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CL62: Return & Celebration

What great things did you and your students take on this year?

Season 8/Collab Lab 62

Our final Collab Lab of the season is a chance to celebrate the work of students, teachers, and partners.  Bring something to show off, stories to share, and, if you are up for it, the next adventure you have planned.

As always, you’ll be joined by peers and collaborators from K-12 higher education, industry, and the nonprofit community. If you work with or know of a student who would like to join the discussion, please extend the invitation.

Agenda

5:30 to 6:00 pm Grab something to eat, meet some interesting, passionate people
6:00 to 6:15 pm Welcome and introductions
6:15 to 8:00 pm Let’s talk through some ideas
8:00 to 8:30 pm Wrap up and next steps

Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. There is no charge for participation but space is limited!

Featured Participants

Stay tuned, we’re lining up a great group of Featured Participants you’ll want to have a chance to meet.

CL56: Heeding the Call of the Student

Where do the voices of students call you to take them?

What do you hear that points to a path where their concerns and passions can drive a richer exploration of what you had hoped to cover anyway?

Season 8/Collab Lab 56

Join us as we kick off our 8th season of Collab Labs with a discussion focused on the value of elevating student voice, and what might unfold when we do so. As always, you’ll be joined by peers and collaborators from K-12 higher education, industry, and the nonprofit community.

The contributions of middle and high school students at our last two Collab Labs of Season 7 added a new dimension to the conversations. In light of that we invite the participation of students in grade 7 and above (when accompanied by an adult) at each of our sessions this year. If you work with or know of a student who would like to join the discussion please extend the invitation

Agenda

5:30 to 6:00 pm Grab something to eat, meet some interesting, passionate people
6:00 to 6:15 pm Welcome and introductions
6:15 to 8:00 pm Let’s talk through some ideas
8:00 to 8:30 pm Wrap up and next steps

Food and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. There is no charge for participation but space is limited!

Featured Participants

Stay tuned, we’re lining up a great group of Featured Participants you’ll want to have a chance to meet.

Collab Lab 51: Recap and Notes

Collab Lab 51 attendees explored the hopes and fears attendees commonly express having when it comes to letting students drive the issues that are the focus of their learning. 

What do we hope for when we offer students the opportunity to pursue issues they are passionate about?

What fears might hold us back from doing so? 

Hopes

Across the discussion groups we heard a number of common themes among the hopes that were expressed — that students feel heard, they are motivated and engaged in work that is meaningful to them, they have the opportunity to discover what it is that they do care about, that the work allows them to build the skills, confidence, and empathy to take on more complex challenges. 

We also heard hopes for what that process could look like — that students have a chance to iterate and learn from missteps along the way, that we are able to design and support project based learning experience effectively, with scaffolding in place that allows students to take on the work, that teachers are equipped and supported as they do this work with students.  The overarching paradigm for participants is that student driven issues would drive the process of project based learning: allowing students to discover their passions and to let those passions drive their education.

Fears

Moving forward to create opportunities for student driven work won’t happen if we don’t recognize and address the fears that hold us back as teachers. 

Chief among those is that a lack of structure on an open ended project could lead to chaos, with some students left behind. Our participants also worry school or district leadership won’t recognize what’s going on in the classroom as productive learning, that it deviates from curriculum, that we won’t hit standards, and don’t have the right tools to evaluate student learning progress. Other fears center on the challenges we might offer students — what if the topic fails to engage them, we don’t have the time or support to pull it off, or are blocked by competing curriculum demands.

Participants also noted fears students themselves might have — how they will know if they are making progress, that they won’t get “the right answer”, that it feels weird to take on work that is by nature open-ended.

Next Steps

Our final question of the evening focused on what one might do in the next 30 days to push things forward.  For our participants, the key to moving forward is building the support to take some risks and align resources that can both support and inspire students in their work. That’s the hard work that teachers find difficult to navigate individually. 

The inspirEd Community recently established a Collab Lab group to explore these and other topics in a community setting. Consider joining the Community if this sounds like something that could help you in your teaching. 

Acknowledgements

We are especially grateful to our featured participants for the experience and insight they brought to the discussion:

  • Leslie Fee – Talent Manager – Development, J.W. Speaker
  • Clintel Hasan – Strategic Initiatives Manager, Milwaukee Succeeds, GMF
  • Maria Hamidu – High School Success Project Coordinator, Milwaukee Succeeds, GMF
  • Adam Hengel – Coordinator of Instructional Services, West Allis/West Milwaukee School District
  • Chad Johnson – CEO and Founder of Tip-a-Script, Milwaukee

Thanks again to MSOE’s STEM Center for hosting our Collab Lab series this season.

2023-24 Collab Labs

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