The topic for the IALLT Webinar presented in early March was Project-Based Learning (PBL). This is a very important topic to consider for everyone who plans to integrate 21st Century Skills. PBL is ideally suited for developing skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. PBL also addresses 21st Century Themes, such as global awareness, environmental literacy, and entrepreneurial literacy. Christina Liu, the presenter of the March webinar, provided background information for project-based, differentiated instruction. In addition, she presented sample rubrics, and showed multiple examples for projects created by her students as part of their Chinese language classes. IALLT members can access the recording of this excellent presentation by logging into the conference section of the IALLT website at http://www.iallt.org/conferences/webinars. The access to the archived webinars is a membership benefit.
In my blog from February 2013, I recommended the book entitled 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn, edited by James Bellanca and Ron Brandt. This book contains a chapter by Bob Pearlman on “Designing New Learning Environments to Support 21st Century Skills”. Pearlman states that PBL is the best way to engage and challenge students. At the same time he stresses the importance of linking PBL with assessment, making rubrics available to the students when assigning a new project, and providing just-in time information about their learning as they are working on their project, thus making the assessment process transparent. In her book Assessing 21st Century Skills, Laura Greenstein explains in-depth how to assess 21st Century Skills, and she provides many rubrics that can be adapted to different projects. Another good source for PBL is the website of the Buck Institute for Education (BIE), which contains rubrics and tutorials for PBL (http://www.bie.org/tools/online_resources/pbl_tutorials).
If you are interested in learning more about PBL and 21st Century Skills, or if you are interested in redesigning your language center, I would like to invite you to attend the panel entitled Learning Spaces for 21st Century Project-Based Learning: Drilling down from Conceptualization to Implementation, which my colleagues and I will present during the IALLT 2013 conference in June. In this session, we will address questions concerning the design and management of learning spaces that support interdisciplinary and global projects. Save the date for IALLT 2013 (June 11-15, 2013)! You will find more conference information at http://2013.iallt.org/.
I hope to see you this summer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida!
Ute S. Lahaie, Ph.D.
IALLT President, 2011-2013