BIG Thinkers

Seneca Valley School District  |  Posted on

BIG Thinkers

Petteri Elo traveled over 4,000 miles to spend some quality time with Ehrman Crest students and staff recently.

The Finnish educator has an extensive career in teaching, training and presenting hands-on pedagogical and curriculum development. His trip west meant Mr. Elo spent three days at Ehrman Crest Elementary and Middle School working with teachers and students on Phenomenon Based Learning (PhenBL) Projects. Mr. Elo’s academic talents take him all over the world, teaching students and educators his innovative and experimental practices that are engaging and thought provoking. In fact, his way of combining theory and practice brings life to the key goals of 21st century education.

PhenBL refers to project-based learning where students tackle phenomena and/or solve problems that feel relevant and authentic to them. PhenBL promotes critical thinking, problem solving skills and collaboration.

“During the learning process, students practice, acquire and use a variety of skills as they dig into the phenomenon from the viewpoints that intrigue them,” explained Mr. Elo. “As a cohort of learners, they share their findings along the way, build a comprehensive understanding of the phenomenon and ultimately share the results with an authentic audience that benefits from their findings or solutions.”

As a result of the PhenBL process, the school might have a new recycling system in place or a local health center might have a well-designed and informative pamphlet with guidelines for healthy living. According to Mr. Elo, the goal of this coaching program is to build a thorough understanding of the essential elements of PhenBL, to equip the participating teachers with skills to design such learning processes and ultimately to provide them with pedagogical tools to scaffold and facilitate these amazing learning experiences for their students.

We can’t wait to see what ideas Ehrman Crest students produced for future events and projects!

Safe travels, Mr. Elo!