I'm pulling together resources and best practice.about PBL. I'm looking for:
Any way we can help design projects that engage and motivate students would be great to share.
I see pockets of excellence and I'd like to see and share more projects. I write a column for OnCUE and am PD chair of SIGilt. I provide coaching and help schools and organizations write strategic plans.
My focus is on designing creative learning environments that personalizes learning. In doing that, we are changing the role of the teacher and moving to a more learner-centered model. This means the teacher is more of a co-learner and co-designer of curriculum with their students. This is a challenge for many teachers and schools. Because of all the accountability issues and teachers only knowing what they were taught, changing to this type of environment where students drive the curriculum with questions, where the teacher is a facilitator, where there is no right answer, takes time and, unfortunately, gets some resistance.
I believe that an important part of PBL is teaching students how to collaborate. Often, teachers just take for granted that students know how to collaborate, and I mean truly collaborate, not just sit in a group together. Also, students need to know how to work with people who get on their nerves and to play off of each other's strengths. Teaching students how to collaborate should be included at the beginning of any PBL activity.
As far as PBL activities that I have facilitated, we used ThinkQuest for an elementary classroom to collaborate with another elementary classroom in another school. We've also had an elementary class collaborate with a middle school class using ThinkQuest.
Michelle - you are so right! Collaboration is very important. This is a tough skill for even adults. If you look at 21st century skills and what employers want, collaboration and teamwork is very important. I wrote a post "Skills and Values Employers Want" touching on this.
If you have great activities that encourage collaboration and group work, please share. I really would like to know more how you designed your project with elementary and middle school classes. Thank you so much for sharing!