When students are engaged in learning science or math which is personal to them (real world problem solving), they become more engaged in the learning process. Project based learning situations in science and math increase opportunity for students to internalize and make connections.
Stimulating critical thinking using technology has the potential to create more in depth understanding of science and math content by students when engaged in learning activities which integrate in-class and on-line technology resources.
Technology tools support stimulation of both inquiry-based and critical thinking skills by engaging students in exploring, thinking, reading, writing, researching, inventing, problem-solving, and experiencing the world outside their classroom. This is accomplished through learning content through the lens of video to multimedia to the internet (Using Technology to Improve Student Achievement, NCREL, 2005).
The Flip camera is great for all types of projects in science and math - at any grade level. Flip cameras are small handheld video cameras that can record 30 or 60 minutes worth of video. They connect to a computer with a USB plug that "flips" out from the side of the camera.
The benefits of these cameras include another means for assessing students understanding of concepts beyond worksheets and tests. Besides a teacher's record, the videos provide a digital record for parents and administrators to show a student's successes or areas which need improvement.
Often we search for meaningful ways to integrate digital technology in project based learning activities given to our students. We also would like our students to develop a thorough understanding of the concepts underlying the work - after all this is the purpose of the project.
Giving students the opportunity to complete and present their project through a digital lens has one great advantage - student engagement. This in turn causes students to develop a more in depth understanding of concepts.
An algebra project focusing on a theme which interests students is more likely to engage them in the project, so lets take a look at sports. Many students participate in sports at some level, whether as part of a school team or a community team.
For the most part these same students do not understand the costs involved to host the sport. Also, they do not understand how much money is needed to ensure a profitable season so the sport can continue from year to year.
A framework is provided for making connections between everyday math problem and solving real world math problems. Connections are made regarding project based learning for teachers new to the process, along with recommendations for teachers who are veterans of project based learning.
Project based learning using all or any of the three online resources offers a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges.
Project Based Learning is an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation. These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the science or math classroom.
Six math projects that integrate real-world math problems are presented as a teaching strategy for helping students develop a greater understanding of math.