Passion-Based Learning:

Extending the Classroom

We are no longer limited to the classroom and contained only by our imaginations!


Learner-centered, lifelong learning has been the cry of knowledge society visionaries for the last decade. Yet learning continues to be delivered with teacher-centric tools in a twelve week format. Society is changing. Learners needs are changing. The course, as a model for learning, is being challenged by communities and networks, which are better able to attend to the varied characteristics of the learning process by using multiple approaches, orchestrated within a learning ecology. George Siemens

When we design curriculum that is build around inquiry-driven, project-based learning, where students and teachers work together to create new meaning and deep understandings, then we can use 21st Century tools to allow students to create meaningful, creative and authentic work, using the best available research, while collaborating with and presenting to people from all over the world. Chris Lehmann

Passion (emotion), feeling very strongly about a subject or person, usually referring to feelings of intense desire and attraction.

Inquiry-based learning describes a range of philosophical, curricular and pedagogical approaches to teaching. Its core premises include the requirement that learning should be based around student questions. Teachers are viewed as facilitators of learning rather than vessels of knowledge. The teachers job in an inquiry learning environment is therefore not to provide knowledge, but instead to help students along the process of discovering knowledge themselves.

Project based learning, or PBL, is a constructivist pedagogy that intends to bring about deep learning by allowing learners to use an inquiry based approach to engage with issues and questions that are rich, real and relevant to their lives. This strategy is well served since the onset of the read/write Web. Teachers have ready made content easily available via the Web and the tools to allow for creative student directed creation of content related to the problems and questions contained in the project being studied.

Techno-constructivist are teachers who integrate technology into the curriculum so that it not only complements instruction but redefines it.

Autodidacticism (also autodidactism) is self-education or self-directed learning. An autodidact, also known as an automath, is a mostly self-taught person, as opposed to learning in a school setting.

School 2.0 goes beyond the practical discussion of applying the read/write and collaborative Web technologies in the classroom. It is, instead, a larger discussions of how education, learning, and our physical school spaces can (or should) change because of the changing nature of our social and economic lives brought on by these technologies.

Agenda thinkerswanted.jpg

I. General Welcome and Introductions

II. Housekeeping

III. Overarching Goals
1. For you to understand the what, why and how of the needed shifts in the 21st Century classroom.
2. To expose you to several tools and strategies related to 21st Century teaching and learning.
3. To deepen your understanding of how to operate in professional learning teams and community both online line and in your school.
4. To give you an emergent understanding of how to use the inquiry approach through passion-based teaching.
5. To promote the knowledge, skills and sense of urgency for 21st Century teaching and learning.

  • Table Discussion- discuss the following:

  • 1. What web-based tools/gadgets are you now using in your classroom that you were not using this time last year?

    • Using the sticky notes list one tool per sticky that you are using or have explored since the last time I was here.
    • As a table, compare your tools. Describe those that are unfamiliar. Then take your table's stickies and put them on the correct chart.
  • 2. Based on what you know, how would you define 21st Century teaching and learning? How would you describe the 21st Century classroom? What is the teacher doing? What are the students doing? Give an example of 21st Century skills.

9:30- WHAT
IV. What is 21st Century T&L

Report Out

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10:15 Break

10:30 Why

Video- Learning to Change: Changing to Learn

Passion-based Learning- Trends Driving the Need for Change

Resources around passion-based teaching


Tony Wagner’s Seven Survival Skills as defined in his most recent book, The Global Achievement Gap.

If all students are to acquire these survival skills for success in the 21st Century, then what systemic changes must take place in our schools and classrooms? What do good schools look like - schools where all students are mastering skills that matter the most?
Give examples and evidence of how you currently incorporate each of these skills into your current classroom practice. Then go back and use Shirky's Share, Cooperate (connect), Collaborate, Collective Action continuum to expand each area into true 21st Century skill development.

Critical thinking and problem-solving

Collaboration across networks and leading by influence

Agility and adaptability

Initiative and entrepreneurialism

Effective oral and written communication

Accessing and analyzing information

Curiosity and imagination

11:30 Lunch

12:00- How

Setting the Stage- KWL

Key Elements

12:45 Guided Practice

Collaborative Baseball Unit

1:00 - TPCK Model

1. Get in groups by discipline. Electives (pick a group to join or work together in a group)
2. What are the Essential Instructional Activities you typically use in your discipline?
(explore the resources provided in key elements if needed to create your list)
3. Have a discussion and list possible Web 2.0 tools that fit nicely with your disciplines essential instructional activities.
4. Report Out

1:20 Creating Mini-Units of Inquiry

5. Looking at national and state standards choose possible topics and a couple possible objectives you could cover under this topic (this will be adjusted).
6. Decide on a passion-based theme for your unit. (Skateboarding to teach landforms, simple machines, geometry, bios of skateboarders, geogrpahy of where they live, etc.)
7. Create a topical map and then a subject map (choose one or two areas to develop learning activities) Mind Mapping Tools
8. Decide on a kickoff activity -Arouse students’ curiosity and interest with stimulating introduction. Consider visual display of theme as well as introductory activities.
9. Create 2-3 learning activities that teach the objectives you selected from standards. Use Web 2.0 tools as the participatory medium. How will you evaluate mastery of the objectives? Make sure your activities are cross curricular in nature.
10. Decide on a culminating event. Make sure your event includes others and highlights student created artifacts.
11. Take pics of your chart, list notes, and link anything you can for others on your table's page here on the wiki. "None of us is as good as all of us."



Social Studies (History, Civics, Economics, Geography)


English, Reading, LA

Electives- (these should be embedded within each unit)
Foreign Language Spanish
GLobal Studies


3:00-3:15 Dismissal