Excited for SITE? An Interview with SITE Conference Newcomers and Workshop Organizers Dayna Laur and Timothy Kubik By Allie Alayan for AACE Review, March 13th 2019 Workshop attendees will discover techniques for deepening curiosity with problem-based learning. The upcoming SITE conference will be held from March 18-22 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The program contains nine workshops as part of the conference. Workshops are a great way to explore a concept, technology or practice in depth, network with other participants and receive a mix of scholarly overview and practical advice. To highlight why you should attend a workshop or consider organizing one yourself, AACE Review features selected presenters in a series of interviews. Dayna Laur and Timothy Kubik are hosting a workshop on Monday, March 18 from 1:30-5:00 PM. Deeping Natural Curiosity: The Future of PBL Design. In the Interview for AACE Review the researchers talk about reasons for attending SITE, their workshop concept, and practical pedagogy. Is this your first time at SITE? What are you most looking forward to at this conference? We were excited to learn about SITE through Dayna’s doctoral program in Instructional Systems Design and Technology at Sam Houston State University. As first-time attendees, we are thrilled to share the practical work that we do in supporting schools and their community partners to bring virtual and face-to-face authentic, relevant, and complex learning experiences to their classrooms. It is rare to find an organization with a focus that seeks to advance information technology in education through a combination of research and practical applications. The practical applications are what educators want, and what we offer. We look forward to learning more about the latest learning analytics research as this is imperative to the practical pedagogy related to how and why learners succeed. Why did you decide to submit a workshop proposal? In our work with teachers from schools and districts across the United States and around the world, we find that most teachers still use instructional technologies to support traditional teaching practices. As we close out the second decade of this century, we firmly believe instructional technologies have the power to transform student learning opportunities to make classroom learning more authentic and relevant to the interests of students and meet the workforce needs of their communities. While our approach to authentic project learning experiences does not rely exclusively on technology, we offer a research-based authentic project learning experience that will allow SITE 2019 participants to vision and discuss how the authentic use of instructional technologies can and will shape the “Learning ARC” of Project-Based Learning (PBL). What key insights do you hope your participants will take away from your workshop? Standards, such as the TETCs and those advocated by ISTE, rarely lead learners to the depth and complexity necessary for success beyond school when introduced outside of an authentic and relevant context. When we place those standards in the context of an open-ended challenge, we present opportunities for assessment of and as learning across all of the Stages of Finding a Solution, rather than simply assessing the final product. This sequence of standards will help participants to see the continuum of project design that spans from merely academic unit projects to more complex projects focused on innovative solutions and the potential for entrepreneurship. Session participants will have the opportunity to develop key insights about the potential difference between unit projects and authentic project-based learning. These insights will empower them to set their personal learning goals for their classrooms or the classrooms of those they are preparing to teach. What methods will you use during the workshop? All Project ARC learning experiences start with a question tailored to the learning needs of our participants. Taking a student-centered approach, we invite our participants to explore the question: How can we use instructional technology to help students solve the authentic, relevant, and complex challenges in their future? We approach this open-ended challenge using Project ARC’s learner-centered Five Stages design cycle. Designs for authentic assessment are conducted at each stage using Project ARC’s Formative Assessment Cards. We focus on how authentic applications of instructional technologies assess for learning and as learning, relevant to the participants, and, more importantly, their learners. Who should be coming to your workshop and why? If you are a classroom educator, involved in a teacher preparation program, a community technical expert, or engaged in professional development and are looking for a friendly session that is about your growth on a personalized learning arc, join us regardless of what you already know about PBL. Come prepared to engage, participate, and collaborate throughout the session. You’ll walk away wanting more!