Re:Reinventing Project Based Learning

If you have not yet discovered the excellent Reinventing PBL book by Suzie Boss and Jane Kruass — then I recommend adding it to you Christmas reading list.

Learning about project based learning will give your classroom a real kick into the motivation zone. Much of PBL’s theory does not require technology at all as Jane and Suzie remind us in numerous spotlights.

Technology as tools: Students need access to the relevant technologies that professionals use to solve real problems

The key here in solving REAL problems. The problem for teachers with woeful digital literacy is that they have no idea how to align ‘relevant technologies’ with real problems and the syllabus outcomes — combined with basic computing skills. How many could seek out global youth projects like Vibewire for their students, then integrate it back into a method and process [insert %].

Ability to integrate the wonders of the metaverse into practice are exponentially more limited if we a) can’t use more than MS Office and Google Search b) use learning by absorption as primary practice c) too busy to renew old ideas d)  forced to use proprietary software e) banned from free choice — all sources of bitter frustration for anyone advocating change.

There is however academic evidence to suggest that students find it hard to deal with equiry learning. Effective enquiry requires mastery of new pedagogy by the teacher. You can’t wing it. This report in 1998 into middle school science found

Teacher structuring and questioning were crucial in encouraging students to be thoughtful about the substantive aspects of inquiry.

I highly recommend spending some time looking at the EAST projectespecially if you have 1:1 mini laptops. (another link).

In their project — and at the centre of Will and Sheryls PLP Network — are ideas around forming a cadre of enthusiastic teachers, who set about integrating technology into learning by developing active community partnerships, sharing and modeling practice as well as toolkits. We don’t do that very well in Australia – especially in enquiry at the system level.

It is individuals that make it happen such as Roger Pryor – who is leading a cadre in my region called COWs. So if you don’t have a cadre, a school to school network and a mentor … then it is going to be that much harder. This is why I believe school development is best effected though the school executive with wider support — on demand. . I wrote a post about “communities don’t just happen” in which I’ve outlined the levels that communities have to pass through to be really powerful.

Numerous comments to be found from students talking openly online about not just the problems they see with the mini-machines, but with how they are being taught.

1.We Have so Many needs for our education and entertainment but everything is disabled. That is why we attempt to hack the laptop.
2.We can learn if you know how to teach us as we also want to learn as otherwise we wouldn’t be at school.
3.When you make things every easy for us to hack and tell us not to hack it we probably will hack it.
4.You have to acknowledge that we need some privacy and we need some freedom as you give us the laptop and it makes us feel like we are in a small cage too small for us so we try to break out. How would you like to be monitored 24/7 in a tiny cage?
5.The Laptop does not accelerate our learning. It is not fun either. It is a small textbook for every subject. We not only need knowledge we need experience.
6.You never know what we need in this laptop to be able to learn. The software given will never be able to replace our pen and paper as the software is limited to the programmer and pen and paper is limited to imagination. The software is also costly if worthy for our education and the government would never be that generous to fulfill our needs.

I wonder if we are providing paddles, but no boat. So if your faculty is boat- sinking; get a new one. Take a look at Reinventing PBL.

Do tech-missing teachers read educational books either? Either way order it here, it’s a great way to align Web2.0 with activities and outcomes that kids won’t find bogus.


2 thoughts on “Re:Reinventing Project Based Learning

  1. Pingback: Connectivism And The Modern Student | The Learning Collective

  2. Pingback: Center for Digital Innovation – tecnologia aprimorando a educação | Mídias Sociais

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