Between 40 and 50 superintendents from across the country will visit Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin schools in Glen Ellyn Friday to see project-based learning (PBL) in action. EdLeader21, a professional organization for educational leaders, is sponsoring the tour as an opportunity for its members to visit innovative schools.
Partnership for 21st Century Learning, a national organization, selected Benjamin Franklin as an Illinois Exemplar School for its outstanding work on PBL. The organization said the high quality of work at all District 41 schools made it difficult to choose just one school to recognize, said Karen Carlson, the district's assistant superintendent for teaching, learning and accountability.
When learning is structured as a PBL, different subjects are integrated seamlessly. Problems the students try to solve are authentic, because they are relevant to real life. Students learn by doing, and they make some of the decisions about what and how they will learn. Teachers focus more on guiding students' learning journey rather than delivering information.
The visiting superintendents may see projects similar to one some students at Lincoln worked on recently, as they were confronted by the engineering problem of how to move large, heavy boxes that had appeared mysteriously in their classrooms; or the Community Fair that Franklin students held to learn more about the school district and its role in the community, and identify community improvements.
"We are proud to have this chance to share the great work going on in our schools," Carlson said.