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by Suzie Boss
National Faculty

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Topic tags: school reform, how to do PBL, education leadership, 21st century competencies


June 19, 2013
We All Need to Lead 21st Century Learning

by Suzie Boss
National Faculty

Ken Kay, CEO of EdLeader21, urged the PBL World audience to step up its collective leadership efforts to ensure that all students gain access to 21st century education. Good pedagogy is critical, he said, “but it’s not enough. What are you prepared to do to lead?”

This was a fitting call-to-action for the third day of the conference, when the PBL Leadership Academy began. Sixty education leaders are collaborating and using PBL strategies to design PBL implementation plans for their organizations.

Kay’s message is that everyone—teachers and administrators alike—should be part of crafting the story about 21st century education. When talking with community members from outside education, he recommends making that story about the capabilities students need for careers and citizenship. PBL is part of the larger narrative. “PBL is the how,” he said, to get to the “what” of 21st century learning.

Kay suggested four practical steps that will help educators grow this movement:


  • Focus on the 4 C’s (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity) in the classroom
  • Integrate PBL as a core teaching and learning strategy
  • Participate in professional learning communities that use the 4 C’s
  • Be teacher-leaders for 21st century education

Then it was time for PBL World participants to take up the challenge of becoming leaders and advocates for 21st century education. Here are a few action steps that audience members shared on Twitter after the keynote:

Harry Blyleven (@hbyleven): “How can we, the educators, learn to collaborate in the same manner that we want our students to collaborate?”

Lisa Glenn (@educatorlisa): “I will nurture global citizens with @NGcitizens by fostering the 4 C’s in our program.”

Kevin Armstrong (@armstrongkevin6): “I will talk about 21st century skills with everyone who is willing to, and then gently guide them to see how crucial they are!”

Teri T. (@teriteaches): “I will encourage collaboration and creativity, and model peer feedback.”

Dee McGlothlin (@deemcg): “Push my superintendents and principals to do this work for kids—create, collaborate, thinking critically, and communicate passion.”

PBL World continues through Friday. Join the conversation by following #pblworld on Twitter. What are your action steps to lead 21st century education?


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