Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hacking PBL to Make Learning Personal


According to Ross Cooper and Erin Murphy, authors of Hacking Project Based Learning, "Despite the hype surrounding PBL, it is seldom made a reality in our schools and classrooms." We were very lucky that Ross @rosscoops31 and Erin @murphysmusings5 joined us as co-hosts on our 4/17/17 #plearnchat with the topic Hacking PBL to Make Learning PersonalRoss and Erin's book guides teachers through 10 Easy Steps to PBL and Inquiry in the Classroom. They worked with us to come up with the big question:


How can PBL create an environment and opportunities where learning is personal for all learners?


Ross and Erin came up with the six questions for the chat that we used and Pam put in a graphic below. We use the Q1, A1 format:



Educators from all over the world joined #plearnchat for the topic Hacking PBL and PL on April 17th with our great co-hosts. The tweets were going by so fast that we noticed our chat was trending the whole time. Wonderful conversations!

Here's a few quotes from #plearnchat:


Carol Reinagel @MrsReinagel
"Learners should have a say in their PBL direction. Listen to them, know their strengths. It should fit in the way all our PL does."

Paul O'Neill @PaulONeill1972
"The buzz of explosive curiosity followed by learners taking ownership and making transferable sense of the learning"


Yvette Rosario-Perez @yvetterp2
"If we get students curious and excited to learn more, then we connect the next project to student interest and the real world and repeat."

Christine McCartney @mrscmacc
"Debriefing and reflection stage of PBL is critical...even when projects don't come to fruition. So much learning happens there."

Michael Vose Ed.D @KHS_AP
"PBL is where we can learn from artists and musicians. When it's right it's in the groove."

Tamara Letter @HCPSTinyTech
"PBL is successful when one question is answered and another question begins. Learning doesn't stop ---projects do!"
Lenette, M.Ed. @lmhawkhill
"We know PBL is successful when students can EXPLAIN the process. When students are EXCITED to discuss it with others. When students make connections to previous/future learning."

Carol Varsalona @cvarsalona
"Essential questions have lasting effects - build thought process - lets students inquire deeper into studies."


Nancy White @NancyW
"Backwards planning. Standards are required, but curriculum is more flexible. Also, standards are the floor -- not the ceiling."

d ryer @dryer83
"My favorite parts of PBL hiding all the curriculum behind big topics/ideas with my students but following through all the PBL parts."

Susan Zanti @SusZanti5
"Teachers must reflect on the teaching and learning --- ensure that formative data drives instruction so that assessment is authentic."

Mike Mohammad @Mo_physics
"Curriculum outcomes need to be written to provide space for learners to make connections between content and interests." 

Noa Daniel @noasbobs
"The curriculum is the vehicle, but students build the road and drive the inquiry. The journey can take them beyond the expectations."

Mark Levine @LevineWrites
"Inquiry is learning. You can't have students show thinking without it. Inquiry is the opposite of teacher on a stage."


There were so many more we wanted to add but ran out of room. Make sure you check out the archived storify below for all the fantastic resources and graphics shared in the chat.




Congratulations to V. Ellen Burdge, @eburdge, who won our book, How to Personalize Learning


Ellen Burdge is Director of Teaching and Learning at the French American International School in San Francisco, CA. She is an Organizational Coach trained by the Center for Right Relationships. Ellen is blending her background and experience of more than 20 years in education as a teacher/professor, facilitator and team leader with the innovative skills of Organizational and Relationship Systems Coaching (ORSC) in her role at FAIS in San Francisco. With varied experiences in International schools around the world, Ellen is passionate about tapping into the potential of relationship to build more collaborative partnerships and teams to improve student learning. 



Follow Ellen on Twitter and LinkedIn
Twitter: @eburdge



The tips in this book truly demystifies what PBL is all about with 10 hacks that construct a simple path educators and students can easily follow to achieve success.

"Start by building trust. Provide time for conversations. Ask rather than tell. Allow for dissonance. Model the practice."  
 Erin Murphy @murphysmusings5

"When we talk about process over product, it's important to realize what this actually means, rather than using it as a buzzphrase!" 
Ross Cooper @rosscoops31   




How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.








Save the Dates for our next #plearnchats

Mondays: 4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST


May 15th (4 weeks)

Topic: Passionate Learners
Hosted by Kathleen McClaskey @khmmc and Pam Lowe @prlowe91 with guest host Pernille Ripp @pernilleripp, author of Passionate Learners and Passionate Readers


May 22nd (1 week later)

Topic: Global Collaborative Projects
Hosted by Barbara Bray @bbray27 and Pam Lowe @prlowe91 with guest hosts Julie Lindsay, author of The Global Educator and Linda Ullah, world traveler and coach.


We archived the entire #plearnchat about Hacking PBL and Personalized Learning below for your convenience and as a resource.


Monday, April 3, 2017

Micro-credentials as Personal Professional Learning

Don’t you think that now is the time to change traditional “sit and get” professional development and move to personal professional learning opportunities? Teachers are learners, too. The “one size fits all” has got to go and micro-credentials provide a process that supports teachers and impacts teaching practice.


Digital Promise has built an innovative system for educators to be recognized for the work they already do with their kids. Educators are embracing this process of micro-credentialing. They are documenting and showcasing learning and then getting credit for it or revising what they are doing and submitting again. [excerpts above from Barbara's post Personal Professional Learning through Micro-credentials]

We were very lucky that Odelia Young and Hashim Pipkin from Digital Promise co-hosted the April 3rd, 2017 #plearnchat along with Pam Lowe who created the graphics and moderated the conversations. We came up with this driving question to frame the discussions:

"How can micro-credentials develop a sustaining professional learning system ready to adapt to the evolving needs of today's classrooms?"


We used the Q1, A1 format and asked the following six questions:




Educators from all over the world joined #plearnchat on the topic of Micro-credentials on April 3rd. The conversations encouraged deeper learning from all of us. There were a few who joined us who just wanted to learn about micro-credentials. Then they found the chat easy to join so they jumped in asking questions and sharing ideas. Wonderful conversations!

Here's a few quotes from #plearnchat:




Pam Hubler @specialtechie
"Got it! So the badge is the visual. Micro-credentials describe the process to get the badge."




Odelia Younge @Odelia_DP
"Micro-credentials require a submission of evidence of learning in the classroom, but then can be displayed as a digital badge."




Shannon Ziegler @sziggy9
"I do also think teachers need to be a part of helping to develop the school culture and goals to really have ownership."




Susan Zanti @SusZanti5
"Micro-credentials offer teachers voice and choice in their PD. As they acquire skills, they get credit for their new learning."





Hashim Khalil Pipkin @hkpipkin
"Micro-credentials attest to the presence of research-backed skills in teachers to make learning visible. Digital badges are the form that MCs take when awarded."



Nicole Fuerst @nfuerst2
"Offering an array of options, flexible time schedules, ability to make own learning path and more."

Noal Geisel @SenorG
"Micro-credentials can fill the gaps in the narrative of who I am as a learner/achiever, offering richer narrative than grades."


Congratulations to Sue Thotz, @SueThotz, who won our book, How to Personalize Learning


Sue Thotz is the Los Angeles Education Program Manager for Common Sense Education. Since 2011, Sue has been providing professional development and partnering with educators and parents to help them create a culture where students use technology in a meaningful, thoughtful, and respectful way.

She works with districts to create a foundation of digital citizenship that fits with their vision. Sue's background ranges from classroom and after-school teaching to education and cell biology research. She managed a longitudinal study on the effects of an early literacy curriculum, as well as qualitative and quantitative studies on food security issues in Chicago. 

Sue has taught research methodology to teachers and students interested in understanding issues in their own communities. She has also created primary cell cultures from human and bovine eyes. Sue holds a Master’s in Public Health and an undergraduate degree in zoology and chemistry. She currently lives in a small house with a 12 year-old reader, 10 year-old gamer and a most clever musician.

Follow her on Twitter @suethotz

Some resources Sue wants to share with you:




How to Personalize Learning is your practical guide to getting started and going deeper with personalized learning. Corwin has offered our followers a 20% discount code. Go to Corwin Press and use the discount code N169O6 for your own copy.







Save the Date, Monday, April 17th (2 weeks) for our next #plearnchat

4pm PST, 5pm MST, 6pm CST, and 7pm EST


Topic: Hacking PBL and PL

Hosted by Barbara Bray @bbray27 and Pam Lowe @prlowe91 with guest hosts Ross Cooper @rosscoops31 and Erin Murphy @MurphysMusings5,  authors of Hacking PBL



We archived the entire #plearnchat about Micro-credentials and Personal Professional Learning below for your convenience and as a resource.