Project-Based Learning Through a Maker’s Lens


“A Maker is an individual who communicates, collaborates, tinkers, fixes, breaks, rebuilds, and constructs projects for the world around him or her. A Maker, re-cast into a classroom, has a name that we all love: a learner. A Maker, just like a true learner, values the process of making as much as the product.

“Making holds a number of opportunities and challenges for a teacher. Making, especially to educators and administrators unfamiliar with it, can seem to lack the academic rigor needed for a full-fledged place in an educational ecosystem. However, project-based learning has already created a framework for Making in the classroom. Let’s see how Making could work when placed inside a PBL curriculum unit.” — Patrick Waters

Source: Edutopia.org

Shhh!!! The Students Are Learning

Facilitating Learning: Part 1

I was invited to be the speaker at the Arkansas Christian Educators Association Conference recently. Since I had more than 3 hours of time allotted, I was able to design a series of activities and discussions around the topics of facilitated learning and technology integration. I’m going to share some of the resources in a series of posts. This is the first entry in the series.

The information below is part of what I shared with the leaders of the various faculty groups participating in the conference ahead of time. This gave them a chance to consider some of the broad ideas prior to participating in the workshop. This was important as we ended the day by allowing attendees to breakout into their faculty groups. The goal was for the administrators to facilitate conversation about how the information presented during the day might fit into their schools, discuss some of the barriers and benefits, and to identify ways to support implementation. Flipping the instruction allowed the administrators to be exposed to the information ahead of time, reflect on it, and have the chance to better prepare to guide their faculty’s conversation.

Shhh

Shhh!!! The Students Are Learning:
Being an Effective Classroom Facilitator

Description

We often hear that teachers need to be facilitators of learning rather than deliverers of information. Through this workshop, we will begin to develop strategies for managing a classroom where students have a leading role in learning and the teacher becomes an engaged classroom coach. Strategies for designing and practical tips for implementing units will be shared.

Before You Begin

  • Please reflect on your experiences designing and implementing facilitated learning activities and units.
  • What worked well and what would you do differently next time?
  • What advice can you share with teachers preparing to facilitate learning?

Screencast

This screencast will provide you with an overview of the big ideas that we will be discussing. We will dive much deeper during the workshops and explore application across grade levels and curricular areas, strategies for implementation, benefits and barriers, and more. This video is simply intended to provide you with an early frame of reference as you participate in the upcoming workshops and as you prepare to facilitate the afternoon discussion with your individual school or division.

Shhh!!! The Students Are Learning: Being an Effective Classroom Facilitator from Clif Mims on Vimeo.

Project-Based Learning Spotlight: PBL Success Start to Finish

This video from Edutopia spotlights Manor New Technology High School, “where an unwavering commitment to an effective school-wide project-based learning model keeps both students and teachers motivated and achieving their best” (Source). It is “a public high school just outside of Austin in Manor, Texas. It is an entirely project-based learning school that has consistently achieved outstanding results since opening. We followed a project there for three weeks to find out what makes their model so effective” (Source).

Introduction to Project-Based Learning

Speaking at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Annual Conference, Pat Bassett, NAIS President, highlighted Edutopia‘s project-based learning resources. The George Lucas Educational Foundation has touted PBL’s merits for many years. I decided to revisit the PBL section at Edutopia and thought I’d share this video. It provides a good introduction to project-based learning.

The following quote from Seymour Papert about PBL especially stood out to me. This sort of flies in the face of what we are currently seeing in many of the test-focused schools.

“The first thing you have to do is give up the idea of curriculum. Curriculum meaning you have to learn this on a given day. Replace it by a system where you learn this where you need it. So, that means you are going to put kids in a position where they’re going to use the knowledge that they get.