Sunday, November 20, 2011

Project Based Learning: Higher Level Thinking

Project Based Learning

Not too long ago, I attend a workshop on Project Based Learning.  During this workshop the trainer, Dianne Matheis, provided several examples of projects used to engage students in problematic situations. With Project Based Learning (PBL), Dianne stated that all projects must start with a "driving question," which is presented to the students with an entry level document. This document explains the authentic issue and asks the students to work collaboratively to complete the project. On the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) website, the Do-It-Yourself toolkit guides teachers through the process of creating their first PBL. For these resources, an account must be created. I'm not sure if it is free, but Wednesday Webinars are free. If interested, take a look at the DIY toolkit link.

Although the PBL process isn't so linear, the proceeding list roughly describes the PBL process.
  1. Driving question/challenge is presented
  2. Need to know information is relayed to the students
  3. Inquiry-based and student-centered group-work
  4. 21st Century tools are utilized to foster students' digital skills
  5. Student voice and choice is promoted
  6. Students receive feedback and revision suggestions (conference with each group)
  7. Publicly present the finished product.
Check out her Website on PBL. On her website, there are several important links with forms and instructions on how to implement PBL. According to Ms. Matheis, the Buck Institute for Educators has provided her with many resources for PBL. Last but not least, I also added her Power Point on Project Based Learning.

Is PBL for you? Can you have students study the content areas subject-matter with a driving question? As long as active student-centered group work does not scare you, PBL might be for you.

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