When I set up our recent three day PBL 101 training, I was very much aware that three days out of the classroom would be a HUGE time commitment for our teachers in the month before testing! However, knowing that our trainer would be Andrew enabled me to guarantee that teachers would feel that the time was well spent- and that they were participating in one of the best professional development opportunities of their careers. And that is exactly the feedback I received!
Andrew is a knowledgeable, organized, and highly skilled presenter. He uses humor and personal teaching experiences to engage and inspire teachers. Three days allowed Andrew to instruct, guide, and coach- teachers left the workshop with projects designed and ready for implementation. Comments from teachers from Day 1 through Day 3 were very, very positive.
Andrew relates really, really well with teachers, from diverse subjects and interests. As a result, everyone felt that the training was personalized just for them! When I asked teachers if they would like to dedicate a day at the end of the school year for follow up coaching and refinement of their projects, I got a resounding “Yes!” I look forward to Andrew returning in June for another day of support for our teachers.
In the spring of 2012, we invited Andrew to spend two days working with our full-time teaching staff, as well as our adjunct faculty. These two days affirmed our choice to bring him on campus for in-depth staff development. Andrew worked with us to customize the presentation to meet the needs of the varied levels of expertise among our staff. Teachers commented they felt inspired and eager to continue or begin implementing PBL in their courses. Andrew provided a quality learning experience which will have an impact on the instruction we provide to our students in the future!
From the moment you meet Andrew, you know he is special. He is not only an expert presenter but incredibly engaging and frankly, refreshingly unapologetic towards any excuses in why educators shouldn’t be engaging our students in what research advocates as most effective in educational practice. His case is compelling to even the most resistant adult learner as Andrew passionately translates educational research into “do-able” practice by relating his own learning experiences and teaching practice – all intertwined with his unique engaging humor.
As well as being a gifted presenter, Andrew also takes the role of facilitating the content very seriously as I observed him closely working with small groups of teachers throughout his workshops. He truly listens and provides insightful ideas and alternatives for teachers to consider using as they design their PBL units. Andrew has a gift for almost creating an instant sense of trust with a group that it’s ok if you don’t know it or haven’t tried before – be a risk-taker, I’m here to help you get through it. As a result, teachers walk out the door feeling energized and committed to knowing this hard-work with Andrew yields huge dividends in their classroom.
There wasn’t a meaningless moment throughout the three-day workshop. Andrew’s in-depth knowledge of PBL, and his genuine enthusiasm and passion for PBL, and his ability to get and keep me engaged, was refreshing. I am determined to emulate in my classroom what he demonstrated over the three-day workshop. He was phenomenal!
He not only equipped me with a structured manner in which to present difficult concepts in a meaningful way, he also demonstrated what a successful and effective teacher looks like, and of what components an engaging learning environment consists. He put into practice what countless others merely talk about, but never fully demonstrate.
I left the workshop feeling confident, empowered, and enthusiastic about what I’d learned, and am ready to put into practice.
Andrew embodies all the traits and characteristics of a passionate educator as well as educational reformer. His expertise in project-based learning, teaching, creating and scaffolding is unparalleled in the educational field.
Andrew has run professional development sessions for the teachers of EHS, as well as met with each individual teacher for observation and feedback. With Andrew’s help, in just one year, our State Wide Assessment percentages have gone from an average of 30 percent to 70 percent.
I can attest to Andrew’s skill as a professional development coordinator as well as an educator who understands the value of making connections with kids. Andrew has turned the projects of my staff into rigorous and engaging works of art. Our students anticipate the days when Andrew visits because he brings with him a positive energy that students and teachers alike appreciate.
Andrew “wowed” us! With his content and process knowledge, presentation skills, and humor, he was able to transform our learners, which in this case were our teachers, into PBL producers. After the two days that he spent with us, staff were ready to use his structure and guidance to create their units. The units were well designed and then implemented with fidelity.Student depth of knowledge and understanding were deepened as a result of this instructional upgrade. The 21st Century skills of creativity, communication, critical thinking and collaboration were embedded throughout their units.
At various times during the school year, the PBL trained teachers have publicly presented their units to other staff and administrators. We chuckle when we hear these teachers quote Andrew and some of his “truisms”. Obviously, the message has stuck!
We are now on our way to implementing PBL across the district. We have Andrew Miller thank for starting us on this journey!
During this time, he has become an experienced and knowledgeable online instructor who has embraced new technologies, expanded his content knowledge, and created numerous and varied learning experiences for his students. He has pushed beyond our project-based technology curriculum to create additional chances for students to collaborate and use the skills they’re learning to tackle real-world challenges.
I’d highly recommend an educational workshop with Andrew.
I launched my first PBL project last week. Students who had not yet volunteered in class would not stop talking. My high-end students were asking questions way beyond where I had ever planned to take them. My lower-end kids started to take a little bit of ownership of their education (it’s less of something being done to them, now it’s something they can control). One of the best comments I had was from a high-end student. She said, “Mr. Flory, this makes me nervous. I like it better when you tell us what to think.”
When I gave them their first driving question last week, their first response was to Google it. So we did that as a class on the big screen. Funny, no direct answers came up. So then they suggested we try the library’s live help site. Huh, the librarian wasn’t able to produce an answer. Thus began a meaningful and engaging discussion (led by the students) of why those didn’t work, and where we might look next. One student has an uncle who is a geologist (our topic of study). He asked me if he could talk with him. “Of course!” was my answer. They got excited about the possibilities of emailing, calling, and video conferencing to help find information for the question.
I share all of this to again say thank you for your enthusiasm and efforts to share this with teachers. As we really dig into the project this week, I’m sure we will hit snags, but to be honest, it’s a relief to just be honest with the students and say, “Hm, I didn’t think about this. What should we do?” I don’t have to control the information, or the process, or even the delivery of information. Yes, I’m going to do my tried-and-true lessons as you said, but because the students are driven by their own interest, their brains are primed and ready for the information in those lessons.
Thank you again! Our small band of believers is working to share the message with our colleagues. As you might guess, it is a mixed reaction, but we’re hoping to show them how it works in our classrooms.
If Andrew’s areas of expertise in education match your needs, you will not find a better person for your presentation or professional development needs. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like to hear more about my perspective.