by Liam Bayer
New Media Coordinator
For the third year in a row, October is the US Department of Education’s Connected Educator Month, and this year, we would like to help the organizers make this more than an event, more than a month, and more than a national movement. For teachers, Project Based Learning (PBL) is all about connections - with students, parents, community, colleges, and business. PBL teachers are all about collaborating on bringing new ideas into their classroom. They are also all about sharing their work for critique and revision, and for building rich repositories of shared work that can be used by everyone. PBL teachers are connected educators not just because they incorporate the 4 Cs – Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Creativity – into every facet of their work, but also because the instructional methodology demands it.
So, how can Project Based Learning teachers use their connectivity skills to promote Connected Educator Month? How about participating in online Professional Learning Networks where you feel right at home? We suggest joining and participating in the Project Based Learning community on Google+. While you’re at it, follow and use the hashtag #PBL on Twitter.
Project Based Learning Google+ Community
The PBL community on Google+ is a great place to share project ideas and best practices and learn about those of others. Maybe you have a Driving Question that could be improved. Post it and find out what others think. Use the community to share your projects and get feedback from community members.
Also, let us know what topics you would like to focus on and we will create a new page category. Right now, we have the PBL 101 category where teachers in our professional development workshops are starting to share their Project Ideas and Driving Questions. We also have the Gold Standard PBL category where ideas related to the new gold standard are being developed and discussed.
By the way, our almost weekly Hangout On Air series is announced on the Google+ PBL Community. Check out our recent hangouts and watch future ones.
#PBL on Twitter
Twitter has a very active Project Based Learning community that is organized under the #PBL hashtag. Search for “#PBL” and follow the conversation that includes links to new blog posts and project videos, project updates, and other teachers that will answer any questions that you might have. Here is a list of helpful #PBL people and organizations on Twitter:
@johnmBIE – John Mergendoller is BIE’s Executive Director and the best person to follow for information on PBL research and best practices.
@davidBIE – David Ross is BIE’s Senior Director of Partnerships and a great resource for everything current going on in education related to Project Based Learning.
@johnlBIE – John Larmer is BIE’s Editor in Chief and a master of revision and critique. Ask, and he will help you shape everything from your project ideas to your driving questions, and beyond.
@BIEpbl – The Buck Institute for Education is the hub for everything Project Based Learning, and provides helpful resources and guidance for your everyday PBL needs.
@Edutopia – The George Lucas Education Foundation is a great resource for videos and blogs that describe high-quality PBL.
@NewTechNetwork – New Technology Network is a nationwide network of schools, and they share best practices as well as host the weekly #PBLchat, which is on Tuesdays at 5:00 pm pt/3:00 pm et. Learn more.
@KSmithSchool – The Katherine Smith School is an elementary school in East San Jose, California, that shares almost all of their learning and best practices.
@bobpearlman – Bob Pearlman is often considered the godfather of Project Based Learning, and provides resources for PBL best practices and strategies.
@betamiller – Andrew Miller is a National Faculty member for both BIE and ASCD, and an Edutopia contributor, who is a great resource for ideas on PBL classroom implementation.
@daylynn – Dayna Laur is a BIE National Faculty member and classroom teacher who is a good resource for integrating PBL in a technology rich classroom environment.
@suzieboss – BIE National Faculty member Suzie Boss is a regular contributor to Edutopia and the Stanford Social Innovation Review, author of four books in the education field, and an incredible resource for PBL strategies for out-of-school-time programs.
@tedfujimoto – Ted Fujimoto helped design and create the systems for PBL networks like New Tech Network and Big Picture Learning, and is a great resource for PBL leadership and district implementation advice and ideas.
@markbarnes19 – Mark Barnes is an author and educator whose strategies on student-centered learning and digital learning should help inform your Project Based Learning best practices.
@CELLuindy – The Center for Excellence in Leadership and Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis provides guidance in innovative education and PBL with the goal of improving student achievement.
@projectfoundry – Ask Project Foundry about their PBL resources and get ideas, lesson plans, rubrics, and more.
@engage_learning – Follow Engage! Learning to get helpful hints on transforming your classroom into a Project Based Learning environment.
@OCMBOCESSLS – OCM BOCES Instructional Support provides good information on 21st century instruction and PBL.
Let us know how you plan to become a more connected educator in the comments below.