(...one of my students)
Summer Semester 2012 is going to be very busy - this semester I am taking a Project Based Learning course toward my EDTECH degree.
My first assignment was to answer the following questions:
Question 1: Define Project Based Learning:
Answer: The key words for Project Based Learning (PBL) are: innovative, intrinsic motivation, higher-order thinking, authentic learning, 21 century skills, problem solving, engagement, collaboration, effective communication, students' inquiry, student-driven, and teacher-facilitated. Music to teachers' ears! Describing briefly, PBL is an innovative approach to learning which allows students to identify a concept of interest, conduct the research, and critically analyze the findings. Thus, learning becomes student-driven, as opposed to teacher-driven, which, in turn, increases students' motivation to proceed. Moreover, PBL is not a "supplementary activity" to support learning (Bell, 2010); rather, it is the curriculum concept taught through a project (Bell, 2010.)
Answer: Based on the literature review, Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning have many commonalities: both are student-driven and are based on the students' inquiry, teacher-facilitated, as well as allow students to engage and be responsible for their own learning. One of the major differences, however, as I understood, was that while the students working on Project BL identify their own questions or concepts which they would want to research, the students in Problem BL are presented with an "ill-constructed" problem for which they will need to find a solution.
Question 3: Why should teachers consider incorporating PBL in their classroom?
Answer: PBL allows students to identify their own interests and pursue new knowledge for their own authentic questions. As the result, students demonstrate a higher level of motivation and engagement. In addition, as they learn "by doing", they develop better understanding and retain the new knowledge considerably longer, as opposed to when they study "for the test".
Question 4. What are the essential components of a PBL approach to instruction?
- Student driven
- Teacher facilitated
- Step-by-step, following the previously set deadlines (set by the students; guided/approved by the teacher)
- Technology supported
Bell, S. (January 01, 2010). Project-Based Learning for the 21st Century: Skills for the Future. Clearing House: a Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83, 2, 39-43.
Belland, B. R., Glazewski, K. D., & Ertmer, P. A. (January 01, 2009). Inclusion and Problem-Based Learning: Roles of Students in a Mixed-Ability Group. Rmle Online: Research in Middle Level Education, 32, 9, 1-19.
Thomas, J. A Review of Research on Project -Based Learning: http://www.bie.org/images/uploads/general/9d06758fd346969cb63653d00dca55c0.pdf