Implementing Project Based Learning

Professional Reading from Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, Reinventing Project-based Learning : Your Field Guide to Real-world Projects in the Digital Age. The chapter on implementation covered a range of stages. The sub heaings are taken straight from the chapter and the bullet points cover some main points from the reading and different topics discussed at our PR session.

Laying the Groundwork

  • Inspire them – make them optimistic and excited about the project. Our temptation is often to start talking straight away about the barriers and help to solve them immediately. However, the correct approach is to let the students encounter these barriers for a more authentic navigation.
  • Being open to students feeling frustration and accomplishment.
  • Are they ready to collaborate? What will the difference be if they are given the opportunity to collaborate on their project, rather than our project

Get Minds Ready

  • Using a KWL as a starting point – Know, Wonder, Learn
  • So much is about the passion of the teacher and the way that they deal with the despondency.
  • “At the launch of the project, it is all about the possibilities”

Ideas for Generating Interest and Promoting Inquiry

  • Discrepant Events and Role Playing
  • Challenge the perceptions and the assumptions students make.
  • Lie to them? Could this be a way of getting them to figure it out

Teach the Fundamentals First

  • Idea of planning a trip similar to planning a learning path.
  • The role of the teacher in discovering the learning in the tasks.

Prepare for Technology

  • Technology is how the project gets done.
  • Technology playground – focusing on the learning function of the technology, the purpose of the tool. Learning to use a tool or a new piece of technology can be a rich learning experience in itself.
  • Students are the experts – let them be in control
  • Use screencasts as tutorials (Screencast-o-matic appears to be the agreed leader in this arena). Also could be used as a feedback tool.

Promote Inquiry and Deep Learning

  • Questioning strategies: “which one…” “How” “What if” “Should” “Why”
  • Transform the questions students might ask into deeper inquiry questions

Build toward Information Literacy: Less Looking, More Thinking

  • Students today have access to more technology than they could possibly ever use
  • Web 2.0 adds more complexity and less reliability. Teaching information literacy and how to evaluate the authenticity of sources becomes increasingly important.
  • Students themselves can be contributors to the pool of knowledge.
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