Learning is doing.
This implies that the best way to learn is by doing it. Having practical knowledge and not just passive and theoretical helps an individual to make the best out of their experience.
Project based learning is one of the most common pedagogy where students learn through hands on activities while completing projects.
Technology integration in PBL plays an important role as it works as a push for kids to be more involved in their projects. Reason being kids love technology. When integrated in education, tech becomes a powerful learning tool that teachers can harness to make learning meaningful, relevant, and rigorous. And when technology is combined with powerful instructional approaches, like Project Based Learning, learning can go deeper.
Despite amazing results observed, there are myths around it that hold back a lot of educators to give it a try. Read below and debunk your myths around PBL so that next time when you want to give it a try no lame reason holds you back.
1. PBL Is Just Doing Some Activity.
PBL is based around doing an activity but this activity is backed by lessons that help students in developing essential skills. The activities involved in these projects challenge students intellectually which helps them develop problem solving capability and develop critical and creative thinking.
Also, it is not mandatory that every time students are working on a project they are making some artifact. A broad definition of PBL includes projects in which students solve a complex problem and defend their solution in an oral presentation or in writing.
2. The Pedagogy Is Time Consuming
PBL is time consuming but it is time well spent. the time spent on these projects help students in many ways but this depends on how well the project is designed. The ideology is not to cover many aspects but to make sure that students learn selected important areas in greater depths.
Also, it is not necessary that all projects will take months to be completed. There are projects that can be completed in a span of week or couple of days. It all depends on the design of project and how it is planned and implemented.
And a teacher does not have to go all-PBL, all the time -- even one or two projects a year is better than none. Some teachers are concerned that planning a project takes too much time. PBL does require significant advance preparation, but planning projects gets easier the more you do it. You can also save planning time by collaborating with other teachers, sharing projects, adapting projects from other sources, and running the same project again in later years.
3. No Room Left For Direct Instruction
This is one major concern of all teachers. However, it’s nothing to worry about as direct instruction has its time and place in a project. Many teachers are often hesitant about project-based learning because they’re not sure how it will allow them to focus on the learning outcomes they are responsible for.
Not just project based learning allows you to provide direct instruction in classroom it makes it even more meaningful and effective when compared to the traditional classroom. How?
Jessica Altounian from PenPal School describes it in her blog post, “The key is to provide ‘just in time’ direct instruction linked to student inquiry. When teachers launch a project and provide a powerful driving question, students then generate their own questions related to the project or their ‘need to knows.’ As a teacher examines this list, they can reflect on what questions might be an appropriate place for direct instruction. Similarly, as teachers assess student learning and discover gaps, they may need to provide direct instruction to some or all students to ensure they learn. Rather than automatically provide direct instruction, teachers need to do it when students need it.”
4. PBL Isn't Standards-Based And Focuses On Soft Skills
Again it’s all about the design of the project. PBL models available today are well designed. They help students gain content knowledge and academic skills as well as learn how to solve problems, work in teams, think creatively, and communicate their ideas. When planning a project, teachers should align the Driving Question, student products and tasks with important standards, and use rigorous assessment practices to document evidence of achievement. PBL marries the teaching of critical thinking skills with rich content, because students need something to think critically about -- it cannot be taught independent of content.
Make sure you mention your experience and views on PBL in the comment section below!