Thursday, 12 July 2012

Tubechop: Extract Video Clips Online

Tubechop is a service could prove to be an essential part of a teacher's online toolkit. Use it to 'chop' the bits of Youtube videos that you want to use. No more having to make a note of timings; simply chop the section you want and then embed it using the code provided or share it via your social network. Easy.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Free PBL courses from PBLU

This is too good to keep to yourself. PBLU are offering free courses to anyone interested in implementing the PBL model. As these guys are an offshoot of BIE - the heavyweights in the world of PBL - they are well worth a look. By completing the 6 courses on offer, including the final capstone project, you will receive certification as a PBL teacher. 
If you are one of the many who have been curious as to why there's so much hype around PBL, this is the perfect opportunity to be properly informed and explore the methodology with your own learners.
As the site itself is in beta, I'm wondering if the courses will remain free after this first trial run. Not waiting to find out, I'm all signed up and raring to go. Join me!

(The site also contains a range of PBL projects will which at the time of blogging will shortly be available. Be sure to peruse the examples for inspiration.)

Change Should be a Reality

A colleague sent me this blog post from Eric Sheninger and it immediately struck a chord so I though it worth sharing.

"Change in education seems to be as illusive as the Loch Ness Monster. Everyone seems to be talking about it, but little action leading to meaningful results seems to be the mainstay in many schools. Through my work over the years as a teacher, educational administrator, and learner through I have identified common roadblocks to the change process. If identified and addressed appropriately these roadblocks can be overcome."  

That's the intro to give you a taster. It's well worth a read, it's concise and if you recognise any of these barriers in your own school, why not pass it on and start a discussion? 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Bit by Bit

So, my copy of the PBL Starter Kit arrived last week from BIE and I read it cover-to-cover in one evening. A lot of it was encouraging as I realised I'm further along in mastering the PBL method than I had previously thought, but it also threw up some very important warnings. Among the most pertinent of these was probably the need to for induction of learners into the process, and remembering that regular AfL is absolutely essential to keep projects on track and of a high standard with regard to outcomes. These ideas are not entirely new but do serve as useful reminders.
The book is also well worth getting for the rubrics and the way it really guides you into the PBL model, suggesting that we start small and then work our way up to more ambitious projects involving various parties and subject areas.
On another note, one disappointment from the book was how little a spark it seemed to generate from my Head of Department (HoD). At the moment, I'm a bit of a lone island when it comes to my curiosity about PBL although our PL leader expressed actual excitement at my exploration of this area, feeling it is very in tune with the school's philosophy and forward-thinking 'ness.' That's enough to keep me going for now, and to be honest, the further I delve into it the more convinced I am that this 'real world' application of teaching is something our learners deserve if we are to truly prepare them for what's next. The skills that they learn echo those they will call upon not only in the workplace, but in the everyday interactions and tasks that are part of life. We can't know the nature of future work places or patterns but one thing I am pretty sure of is that the qualities practised and refined through PBL can only be of benefit to any path life might offer: resilience, independence, self-management and flexibility along with all the opportunities to hone confidence in interpersonal and ICT skills - what's not to love?

Monday, 2 July 2012

Teaching Channel: Professional Community

Looking for something to supplement your school's PL program? The Teaching Channel is a repository for a wealth of useful video resources for those interested in professional learning. It catalogues the one-hour weekly program aired on PBS but even if you haven't got the time or patience to sit through a full episode, there are lots of shorter videos to showcase inspirational teaching ideas, such as this 2-minute video below on using kids' books with older learners for literary analysis.
Register for their newsletter, follow their blog and have a good browse through your subject or area or whole-school interest.