What is Project Based Learning?
“Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.”
- Hands on
- Inquiry driven
- Student centered
- Tackles real world challenges
- Shared with larger community or audience
- Emphasizes communication
- Stresses real world relevance
- Encourages higher-order thinking skills – analysis, synthesis, evaluation & creation!
- Values research and problem solving
- Weaves in technology and media literacy
Goals of PBL:
- Develop flexible knowledge & adaptive expertise
- Motivate self-directed learning
- Teach effective problem solving
- Drive inquiry
- Learn how to communicate & collaborate
- Improve intrinsic motivation
- Shift to active learning
Web 2.o Tools to Support a Blended Approach to PBL:
Project based learning by nature takes time. Time is a luxury many teachers do not feel they have. Web 2.0 technology can make it possible to engage students in active, engaged and collaborative learning online during the various stages of PBL to complement the work done in the physical classroom. If teachers leverage students connectivity beyond the classroom, PBL is much more manageable and can be much more meaningful.
Linoit.com – Online multimedia post-it board where students can identify what they know, what they need to know, where to find information, etc.
Collaborize Classroom – structured online discussion platform that provides the ideal space for students to explore the problem, challenge or driving question.
Google Moderator – tool for generating a list of driving questions. Groups can vote on the questions they feel are most important.
Google search – search engine for finding great information. This can be done either from Google.com or inside a shared Google doc (click “Tools”>select “Research”).
This phase of PBL is ideal for face-to-face connections, conversations, evaluation, and planning. At this point, individual students should share their research to develop a realistic solution to meet their challenge or answer their question. Supporting this phase with technology – mobile devices, iPads or computers – can help students to be more successful.
Get out of the classroom and put work into action. During this phase, I encourage students to document everything they do with pictures, video, voice memos, Voice Thread, digital notes, etc. Teach them how to use a variety of tools to record the work they are doing for reflection and publication.
Time to evaluate. What is working? What isn’t? Talk it out! PBL is not linear. Groups may need to readjust their approach to tackling this real world problem or challenge.
Plan Your Own PBL Teaching Module:
This fabulous resource from Edutopia that helps you plan an entire PBL teaching module.
If you have a great PBL assignment you want to share, please post a comment. I also welcome any additional resources and/or tech tools you use when facilitating PBL with your students!