Thursday, August 11, 2011

Technology and Project Based Learning

Today was our first day back to work. There is some sadness that summer is over but you can feel the excitement as teachers return for another school year. As I had a moment today between back to school meetings, I reflected on the work I did over the summer. As usual, I taught some summer workshops on items like CPS clickers, SharePoint websites, etc.

But.....none of these compare to a new workshop that I taught with my colleague Elaine. The workshop was titled Designing Technology-Infused, Project-Based Learning Experiences.

For two days, we showcased various Web 2.0 resources and collaborated with our teachers to see how these could fit into a project based learning environment. The work they did and the ideas they shared were truly inspiring! Here is my favorite idea from the session.

1. A 5th grade teacher wanted his field trip to be more than an isolated event. So he decided to tie this field trip in with his animals science unit. Our local zoo has a list of endangered and threatened species that are housed in the zoo. So, students will be doing some research while on the field trip about one of the threatened and endangered species. This entry event will lead into their study of animals, how they become endangered. I love this idea because it takes the field trip from being just an isolated event to one that sparks curiosity and wonder for the students. To incorporate one of our technology tools, this teacher is going to use  as a central note taking/thought area for students. By using this resource, the students have a running list in which to refer during the project.

During our 2 day session, we highlighted many resources. Here are a few that became our participants favorites.

Data for Projects
Presentation Tools
Collaboration Tools
Multimedia Project Resource List

Project-based learning just seems to make sense. When done successfully, it allows students to practice/learn 21st century skills, makes the learning just more exciting, and is a great opportunity to use many technology tools.

This is Technology that actually works!

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