4 ways to use Virtual Reality in project-based learning

VR’s real world impact on students

Real World PBLVirtual reality is exciting and many of our students are already using this technology in gaming (as some were quick to tell me). So why aren’t we using it more in education?

Maybe we just need some ideas on how to use VR in education. So let’s start by looking at virtual reality in project-based learning (PBL).

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4 more ways to help middle schoolers get organized

Helping students get organized

help middle schoolers get organizedMiddle schoolers’ lives are multi-faceted, dynamic and dramatic. And while we talk about how to grow self-directed, engaged and motivated students, that growth can’t take place while students are overwhelmed and anxious about managing their daily lives.

Last time, we looked at how to organize the tech itself. Now let’s look at how to use powerful tech tools (shiny!) to help make middle school manageable.

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4 ways to help middle school students organize their tech

“Where did I put that cord? My computer is dead!”

help middle school students get organized with their techHow many times have you heard this in your classroom? So much of middle school is developing systems to stay organized: “How do I get to all these classes? How do I open my locker?” And with the addition of technology: “How do I keep track of my school computer? Which Google Doc is the homework in? ”

Let’s look at 4 ways students can learn independence and grow leadership through the care and organization of technology.

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Can sustained silent reading help reluctant readers?

How student choice can support literacy

sustained silent readingEnglish teacher Laela Warnecke set out to answer one question: “How might sustained silent reading impact 8th graders?”

Warnecke examined the effect of sustained silent reading on the engagement and achievement of her students. She surveyed her students and helped them set aside time during the day to read whatever they wanted. And it turned out that her so-called “reluctant readers” weren’t all that reluctant after all.

This is a story about student choice, student engagement, and how action research can impact student outcomes.

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How to fight fake news in the field

A case study from one classroom

how to fight fake newsIn part one, we explored how middle grade students are struggling to recognize fake news or sponsored posts and shared many tools for teachers looking to tackle this thorny issue.

But what does it really look like We sat down for a Q & A with Christie Nold, sixth grade educator and fighter of fake news.

Here’s her mini-unit on telling real from fake news.

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4 resources for fighting fake news

Teaching news literacy in the social media age

digital citizenship and students onlineWe’ve been hearing a lot lately about the problem of fake news stories and how they might impact our impressions of the world. Imagine: if it’s hard for adults to spot fake news stories, then how hard is it for students?

Turns out: VERY HARD.

Let’s look at some resources for helping students determine when a source is truly credible or not.

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iLead: a model for service learning and leadership

Personalization for school-based service learning

a model for service learningLooking for a way to harness students’ energy while giving them meaningful work that appeals to their personal interests? One model for service learning I’ve used is iLead: a “job-based” program that channels student interest into meaningful positions around the school.

School community improves, students learn responsibility in a way that engages with their interests, everybody wins.

Here’s how it works.

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Project-based learning: Extreme weather PBL unit

This is Real World PBL

Real World PBLNow we’ve been down the PBL highway, looking at PBL planning, entry events, supports for PBL, culminating events, and technology tools. It’s time to examine at what PBL looks like when educators stop being polite and start getting real: this is PBL in real classrooms.

Let’s start with Courtney Elliott’s fourth and fifth grade class at Proctor Elementary School in Proctor, Vermont. Elliott’s first PBL unit was designed to teach students how to do PBL, while also addressing Next Generation Science Standards. She tiered her approach to build responsibility in the project and to provide supports on the way.

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Culminating Events for Project-Based Learning

Honor scholars with an authentic audience for their work

culminating events for project-based learningThe culminating event! It’s the lovely finish line of a Project-Based learning unit. The big event. You’ve been planning for months for this event that celebrates the projects and the learning in an authentic, community based forum. All along, it’s been a strong motivator for scholars, grounding the relevant work they’ve been doing.

So. What does it look like to pull off a memorable and meaningful culminating event for project-based learning?

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Assessment in Project-Based Learning

Signs along the way

assessment in project-based learningAssessments can be hard to create and manage, but they are a necessary part of PBL. You can do it!

Assessments are often done with the elements of Understanding by Design : beginning with the end in mind.

Here are some ideas for how to use assessment — both formative and summative — to report to families, inform your practice, and improve student learning.

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