Here are the things that I learned from listening to the pod-cast.
Ensure that essential questions are relevant and meaningful to the students. Make sure that students have several choices on ways to study and create. Student voice and choice is important, and allows them to choose what it most interesting to them, and that they have options as to how to respond and present what they're learning. Also, make sure when doing project based learning, that our expectations are high, yet not overwhelming or frustrating. Scaffold into smaller steps the project, so that the students are feeling the successes with bite sized assignments throughout the project, so they get that affirmation and keep wanting to learn and do more versus getting frustrated and feeling overwhelmed.
Try to plan PBL activities that have real-world positive impacts.
What can we do to engage more teachers in PBL? It must be consistent. Pick a tool, become proficient with it, use it for a week or two with the class. Then, that is now in your tool box that you can use it over again throughout the year. Then, choose another tool and do the same. Eventually you will have a fat tool bag of technology that they have learned to use (and you have used) and utilize well when teaching/learning the standards. Share this with your peers. Have an open door classroom. Teach the 8 steps of PBL, in order, over 8 weeks to the class, so that eventually they take control over this and are forming their own essential/driving questions, etc. Explicitly teach the process of PBL, so they get the big idea of the learning and sharing behind it.
The students appreciate PBL. The students are engaged and excited. Students in that environment are thriving. A school wide initiative is important for buy-in on PBL. (As a personal note, I feel it will be difficult in MCPSS schools to do this as fluently as it sounds as A. Capps' school has, because we don't have all the same tools/technology. Thus, we are limited to the time in the lab to really have access to the tools we need to incorporate technology with PBL. That's not an excuse to not work towards the goal of having a school community where PBL is the norm, and has the students loving learning and school. It's just an observation that I recognize as a challenge and I need to think on how we could have buy-in as a school and have it happening regularly without the school-wide same technology access.)
Teacher training on PBL seems like an important professional development idea. (I'll have to share that with my principal. Perhaps that would allow us to incorporate this in a more prevalent way.) The roll out is with a few teachers, and then with the whole community of teachers. Having a teacher leader with the skills and drive in place helps to keep the focus and guide the professional development, etc., is important.
Authentic audiences are important. Grades above and below, stuffed animals, parents, other school staff, etc. The students together critique and advise and revise their work and their presentations throughout the PBL process.
Keep parents abreast of PBL, and assessment expectations.