Peer
  8. Detoxifying Libation
  9. Preferential Pop-up
  10. Condensed Broadcast
  11. Designer Customization
  12. Suspended Adulthood
  13. Shoppable Media
  14. Instagrammable Fitness
  15. Branded Education
  16. Sponsorship Gaming
  17. Communal Living
  18. Artisanal Education
  19. Analog Divergence
  20. Embedded Virtual Reality

Let’s Choose Curation! #BCSLearns

In a post on her blog, Cult of Pedagogy, Jennifer Gonzalez, a profess and teacher of teachers, contributed a thought-provoking post called, Are you a Curator or a Dumper?  Her distinction between these two nouns is spot on!  Gonzalez writes that “Our brains learn by grouping lots of pieces of information into groups and patterns—cognitive scientists call these patterns schemas—and connecting it to knowledge we already have in long-term memory.”  Thus, dumping is overwhelming for learning, if not dangerous to the brain.  As I read her post, the idea of a landfill came to mind when I thought of this concept of dumping.  It just piles up more and more in no particular order and with no particular purpose.  With curating, on the other hand, the concept of museums come to mind, and Gonzalez shares that “Curators take piles and piles of artifacts and selects only a few to represent an idea, a moment, an event, or a phenomenon…[They are] given time and space to savor each artifact one at a time.  In the field of technology, this is called “experience design” or UX.  “UX designers spend all of their time looking at how to improve the way users interact with websites and other digital products.”  As we think about this notion of curation, what instructional approaches do we see at BCS where curation occurs? Gonzalez points to these approaches where schools curate:

  • Student-Directed Learning: differentiated, flipped, blended, and student-directed learning models
  • Classroom or school libraries: building a thriving classroom library
  • Communication with Parents: apply some basic curation and design principles to this communication. Why No One Reads Your Classroom Newsletter.
  • School or Teacher Websites: Gonzalez shares sites that make her want to click around, learn more. They make her excited about the learning that is happening in these schools. And it all comes down to the design, the thoughtful way the content is organized with the user experience in mind.
  • Sharing Research: Take the time to narrow your focus to just a few items, then share them in a way that’s appealing will make it more likely that people will actually consume the stuff you’re sharing.

Be it, pedagogy, material selection and organization, communication, or collaborating and researching, it goes without saying, that schools are constantly curating.  But, to what level of expertise?  According to Gonzalez, the following guidelines are critical to keep in mind as we curate with each other or engage our students or parents in curating:

  1. Keep the Best, Lose the Rest
  2. Chunk It
  3. Add Your Own Introductions
  4. Use Images as Anchors
  5. Polish your Hyperlinks
  6. Always, Always Build in White Space

How? Check out all the curation tools she lists at the end of the post.

To finish off this post, take a look at Innovate – curation! a TedTalk by Steve Rosenbaum, author of Curation Nation, who contends that “curation is the new magic that makes the web work…fixing the signal to noise problem, and making the world contextual and coherent again.”