Project-Based Learning vs. Projects

Doing Projects versus Project Based Learning

I’ve been an ELA teacher for 4 years but I get bored easily…so last year, I approached my principal and asked to teach social studies or reading and instead, she asked me to help start a technology program at our school with Jonathan Best, the 8th grade writing teacher. I gladly accepted and have never regretted it. I love teaching a technology class for 2 main reasons:

  1. Teaching a technology class keeps boredom at bay because I have to stay on my toes and keep up with what’s new and how to teach it. You wouldn’t believe how difficult it is staying ahead of my students when it comes to what’s new and cool. Also, a technology class has built-in student investment…every child that walks through my classroom door excitedly asks to know what we’re learning that day.
  2. I teach in one of the lowest income schools in Denver. When you put the latest technology into kids’ hands and tell then that their future is what they make of it, you’re not lying. There is massive technology gap that keeps low-income kids from succeeding in the business world and I’m aiming to put a dent in that. This year my students have gone from barely knowing how to turn on a computer and typing an average of 10 WPM to being able to successfully make movies, create and deliver excellent presentations, type over 40 WPM, code using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, use the internet for academic research and so many other practical skills that they need.

I use project-based learning throughout the year, but sometimes get caught up in the “project” part rather than having the kids learning and answering BIG QUESTIONS themselves. This article is the best one I’ve read that helps differentiate PBL and mere projects. If you or someone you know would benefit from reading this article, PLEASE pass it along because it has cleared up probably about 2 years of misconceptions for me.

12 Ways to Know if You’re in a Project-Based Learning Environment or Merely Having Kids Create Projects in Your Classroom.

Update:

I’ve barely published this post and a tech-teacher friend has already given me another website that is awesome!

https://challengebasedlearning.org

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and all around the social media globe!

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