Today, Wednesday, June 29, I am be making a presentation at ISTE 2011, called, “Challenging the Challengers”. This will tell the story of my efforts to cultivate the Challenge Based Learning through a formal professional development program. We had our ups and downs, but finished our time together with several CBLish challenges ready for next year. These projects involve all grade levels at our high school and most of our academic disciplines. The process has already had a significant impact on our school culture.
The story begins with the entire staff reading Tony Wagner’s The Global Achievement Gap. Wagner posits that American students must cultivate seven “survival skills” in order to succeed in today's flat, wired, global environment
* Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
* Collaboration and Leading by Influence
* Agility and Adaptability
* Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
* Effective Oral and Written Communication
* Accessing and Analyzing Information
* Curiosity and Imagination
It was pre-ordained by administration that Challenge Based Learning would be a pathway to acquiring these skills (The mandate in itself created some push-back). However, we tackled this challenge within a challenge through “professional cluster groups” which met about twelve times each semester. In addition an August afternoon of in-service was devoted to acquainting ourselves with CBL. Later, we spent an entire November session sorting through “big ideas”. The program essentially focused on the following themes:
* What’s Your Passion?
* Pitching Your Passion! (November Full Day In-Service)
* Teacher’s Role in CBL
* Authentic Audiences
* CBL End Game
The presentation is laid out in two slide presentations with a short quicktime movie.
They are available below and licensed to Creative Commons with attricution: