Problem-Based Learning: Activities to Motivate Independent Thinking

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Problem-solving skills are required by most standards, but often they are elusive in practice. Problem-Based Learning (PBL) offers an exciting, student-centered method of developing this critical skill set. With PBL, students recognize real-world problems, investigate them, and identify and analyze innovative solutions. Join Jacquelyn Whiting and Dee Lanier to learn practical approaches to combine design thinking with game-based activities across disciplines and grade levels. These activities will work both in person and in a remote-learning environment to inspire intellectual independence, engage students with their world, and place them at the center of their learning journeys.

Join us to learn more about:

  • The PBL approach and how it can be applied to strengthen inquiry skills, critical thinking, and independent problem solving.
  • Game-based strategies that can be applied and adapted across the curriculum and across disciplines and grade levels.
  • Solve in Time®️, Dee Lanier’s game-based approach to design thinking and problem solving, and how to make it accessible for students from late elementary through high school.

Jacquelyn Whiting is the innovation and technology specialist for Cooperative Educational Services (CES) in Trumbull, CT. She has a bachelor’s in government studies and studio art from Connecticut College and a master’s in social studies and education from South Connecticut State University. She is also a Google Certified Innovator and local activator for Future Design School. Jacquelyn is the co-author of News Literacy: The Keys to Combating Fake News. She presents frequently on human-centered design, student and educator voice, and innovative educational technology practices. You can follow her tweeting @MsJWhiting.


Dee Lanier is an educational technologist and equity enthusiast. Dee is a passionate and energetic educator and learner with over a decade of instructional experience at the K-12 and collegiate levels. Dee holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in sociology with special interests in education, race relations, and inequality. Dee is an award-winning presenter, TEDx speaker, Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, and Google Certified Coach specializing in creative applications for mobile devices and Chromebooks, low-cost makerspaces, and gamified learning experiences. Dee is a founding mentor and architect for the Google Coaching pilot program, Dynamic Learning Project, and a co-founder of Our Voice Academy, a program aimed at empowering educators of color to gain greater visible leadership and recognized expertise. Dee is also the creator of the blended-learning educational activities Solve in Time!®️ and Maker Kitchen™️. Dee is currently a Transformation Agent with LINC. You can find him on Twitter @deelanier and check out his problem-solving passion project at solveintime.com.

This webinar is part of an ongoing School Library Connection series in which leading educators share best practices and everyday inspiration to support your library practice. Click here to learn more about School Library Connection!