Project-Based Learning with Tim Childers, DEN Guru #svc2011

Some people go above and beyond. Tim Childers very graciously (and under less than ideal conditions) shared his PowerPoint.

I am sitting in the dark with no electricity and 15 minutes left on my laptop battery. I have a faint wifi signal from my phone.

Tim Childers is the first generation DEN GURU, and his specialty is project-based learning. I met him at the first DEN National Institute (not saying how many years ago), and even then I was blown away by his knowledge and his calm way of delivering professional development.

Tim began by addressing what PBL is not, and then moved to what it is. Begin with a problem, an overriding essential question that guides students as they move through the learning process. That’s the starting process. Then they explore the project and form a collaborative strategy for an intelligent design. Each project will look different and that’s the beauty of the PBL process.

The final piece of PBL is assessment, and that can and will vary. Will problems occur in PBL? Absolutely. But with time and planning, you get beyond it.

Tim shared a slightly edited (with permission) Dean Shareski video on PBL.

Another video Tim shared about PBL is this exciting video.

Tim says that it’s critical for the classroom teacher to understand the technology. He reminds us to expect problems and just go with the flow. It is really about changing the paradigm and if you want to make a change, you need to move your sense of instruction. What I continue to be reminded in Tim’s presentation is the value and need for an Instructional Coach because they make things possible, for students and teachers as well.

One of the easiest ways to begin PBL is digital storytelling. It’s just the low-tech piece that you can create in Photo Story or iMovie. If you are not a tech-savvy teacher, your students are and  if you are without a coach, go to the students. Tim suggests that you search for your students on YouTube, because they ARE there, creating and producing.

To begin digital storytelling, you need only a limited investment in resources to make the project work. Just a word to the wise: FLIP cameras are wonderful, easy to use, but Cisco bought the company and FLIPs are disappearing from the landscape to reappear in your iPads, cameras, and the like. For the project, Tim bought a green shower curtain to create a green screen opportunity.

Look how DS changes learning (& teaching) roles.

Another way to do PBL is gaming. Tim suggests several he likes several games and even set up one for us. If you view the image to your left, you will find the link and login information to join the DEN game Tim created.Among the games Tim previewed are Spent, Evoke, and simCEO.

You can check out additional PBL resources at this link. If you missed Tim’s presentation, you can view the archive below.

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