meaningful inquiry that engages students' minds."- a quote
from Seven Essentials for Project Based Learning. This quote reminded me that learning is not about staying busy to pass the time, it's about engaging in something that has a purpose and will help you at some point in life. Giving students a "project" where you give them all of the instructions and websites to go to, to me is a way of underestimating the ability for your students to find this information themselves. Students need to know, at an early age, how to conduct research and find information on their own. Ways to make sure you are conducting a project in the right way:
- By having a "Need to Know"
- A Driving Question
- Students Voice and Choice
- 21st Century Skills
- Inquiry and Innovation
- Feed Back and Revision
- A Publicly Presented Product
I learned with project based learning comes a plethora of tools and resources online. There are so many collaborative sites out there that students can use to do group work. The blog post,Ten Sites Supporting Digital Classroom Collaboration in Project Based Learning, has a very good list of helpful and useful sites that I plan to incorporate in my classroom one day. Some of the sites that I find to be very effective are: Padlet ,Google Docs, and Skype in Education. These sites can be used for many different projects.
PBL ultimately is a way to get students interested and excited about learning. Students enjoy being able to come up with their own ideas and find solutions to problems that they experience. Giving students projects that are irrelevant to their lives will not benefit them in any way. However, when you let the students have a voice in their own learning, you will see much better results. An example of the enthusiasm students can have once they are given the opportunity to be creative and use their imagination can be found in this video: Two Students Solve the Case of the Watery Ketchup by Designing a New Cap. Two high school students invented a new cap for a ketchup bottle, to eliminate the messy water that comes out when you squeeze a bottle with a regular cap. These students put a lot of thought into this project, mainly because it was something that interested them. They were able to work together to solve a problem that many others have. This taught me that students can really do anything, if they are given the chance.
In the video,What Does Project-Based Learning Look Like in the classroom Look Like?, I learned a very effective way to get students to understand concepts that are needed and used in the real world. Teaching can be done by partnering with another teacher and combining your efforts to teach two different subject by doing one project. This is a great way to show students how both of the subjects are connected and how the concepts that they are learning are used together.
Learning should be fun, exciting, and interesting for students.