Reinventing Project Based Learning at the NECC | Acting to Improve

Reinventing Project Based Learning at the NECC

See my full notes on Usefulwiki and feel free to add your own thoughts on the subject to the wiki.
As I said in my last post I did manage to make a virtual appearance at the NECC (National Educational Computing Conference) in Atlanta USA today. Many thanks to Andy for the use of his mac as my faithful old iBook finds Skype too much for it :-(
It was a busy room by the sounds of things with about 250 people in the audience and Tom and I on Skype. Jane and Suzie had their hands full, but in a good way. Many of the people there were obviously interested in the topic of Project Based Learning.
Jane and Suszie emphasised that there was lots of good project based work going on but that it was easy for it to be happening out of sight, sometimes even other teachers in the same school didn’t know about it. So it’s all about using technology to share best practice. Ewan got a name check in the introduction and they used a quote from him during the session too.

Tom had some interesting insights as his background is in project management for development rather than education though he now works for a network of schools. I love his assumption that all participants, both pupils and adults are learners. It’s so obviously true but sometimes adults are too close to it to see it themselves.

I think their use of stories was the most powerful thing about the presentation. I learn so much more from authentic narratives than from theory and hypothetic situations. No surprise then that that’s one of the conerstones of the book!

I’m interested in the idea that although this is soon going to be available as a book it’s in no sense a finished work. The book will just be a snapshot of where the work stood at one point. The conversation will continue, grow and develop and hopefully become something far richer and more useful than the book alone. Already they’ve continued their learning journey with a Flickr group and a blog. I’ve popped up a quick page about their presentation on usefulwiki but that can easily extend to become a section of the wiki if other people want to put their own examples of project based learning up there.

I was quite nervous myself, waffled on a bit about the group and the blogs, but took a leaf from their book and told a story to illustrate how the group might change as children become more involved in celebrating their own learning and that went really well :-)

That’s all for now as it’s been a long day but I’ll post more about my thoughts soon.

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