Monday, April 27, 2009

Challenge Based Learning... the message is spreading!

Challenge Based Learning
Momentum is gaining for a innovative approach to K-12 education and evidence of its positive effects on learners was witnessed this past weekend in Nebraska. The NETA (Nebraska Educational Technology) 2009 Conference featured keynote speaker Stephanie Hamilton of Apple Computers who predecessed her of Challenge Based Learning with years of research, references, and examples of why change is needed in education. I had the privilege of sharing my involvement in Challenge Based Learning in two breakout sessions. The first, with fellow ADEs Joanna Seymour, Ross Abels, and Therese Laux, overviewed the ACOT2 Initiative and our involvement in the curriculum development team as well as a call to action for schools to begin using the widely scalable CBL framework. In the second, fellow teacher Deb Barelmann co-presented with me to share the story of the CBL pilot at O'Neill Public Schools as our students took on the challenge of apathy in our school community.

Saturday, April 25 was the date for the annual "Digies" Student Media Awards. In addition to promoting excellent student projects from across the state of Nebraska, announcements were made for changes to the contest for next year. Instead of focusing on specific media types (digital photo, informational movie, etc.), the contest will use Challenge Based Learning as a framework for all student projects. Students are encouraged to find a challenge in their school or community, form teams, and work together find an actionable solution to that challenge. Digital Media projects could highlight the process or the solution itself or both! Age divisions will be K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 and up to five smaller film festivals will be held across the state in communities that have the most entries. This exciting announcement for Nebraska education shows the scalability and adaptability of the Challenge Based Learning model and should definitely help promote some positive practices in K-12 education.

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