This weeks assignment on Project Based Learning, Problem Based Learning and Challenge Based Learning comes right after researching and writing a report for the Technology Enhanced Differentiation Task Force that I co-chair with my fellow tech integrator Carlina. In the report we had to make recommendations about how the school should go forward in the area of technology to personalize student learning. Our research led us to recommend prototyping inquiry-based learning in select classrooms. Here is our report if you are interested.
I’m pretty sure that our recommendations are going to end up in an action plan for next year and that makes me super excited because I’ve always wanted to try out project-based learning.
I’ve been hearing and reading about project-based learning for a while but it took me a while to really understand it fully. At ASB Unplugged this year, I attended a wonderful workshop led by Suzie Boss about asking meaningful driving questions to use for PBL projects. It’s neat reading some of her articles that are assigned for course 4 since I’ve met her.
In her article Perfecting with Practice: Project-Based Teaching she says “Inquiry is at the heart of project learning, and PL veterans are deliberate about sparking student curiosity before a project actually begins.” This curiosity and the power of the driving question I feel is key to starting a successful project-based learning project. Coming up with meaningful open-ended questions is much more difficult than I thought. During her workshop we got to work on formulating questions and it’s something I definitely need more practice with.
Solving real world problems is also at the core of project based learning. Suzie writes “The project approach challenges students to think for themselves, conduct research, solve authentic problems, meet deadlines, and manage much of their own learning.” These are all skills that students needs when they leave school and join the workforce. Solving real problems makes the learning so much more meaningful. PBL projects can really make a difference.
Next year our school will embark on service learning and I know project-based learning ties into this initiative perfectly. There are so many chances for students to make a real difference in Chennai. It makes me really excited to think of all the possibilities.