Back to basics again

Having shed my brain of the mind-twisting politics of education, unpacking some of the comments from ACEC – It’s time to get back to basics for the next few months for me in preparation for a trip to work with some US teachers in late June.

I’ve been asked to work with teachers around project based learning and web at the MICDS Summer Institute in St. Louis by the Elizabeth Helfant. Elizabeth is a seasoned campaigner, working in many communities to support her own such as Powerful Learning Practice and the Flat Classroom Project. The school seems a world away from those around me; but I am really looking forward to the opportunity to connect with old friends and make new ones. Check out this student video. I really like the idea of Summer Institutes for professional development.

Then I’m off to ISTE in Denver to present a workshop to teachers about developing classroom frameworks to use Scenario Based Learning, which is a cousin of Project Based Learning. This again is using web, game and virtual worlds, to explore student engagement with critical thinking. I’m also presenting a Birds of a Feather session about Virtual Worlds, which again will be a change to catch up with many of the ISTE Virtual World Community and show newcomers the affordances of moving being the web-browser.

For Denver; I’m working with @jokay in JokaydiaGRID to build a virtual, transmedia literacy project around Animal Farm – blending PBL and SBL to meet US outcomes for Utopia units in middle school and ISTE NETs. Right now that is a crude wiki and a bunch of photoshop files. By June it will be a complete unit of work with teacher resources and an in-world game. It follows on from the work I’ve been doing with Jeff and his Gifted and Talented Middle Schoolers.

I’ll also find some time for the Jokaydia Unconference in May.  In pursuit of my ‘job’ have a few in-world sessions to prepare for; and just at the beginning of thinking about how to extend Macquarie’s Second Life campus onto the JokaydiaGRID – as more and more staff want to develop in-world in support of their courses.