The school I taught at before coming to my current school was a PBL or Project-Based Learning school. This meant that most of the concepts and skills that were being taught to students were part of a larger projects — students love to learn this way. Although most schools really do work this way, this school had made it part of it’s formal identity. Just to be clear, my current school teaches a lot through projects as well.
Here is a rough idea at how project-based learning works…
Step One: Define — give your students a real-world problem or process and ask them to make things better, easier, faster, cheaper, more effective or more enjoyable. This is usually done through a question. For example, in fifth grade this coming year my question might be: “If you lived during the Renaissance, what would you have done to get your work noticed? So that people would be talking about your work hundreds of years later.”
Step Two: Plan — students need to take time to understand information about the subject, through study and research students can use school technology to be better equipped to answer the above question.
Step Three: Do — using different techniques students then do the project, in the case of the Renaissance question, I will ask my students to produce a podcast.
Step Four: Review — student finish the project by reviewing each others work and by posting their projects online for the world to see.
If has been my experience that project-based learning can be one of the best ways to teach 21st Century Skills and technology to our students. Rather than just teaching them a random skill like how to edit audio — just make learning the skill part of a much larger project.Start Your Own After-School iPad Boot Camp