Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. It is not just memorizing for a test. There are 8 main elements that are involved in Project Based Learning; student voice and choice, driving question, need to know, 21st century skills, curriculum content, audience-presented product, reflection and revision, and in-dept inquiry. The descriptions for each are pasted below.
- Key Knowledge, Understanding, and Success Skills – The project is focused on student learning goals, including standards-based content and skills such as critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, and self-management.
- Challenging Problem or Question – The project is framed by a meaningful problem to solve or a question to answer, at the appropriate level of challenge.
- Sustained Inquiry – Students engage in a rigorous, extended process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information.
- Authenticity – The project features real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.
- Student Voice & Choice – Students make some decisions about the project, including how they work and what they create.
- Reflection – Students and teachers reflect on learning, the effectiveness of their inquiry and project activities, the quality of student work, obstacles and how to overcome them.
- Critique & Revision – Students give, receive, and use feedback to improve their process and products.
- Public Product – Students make their project work public by explaining, displaying and/or presenting it to people beyond the classroom.
Here is a video that explains Project Based Learning with real life examples.
This video uses a cool example about students having the flu. He asked he students why so many students all got sick at once. Then it turned into a class discussion. He decided to use this as a teaching and learning opportunity. The students went in depth with the project, they did research, and then made posters explaining how the flu spreads and essentially why. This is a great example of using a driving question to approach real solutions.
This is another great video that explains and gives steps for Problem Based Learning.
Here is an example of a school that uses project based learning as their main curriculum.
One of the things I learned from this video is that Project Based Learning is not doing projects from theme units at all but rather solving a problem. This is so important to use in the classroom because it teaches them how to solve real life problems. This type of learning allows them to come up with solutions to this problem. Experiments and other hands on activities, and collaboration really drive Project Based Learning. These means that learning may not always be taking place in the classroom, but instead outside or at some other facility.
I find this type of learning quite intriguing. They always say that you learn the best when you’re actually doing the work or activity rather than it just being explained to you. I think that is exactly what Project Based Learning does. Some of the issues may not having the resources to do this type of learning, but there would be ways around it, it just might take more work.
Here is a link to a blog about PBL. It gives you tools, steps, activities, and information on PBL.
These are three Twitter accounts that support and encourage Project Based Learning.