Student exhibitions of project-based learning
At this point we all know how important it is for students to share project-based learning with an authentic audience. It shows students they have power in the world, and that their research really makes a difference. But how best to design an exhibition that empowers students and provides a compelling, informative experience for the community?
Cabot High School did it by hosting an evening that combined student TED Talks, interactive sound sculptures and a high school funk band.
It. Was. Glorious.
In this episode of our podcast, we take you to Cabot High School’s FLOW event, where you’ll hear what it was like to connect with their community around water conservation PBL.
Why digital composition matters
I’d like you to think back to your days as a student. What kinds of writing did you do? Who read it? What made it important to you? And what made it important to the world?
If you’re like most people, you’re probably drawing a blank right now. Some of today’s students, though, can clearly articulate just how and why their writing is important. And we don’t mean writing as you might imagine, but rather digital composition: digital stories, digital portfolios, documentary films, and of course, podcasts. For each of these, there is a real audience, one beyond the more typical audience of one, the teacher.
Google Expedition aims to connect students with refugee experience
Teaching empathy to our future citizens of the world may be the most important work that we can do as educators. And it’s not something we can force. It has to be an organic outgrowth of the other lessons we build.
Let’s look at how we might make it happen with virtual reality.
This is Real World PBL
Now 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.
A case study in a 1:1 school
Our small school is blessed to have an unusually large library space: nearly 3000 square feet. Over the last eight years, there has been much refurbishment in our library, such as repainting and installing new carpet, new furnishings, ceiling, lights and window shades. Our library has become an attractive, much-used space by all ages, with an average of 600-700 materials circulating monthly.
In a perfect world, this physical library space would be in the center of our school, not on a lower level two floors away from the middle school classrooms. But with the integration of 1:1 tablet devices for all our middle school students, the distance between the physical library and these students has shortened considerably.
Honor scholars with an authentic audience for their work
The 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?
Support for visual, attention & motor control challenges
Remember training Dragon Dictation to recognize your student’s voice? That technology was pretty profound in 2004, but the options now to support differentiation for learners will blow your mind. What’s better is that we don’t have to offer these technologies to identified students. Any student (or adult!) can use these apps and extensions if they are helpful.
Let’s explore some FREE Google Chrome apps and extensions that support differentiation for a variety of learners.
Strategies for starting a research project
Whether the inspiring teacher examples from my last post roused your inner researcher, or you’re just one of those continuous improvement people (as most teachers are), it’s exciting to think that we could have some potential new knowledge creators out there.
So let’s take a look at how to make this work.
Signs along the way
Assessments 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.
3 examples using blended learning
Let’s explore how some Vermont teachers are shifting their instruction and assessment practices to move all students toward proficiency. Three different educators have changed the way they assess proficiency in their classrooms. Each has created a way for students to have control over the pacing of instruction and have included students in monitoring progress and growth, using a blended learning environment.