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Optimize PBL: Empower Learners by Moving to Authentic, Relevant and Complex Projects

Session 4
Dayna Laur, Jill Clayton, Tim Kubik — Project ARC

Project based learning has been used as a description for teaching strategies that range in practice from the completion of "recipe projects" to the implementation of real world, life-changing challenges. Today, teachers feel the pressure of high stakes testing, but are often willing to explore more engaging methods of instruction. Our goal is to co-develop an understanding of the potential difference between challenging PBL lessons and authentic, relevant, and complex learning experiences. This conversation will help us to breakthrough the barriers of challenging assignments to dig deep into the tools teachers and leaders need to take research and innovation to the next level by leveraging powerful partnerships within their communities. We will delve into the ways in which teachers can be empowered to empower their learners. The facilitation of this process promotes the development of learners who are inquiry driven and ready to become producers of new information rather than simply consumers of information that already exists. Leaders and learners will engage in a dialogue to deepen their understanding of authentic, relevant, and complex learning environments to support teachers in building literacy rich authentic, relevant and complex projects. They will share innovative practices to dive into the critical thinking skills needed to climb the highest levels to produce creative solutions. In short, the optimization of PBL leads to: creativity, imagination, and innovation through authentic problem solving and complex critical thinking, with relevant communication and collaboration.

Conversational Practice

Extended Socratic Seminar (This is a discussion that prompts the asking of questions to uncover solutions. One conversation starter is given and participants engage in a discussion. The goal is to ask questions as the conversation unfolds. Every question is recorded during the discussion. At the conclusion of the discussion, the recorded questions are affinity mapped to determine three main themes that have emerged from the conversation. This provides a roadmap for further investigations and to allow the conversation to continue in a virtual space once the conference is over.)

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