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Meghan Cureton

Q: What's the Right Dosage of PBL?        A: Not Once Per Year | Blog | Project Based Learning | BIE - 2 views

  • Does adopting PBL mean we should use it all the time and teach everything via projects? If not, then how many projects should teachers do per semester or year?
  • Project Based Teaching Practices are actually just good teaching, period, and many of the practices can be used in the classroom when students are in between projects.
  • “Just make two high-quality projects per year for every student be the goal.” In a K-12 system, that means each student would experience 26 projects at a minimum—which sounds like a lot! But that’s only the start. Perhaps students in middle and high school, at first, would experience two projects per year in one subject area—if, say, only social studies teachers begin to use PBL. But assuming PBL spreads across the school, students would do projects in other subject areas, or do interdisciplinary projects, and eventually experience many more than 26 projects if they stayed in one K-12 PBL-infused system.
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  • But assuming projects are between 3-6 weeks long, I’d like to see a minimum of two projects per year in every K-12 classroom, in all subject areas—so that all students, no matter who they are, can gain the benefits of high quality PBL.
  • Even better, make it one project per quarter—four per year. And while you’re at it, sprinkle in a few mini-projects to help build a PBL culture or tackle a relatively confined topic or task.
  • Why is the PBL dosage important?
  • Students cannot build 21st century success skills if they only get occasional opportunities to practice and internalize them.
  • Students will become more confident, independent learners—even identifying and tackling problems authentic to themselves, their communities, and the wider world.
  • be part of a culture that celebrates risk-taking and innovation.
  • If only a few scattered teachers use PBL in a school or district, or only a few students experience it and thus limit demand, then the system’s basic structures, policies, and culture will remain the same. But if a critical mass is reached, schools and districts will need to rethink the use of time, teacher workloads, community relationships, assessment systems, decision-making processes, and much more. Here’s to reaching the PBL tipping point!
Bo Adams

Equipping Young Leaders to Take on the 32 Most Important Issues of Our Time - Vander Ark on Innovation - Education Week - 0 views

  • If we take citizenship preparation seriously, we should be encouraging young people to engage with the world’s most important issues by helping them frame projects around these goals. Here are six reasons:
  • Extended and integrated challenges are the best way to promote deeper learning and develop readiness for the automation economy. The goals include interesting and timely causes that many young people will find motivating. Making a contribution toward a goal they care about may be the best way to develop student agency. Goal focused projects get kids into the community and connected with local resources (see #PlaceBasedEd) It’s also a chance to shift the paradigm from “prepare for a career 10 years from now” to “make a difference right here, right now.” Taking on real challenges will promote creative and effective uses of technology from collaboration to production.
  • Integrate projects into existing courses. The Global Goals site has useful project resources for 16 of these goals. Plan an integrated unit between two courses. Most of the goals combine science, sociology, research, problem-solving and writing. Capstone projects in the last two years of high school are a good place to start. Each academy at Reynoldsburg High School in Ohio and Chavez Schools in Washington, D.C., engage in a capstone project. Students at Singapore American School are required to conduct a capstone project.
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  • To engage millions of students in local projects connected to global goals, it would be helpful to have: More content associated with each goal (GlobalGoals.org is a start); Templates for local projects; A microcredential system that could help pack projects full of valuable learning (i.e, science, math, communication and collaboration); Access to data sources, data tools and project tools (mentors would be really helpful); and A project gallery for completed contributions.
Meghan Cureton

Neuroscience Should Inform School Policies - Education Week - 1 views

  • key secondary school reform efforts need to emphasize learning activities involving metacognition, goal-setting, planning, working memory, reflection on one's learning, and frequent opportunities to make responsible choices.
  • What is essential for kids at this time of life is to be engaged in real-life learning experiences and peer-learning connections that put them under conditions of "hot cognition," where educators can help them along in the process of integrating their impulsiveness (positively viewed as excitement and motivation) with their reasoning abilities.
  • The implications for reform of secondary school are clear. Schools should provide more opportunities for students to be involved in apprenticeships, internships, service learning, community-based learning, small peer-learning groups, entrepreneur-based programs, and student-directed project-based learning
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  • key part of the secondary school curriculum should involve the teaching of stress-reduction methods, such as mindfulness meditation, yoga, and aerobic activity; exercise breaks during class; a strong physical education curriculum; and a broadly based extracurricular sports program for all students, not just the star athletes.
  • prefrontal cortex, which is the region controlling inhibition of impulses and the ability to plan, reflect, self-monitor, and make good decisions, doesn't fully develop until the early 20s. This means that while the limbic system or "emotional brain" is working at close to full capacity by early adolescence, the areas of the brain that could temper those feelings and impulses are still in the process of being constructed.
  • Neuroscience Should Inform School Policies
  • Consequently, key secondary school reform efforts need to emphasize learning activities involving metacognition, goal-setting, planning, working memory, reflection on one's learning, and frequent opportunities to make responsible choices.
  • Classroom teaching that focuses largely on delivering content through lectures and textbooks fails to engage the emotional brain and leaves unchanged those prefrontal regions that are important in metacognition.
  • Locking students into a set academic college-bound program of courses takes away their ability to make decisions about what most interests them (a process that integrates the limbic system's motivational verve with the prefrontal cortex's decisionmaking capacity).
  • Neuroscience research tells us that the teenage brain is exquisitely sensitive to environmental influences. This neuroplasticity makes it vulnerable to a wide range of societal dangers—traffic accidents, drug abuse, suicide, violence. But it also makes it acutely sensitive to the influence of teachers, for good or for ill.
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    "key secondary school reform efforts need to emphasize learning activities involving metacognition, goal-setting, planning, working memory, reflection on one's learning, and frequent opportunities to make responsible choices."
Meghan Cureton

How Do You Teach to the Standards When Doing Project-Based Learning? - 4 views

  • People often debate about whether we should be process-driven or product-driven in project-based learning. But I think there’s a third option. We can be learning-driven. In other words, we should start with the question, “What do we want students to learn?” and let that drive the process and the product.
  • PBL is not a license to ditch the standards or take a break from real learning.
  • #1: Inquiry-DrivenInquiry-driven PBL begins with a state of curiosity and wonder. It might be as simple as the sentence stem “I wonder why _________” or “I wonder how _________.” Students then have the opportunity to research, ideate, and create.
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  • #4: Problem-DrivenProblem-driven PBL begins with a specific problem or challenge that students must solve. An example is our maker challenges that present a specific scenario that leads students into research, problem-solving, ideation, and a final product that solves the initial challenge.
  • #3: Product-DrivenPBL experts often say, “Students should focus on the process and not the product.” But there’s also a time and a place for projects that challenge students to focus on developing a quality product. In these projects, the product has tighter parameters but the process is more flexible.
  • #2: Interest-DrivenAnother approach is the interest-driven PBL process.
  • #5: Empathy-Driven (Design Thinking)Empathy-driven PBL can have elements of the previous four PBL approaches.
Jim Tiffin Jr

Project-Based Learning Through a Maker's Lens | Edutopia - 5 views

  • A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      A nice list-style definition of a Maker.
  • A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      True, but (sadly) the converse is not always the case in some classrooms: A maker may always be a learner, but a learner is not always a maker.
  • A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Equality of these two ideas, process and product, is a value held by a Maker.
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  • Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Only in educational settings where content knowledge is deemed the most important indicator of learning.
  • With practice, the students can frame the questions themselves.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Essential when you are trying to develop agency in students.
  • Once completed, the project becomes less of a daily race to fulfill lesson plans and more of a quest to document your students' growing capabilities.
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      This reflective documentation process should be something that both teacher AND student are doing. The student point-of-view should be written for the benefit of the student, not the teacher. The teacher should coach this process for the student so that the monitoring of growth is seen as a value for the student. The teacher documentation should also inform the student as to their growth, but the information can be used for more "teacherly" purposes as well, such preparing for future activities or intentional pairings of students in the early phases of the PBL unit.
  • model it yourself first
    • Jim Tiffin Jr
       
      Always let your students see you, the teacher, as a learner - first and foremost!
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    The messy, hands-on Maker classroom is perfect for a PBL unit when the teacher is willing to collaborate, tinker, fix, break, and rebuild alongside students. Some fundamental elements to consider in the designing of a maker-centered project, but not as absolutes. It is important to realize that any project taken on in a maker-centered classroom is, by definition, a PBL experience.
  •  
    Fabulous piece about the myriad connection among PBL and Maker. And your commentary is so helpful and provocative. Thank you!
Meghan Cureton

What the Heck Is Project-Based Learning? | Edutopia - 0 views

  • "PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. Kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, not just at the end."
  • Teaching with PBL is the difference between the atmosphere at Disneyland and the atmosphere at a Six Flags resort.
  • PBL doesn't ask you to replace your content. It asks that you create a vehicle in which to communicate your content.
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  • "PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. Kids show what they learn as they journey through the unit, not just at the end."
  • PBL is the ongoing act of learning about different subjects simultaneously.
T.J. Edwards

Competency based learning key characteristic: Outcomes-based - Blackboard Blog - 0 views

  • The old concepts of quizzes, mid-term exams and final exams change from methods of judgment to an assessment system designed to help learners construct knowledge through a learn-practice-assess pathway.
  • Achieve short-term and long-term academic performance improvements focused on outcomes rather than inputs
  • Student learning outcomes are generally at the same level of granularity as competencies, and sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. A competency is a specific skill, knowledge, or ability that is both observable and measurable
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  • Institutional outcomes
  • Program outcomes
  • Student learning outcomes
  • For example, a team project that requires analyzing the business impacts of population shifts demonstrates realistic problem solving, and the assessment could even be embedded in a work context. This type of assessment requires more thorough demonstration of competencies than an objective assessment, which is typically delivered as a test with pre-determined right and wrong answers. Authentic assessment also provides learner-centric benefits such as collaboration with peers and genuinely valuable evidence of learning that can be used in a professional profile.
  • For example, an assessment could be aligned to competencies, occupational skills, program outcomes, and accreditation standards. The same assessment can award a badge for mastery achievement, show students the occupational skills they’ve demonstrated, and also roll up into evidence collection for accreditation and program improvement purposes
  • can optionally be shown to students
  • Consistent use of rubrics enables learner choice, since learners could be working on different assessments to master the same competencies
  • And when competency based education programs differentiate instructional roles, such that faculty subject matter experts might not be evaluating assessments, specialized assessors can all apply the same definitions of competencies by using the same rubrics.
Meghan Cureton

Project-based Learning: Are You Focused on the Project or the Learning? - 0 views

  •  
    HT @akytle
Bo Adams

The Future of Big Data and Analytics in K-12 Education - Education Week - 0 views

  • data scientists would then search the waters for patterns in each student's engagement level, moods, use of classroom resources, social habits, language and vocabulary use, attention span, academic performance, and more.
  • would be fed to teachers, parents, and students via AltSchool's digital learning platform and mobile app, which are currently being tested
  • AltSchool's 50-plus engineers, data scientists, and developers are designing tools that could be available to other schools by the 2018-19 school year.
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  • AltSchool is almost certain to provoke a backlash from parents and privacy advocates who see in its plans the potential for an Orwellian surveillance nightmare, as well as potentially unethical experimentation on children.
  • The term "big data" is generally used to describe data sets so large they must be analyzed by computers. Usually, the purpose is to find patterns and connections relating to human behavior and how complex systems function.
  • Analytics generally refers to the process of collecting such data, conducting those analyses, generating corresponding insights, and using that new information to make (what proponents hope will be) smarter decisions.
  • replacing the top-down, slow-moving bureaucratic structures that currently shape public education with a "networked model" in which students, teachers, and schools are connected directly by information and thus capable of learning and adapting more quickly.
  • 'Montessori 2.0': a kind of supercharged version of the progressive, project-based learning often found in elite private schools and privileged enclaves within traditional school systems.
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    Eventually, Ventilla envisions AltSchool technology facilitating an exponential increase in the amount of information collected on students in school, all in service of expanding the hands-on, project-based model of learning in place at the six private school campuses the company currently operates in Silicon Valley and New York City.
Meghan Cureton

Do historians miss the ideals of assessment, as some have suggested? - 0 views

  • Grading Smarter, Not Harder
  • Their recent finding that many students don’t learn critical thinking in undergraduate history courses -- a challenge to history’s sales pitch that its graduates are finely tuned critical thinkers.
  • A panel of professors here urged a sizable crowd of colleagues to embrace not just grades but formative, ongoing assessment to gauge student learning or lack thereof in real(er) time.
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  • LASER, an acronym for Love history, Acquire and analyze information, Solve difficult problems, Envision new explanations, and Reveal what you know. Sourcing work, which Calder called a “threshold concept” in history, means asking students to evaluate the reliability of various historical texts. Who made it? When? Why? What value does it hold for historians, if any?
  • letter grades “do little to differentiate the level of student effort or the quality of student work or student growth over the course of a semester or program,”
  • to the idea of “transparency,” which they all agreed begins with articulating clear student learning goals -- for themselves and their classes.
  • Whatever the activity or assessment, Mintz said it needs to be aligned with a particular learning objective. Research suggests that the most effective activities and assessments when it comes to student learning are considered “authentic,” or those that mirror professional practice and address some meaningful question,
  • Project and performance-based assessments are much more likely to provide a “valid measure of student proficiencies and higher-order thinking skills than are multiple choice or short-answer questions,” Mintz continued. And evaluation needs to be based on a detailed rubric, he said, suggesting that students may help create these rubrics.
  • But “a paradigm shift is occurring in higher education,” Mintz said. “We all know this. We’re sifting from teaching to learning, shifting from a sink-or-swim mentality to a mentality where we have obligation to bring all students to minimum viable level of competency.” That is regardless of institution type, he said.
  • think of themselves as "learning architects" whose meaningful "forward-looking" assessment will be a "true learning opportunity" for students.
  •  
    HT @cmtbasecamp
Bo Adams

Students Design, Tinker, Create and Discover through Maker-based Learning | NextGen Learning - 1 views

  • The nature of maker-based learning actively engages students, nurtures their agency, improves efficacy, and develops a creator or producer identity instead of a (passive) consumer one.
  • In Thomas’ experience, too many people fail to reflect on WHY they’re choosing certain tools, and HOW those tools will be integrated into the curriculum and culture of school.
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    Sometimes the impetus for making is a practical problem. Other times, play, curiosity and imagination are the motivators. Regardless, researchers from Harvard's Project Zero agree, "maker experiences help students learn to pursue their own passions and become self-directed learners, proactively seeking out knowledge and resources on their own" (Agency by Design, p. 3). HT Parker Thomas
Jim Tiffin Jr

My Favorite Projects in 2016 | Blog | Project Based Learning | BIE - 1 views

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    List of 15 projects, that caught the eye of BIE Editor in Chief John Larmer. One of which is the Kindergarten PBL: Happy Habitats organized and executed by MVPS Kindergarten Team.
Meghan Cureton

The Case For Competency-Based Education | Getting Smart - 0 views

  • transformed schools that feature tasks and projects that challenge young people in authentic ways to build design, collaboration, and communication skills that prepare young people for navigating new and complex situations.
  • Quality preparation. Much of the corporate training world has shifted from participation to demonstrated skills in order to improve job readiness.
  • Equity. If gap-closing equity is a stated goal, then structures, schedules, and supports can be aimed at struggling learners that need more time and assistance to accelerate their learning 
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  • Learning science. As Harvard’s Todd Rose notes, there is no average; each of us has a “jagged profile.” He and others argue that we should address the individual needs of learners.
  • Agency
  • The extent to which a student owns their own learning, often called agency, is key
  • innovation is required in five dimensions: More innovative learning models and networks, particularly for high schools (XQ, NewSchools, and NGLC grantees are a good start); Competency-based learning platforms, gradebooks, badge and portfolio systems; Quality guidance systems that ensure equity and access. Mastery-based transcripts that allow students to more fully share their capabilities with postsecondary institutions and employers; State policy that advances a relevant graduate profile, makes room for innovation pilots, and articulates a quality outcome framework (see the CompetencyWorks report Fit for Purpose).
Bo Adams

Authentic Design Challenges in Project-Based Learning: Fostering Innovators - Medium - 0 views

  • By connecting Design Thinking with Project-Based Learning, these amazing teams helped their students see how innovation and imagination can solve not just local challenges, but those faced by humans around the world. The design process required the kind of critique and revision PBL asks of students, and the resulting increases in risk taking and resilience will serve students well in any field. Most importantly, by grounding the design work in empathy interviews and authentic challenges, students were invited not only to witness the world as it is, but also to begin crafting the world as it might be.
Bo Adams

The Monthly Recharge - Risk Over Safety - 0 views

  • The learning classroom is active, collaborative, and full of real, thoughtful, academic-discipline-informed discussion with students working together to solve challenging problems
  • But when the teachers see it, really get it, there is no going back. It is what they are after for their students and classes: problem-based, project-based, inquiry-based, discussion-based-all student-centered deep learning.
  • And to pursue learning for their students, teachers must be pedagogical scientists. Every day, in every class, teachers must conduct research and experiments into the most compelling learning experiences for their students. In these experiments is unavoidably innovation.
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  • We can support teacherly innovation/experimentation a host of ways: Establish it as an expectation in posts for jobs and at the time of hiring new teachers. Discuss it in teacher evaluations and self-assessments. Feature examples of it in faculty meetings. Provide innovation grants for summer design work. Give time to teachers (through course loads, class enrollments, course reductions, and even sabbaticals) for innovation work.
Bo Adams

Purpose Based Learning (a #FailUp moment) | Planting T's - 0 views

  • So what is the big #failup moment? Well…perhaps product is more important than teachers tend to let on?
  • Reflecting back, I am more and more convinced that product and process are equally important. p[-[ I don’t mean to devalue the process by any means. That is where the learning happens. But the product – the thing – the solution – is why the learning happens
  • Last semester I had quite a different “engagement curve” with my T.E.D. class major project. In meeting Alex and 3D printing a prosthetic hand, my class and I made noticeable shift from working on a project to working for a purpose
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