I returned to my office, exhausted, after class. A frustrated sigh escaped my lips and I wondered, “What am I going to do?” For the second time this week, Molly had succeeded in leading her group off track during class. I tried multiple times to redirect the group. I knew that Molly was a student who caught on quickly, so this behavior was unlikely to hurt her overall grade. However, her group members needed her participation to help them understand. She had hindered their learning, and could have deepened her own. What should I do? Should I talk with her individually? What would I say? How could I get her group to focus and engage? If only I had someone I could ask.
Do you ever feel that you are all alone in implementing inquiry learning? Are you looking for support? Perhaps you have some suggestions for the above scenario. Either way, you are the perfect participant for a new conference – National Conference for Advanced POGIL Practitioners (NCAPP) from June 26-28, 2017 at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA. This conference will be an engaged, interactive experience where you can share your successes and frustrations and get feedback from experienced POGIL authors. There will be roundtable discussions, professional development workshops, poster sessions and nationally known plenary speakers.
The scenario that I described above is similar to what I experienced. I attended my first POGIL workshop in 2009 and was hooked. Over the next few years, I began to use more activities in the introductory and upper level chemistry courses that I taught. I tried to get my colleagues interested but to no avail. I continued along using my version of the POGIL approach, refining my handouts and developing new material, all the time feeling that I was working on my own POGIL island. Are you like me? Are you looking for other POGIL practitioners with whom you could compare notes? Do you want to see how your version of the classroom fits with others who share the same desire for inquiry-based education? Do you want to learn from others who understand what you are trying to do? Do you have experiences that you would like to share? If so, NCAPP is for you.
Perhaps you are on the other end of the spectrum. You have been using POGIL for years. You are well supported within your department and university by others who use POGIL. You are an active member of the POGIL Project. You have been a facilitator at POGIL workshops, authored POGIL activities and served on working groups. You are very much in the main stream of POGIL practitioners. Guess what? NCAPP is also for you. One of the awesome things about active learning approaches is that they are always changing and adapting. There is always something new to learn. NCAPP is a place for you to present and share your experiences and help others who are struggling. The conference will also be a place for you to learn new ideas and become reenergized in your classroom.
NCAPP is different from all of the currently offered POGIL events. The Regional Workshops are for participants to gather knowledge about the pedagogy. The POGIL National Meeting (PNM) is to work with and for the POGIL Project. NCAPP will be for advanced users of POGIL to network, share and present their accomplishments. In fact, the best part of the conference will be the opportunity to connect with the other people in POGIL community who share your vision of education.Those connections can last a long time after the conference is over. If you are ready to get off of your own personal POGIL island, consider applying for NCAPP at www.pogil.org/new/NCAPP.
Author – Wayne Pearson, US Naval Academy