Our Design Principles.
All of the work we do to support schools is driven by five design principles.
We believe schools must be <re>imagined to be:
Our approach to PBL.
The Imagine If approach acknowledges there is much more to doing great PBL than simply understanding the theory of PBL and planning projects.
Great PBL is transformative for schools because it can work with many other organizational and cultural elements of school. Great PBL raises questions about the purpose of school, the role of educators, moving away from old mindsets and empowering young people.
The work at Imagine If focuses on PBL practices and we also work to address the foundational elements that will enable PBL to be transformative and lasting.
Connected to the real-world, students ask real questions and produce work that matters
Open-ended so all students can be seen as unique individuals with needs to be supported and challenged
Driven by student questions, interests and solutions, empowering students to take action
Designed for students to understand themselves and use each other to accomplish
Embracing the strengths, ideas and interests of all students regardless of background or perceived academic ability
We are a Denmark-based organization, supporting schools with <re>imagining education.
We operate as change-agents, to bring engaging, personalized and meaningful learning experiences to all students
through using project-based learning. We dream big, seek to understand and relentlessly challenge the system until it serves everyone.
Astrid er uddannet Kaospilot og har arbejdet med projekter i både ind- og udland. Senest har hun startet TrivselsLab hvor hun gennem samskabelses- og forandringsprocesser undersøgte og udviklede bæredygtige initiativer på uddannelsesinstitutioner for at øge studerendes trivsel.
Astrid er en specialiseret generalist med fokus især på facilitering, procesdesign, organisatorisk forandring og projektledelse. Som Kaospilot er hun trænet i at arbejde i kompleksitet og uvished ved at rykke projekter, mennesker og idéer fremad.
For at fremme læring og resultater fokuserer Astrid som projekt-og procesleder altid på at skabe et trygt og eksperimenterende miljø, der giver plads til kreativitet, innovation og opbygger deltagernes kapacitet. Dertil bruger hun gerne hendes baggrund fra mange former for fysisk bevægelse til at opbygge en unik energi i rummet, der skaber en uformel stemning og lukker op for både hoved, krop og hjerte.
Ved at udfordre status quo og systemer med ro og nysgerrighed er Astrid på vej mod hendes drøm om et uddannelsessystem, der ser og rummer alle som hele mennesker.
Caja er uddannet lærer og startede sin lærergerning i 2002 på en folkeskole. Sidenhed har Caja også været tilknyttet en privatskole, en skole for elever med særlige behov og internationale skoler i Danmark og Frankrig.
Caja har fra aug. 2015 - jun. 2021 været engageret i LEAPS, en projektbaseret tilgang til skoleudvikling. Caja var først ansat som lærer og derefter som LEAPS-vejleder på fuld tid. Arbejdsopgaverne var mangfoldige og omhandlede blandt andet sparring vedr. forskning, forandringsprocesser med fokus på helskole-udvikling, teamsamarbejde, elevcentreret læring, implementering af værktøjer, PBL-projektudvikling m.m. Mine nærmeste samarbejdspartnere i perioden var fire tidligere undervisere fra High Tech High – heriblandt Loni og Bryan.
Caja brænder for at inspirere og udvikle skoler så eleverne får de allerbedste forudsætninger for at blomstre. Som undervisere skal vi turde bevæge os i retninger som støtter elevernes muligheder for en meningsfuld skoledag hvor fordybelse, værdiskabelse og kvalitet i autentiske læringsmiljøer er vigtige nøgleord.
Founder and Partner
Loni was (and always will be) a teacher.
Loni started her career in education teaching at a traditional school in San Diego, California. She became a project-based learning 'convert' when she started attending night school in Leadership at the High Tech High Graduate School of Education. She began to try (with little success) to do projects in her own class. Loni could see very clearly that her students needed real-world projects desperately but would probably never have access to this type of learning.
Loni left her school to teach at High Tech High, knowing one day her mission would be to bring project-based learning to students who needed it the most; the ones who were in traditional schools.
Since 2014, Loni has been working with schools around the world to re-imagine education. Her project-based learning expertise has been used in several international initiatives, including REAL-Projects (Innovation Unit, United Kingdom) and LEAPS (Kata Foundation, Denmark).
Before diving into teaching, Bryan was a software developer and before that managed a landscaping company. Along the way he completed an undergraduate degree in computer science and mathematics. Bryan’s teaching career began after moving to the West Coast of the US to teach at High Tech High, a project based school in San Diego California. Here, Bryan developed the passions that have defined his professional career: a passion for developing, refining and implementing PBL, helping students define mathematics and themselves in relationship to it in ways that stress their own agency and authority and understanding what it means to be a leader in environments where consensus is valued above hierarchy.
Bryan moved Denmark in 2017 to work with a foundation focused on a national school transformation project. Bryan helped develop the vision and manage the implementation across multiple school sites. It was during these years that Bryan also developed a curiosity about organizational transformation in an educational context.
Jonas Kalsgaard Lynggaard
Jonas er oprindeligt folkeskolelærer og tilbragte seks år med undervisning på Kvaglundskolen i Esbjerg, en af Danmarks første skoler med projektbaseret læring. I de sidste fire år har han arbejdet som konsulent hos Insero Education og senest hos FabLab Silkeborg i Silkeborg Kommune.
Jonas brænder dybt for at hjælpe undervisere, støtte skolers strategiske udvikling og arbejde hen imod det primære mål om mere praktisk og hands-on undervisningspraksis. Jonas tiltræder Imagine If med håbet om at arbejde mere direkte med skoler og lærere for at bidrage til at skabe miljøer, hvor der er større fokus på elevernes trivsel.
Søren Bjørn Jakobsen
Søren er skoleleder med et stort lærerhjerte. Han har 35 års erfaring med skoleledelse, kapacitetsopbygning og ledelse af forandring og forbedring, og er én af Danmarks dygtigste skolehåndværkere med et solidt afsæt i etablering af professionelle lærende fællesskaber og stærke samarbejdskulturer omkring børns læring.
Søren er specialist i ledelsesrådgivning og coaching af skoleledelser, og er herudover en eminent praksisvejleder if. med etablering af børnevenlige og relationskompetente skoler inklusive implementering af en projektbaseret læringskultur med høj elevinvolvering og høj elevmotivation. Søren har særligt stærke kompetencer indenfor kapacitetsopbygning – peer-to-peer learning og inklusion af medarbejdernes ressourcer, og er optaget af regenerativ skoleledelse, hvor både ledelse, medarbejdere og børn er i læring sammen, og samarbejder om at skabe bæredygtige skole-økosystemer sammen.
Søren har desuden omfattende erfaring med skoledrift/-administration, skole-turnaround og strategisk ressourceforbrug.
Søren samarbejder bl.a. med Rockwoolfonden, Lego Fonden samt skoleforsker Louise Klinge, og har et stærkt netværk med førende skoleudviklere i bl.a. Ontario/Canada og San Diego/USA.
Søren er oprindeligt uddannet lærer, og har været skoleleder i både Jylland, og på Fyn og Sjælland. I dag er Søren fast tilknyttet Imagine IF som ledelseskonsulent, praksisvejleder og strategisk rådgiver.
What is PBL?In the simplest terms, PBL is learning by doing and doing work that matters. In didactical terms: Project based learning is a pedagogical approach where students work with developing solutions and creating products that address a real-world problem, challenge or question. Through this process, students must collaborate to use knowledge, skills and feedback to improve their work. Projects (products+process) are presented to an authentic audience at an exhibition. Students document their work in a portfolio and formally reflect on their learning during the project and at the end. Projects combine the head, hands and heart while engaging students in authentic and meaningful work.
Why should I do PBL?Our philosophy (and experience) is that great Project-Based Learning can be a powerful vehicle to empower young people, help ALL children (especially those with special needs) thrive in school and equip students with vital future-skills that are needed for the world of work. If your school is already doing this at a level that you are happy with... why change? (We mean this sincerely.) Doing PBL really well requires a “why” to make hard changes and stick with it over a longer period of time to see results because it doesn’t happen overnight. Change is hard. Every school we work with, we start out by exploring this “why” and what is important to you in the process of working with PBL. Perhaps the why is already a part of your narrative or perhaps you need some help identifying it... either way, it’s a critical part of starting a transformation journey.
Can kids will special needs do PBL?Yes, kids with special needs can definitely do Project Based Learning (PBL). PBL is an effective approach because it moves away from a one-size-fits-all approach and allows for personalization within structured classes. By taking a holistic view of learning, PBL provides children with an opportunity to learn through a combination of intellectual, emotional, and practical experience- Here you can see examples of how to give kids with special needs a opportunity to contribute as who they are: https://www.imagineif.dk/post/supporting-all-students-in-project-based-learning https://www.imagineif.dk/post/inclusion-and-pbl
We are already doing project weeks and theme weeks. What is the difference?Many countries have a long tradition of doing project-work or theme-weeks in school. Project-Based Learning is something different. There can be similarities such as teaching under a theme for a period of time, making products and having a festival to show what students have learned. But PBL is less of a feature in schools and more of a methodology that incorproates a philosophy of “learning by doing.” PBL projects are longer in length than a project-week. They incoroporate learning targets for subjects. Products are worked on over a longer period of time through a process of drafting and critique. Exibitions of student work are for an authentic audience that requires the knowledge or products that the product has produced. Finally, the engaging question for a PBL project is something relevant and meaningful to children and the world outside school. Essentially, PBL is a way of working, not only a annual tradition. For a more detailed description of the difference see this - https://www.imagineif.dk/post/project-week-vs-pbl
How can I be sure that the students learn everything they are supposed to?In PBL we still work with very concrete learning goals and make sure that students know where they are. As teachers we can break down the learning goals into smaller parts using rubrics or taxonomies, and look for evidence of learning in the production of beautiful work. The kids can use portfolios and rubrics or taxonomies to reflect on and document their progress. It is also recommended to individualize the learning goals. Ask your team – Do all students need to learn the same in this project?
How can PBL prepare the students for exams?PBL can definitely help prepare students for them. By incorporating exam-related topics into the PBL curriculum, students can learn the material in a meaningful and engaging way. Plus, PBL helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, so they'll be well-equipped to tackle exam questions. While PBL can be seen in opposition to exam preparation, research has shown students can actually learn exam content faster and remember it better due to the meaningful connection of the material to a larger question over teaching exam content in isolation. Research here: https://www.edutopia.org/article/new-research-makes-powerful-case-pbl
What about the “normal” way of teaching? Should I just forget everything I know?Most of the skills and practices that teachers honed in their craft so far is extremely useful in PBL e.g. classroom management and lecturing in front of a room full of students. There is still a place for “normal” lectures as workshops in a project, but there might be a process of redefining what is a successful teacher. Moving away from being someone who has all the answers to someone who can facilitate the students finding their own answers. In project-based learning, the teacher acts as a mentor, providing guidance, resources, and feedback as needed. This allows students to take a deeper dive into the subject matter and gain a better understanding of the material. Experience in teaching is a big advantage to being able to step away from being the “sage on the stage” and moving into a coaching role.
How will the kids get ready for university if they don’t learn to sit through normal classes?PBL provides students with many opportunities to develop skills beyond just being able to sit down and listen. Anecdotal research suggests that PBL gives students the confidence to ask questions, take responsibility for their own learning, and not just memorize information. Students also develop skills like self-advocacy, information seeking, and collaboration. These skills are necessary for students to navigate and thrive in a university setting, but also (and more importantly) to successfully enter almost all industries after their formal education is finished. Additionally, every country has examples of universities who are moving away from the “lecture and exam” culture and some are even using Project-Based Learning (or Problem-Based Learning) as their main teaching method.
How can an American concept fit into Denmark and other countries?While the United States has several flagship PBL schools, it is not the way that most American schools work with teaching and learning. At Imagine If, it's always important to us that we understand the context of the country we are working in and tailor PBL to the needs of each school, while also maintaining quality and staying true to the core principles of PBL. Think of it as a flexible framework that can be modified to suit the unique needs of your school, while still keeping the guiding principles in mind. It's not about being solely American, Danish or someone other, but about using PBL to align with your principles and values.
Videos about PBL.
Who are we and what do we do?
What is project-based learning?
Our favorite projects!
Tips for starting PBL