Professional Development > Conferences and Workshops

Conferences and Workshops
(Click here for the 2019-2020 Professional Development Series PDF)


Project-Based Learning: Key Components & Important Questions
Jonathan E. Martin

Thursday, October 8, 2015
9:30 am - 3:00 pm

ISACS Classroom
55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702
Chicago, IL

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is fast becoming the go-to technique for 21st century learning, and is the method recommended by Tony Wagner, the Partnership for 21st century skills, and the National Research Council as best practice. But it isn't easy to do, and it entails, as any complex and rich practice does, a number of nuances and challenging issues when deployed.  In this workshop, we'll use the (publicly available) resources of Buck Institute for Education ( to study what they call the "essential elements" of PBL, and discuss their implementation at Deeper Learning schools.  The program will be framed around a series of complex questions situated in PBL practice, presented as "contrarian arguments" for discussion, debate, and deeper understanding. 

In this workshop of conversation, presentation, and lesson planning, participants will:

  • learn the "essential elements" of best-practice 21st century Project-Based Learning
  • begon to sketch and outline, if desired, a PBL project to bring back to their students
  • engage in critical conversation about some of the tougher issues in PBL programming
  • leave prepared both to execute PBL and better coach others in their PBL teaching

This workshop is for teachers in grades 3-12.

Jonathan E. Martin (@JonathanEMartin) served for 15 years as Head of School at three independent schools in California and Arizona (1996-2012). Since 2012 he has been a full-time writer and consultant to schools and organizations on 21st century learning, with particular emphases on next-generation assessment, deeper learning, and project-based learning. Martin has spent more than 20 days visiting schools, shadowing students, and observing classes at PBL/Deeper Learning schools, and in 2012 participated in "train the trainer" training with the Buck Institute of Education. Martin has consulted to (and presented to the faculties of) more than 20 independent schools in the past three years about PBL. A graduate of Sidwell Friends School, and a 2008 Klingenstein Visiting Fellow, he holds degrees from Harvard (BA) and University of San Francisco, (MA, School Administration).  Read more at his blog,

Workshop Location
The workshop will take place at the ISACS classroom at 55 West Wacker Drive, Suite 702, Chicago, IL. 

Directions, Parking & Public Transportation 
The location is located in the heart of Chicago, with easy access to public transportation.

Click here for directions to the ISACS classroom including driving, parking and public transportation directions. Parking is available at several area garages. To secure discounted parking prior to your arrival in Chicago, visit If possible, we suggest taking public transportation.

‚ÄčGO Airport Express (Share-a-Ride) Shuttle Service
ISACS has negotiated a special rate with GO Airport Express for ISACS members – 15% off standard rates. Reservations MUST be made in advance and online to receive the discounted rate.  The standard rate per person to/from O’Hare is approximately $28 one-way; $49 round-trip. The standard rate per person to/from Midway is approximately $24 one-way; $40 round-trip. To receive the 15% discount off the standard rates, please click here for the Go Airport Express website to make a reservation in advance. A credit card is required and charged at the time of reservation. Airport walk-ups are not be eligible for the discounted rate, standard rates apply. Parties of two or more reserving at the same time receive a discount. Please visit their website for more information.  

Hotel Accommodations
ISACS has secured discounted hotel accommodations at Club Quarters at Wacker and Michigan with a rate of $167/night plus tax. The Club Quarters is located two blocks from the ISACS classroom. In order to take advantage of the rate, you must book by September 7, 2015.

To make a reservation, please contact Club Quarters Member Services at 203-905-2100 (Mon.-Fri. 7am-11pm; Sat. 9am-5pm and Sun. 10am-6pm EST) and use the following group code "ISA107" to receive the discounted rate. After the cut-off date, reservations will be taken on a first-come, first-serve basis. Credit cards are required to book all room reservations. 

If you would like to book online click on the following link:

For directions to the Club Quarters, which also includes walking directions to the ISACS classroom, click here.

If you are looking for another option or the room block is full, please take a moment to check out the other hotels that the ISACS Professional Development team has partnered with in the Chicago area. The hotels are within walking distance of the ISACS classroom and as a member of ISACS you have access to the discounted rates all year long for your professional and personal travel. Click here to find out how to make a reservation at any of the hotels and select the option that meets your travel needs. We recommend booking your hotel room early. 

If you have any issues booking a room at the Club Quarters or any other property, please contact the ISACS office at 312-750-1190.

Registration Fee

  • $190 member fee
  • $240 non-member fee 
  • First registrant pays full fee, each additional registrant receives a $20 discount
  • Workshop includes coffee/tea, light breakfast, lunch and refreshments
  • Register early as we anticipate this workshop will reach capacity

Cancellation Policy
Cancellations must be received in writing to ISACS by emailing 10 business days prior to the event to receive a 50% refund. Cancellations received within 10 days of the event will not receive a refund. Registration may be transferred to another member from the same school. ISACS reserves the right to cancel the workshop for insufficient enrollment. In this case, participants will be notified and given a full refund. 

Questions? Please call 312-750-1190.

Member Cost: $190     Non-member Cost: $240


55 West Wacker, Suite 701 · Chicago, IL 60601 · Telephone (312) 750-1190 · Fax (312) 750-1193
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