FutureWork Next Steps: Virtual Engagement





Next Steps: Virtual Engagement

PBL Definition 2

Why is project-based learning so important? Why don’t we already have more of it? What are the opportunities for taking its value to scale? According to our survey, 80% of respondents strongly agree that PBL is critical both to making learning more engaging for students and to stimulating critical thinking. So why isn’t it more prevalent in North Carolina?

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Nearly 90% of respondents agree that competition with other priorities for instruction presents a barrier to project-based learning, while inadequate planning time and lack of professional development for educators interested in PBL present further difficulties. So what can we do to change that?

“Positive change is possible,” wrote one respondent. “All it takes is a spark! I’m cautiously optimistic that PBL can become more widely integrated. It’s a phenomenally powerful tool for equity, inclusion, and access to learning, which are all dear to me and my own mission as an education scientist.” And from another – “Partnership with commercial and government enterprises will be critical to making this happen.”

We agree.

In April, IEI hosted separate virtual engagement activities focused on our future in five sectors: Banking & Finance, Education Technology, Energy, Healthcare, and Government/Smart Communities. These collaborations built on our “Leadership Hackathon” sessions at IEI’s recent “FutureWork” Emerging Issues Forum. Let’s dig deeper. We need your feedback on how to best expand project-based learning to prepare new generations for work opportunities in these important sectors.

By joining us virtually, you’ve helped lead the conversation on the future of work in North Carolina without having to leave your home, office or classroom.

Featured Project-Based Learning
Virtual Engagement Events:

  • Banking & Finance (Wednesday, April 27, 12-1 p.m.)
    Bucking the Trend—The Banking and Finance sector is predicted to be one of those most at-risk for substantial job losses due to technology. Yet in North Carolina and beyond, sector leaders are focused not on losses but rather on ensuring they can attract enough talent for the emerging sector skills that will be in high demand. What are those skills? How can project-based learning help students to develop them? For existing workers, are there opportunities for retraining? Join industry experts during our virtual lunch hour on Google Hangout, hosted by IEI Director Anita Brown-Graham, to learn how you can join the project-based learning movement, whether you are an educator, employer, community leader, parent or just someone who cares about the future. Anita will be joined by Cathy Faucette, senior vice president & Enterprise program manager of Bank of North Carolina, James Suh, director of NASBA’s Analytics Department, and Mike Vigars, MBA candidate, NC State University Poole College of Management, for this discussion.
  • Education (Tuesday, April 26, 8-9 p.m.)
    Join our PBL+EdTech Twitter Chat, hosted by IEI Education Policy Manager Kendall Hageman. We’re partnering with our friends at #NCEd, The Buck Institute and STEM West to host a Twitter Chat on EdTech, specifically related to project-based learning. Miss the chat? Follow the archived conversation on Storify!
  • Energy
    Meet me in the Virtual Commons! This is an opportunity for you to share your ideas on how to scale project-based learning via chat with four national energy experts: Dr. Pam Carpenter, Education Director for FREEDM Systems Center at NC State University; Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, Executive Director of PowerAmerica; Dr. Michael Webber, Energy Group, University of Texas – Austin, and author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival; and Curtis Wynn, CEO of Roanoke Electric Cooperative, and board of directors member on the Executive Committee for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). Is your proposition innovative, effective and feasible? These experts will know much about what is happening in other states, so be ready for feedback! We know, of course, that there are many experts in North Carolina, and you will surely want to hear from them. No worries; anyone who is participating is able to offer feedback. Join our energy experts and host, IEI Director Anita Brown-Graham, and tune in to the Emerging Issues Commons!
  • Healthcare
    Share your voice! Visit the IEI Virtual Commons to answer April’s challenge question: How can North Carolina expand healthcare learning opportunities and offer them at an even younger age? For the entire month of April, Healthcare Policy Manager Sarah Langer Hall is seeking your specific ideas to greatly expand healthcare learning opportunities for students that start as early as possible, as well as for adults seeking to gain or change careers. Join the conversation, as well as encourage participation among those with expertise, experience, and who are most likely to benefit from these programs.
    • Government/Smart CommunitiesRecap Button
      How can local communities benefit from PBL? Tune in for an in-depth, interactive exploration of project- and work-based learning featuring Malinda Todd, City of Durham; Elaine Franklin, NC State University, Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology, and Society;and Keaton Swett, MindSumo Inc. Have a comment or question for our panelists or host, IEI Economic Policy Manager Donnie Charleston? Post to the Institute for Emerging Issues Facebook page!

There are many definitions of project-based learning. We have adopted a definition that is intentionally broad and capable of capturing all of the good work aimed at bridging the learning divide between the classroom and the workplace: Problem focused teaching and learning that teaches technical, academic, and employability skills with real world application, and/or in real work environmentsThis definition encompasses some of the traditional definition of project-based learning, but is inclusive of other types of learning through engagement with work processes and places (including models like cooperative education and apprenticeships that are tied to a student’s classroom curriculum). It’s clear from today’s employers that they need a workforce that can move beyond the abstract to the concrete. To that end, we view this as an opportunity to broaden the discussion and begin strengthening connections between academics, teaching professionals, and the business community.

The virtual engagement elements will include a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous activities related to each of the five key issue area Hackathons, and are designed to gather feedback on workforce development/internships and project-based learning.

Leadership Hackathon Strategy Outcomes

FutureWork Leadership Hackathon Outcomes

The participants of the FutureWork Day Two sector-focused Leadership Hackathons prioritized the strategies they defined as most important in addressing the future of work in North Carolina. The top outcomes of each of those five sessions are listed in the chart at right (click on image to enlarge).

Read more about the priorities from our five Day Two Leadership Hackathons: Banking & FinanceEducation TechnologyEnergyHealthcare, and Government/Smart Communities.

Interested in the behind-the-scenes action of FutureWork? Read about our process, including information on our Working Group and Forum Ambassadors, or explore the FutureWork Disruption Index for North Carolina!