Project Based Learning

Look at Me, I’m Drowning by neener nina is licensed under CC BY 4.0
Look at Me, I’m Drowning by neener nina is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Today’s Classrooms:

Many of today’s classrooms still tend to be teacher based learning. That seems to be slowly turning. With the growth of technology, it seems some classrooms are starting to switch to students based learning. Student based learning is a learning style I became familiar with only through college. In some college classes, I would be given an overall problem to solve and then would need to come up with solutions and reasons for my solutions. However, in my primary grade school years, a problem would have been introduced to us and then the teacher would teach us how society decided to fix the problem. But, through the growth of project based learning, student based learning may be ready for the primary grades. What do you think?

My Impressions:

The project base model approach to teaching is a very intriguing concept for the primary grade level. I don’t think anyone can argue that teachers should be teaching life skills. Skills needed in the real world. A method of teaching that gives students a hands-on experience they can take with them into the job force. I do have a bit of hesitance on jumping on this band wagon. The United States has experienced a decline in the educational status of the American population. The question is, is a project based learning method the correct approach to this problem? If you were to throw all your students into the deep end of the pool, will they be able to swim? Most likely, some will be able to swim, and some will not be able to swim. I have this same feeling when it comes to project based learning. This method requires more from a student than the teacher based learning. This is not necessarily bad, but if you do not teach your students to swim, they will end up drowning. So, I think there has to be a foundation of skills that our taught to the students before a successful project based learning theme will be successful. I don’t know if there is a specific grade in which this happens. I also don’t know how to fully implement this with today’s mix of students with a wide variety of academic abilities. Yes, I think project based learning is a great idea but, I don’t want half of my class drowning in the process. Perhaps a modified version of project based learning is warranted. I think it will all depend on your students, your students’ abilities, and the teacher. Only time will tell.

Project based learning design resources:

http://bie.org/

http://www.bobpearlman.org/

Advantages/Disadvantages:

The advantages of project based learning is that students develop life skills while also learning grade appropriate learning standards. The disadvantage is that this method of teaching in the primary level is relatively new and needs to be studied more to teach others how to properly incorporate this learning method in the classroom for all students to be successful.

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2 thoughts on “Project Based Learning

  1. Hi Scott! You had some great information in your blog. I really liked your analogy about jumping into the deep end of the pool where some people are able to swim and some are not. This type of learning really does require the teacher to be ready to lifeguard! Even though the students are working in groups and the teacher is not in front of the class giving instruction, the teacher must stay on his/her toes the entire time surveying the classroom to make sure that everyone is understanding what they are doing. As long as teachers make an effort to do this, I would love to see more PBL in Elementary Schools. I do agree it seems to be more for the older elementary grades, but I do think some basic PBL concepts could be applied to K-2 as well. Thanks for your insight!

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  2. While I think the founders of PBL believe that “there is no wrong way” to approach a problem, I do think students could benefit from some teacher instruction here. Perhaps the teacher could introduce the kids to some research resources before the project is assigned…although this could be problematic as well because students tend to merely do what their told and this might limit them. I think the key is to have the teacher actively involved in everything the students are doing….sort of like the “granny” network in the video we watched by Sugatra Mitra. We need to be there to support, to pose questions to the students and facilitate learning without controlling the learning. Its a difficult balance but I believe it can be done. And with the right grouping of students I think most children will benefit from this environment. I’ve even witnessed my moderate/severe special needs children work together to solve a problem in my own classroom. One of my students wanted a way to make the blocks stay up when weight was applied and he was visibly becoming frustrated. Just as I was about to step in, a slightly higher functioning student came over and solved his problem. From then on, the first student no longer was frustrated….he simply remembered what the second student taught him and built on that. Now if they can learn from each other, PBL can probably work for everyone in my opinion.

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