Educational terms can become overwhelming.  And if they don't make you quit in the first five years of your career, they will hound, test, confuse you for the next 25 or so.

So forgive the initial eye roll on the topic of Problem Based Learning.  However, I am driven to complete this mooc experience and know that students sometimes feel this way, and I should walk my talk of pushing through the mundane to get to the exciting topics.  The author of this model was wise to put this movie front and center in the content this week – they hooked me when a young lady said, “…for children sometimes it’s like we don’t have a voice in anything.”  Yeah, something that gives any child a voice is something I am interested in.

Posted by Bucks Institute of Education (BIE): TEAM Academy in Newark, NJ

Once I bought in I marveled at my lack of depth of understanding of what Problem Based Learning really was.  I liked this initial post I found via twitter – – about what PBL is not.  Novel to start there?  Not if you understand I have been considering it “real world projects” only.  After reading that doing projects wasn’t exactly it, I then happened across –  – which basically made me think about the fact that I had to tell students that the problems we were working on were “real world” … I mean if it wasn’t apparent when I explain the challenge, maybe it wasn’t too real world.

Now the mooc also has content on inquiry based learning – luckily I am an expert in that as a former science teacher.  However, what I learned was that I was an expert in inserting inquiry into my lessons, but not really in structuring my class for full on inquiry learning.  Which is a pity, science of all places could have been a place a teacher could go all in, right?  Well, my forays into inquiry are not without reward – I think that this has greatly contributed to my ability to allow differing lengths spent on the same task among my students – helping me ease into a Blended Learning situation.  I find myself much more comfortable with time as a variable in any students task.  If nothing else, it showed me how much organization I need to pull off these elements and then I could see available technologies as they came up as truly useful.  I consider my efforts into inquiry a gateway drug to differing tasks/projects/assessments.

I really learned that I am on my way, but not there yet.

Enjoying the videos posted and watching the YouTubes posted by the BIE I am reminded that there is nothing new under the sun in education.  I am surrounded by great educators such as John Hardison (@johnHardison1) who runs @Studio113_EHHS who has shown many of us what can be done.

I have a renewed sense of purpose as I start writing online components for the upcoming school year, new Next Generation Science Standards, full access to a district-wide LMS and some good inst=piration from videos like this will spur me on –

Posted by Bucks Institute of Education (BIE): The Hydrology Project, Tucson, AZ