Dible to Present at National AP Conference

Dible to Present at National AP Conference
Posted on 05/10/2017
Will Dible

Prior to starting his teaching career at Spencer High School two years ago, Advanced Placement (AP) Physics and Physical Science Instructor, Will Dible, took an AP training course in order to teach AP Physics.  With College Board, the entity that governs AP courses nationwide, having a mind shift in the AP Physics program, Dible, who had taught AP Physics in his previous district, was excited for the refresher course, as his teaching style aligned well with the new methodologies, bringing about value beyond school (VBS) and deeper conceptual learning.   

While participating in the course, Dible presented an example of a project that he taught with his general physics classes.  Since taking the course, Dible has incorporated that project, and many others into his AP Physics curriculum, utilizing Project Based Learning (PBL), a method he has used since his second year of teaching.  Dible has been a fan of PBL instruction even before it had a name, and he sees the benefits because he can challenge all students academically.  Dible’s methods are being supported now that Spencer Community Schools is more formally adopting PBL principles throughout the district. 

Dible said that when he began teaching in Spencer, he learned quickly that the district was already ahead of the curve and geared toward PBL.  “Teachers have high VBS, and through Authentic Intellectual Work (AIW), there is a major emphasis on making sure that the students have a deep understanding, rather than just surface learning,” said Dible.  “The school district just works so well with that kind of instruction, and it has been really great to implement it here.”

Recently, a representative from College Board reached out to Dible to ask if he had an interest in presenting at the National AP Conference in Washington D. C. in July.  The two-day conference will host teachers from across the country, and Dible is honored to have been selected to represent Spencer Community Schools at the conference.  Not only does Dible see the opportunity as a huge honor, presenting alongside other teachers from very prestigious schools, he looks forward to highlighting the great work being done in Spencer Schools.

“I will be presenting specifically about AP Physics, with a translation into other AP science courses, because what I am presenting is my method of project based anchor tasks that go with the testing,” explained Dible.  “For each unit, I do guided inquiry followed by a project.  The project I am presenting at the conference is solar powered phone chargers, and students have to trouble shoot the circuitry in them which goes with the circuit unit.”  Successful completion of the project demonstrates the students understanding of the concepts, and then they can actually use the phone charger themselves. 

To help manage the strict time constraints of an AP course, Dible pairs PBL with flipped instruction.  Instead of spending class time to lecture and then give students homework to be done on their own, the students are given the necessary content in 10-minute video segments and then answer questions.  They also complete reading assignments outside of class.  When students come back to class, the focus is on completing example problems and showing how the content is applicable to the investigations and projects.  Questions can be asked during class rather than struggling at home.  “The College Board representatives really liked the inquiry aspect of my PBL and how it is very high in VBS.  They also liked how I was able to focus more on the content with the students, and pair it with the flipped instruction classroom, making it really applicable to any AP science course,” Dible added.

There are many who feel that Dible deserves praise for his teaching and having the honor to speak at the national level, and one of his AP Physics students, Chloe Baker shared how he has impacted her life.  “Mr. Dible is like no teacher I've ever had. He teaches with such a different perspective, and it keeps everyone in his class interested. He is focused on finding new and more modern ways to teach us in the classroom, and I find this great because education is changing drastically.  Overall, Mr. Dible's class has been my favorite this year, and I'm excited to see what else he has to bring to SHS in order to make learning fun and interesting,” said Baker.  Another AP Physics student, Parker Polaschek, shared that Mr. Dible is not like any ordinary teacher he has had, and added that he finds ways to trick the students into learning, which makes even the challenging material easier to understand.

To Dible, the attention needs to be turned to the district for allowing him to represent Spencer at the conference.  “The support from the district shows they understand the benefits of attending, because not only will I be able to show others on a national level what we are doing in Spencer Schools, I will also come back with a lot of cool things that I can do here, and as an instructional coach, strategies that I can transfer to maybe some of the other AP teachers.  Spencer is always looking at where can we improve and how can we make it work with what we have, which is very positive and a lot of the time, very different from other school districts,” said Dible.

On behalf of Spencer Community Schools, congratulations Mr. Dible!  Go out and show other educators from across the country about the great work being done in the district!