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Explore successful models for unleashing student agency though project based approaches.


21st Century Schools recognize that students today need agency and ownership of their learning, and this can be activated through intentionally designed project- based approaches.  


This engaging and thought-provoking 2.5-hour symposium is centered around building student agency through project-based learning (PBL) in the educational landscape. The symposium will bring together educators, administrators, and thought leaders who are passionate about empowering students to take control of their learning experiences.

School vision and mission statements often naturally suggest using a teaching and learning approach that fosters greater student agency and project based approaches. However, the reality of putting this into practice is often times harder than it looks. Curricular requirements, timetabling, assessment measures, and fixed learning spaces can present significant barriers. This session will explore a variety of approaches that turn these barriers into opportunities that unleash student agency within the context of high performing schools. 

The symposium will kick off with a keynote, and then an opportunity for participants to attend three breakout presentation sessions, each showcasing a unique approach taken by schools to foster greater student agency and effectively integrate PBL into their curriculum. A dynamic panel discussion featuring thought leaders in the field will dive deeper into the challenges and successes of implementing student agency and PBL.

This exchange of ideas will enable participants to gain valuable insights and practical strategies for enhancing their own educational practices.

Symposium Highlights

  • Understand the key principles and benefits of fostering student agency through project-based experiences
  • Identify various approaches schools have taken to foster student agency through PBL Gain insights into the challenges and successes faced by schools when enabling student agency and adopting PBL.
  • Fostering student agency through PBL in the context of high stakes exams and/or high academic expectations.
  • Develop strategies to effectively build student agency and PBL into their own educational practices.
  • Engage in critical discussions with thought leaders in the field, fostering a deeper understanding of student agency and high efficacy project-based learning.
  • Connect with like-minded educators and administrators, building a supportive network for ongoing collaboration and professional growth.

Workshop Structure

HK Time (GMT+8)LengthAgenda Item

Guest Speaker Keynote
Showcase 1
Showcase 2
Panel Discussion
Showcase 3
Transition to Social
Social room open for anyone who wants to continue chatting

Confirmed Presenters

SchoolDescriptionArea of SchoolPresenter/s
Living SchoolIntegrated PBL for Authentic and Purposeful Student Learning: Building Active Contributers to the CommunityElementary, Middle School, High SchoolEmma Wilson
Beaconhouse GroupGuiding Student-Led MYP Personal Projects: A Student's Journey UnveiledSchool WideKanwal Malik
TNS BeaconhouseBuilding a school culture for PBL to Fly: How to empower students, equip young educators, and foster a culture of innovation" Early YearsAmina Usman
Fountainhead SchoolMindfully infusing PBL pedagogy in an IB school (PYP as well as MYP)Elementary, Middle School, High SchoolShezin Siganporia
ZPD School and Curriculum DesignBold scheduling for purpose-based curriculum, teaching and learningK-12Barbara Smith
ISKL Our PBL School within a School: An Overview of the Interdisciplinary PRAXIS program at ISKLHigh SchoolAmber Kotcher
Chinese International SchoolSupporting agency through portfolio based assessments.Middle School, High SchoolJames Wilson
Vis@betterworld lab Experimental EducationTackling Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through PBL: How implementing PBL into high school homeroom/advisory has helped create deeper understanding High SchoolByron Clarke
Verso International SchoolHow to support students and build student agency through Individualized Explore/Passion Projects.Elementary, Middle SchoolJonathan Campbell
Hawai'i Preparatory AcademyThe Power of Capstone Projects: Reinvigorate teaching, deepen student learning, and embody learner profiles and core competencies in student-initiated projects School WideDagan Bernstein
VERSO International SchoolCurriculum Leadership Approach to PBL: Organizing and Infusing Curriculum in Interdisciplinary Learning Lab ExperiencesElementary, Middle School, High School, School WideAshley Durdle
Yew Chung International School Hong KongSimplifying PBL planning with AI: How to use AI to generate rubrics and facilitate seamless student/ parent communication. Middle SchoolCraig Billington
Yew Chung Yew Wah International Education Supercharge agency through meaningful assessment in PBLMiddle School, High SchoolDeborah McNally
Colaiste na Sceilge / SMARTlab Skelligs - Future Focus21c (also working with oher schools in Ireland Our approach to developing PBL through place-based STEAM projects High SchoolAnita McKeown
Perkiomen Valley High School An alternative to grades: Student Documentation and Evidence of Learning in PBLHigh SchoolGarreth Heidt
Discovery College Hong KongManaging student projects: Tips and Tools from a School- Wide Entrepreneurship Fair.Middle School, High SchoolAlison Yang
KPIS International BangkokLeading PBL in Primary/Elementary: How to build excitement and gain buy-inElementaryMari Simpson

Who Should Attend and Why?

  • Curriculum Coordinators
  • Directors of Learning
  • School-Based Leaders 
  • Director of Education for School Groups
  • Teachers
  • Instructional Coaches
  • STEM and Makerspace Coordinators 

We encourage teams to attend the workshop so they can take advantage of hearing the multiple perspectives presented. This will support schools and their teams in subsequent internal engagements including discussion, design, and undertaking team reflections.



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