What Is PBL World & Why Should You Attend?

If you follow this blog, you probably already know the answers to this multiple-choice quiz:

       1. PBL World is:

       ____ a good excuse for a trip to the Napa Valley, California
       ____ well worth coming up with the money it might cost to travel to Napa
       ____ a conference unlike any other
       ____ going to be bigger and better than ever in 2017
       ____ a place to learn, work, share, & join a community dedicated to Project Based   

       2. PBL World includes:
       ____ PBL 101 workshops
       ____ PBL 201 workshops
       ____ PBL Leadership Academies
       ____ PBL Coaching Academies
       ____ inspiring keynote speakers
       ____ a new preconference “Project Slice” session
       ____ a chance to sample some of the world’s best wine & food
       ____ this list is long enough to impress you, right?

      3.  You should attend PBL World if you:
      ____ are a PBL newBIE or a veteran
      ____ would like time & support for planning a project for your classroom
      ____ would like time & support for planning PBL implementation in your
      ____ would like to network with other teachers, coaches, & school/district leaders
      ____ can! (and register before it sells out)


If you’re not already in the know about PBL World, allow me to explain why, like many multiple-choice quizzes, “all of the above” is the best answer to all three items.


PBL World 2017 will happen June 20-22. It’s not like other conferences that have a variety of short sessions by many different presenters—it’s more like an institute, where participants go through a continuous multi-day experience. Since its inception in 2012, PBL World has centered around BIE’s Gold Standard PBL 3-day PBL 101 workshops. Last year, for participants who have already been to a 101, we added the PBL 201 workshop, which features in-depth work on specific Project Based Teaching Practices. Also on the program are 3-day workshops for PBL instructional coaches and for school/district leaders. All workshops exemplify the Essential Project Design Elements, and result in a practical plan for use when participants return home.

PBL World will take place at American Canyon High School, a beautiful new-ish campus set against the golden (not brown!) California hills at the southern end of the Napa Valley. In 2017 we expect well over 1000 attendees, up from 800 in 2016, so the energy level, range of perspectives, and networking possibilities will be even greater.

A new feature in 2017 is the one-day “Project Slice” preconference session on Monday, June 19. This will be valuable for people who are new to PBL but also to those who know PBL only from the point of view of a teacher or school leader. Participants will experience a sample project as students, working in teams to conduct inquiry and concluding the day with a public product that expresses their answer to the driving question. Doing a project like this provides insight into what learning in PBL environment is really like, since most adults did not experience PBL when they were in school. See this blog post for more info on a project slice.

In my recent post recapping PBL World 2016, I mentioned the keynote speakers, who were awesome. We can’t yet announce who has been lined up for 2017, but you can bet they’ll be a highlight of your week.

Oh, and did I mention it’s in the lovely Napa Valley, California? We’ll be organizing social events to take advantage of the location and promote community. And there will be time, in the long June late afternoons and evenings—or if you can tack a day or two onto your trip—to explore wineries, hike in local parks, bike or drive through the hills for views, visit historical sites, shop in the quaint towns up the valley, relax in a hot spring or mud bath in Calistoga, check out the Old Faithful Geyser of California and the petrified forest

You could even make it to San Francisco for dinner, the redwoods around the Russian River, or the Sonoma coast for sunset over the ocean if you’re ambitious and don’t mind the 90-minute but scenic drives. I could go on, local tour guide that I am, but you get the idea. We’re there to work—so no cutting class please, tempting as it is—but have fun too.

Join us, won’t you?

Registration has now begun; visit pblworld.org for details!