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Getting Started with Project-Based Learning (Hint: Don't Go Crazy)

Getting Started with Project-Based Learning (Hint: Don't Go Crazy)
Before the start of the school year, many of us want to use the remaining weeks of summer to learn some new skills -- such as project-based learning (PBL). One of the things we stress for new PBL practitioners is, as I say, "don't go crazy." It's easy to go "too big" when you first start PBL. I have heard from many teachers new to PBL that a large, eight-week integrated project was a mistake. So how do you start PBL in ways that will ensure your success as a learner and teacher? Here are a few tips to consider. Start Small As I said, "Don't go crazy!" Plan Now One of the challenges of PBL, but also one of the joys, is the planning process. Limited Technology We love technology, but sometimes we get too "tech happy." Know the Difference Between PBL and Projects This is the big one! We are all learners, and when we start something new, we start small. Photo credit: wwworks via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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Resources and Tools for PBL Start to Finish Tips for downloading: PDF files can be viewed on a wide variety of platforms -- both as a browser plug-in or a stand-alone application -- with Adobe's free Acrobat Reader program. Click here to download the latest version of Adobe Reader. Documents to Help You Get Started The Hunger Games Project Documents Below are sample project-based learning documents from teachers Mary Mobley (English) and Michael Chambers (world history) of Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas. They team-teach a sophomore world studies class. Getting to grips with project based learning One of the things that I love to start my classes with is a ‘mission statement’ of what we will achieve by the end of the day. By doing this, we can then use our coursebook materials as a means of reaching that end goal, rather than the book itself being the focus. For example, instead of stating that ‘by the end of today, we will have finished pages 11, 12 and 13’, I say ‘by the end of today, we will have learned about the education systems of different countries, made comparisons and presented our findings to our classmates.’ For quite a while I felt quite pleased with myself for having come up with a motivating way of going about teaching; that is until I realized that I was basically implementing a Project-based Learning approach. Despite not having invented some great new methodology, I’m still happy that I do things this way. Actually, Project-based Learning has a long history: both Aristotle and Confucius were early advocates of what is also termed ‘learning by doing.’

Teach21 Project Based Learning This PBL should be considered as having two different parts. First, the students must gather the information needed to complete the problem. Second, the students must compile their data to create an original script based on a set of criteria. Breaking down this long-term project seems to make it more manageable for the teacher. Like scientists, the students must gather information, analyze it, and produce a product. Part I of the PBL involves the race.

The Design Thinking School \ What we do Design Thinking can be a powerful vehicle for deeper learning of content, more divergent thinking and building the thinking skills capacity of learners. Key to the process's success in learning, is that it provides the platform for learners to become problem finders. At a time when design thinking tends to come across as "shop" class and post-it notes, NoTosh have spent four years developing medium- and long-term professional development programmes with schools around the world, which marry design and education research with classroom practices that work in any part of curriculum. We've seen schools increase student engagement, content coverage and attainment thanks to the challenging way we frame design thinking and formative assessment, together, as a vehicle for creative and robust learning. What is design thinking?

Project-Based Learning Research Review Editor's Note: This article was originally written by Vanessa Vega, with subsequent updates made by the Edutopia staff. Studies have proven that when implemented well, project-based learning (PBL) can increase retention of content and improve students' attitudes towards learning, among other benefits. Edutopia's PBL research review explores the vast body of research on the topic and helps make sense of the results. In this series of five articles, learn how researchers define project-based learning, review some of the possible learning outcomes, get our recommendations of evidence-based components for successful PBL, learn about best practices across disciplines, find tips for avoiding pitfalls when implementing PBL programs, and dig in to a comprehensive annotated bibliography with links to all the studies and reports cited in these pages.

Building a PBL Culture in the Classroom During a project, what does a classroom look, sound, and feel like? I asked this question of three of BIE’s National Faculty members to begin a Google Hangout last week. Here’s what Feroze Munshi, Jeanine Leys, and Krystal Diaz came up with: • student-centered • sense of student ownership • students doing research online • students asking questions • students in different parts of the room working in teams or on their own • engagement is obvious • academic conversations • trust, respect, and responsibility • organized chaos (with structure and purpose)

Are We Taking Our Students’ Work Seriously Enough? ” credit=”Erin Scott In the course of studying different aspects of children’s environments, Dr. Roger Hart noticed that “a lot of supposedly participatory projects had a distinct air of tokenism. Children were being put on display, so to speak, as though they were actively participating, but they were not taken seriously.”

Complete Guide to Project-Based Learning Modern science continues to develop in such a way that the older generation is constantly trying to catch up with the younger generation’s adaptation to new developments and technologies. It is only logical that we should utilize our students’ familiarity with technology from a young age to maximize their engagement and learning by integrating it into our curriculum. Project-Based Learning grabs hold of this idea and fosters deep learning and autonomy by using technology to help students engage in issues and questions relevant to their lives. This resource will direct you to a variety of resources on this approach, the research behind it, and how you can use it in your class to transform your students into engaged and interested independent thinkers. What is Project-Based Learning?

Could PBL be the Solution to Education Reform? While I was taking a survey today about Response to Intervention (RTI) I began to reflect about how RTI and Data-Driven Instruction have affected my school. In the past few years, I have noticed teachers becoming overwhelmingly stressed about Standardized State Tests. Teachers feel like they don't have enough time to lesson-plan in order to appropriately meet the needs of their students. Moreover, teachers feel that the precious planning-time in which they do get is being wasted during team meetings and other scheduled events. Envision Schools Project Exchange In this project, students generated their own questions about the history of South Africa. These questions guided the activities and smaller projects leading up to the culminating exhibition, where students researched and presented their answer to their question in a powerpoint presentation. This project is interdisciplinary. As the activities in each lesson build upon each other and across disciplines, close planning between the Language Arts and World History teachers is imperative. In the activities that go along with this project, you'll notice that some happened in English Language Arts and others happened in World History.

10 Ways to Teach Innovation Getty By Thom Markham One overriding challenge is now coming to the fore in public consciousness: We need to reinvent just about everything. Whether scientific advances, technology breakthroughs, new political and economic structures, environmental solutions, or an updated code of ethics for 21st century life, everything is in flux—and everything demands innovative, out of the box thinking. The burden of reinvention, of course, falls on today’s generation of students. Free Resources and Tools for Replicating Project-Based Learning Educators from High Tech High in San Diego, California, and the Whitfield Career Academy's 21st Century Learning Academy in Dalton, Georgia, have provided these resources for you to use in your own school. Students in Whitfield County take on a range of multidisciplinary projects. A middle school science student (left) identifies the parts of a fish before painting it to make a Japanese-style gyotaku print, and students (right) learn math and physics while building an outdoor classroom. Credit: Grace Rubenstein (left); David Markus (right) Click on any title link below to view or download that file. Tips for downloading:

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