PLP Live 2012 - Friday September 28 - Philadelphia This year Powerful Learning Practice is hosting a new type of conference.  At PLP Live – Inspire. Collaborate. Shift. participants will find:

* Inspiration from top names in education such as John Seely Brown, Suzie Boss, Darren Cambridge, Bruce Dixon, Will Richardson, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Jackie Gerstein, Jane Krauss, Renee Moore, and more

*Active, creative collaboration with educators and educational leaders from across the globe to solve issues from the classroom to policy makers

*Most importantly, shift: why we need it, how to make it happen in your own teaching, your classroom, your school, your local community, how becoming a connected educator accelerates the shift, and how to inspire others to ride the wave of change with you

*Plus a one-of-a-kind opportunity: Lunch ‘n’ learn with the speakers – ‘Mingle and munch’ in casual conversation with the keynote speakers and breakout session facilitators. Ask your questions. Share your ideas. Discuss the issues. See the agenda for complete details!

We’d like to introduce our keynote speakers, one by one, and so we’ve come up with six questions for each of them.  These questions will give you a peek into who they are, the message they’ll bring to the conference and why you don’t want to miss meeting them at PLP Live!

Meet Suzie Boss, PLP Live – Inspire. Collaborate. Shift. Keynote Speaker

Suzie Boss

Suzie Boss, PLP Live Keynote Speaker

What do you see as the major shift needed in professional learning environments these days?

The most encouraging trends in professional learning mirror what’s been happening in the classroom as we shift to more student-centered learning. At all ages, we benefit from learning experiences that are meaningful, connected to our lives, right-sized, and social, so that we learn with and from others. Technology tools allow some of these things to happen within a larger community or on a more flexible schedule. The shift to this kind of professional learning is happening, but not fast enough. We still have teachers assigned to sit-and-get “training” sessions over which they have no control. Many districts continue to measure professional learning in seat time.

I spent several years earlier in my career at an educational research lab where we focused on putting research into practice. The research was clear more than a decade ago about what makes for quality professional learning. The best experiences are collaborative, inquiry-based, and tightly connected to the classroom. That’s still true. But the grassroots, peer-to-peer learning that’s happening in connected educator spaces now takes these best practices to another level. Educators are finding and creating new opportunities to drive their own learning and share their wisdom with others. That’s powerful, and I think it’s likely to accelerate the positive changes we’re already seeing.

Why did you agree to be a keynote speaker at PLP Live 2012?

As an education writer (co-author of Reinventing Project-Based Learning, Edutopia blogger) and consultant focusing on project-based learning (national faculty, Buck Institute for Education), I always have my ear to the ground for educators doing innovative work. I confess to being a regular lurker on the PLP and Voices from the Learning Revolution blog, where teachers and instructional coaches frequently think aloud about their professional journeys.  This seems to be a community of educators who have the courage to learn in public. They’re risk-takers. They are willing to consider profound changes in how they go about teaching and learning if they see value for students. I like that energy.

Can you tell us a little bit about the core message that you will deliver at the conference?

I’ll be teaming up with Jane Krauss, my co-author on Reinventing Project-Based Learning and the forthcoming Thinking Through Projects. We’ll put our collaboration chops to work to facilitate a conversation about turning up the inquiry in project-based learning. This will be the first audience to get a preview of our latest field research. We’ll report on some encouraging trends, offer a few inspiring examples, and share some “project signposts” to help you on your way with PBL.

How would you describe your approach and/or belief when it comes to “engaging” an audience?

I’m a storyteller at heart, so I often use stories to engage audiences. I’m especially fond of what Stephen Denning describes as “springboard stories.” These are the stories that invite you in to the narrative and help you imagine the future you want to create.

Tell us a little about what (or who) inspires you?

I’m inspired by innovators of all ages. As a writer, I use two sets of lenses for viewing the world. With one, I focus on education—in particular, the kind of teaching and learning that prepares students to be active, engaged citizens and problem solvers. (This is where my advocacy for project-based learning comes in) With my second set of lenses, I focus on social innovators—people in diverse contexts who are devising solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems, from poverty to clean water to global health challenges. My new book, Bringing Innovation to School, brings these two worlds together. I share stories and strategies from innovators who range from elementary kids to accomplished adults. Today’s students have the potential to become tomorrow’s innovators, if they have the opportunities they deserve to hone the skills they need for the future.

Where can participants find you online?

  • I’m a regular blogger at Edutopia:
  • Jane Krauss and I collaborate on the Reinventing Project-Based Learning blog:
  • Connect with me on Twitter @suzieboss
  • I’m also a regular participant in weekly #pblchat, which takes place Tuesdays, 6 p.m. Pacific/9 p.m. Eastern. It’s a great community for sharing ideas and building new professional friendships.


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Christen Dodd

Christen is a Connected Learning Specialist for PLP. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. For eleven years, Christen trained educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity. She also served as their Distance Learning Coordinator and Vice President of Professional Development. Christen has enjoyed working with Powerful Learning Practice since 2011 and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike. Currently, she is also an instructional technology specialist at her children's JK-8 Catholic school.

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