Project Based Learning (PBL) Jacque Melin - GVSU
History of PBL • John Dewey • Benefits of experiential, hands-on, student-directed learning. • Learning Theory Research • social activity • feedback • Standards • clear outcomes • accountability
Definition of PBL • A systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks.
Outstanding projects • Recognize students’ inherent drive to learn.
Outstanding projects • Engage students in the centralconcepts and principles of a discipline.
Outstanding projects • Highlight provocative issues or questions that lead students to in-depth exploration of authentic and important topics.
Outstanding projects • Require the use of essential tools and skills, including technology, self-management, and project management.
Outstanding projects • Specify products that solve problems, explain dilemmas, or present information generated through investigation, research, or reasoning.
Outstanding projects • Include multiple products that permit frequent and consistent feedback so students can learn from experience.
Outstanding projects • Use performance-based assessments that communicate high expectations, present rigorous challenges, and require a range of skills and knowledge.
Outstanding projects • Encourage collaborationin some form, either through small groups, student-led presentations, or whole-class evaluations of project results.
Can Project Based Learning work in my school? • For students with basic skills issues: • More direct instruction during project • Design shorter projects • Tie projects to fewer and more specific standards
FIRST STEP – Develop the Project Idea • Use your standards. • Find projects and ideas on the Web. • Map your community. • Match what people do in their daily work. • Tie the project to local and national events. • Focus on community service. • Work backward from the topic.
Project Based Learning http://pbl-online.org/ • Edutopia http://www.edutopia.org/ • Buck Institute for Education http://www.bie.org
SECOND STEP – Decide on the Scope of the Project Project Design and Students’ Role
SECOND STEP – Decide on the Scope of the Project Project Activities and Students’ Role
THIRD STEP – Select Standards Accountability: What do you want your students to KNOW, UNDERSTAND and BE ABLE TO DO?
THIRD STEP – Select Standards Accountability: What would you be embarrassed about if your students couldn’t discuss them intelligently at the end of the project?
THIRD STEP – Select Standards Accountability: TIP: Try NOT to meet too many standards in a short project – no more than 3 per subject.
THIRD STEP – Select Standards Accountability: TIP: Include at least one literacy outcome in your project – assess writing, speaking and/or reading.
FOURTH STEP – Incorporate Simultaneous Outcomes PBL is not only a way of learning, it’s also a way of working together to gather and present information: Collaboration Performance Based Products Skills (i.e. SCANS) – See handout Habits of Mind – See handout
FIFTH STEP – Work from Project Design Criteria • The Project should include the 6 A’s • Authenticity • Academic Rigor • Applied Learning • Active Exploration • Adult Connections • thoughtful Assessment Practices
FIFTH STEP – Work from Project Design Criteria Other important criteria: Does the project…. Meet standards?Engage students?Focus on essential understandings?Encourage higher-level thinking?Teach literacy and reinforce basic skills?Allow all students to succeed?Use clear, precise assessments?Require the sensible use of technology?Address authentic issues?
FIFTH STEP – Work from Project Design Criteria Projects versus Activity-Based Teaching Strategies
SIXTH STEP – Create the Optimal Learning Environment • Give your project one or more connections beyond the classroom. • Study content and apply it to authentic problems. • Alter your classroom’s look and feel. • Make school work more like real work.
SIXTH STEP – Create the Optimal Learning Environment • See the whole before practicing the parts.
Craft the Driving Question • Guidelines for Driving Questions Must be provocative • Sustain students’ interest • Does music video paint an accurate picture of America?
Craft the Driving Question • Guidelines for Driving Questions Are open-ended • No easy answers • Should the United States have used the atomic bomb in World War II?
Craft the Driving Question • Guidelines for Driving Questions Go to the heart of a discipline or topic. • Can focus on controversies central to a field and debated by the professionals within them. • How safe is our water?
Craft the Driving Question • Guidelines for Driving Questions Are challenging • Encourage students to confront difficult issues and try out unfamiliar behaviors. • When are people justified in revolting against an established government?
Craft the Driving Question • Guidelines for Driving Questions Can arise from real-world dilemmas that students find interesting. • How could we build a new community center using only materials that are native to our state?
Craft the Driving Question • Guidelines for Driving Questions Are consistent with curricular standards and frameworks. • Lead students to master the agreed upon skills, knowledge, and processes that define a course of study.
Avoid the Pitfalls • Beware of Bells and Whistles • Project activities must be designed to help answer the Driving Questions. • Sometimes technological tools obscure the problem solving process. • Technology becomes the focus.