Start the Year with a Project…or Wait? Over the summer, you’ve spent some time planning what you think will be a great project for the beginning of the school year. You’re eager to launch it on Day Two, after you’ve introduced yourself to your students on Day One. Or should you wait until, say, Week Two, Three, or even later to start the project? The answer is: it depends. It may be just fine to start the year with a project if your students already know what it means to work PBL-style. If your school has a robust project-based program, or at least the teachers your students had last year did a lot of PBL, starting your class with a project sends a message to students: let's get right to it, this is how we learn here. But what if your students are not very experienced with PBL? If the answer to these questions is “no” or “I’m not sure” then it might be good to lay a foundation first, and build students’ skills before beginning project work. You could approach the foundation-laying job in a variety of ways. Critical Thinking:
How To Start Integrating Coding Into Project Based Learning True Project Based Learning (PBL) challenges students to acquire deeper knowledge of a concept by establishing connections outside their classroom. According to the research on PBL, the main tenets are to create real world connections, develop critical thinking skills, foster structured collaboration, motivate student driven work, and enable a multifaceted approach. Similarly, coding applies all of these core tenets as programs require logical thinking, team work, a variety of tools, and – most importantly – perseverance on the part of the student. PBL Tenet #1: Create Real World Connections Coding Application: Find a solution to a problem by creating an App or Website Douglas Kiang (@dkiang), AP Computer Science teacher at Punahou School, used PBL in his classroom to encourage his students to connect with their community. PBL Tenet #2: Foster Critical Thinking Coding application: Coding requires a series of logical steps PBL Tenet #3: Structured Collaboration PBL Tenet #4: Student Driven
Best Practices for PBL Assessment Project-based learning (PBL) demands excellent assessment practices to ensure that all learners are supported in the learning process. With good assessment practices, PBL can create a culture of excellence for all students and ensure deeper learning for all. We’ve compiled some of the best resources from Edutopia and the web to support your use of assessment in PBL, including information about strategies, advice on how to address the demands of standardized tests, and summaries of the research. PBL Assessment Foundations Embedding Assessment Throughout the Project (Keys to PBL Series Part 5) (Edutopia, 2014) Watch this video to discover how assessment can be integrated seamlessly into project-based learning to measure student understanding from the beginning to the end of a project: PBL and Formative Assessment Practices PBL and Standardized Tests PBL and Standardized Tests? PBL Assessment Research
The Hattie Effect: What's Essential for Effective PBL? In the daily bustle of the classroom, teachers can't hit pause to evaluate the effectiveness of every decision they make. And those judgment calls pile up. From how to plan lessons to whether students should collaborate to how much homework to assign, daily decisions about instruction number in the hundreds. John Hattie, an Australian education professor and researcher, has done the wonky work of evaluating mountains of data to determine which decisions make the biggest difference when it comes to learning. His two books, Visible Learning and Visible Learning for Teachers, have triggered global conversations about effective teaching, based on his meta-analysis of more than 800 studies. Hattie's work promises to demystify what works in education. Aiming for Effectiveness Hattie's findings are based on a comparison of effect size. So far so good. A Need to Know More About PBL But when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of project-based learning (PBL), Hattie has me scratching my head.