Topic 5: Project Based Learning Models

Reading

Multiple Intelligences

Howard Gardner, Professor in Cognition and Education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, has demonstrated that thre are multiple types of human intelligence. During the second half of the twentieth century, he developed his theory of multiple intelligences.

Dr. Gardner redefined how educators should think about intelligence, and he influenced how curriculum and instruction should be thought of to meet the learning needs of all students.
In the 1960s, Jerome Bruner, psychologist and educator, studied and wrote about perception, learning, memory, and cognition in young children. Bruner describes learning as an active process, in which the learner is the transformer of existing ideas and concepts into new knowledge.

Models of Project Based Learning

Seven Elements of PBL:
According to The Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project:
"Project-based learning (PBL) is a model for classroom activity that shifts away from the classroom practices of short, isolated, teacher-centered lessons and emphasizes, instead, learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrated with real world issues and practices."
Project-based learning requires students to learn skills by completing individual and team projects.
It is an instructional strategy and not a curriculum. Michael Simkin, Director of the Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project, defines project-based learning as, "a method of teaching in which students acquire new knowledge and skills in the course of designing, planning, and producing a multimedia project."
The Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project identifies seven elements, or dimensions of project-based learning supported by multimedia. These elements, listed below, are explained in detail at: http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/PBLGuide/WhyPBL.html

Project-based learning (PBL) is a model for classroom activity that shifts away from the classroom practices of short, isolated teacher-centered lessons, and emphasizes instead, learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrated with real world issues and practices.

Higher Order Thinking Skills
As we develop curriculum for our students we will want to promote critical thinking and higher order thinking skills. Bloom's Taxonomy is a useful tool to help make sure we are extending our student's thinking skills. All too often curriculum can be aimed just at the two lower thinking skills of recall and comprehension. Project based learning with technology integration allows us to foster the four higher order skills of application, anyalysis, synthesis and evaluation. Take some time to look over the following chart and task wheel:
http://www.coun.uvic.ca/learn/program/hndouts/bloom.html
http://www.stedwards.edu/cte/resources/BloomPolygon.pdf
Now think about the project you are developing for your students. How does your project address the higher order thinking skills? Did you find any ideas that will help you encourge your student's to use their higher order thinking?
The SCANS (Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills) suggests that in order for our students to successfully enter the work force they need to develop the following critical thinking skills:
A. Creative Thinking--generates new ideas
B. Decision Making--specifies goals and constraints, generates alternatives, considers risks, and evaluates and chooses best alternative
C. Problem Solving--recognizes problems and devises and implements plan of action
D. Seeing Things in the Mind's Eye--organizes, and processes symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, and other information
E. Knowing How to Learn--uses efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply new knowledge and skills
F. Reasoning--discovers a rule or principle underlying the relationship between two or objects and applies it when solving a problem.

This list is taken from : http://www.academicinnovations.com/report.html
As you think about the project you are developing, consider how you are developing the SCANS Thinking Skills in your students.