Project-Based Learning Training 2007

What is the problem with current education methods?

Despite the fact that high test scores are a poor indicator of future success, governments continue to push teachers into test based educational approaches.

In the 1960s, Dr. Howard Barrows at McMaster University found that despite the fact his medical students scored very high on standardized tests, they were unable to diagnose patients.

Meanwhile, businesses are telling educators that industrial age classrooms are not preparing our students for the post-industrial economy.

“The great end of education is to discipline rather than furnish the mind; to train it to the use of its own powers, rather than fill it with the accumulation of others.” --Tryon Edwards

“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” --Mark Van Doren

How do we then create a rigorous, relevant, student–centered learning environment that better prepares all students for the 21st Century?

The Project-Based Learning Solution

THE PBL SOLUTION
OLD SCHOOL  Teacher has monopoly on information  Minimal student participation in the problem solving process  Learning is not related to other content areas or real world situations  Students work primarily alone  Student feedback is minimal and often not geared toward improvement

THE PBL SOLUTION
PBL HIGH SCHOOL  Information is accessible from many sources  Students are engaged in content based problems and projects  Content is integrated with other subjects and real world issues  Student feedback is detailed and used for improvement  Student is expected to work with others

What Is Project-Based Learning?

WHAT PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?
 Project-Based Learning is a comprehensive instructional approach to engage students in sustained, cooperative investigation.  In project-based learning, students work in groups to solve challenging problems that are authentic, curriculum-based, and often interdisciplinary  They gather information from a variety of sources and synthesize, analyze, and derive knowledge from it.

WHAT PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?
 Their learning is inherently valuable because it's connected to something real and involves adult skills such as collaboration and reflection.  At the end, students demonstrate their newly acquired knowledge and are judged by how much they've learned and how well they communicate it.  Throughout this process, the teacher's role is to guide and advise, rather than to direct and manage, student work.

WHAT PROJECT-BASED LEARNING?
Project-Based Learning involves students pursuing solutions to nontrivial problems by:
 Asking and refining questions  Debating ideas  Making predictions  Designing plans and/or experiments  Collecting and analyzing data  Drawing conclusions  Communicating their ideas and findings to others  Asking new questions (Blumenfeld et al., 1991)

Some considerations

Does it fit within our current curriculum framework?

Programming

Outcome Reporting

The role of students

THE ROLE OF STUDENTS
Students play an integral part in both the direction of the learning and the classroom activities. Some points to note:
 It is important for students to have input in the direction of their learning.  This engages the students in the learning process because they have an interest in what is going on in the classroom.

THE ROLE OF STUDENTS
 Students need to be able to exhibit multiple intelligences.  Projects should cater towards the presentation of different learning styles.  The end solution should be authentic and concrete.  Students are provided with opportunities to interact with other group members building work orientated relationships.

The role of teachers

THE ROLE OF TEACHERS
 Group student appropriately  Orient students to the goals of the project  Organize the project daily by defining the scope of inquiry  Clarify everything  Monitor and regulate student behavior  Manage the workflow  Evaluate success and reflect on learning

The role of technology

THE ROLE OF TECHNOLOGY
Technology is the fundamental tool in facilitating PBL. Some tools used include:
 Emails  Forums  Online journals  Simulations  Online quizzes  Video editing  Graphic presentations  Web site creation  Online databases and museums.  Virtual reality

Examples