Thanks, A. J. and we look forward to learning more from you on November 1 at our Fall Institute!
His post is below. Feel free to answer his question: What are you working right "now"?
My 94-year old Grandmom is home (for a few months before heading back to her work in England) and we were sitting down to dinner the other night and she asked, "What are you working on right now?"
Then, this weekend, hanging out with my brother and his friends at the Sixers game (we lost...can't talk about it), one of them asked, "What are you working on right now?"
Both conversations turned into an interesting dialogue about what I was working on, but also in turn, what my Grandmom and my brother's friend were working on. Instead of talking about jobs and responsibilities, we focused on discussing what each of us were excited about. What was waking us up in the morning, what we were thinking about during a morning run, and what was fueling our creative fire at that point.
I'm hoping to ask that question more and more when I'm talking with people, "What are your working on right now?"
I've also created a page on my website inspired by Derek Sivers that details what I’m focused on right now. I love the fact that those of us sharing, creating, making, blogging, and writing can share what is happening. This page was updated 5/07/2018 with what I'm working on below and I'll keep it updated every week or so moving forward:
- My kids (I have four) have a big week of lacrosse, baseball, and swim practice (spring clinics starting up) this week. My daughter has a lacrosse game on Friday and Sunday. My son has two games on Saturday!
- I'm getting ready to release my new book, The PBL Playbook, which serves as a hands-on guide to actually doing project-based learning. I'm pumped to share this with the world as it follows up both Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Learning and LAUNCH nicely with real projects happening in real classrooms around the world.
- I'm working as the Director of Technology and Innovation at Centennial School District (a public school district just outside of Philadelphia, PA, USA). We are doing some really interesting work with design thinking. Our teachers run a summer program called CentennialX that lead to our Student Innovation Lab for this school year. We launched our 1:1 Chromebook initiative in August for grades 6th-12th. Our team has been focused on innovative teaching and learning (with a purpose) built around partnerships (if you want to visit feel free to reach out, as we host visits monthly).
- Four projects we are working on right now around equity that are exciting:
- Buying books to give out to our students throughout the summer in various neighborhoods (we have a bookmobile that will be traveling)
- Our team working on culturally responsive teaching and learning through curriculum and best practices
- Developing a way to provide free internet access to all of our students in the district
- Our Student Innovation Lab team is comprised of students from all backgrounds going through the design thinking process to solve real problems in our school that they identify and create unique solutions for throughout the school year
- We recently hosted a team of 25 school leaders from China and are partnering with them. In addition, our entrepreneurial partnerships have grown with students working alongside people from:
- The Character Lab (Angela Duckworth's team is doing action research in our schools and working with our teachers and students around grit and character)
- Drexel University (our students go to Drexel Med to work on real cadavers)
- The University of Pennsylvania (our biology and psych students work with lab rats and we recently built a lab with real rats in our HS)
- St. Joseph's University (our students work with undergrad students who are performing neurosurgery)
- Fox Chase Cancer Center (the TRIP program and our Genetics of Cancer course)
- ShopRite (we have a Shoprite store in our HS where students work at and the community shops at)
- Eli Lilly and PRA Health Sciences (sponsored student challenges for our design teams to solve real medical problems while in school)
- MIT Cycling Team (our students developed a new cycling performance sock for the MIT Team during CentennialX)
- Panther Boards (our homegrown student-led company is pioneering entrepreneurship and manufacturing by designing, manufacturing and selling custom skis and snowboards in our trailer on-site.
- Weekly, I create new modules for my Innovative Teaching Academy online course.
- I spent two days speaking to teachers, students, and leaders in Miami, Florida last week (and just got back from a speaking trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin) leading sessions around design thinking and supporting students as they go through the process to launch their products.
- The Global Day of Design (on May 4th, 2018) was an amazing day of learning, creating, making, and designing with over 100,000 students participating from around the world.
Thanks for reading! What are you working on right now?