During the first week of this course we selected what topic to address on introducing PBL. I chose group 3: What are the current and potential issues surrounding the use of Project Based Learning in traditional or nontraditional schools. I found numerous articles on the benefits of project based learning primarily by Crane(2006) and Morehouse (2008), and interesting video ACE Leadership High School. All of the sources I found pointed to how PBL benefited students, including those “at-risk.”
I continued looking for articles for this assignment and found several that specifically addressed PBL and diverse learners. Intel, in a publication for designing effective projects for their education program, put it very clearly “many teachers are pleased to find a model that accommodates diverse learners by introducing a wider range of learning opportunities into the classroom” (2007). Other articles highlighted how using technology eases the differentiation of instruction (Hobgood & Ormsby, nd). A study conducted by Beneke and Ostrosky highlighted how project based learning worked well with preschool students with diverse needs (2009). I was not surprised to find that research supports the use of PBL for diverse learners, I was somewhat surprised by successfully utilization with diverse needs three year old preschoolers considering all the hype you hear that it can’t work with kindergarten students. The study puts a damper on the argument that primary students are too young to learn using project based learning.
As a CTE teacher, project based learning is the way I teach. Some projects are more structured than others, all are guided by standards, and allow for ease in differentiating instruction. I think teaching in a computer lab fosters this style of teaching, as does being an “elective” teacher. Even though the state has high standards for continued program certification, my content doesn’t come under close scrutiny like language arts, math, and science. This has allowed freedom to use PBL in my classroom and presented numerous team-teaching opportunities over the years.
For my project, I am rather torn. I found an interesting project on ePals that might be a good springboard. However, the Super Commercials from Teach 21 really piqued my interest. The project is aligned to our school’s curriculum map, so adapting it would be easy. I think that using the Super Commercial as a starting point and blending it with an old bell work assignment might just be a good starter project for my students. If I am headed down the wrong path, then it is back to the drawing board.
Beneke, S., & Ostrosky, M. (2009). Teachers’ views of the efficacy of incorporating the project approach into classroom practice with diverse learners. Early Childhood Research and Practice, 11(1).
Crane, E. (2006). Global nomads: At-Risk students connect with peers worldwide.
Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/global-nomads-group-worldwide-videoconferencing
Intel (2007) retrieved from: http://download.intel.com/education/Common/ro/Resources/DEP/projectdesign/DEP_pbl_research.pdf
Hobgood, B., & Ormsby, L. (nd). Inclusion in the 21st-century classroom: Differentiating with technology. Retrieved from http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/every-learner/6776
Morehouse, L. (2008). Diplomas for (would-be) dropouts: Project learning serves the most at-risk students. Edutopia. Retrieved fromhttp://www.edutopia.org/at-risk-students-project-learning