National Youth Leadership Conference Coolness!

March 27, 2010 at 3:02 PM Leave a comment

Service Learning ‘vs’ Project Based Learning:
NYLC is all about service learning. What is ‘service learning’ exactly? “Serve. Learn. Change the World” is their moniker. And the objectives? Maybe “To realize the potential of individuals and re-invigorate our workforce and economy, to increase connections and community to help us all survive the coming climate changes both physical, technological and social.” How’s that for a looooong sentence?
Service learning seems like a large sub set of project-based learning and frankly, pbl that does not have any usefulness seems a bit silly – forgive me Rube Goldberg projects. But how about making a little invention to help someone with disabilities instead of something to clutter up the garage for years to come?
SL is not your mother’s pottering about watering flowers at the local hospital. It’s not wooly ‘do gooding’. It’s cool and it’s a wave that has to happen to fan the creativity of our teens, to get them engaged in meaningful missions outside of themselves. Let’s not even go to the stifling, narrow academics of today’s No Child Left Behind public school system squeezing the spark out of not only many children in general, but my personal son too. SL and pbl are the bomb. Sorry Jamie for the 50 yr old teen bad slang-speak šŸ™‚
The Scene in San Jose:
Booths exhibiting all kinds of projects, often staffed by the teens who participated. Lots of energy, great food court for free too! Sponsored by State Farm Insurance and Shinnyo-en Order of Buddhist monks www.sef.org. Interesting public/private partnerships throughout the conference.
Refreshing to see corporations doing things that yes, indirectly in their self-interest, but really because it’s the right thing to do. Allstate and Microsoft’s involvement seemed to be headed up by specific employees who were passionate about service and youth.
Advice to Adults running PBL and SL:
“Let us sit with a question or brainstorm. Don’t pressure us to come up with ideas. Then we can all get together and share.” Joyous Levin from Yelm HS “Arrive Alive” Project Ignition project booth.
Getting started in service learning
NYLC’sĀ  rigorous and useful 9-step SL cycle for development and evaluation of service learning projects that will definitely be useful for improving TAP. See National Service Learning Standards. It’s validating because that’s pretty much how TAP was conceived and developed by the usual ‘re-invent the wheel’ strategy I go for. We’ll need to do some work on the ‘identify academic goals’ more specifically, the ‘develop ownership’ and ‘demonstrating new understanding’ pieces of the cycle I think.
The booklet “Getting Started in Service-Learning” is exactly that, order from NYLC.
Service Learning project examples and ideas from NYLC:
Generator School Network: http://lift.nylc.org/
I’ve joined and will blog through them sometimes. I like the one-stop shop instead of having a separate web site, blog, photo site and e mail but now I’m invested in the alternatives, probably won’t shift over wholesale. But I’ll check in and see how active the site is.
NYLC has the G3 initiative with STEM projects using the generator network as a way to coordinate many different school sites inc. webinars, curriculum, blogs for the online community. Their Energy Audit curriculum seems like a very do-able way to start for a whole-class project.
More to come…
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Entry filed under: Conference Reports, Education Psychology, Project Based Learning, Workshop Reports. Tags: , , , , , , .

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