I had heard of project-based Learning before but I did not know all the details on this type of learning so I decided to do a little more digging on it. Project-based learning is a teaching method in which the student gains knowledge and skills by working for a period of time to investigate and respond to complex questions, problems, or a challenge. The awesome video below explains in more of a fun and unique way!
Video CC By: Paul Stolt
To me when I heard this idea it really hit me hard because it seems that this would really test the students. So what’s the true importance of learning this way? Since this type of learning method is filled with active and engagement it inspires the students to obtain and deeper knowledge. In addition, there is research that shows that the students are more likely to retain the knowledge. This is since the students don’t use the traditional centered learning through a textbook. There are so many people you can follow to get started. The three I would recommend are in my Twitter they include: Buck Inst. For Ed., John Larmer, and HackerYou. These are great people to follow if you are considering using Project-Based Learning in you classroom.
The classroom dynamic is so different when project-based learning is implemented. While they create their projects they students can hone in on their organization and research skills, they can develop better communication with their peers and other adults, and they often can work within their community while see the positive effect of the work. By using this in the classroom the classroom can invigorate the learning environment. The curriculum is more energized with real world seniors, and sparking the students’ desire to explore. Many would agree, including Tom Burger who is an author on a blog that I follow about this topic. The students have more freedom to be engaged in the things the things the project and use their creative. In addition, the classroom is more flexible and the students can thrive off of that. They can present their projects in front of the class and they can be evaluated on presentations to a community audience. Since they are evaluated on their projects instead of narrow rubrics, exams, and written reports.
While there are many pros to using project-based learning there are still some disadvantages. Some problems for the students could be that the prior learning experiences do not prepare the students well for using this type of learning. It also requires more time and takes away from study time for other subjects. It also could create anxiety for the students. Some downfalls to using this for the teachers could be that it requires more prep time or creating suitable problem scenarios is difficult. Not to mention it can cost the school more money and more instructors to use this type of learning.
However, I have still found there are so many advantages for using this type of learning. The students are at the center, they have more fun, and it develops lifelong learning skills. The teachers see a class attendance increase, the method affords more rewards, and encourages the students to spend more time studying. The schools will see the students making learning a priority and it is has evidence that an institutions values in teaching.
By having project-based learning the students having more freedom to express themselves. I am a firm believer that students are creative and we should allow them to express their creativity in the classroom. The awesome thing about project-based learning is that it can be used in all subjects. Like in social students the students can create something that they can present to the class on what they learned in the unit. No matter if it is math or science or even social studies students can create a project. Another thing that I have found that I like is that if schools do not have the funds to have an art class they can have their art time with the projects. They can be free to express themselves and really show what they learn in multiple ways outside of a paper pencil test or written papers.
Photo CC By: Wesly Fryer