Resources discussed and suggested:

A note: this post comes from the St. Gregory faculty discussion Monday morning of Suzie Boss’ Reinventing Project Based Learning.  This book was one of two faculty summer reading options, and was read by about half of our teachers.

Discussion points:

1. Launching these projects is the first step, but for those doing so, the experience screams for more: more time for collaboration, and more effort at interdisciplinary collaboration.  Right now, we have fine initiatives happening independently, but we need to take the next step to interdependently.

1b. Some teachers responded to this call for multi-disciplinary collaboration by teachers across departments by endorsing the concept but recognizing how limiting the schedule and curriculum always will be.  Instead, someone advocated ardently, teachers need to become themselves individually multi-disciplinary and teach in integrated ways within their curriculum.   Fascinating argument, and perhaps a very 21st century concept.

2. Audience:  We know it is essential to identify and emphasize our audience for projects, but these can be widely varying and can and should reflect many perspectives.

3.  Projects are great for learning, and situating them in real-world contexts is great.  But nevertheless, we need to be wary of the trap of providing too artificial a construct; it is fine-line between real-world situated and completely falsely contrived and patronizing.   A reference here is made to a fascinating post by Dan Myer, The Cultural Implications of Pseudocontext.  One history teacher says some projects feel so inauthentic, and that it is too great a stretch to make history projects meaningful without making too contrived and play-acting like.  Interesting, and difficult, issues.