Category Archives: PROJECT BASED LEARNING

Why we should use INFOGRAPHICS

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FirmBee / Pixabay

INFOGRAPHIC is a visual representation/interpretation of factual data, knowledge or informative text. The benefits of infographics in classroom are obvious. They are visually attractive and engaging and make sometimes dry content more “digestible”. They encourage students’ critical thinking and help develop their digital competencies. They can be used by students and teachers in a range of ways – for creating timelines or personal profiles, for promoting, advertising and raising awareness or for demonstrating and interpreting factual information, just to name a The pdf document below was created in three different programs – canva, pikchart and, my favourite – easel.ly. The three last pages show work done by students in easel.ly.

TOOLS useful for PBL lessons.

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PADLET

Created with Padlet

PADLET is a fantastic and  extremely simple tool that I have been using for several of years with all classes I teach, but especially NC4 YL. It is one of these tools that you can never get bored with. PADLET is excellent for both individual and group tasks. It works like a sheet of paper where you can put anything (images, videos, documents, text) anywhere, from any device (pcs, tablets, phones).

What did I use PADLET  for with my students:

Click on the title.

  1. For saying HELLO to each other 
  2. For expressing opinions about Brexit (speaking)
  3. For reflecting on QUOTES FROM SHAKESPEARE
  4. For talking about EXTINCT LANGUAGES
  5. For writing RESTAURANT RECOMMENDATIONS
  6. For writing HAIKU
  7. For writing RECIPES
  8. For writing about TRADITIONS
  9. For writing about WORK PLACEMENT

and many more.

Below, a short overview how to use it in a video by Richard Byrne (technology in teaching guru).

POPPLET

Popplet is a free online tool that allows you to create mind mapping and brainstorming diagrams. A free version is rather limited and it lets you create 5 popplets. But, if you don’t plan storing live popplets, a free option should be more than enough. Plus, you can export them as a jpg or pdf file if you want to save your students’ work. It’s an excellent tool for mindmapping and presentations for individual, class/group or pairwork. The tools allows you to use a range of formats such as video, word, pdf. Unfortunately, you can’t attach any audio file. At least for the time being.

What did I use POPPLET  for with my students:

For a collaborative class project THE MUSEUMS OF EDINBURGH (class trip) http://popplet.com/app/#/2667368

  1. For individual presentation COUNTRIES (students shared their popplets with me)
  2. For group presentations on INSPIRATIONAL WOMEN

I also used popplet whilst studying with teaching English with technology course for presentations:

  1. In collaboration with my partner Sayed – Dos and DON’Ts on TECHNOLOGY IN CLASS 
  2. Individual – HOW TO USE VIDEO in CLASS

You can make your popplet totally private or totally public. There is a collection of public popplets you can use freely although you need to check whether the content is appropriate. No copyright issues unless you are inserting a physical file.

HOW TO USE POPPLET.

Finally EASEL.LY –  a program not maybe as attractive as Glogster but FREE.

You can either build your own infographic by dragging and dropping pre-made design elements on the in-built canvas or you can use a blank canvas or build upon one of Easel.ly’s themes. If Easel.ly doesn’t have enough pre-made elements for you, you can upload your own graphics to include in your infographic. Your completed infographic can be exported and saved as PNG, JPG, PDG, and SVG files.

I’ve come across it quite recently and used it, successfully in my opinion, with my students, for EMPLOYERS’ ENGAGEMENT EVENT in June 2016.

HOW TO USE EASEL.LY
OTHER TOOLS

PLANNING PBL LESSONS

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STEP 1 – Finding AUTHENTIC or SEMI-AUTHENTIC contexts for my students. I investigated the NC4 ESOL for Employability context. Examples in a mindmap here.

LIVING IN SCOTLAND SCOTTISH FESTIVALS PRODUCING A LEAFLET
DIVERSE SOCIETY PRODUCING AN INTERACTIVE POSTER
SELF-AWARENESS WHERE DO WE COME FROM? WHERE ARE WE? WHERE ARE WE GOING? CREATING AN INTERACTIVE MAP/TIMELINE OF YOUR LIFE
MY WELL-BEING PRODUCING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE INFOGRAPHIC
PREPARING TO WORK INVESTIGATING LOCAL BUSINESSES PREPARING A PROPOSAL
FINDING AN EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY APPLYING FOR A JOB
JOB INTERVIEW MOCK JOB INTERPRODUCING A LEAFLETVIEW
ESOL READING BOOK PROJECT CREATING AN INTERACTIVE BOOKSHELF
ESOL WRITING MY JOURNAL WRITING A JOURNAL
STUDY SKILLS WHY AM I CONSTANTLY BUSY? CREATING AN ACTION PLAN/PLAN

And a mindmap.

 

STEP 2 – CHOOSING AN APPROPRIATE TYPE OF PBL. More about types of PBL here.

CHALLENGE BASED: PRODUCING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE INFOGRAPHIC, APPLYING FOR A JOB, BOOK PROJECT

PLACE-BASED: PRODUCING A LEAFLET; APPLYING FOR A JOB

STEP 3 – FINDING APPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY.

PRODUCING A LEAFLET EASEL.LY or Google forms
CREATING AN INTERACTIVE MAP/TIMELINE OF YOUR LIFE DON’T KNOW YET
PRODUCING AN INTERACTIVE POSTER THINGLINK or VOICETHREAD
PRODUCING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE INFOGRAPHIC EASEL.LY or Google forms
PREPARING A PROPOSAL VOICETHREAD  or padlet
APPLYING FOR A JOB word, cv generator
JOB INTERVIEW audio recording
CREATING AN INTERACTIVE BOOKSHELF don’t know yet; maybe PADLET
WRITING A JOURNAL PENZU
CREATING AN ACTION PLAN/PLAN MINDMUP or Google forms

LEARNING TO FAIL

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IF YOU’VE NEVER FAILED, YOU’VE NEVER TRIED ANYTHING NEW IN YOUR LIFE.

DO NOT GIVE UP. Help your mind to become a GROWTH MIND and build your confidence.

3 tips to boost your confidence  an excellent Self-Awareness video that might be used for listening comprehension, note taking etc.

An excellent article about the value of making mistakes.

 

 

 

 

SCAFFOLDING

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Go by tube!Creative Commons License

Les Chatfield via CompfightCreative Commons License Les Chatfield via Compfight

Learning to fail and  how to accept a mistake, learning from a mistake not to make it again is one of the ways to stimulate critical thinking, reflective thinking, divergent thinking etc 🙂 Nevertheless, encouraging students to “jump” into things without making sure you establish some scaffolding (visible or invisible) doesn’t seem a good idea to me. You need a certain level of guidance, modelling, prompts, to name a few, to  succeed. Everyone, according to their needs – so use their background knowledge as scaffolding, use teacher or student modelling or guided practice. Why don’t you use prompts, step-by-step instructions, graphic organisers to help your students build the new knowledge. The time will come, they will not need your scaffolding as they will build or use their own.

Everyone, according to their needs – so we need to know our student well and recognise what type of scaffolding their need. Maybe we should help them build their resilience?

Praise in public but criticise in private? It depends, in my opinion, on the context. I always say to my student – I don’t criticise you. I criticise your work. And it does make a difference as they accept this criticism, often public, as part of their own and other students’ learning process.

 

DIVERGENT THINKING

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What is DIVERGENT thinking?

Numberclip paperclip numbers

Leo Reynolds via Compfight

How many uses of a barrel, paper clip, umbrella can you think of? Watch a video to learn more.

The goal of divergent thinking is to generate many different ideas about a topic in a short period of time. It involves breaking a topic down into its various component parts in order to gain insight about the various aspects of the topic. Read about the ways to stimulate divergent thinking. http://faculty.washington.edu/ezent/imdt.htm

DON’T BE SCARED OF MAKING MISTAKES AND FAILING. According to Sarah Briggs, “Fast, frequent failures” are the ways to stimulate divergent thinking. “Making as many mistakes as possible as quickly as possible means you’re heading swiftly towards the right solution to a problem.”

8 elements of divergent thinking:

  • Complexity – The capacity to conceptualize difficult, multifaceted, many layered or intricate products or ideas;
  • Curiosity – The personality characteristic of displaying probing behaviors, searching, asking questions, learning to get more knowledge/information about something, and of being able to go deeper into ideas;
  • Elaboration – The skill of adding to, building off of or embellishing a product or an idea;
  • Flexibility – The capability of creating varied perceptions or categories wherefrom come a range of different ideas pertaining to the same thing or problem;
  • Fluency – The skill of engendering many ideas so as to have an increase in the number of potential solutions or associated products;
  • Imagination – The capability of dreaming up, inventing, or to think, to see, to conceptualize novel products or ideas, to be original;
  • Originality – The skill of coming up with fresh, unusual, unique, extremely different or completely new products or ideas;
  • Risktaking – The readiness to be courageous, daring, adventuresome – take risks or experiment with new things so as to stand apart.

More here.

Are you CONVERGENT or DIVERGENT thinker? What’s the DIFFERENCE?

The terms convergent thinking and divergent thinking were introduced by a psychologist J.P. Guilford, in 1967. Both convergent and divergent thinking play important roles in finding the best solution to a problem. Convergent thinking is often used in accordance with divergent thinking.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/convergent-thinking-vs-divergent-thinking.html

Innovation department.
Innovation department.

THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX  and SKY IS THE LIMIT  thinking are concepts laying the foundation for ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION.

EASEL.LY – an excellent tool for creating VISUALS such as infographics or posters.

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I was researching for a good tool for creating visuals and, although there are loads of nice programs available, they are either paid or limited in options I need  or too complicated to use.

EASEL.LY is a fantastic tool for creating posters and infographics. There is a fair-enough 🙂 free version that you can use with your students. They will need to set up an account, create a poster or infographic and download it as pdf or share as a link.

Using easel.ly is really straightforward, just drag’n’drop images, cliparts, shapes or text. Although for some, a free option is rather limited in images, you can make it up by uploading your own images.Yes, there is an option like that!!!

Watch a video on how to use EASEL.LY.

I used the program for posters for Employers’ Engagement Event in our college. Just have a look at some of them. AWESOME, AREN’T THEY?

WHAT IS PROJECT BASED LEARNING

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So what is a PROJECT BASED LEARNING? According to The Glossary of educational reform, it refers to “any programmatic or instructional approach that utilizes multifaceted projects as a central organizing strategy for educating students. “. More here. 

According to Da Vinci’s school, PBL is a “learn-by-doing curriculum that integrates core subjects with real-life problems to be solved”. More here.

And on the Edutopia website it reads that “Project-based learning is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges. With this type of active and engaged learning, students are inspired to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they’re studying.”

Watch the Buck Institute Video to get an overview of PBL.

Although the definitions my vary slightly, the key features of PBL are the same: real world connection and authentic or semi-authentic context, students collaboration, ownership of learning or multifaceted assessments.

John Henry and Mark Swiger put in very nicely in this wordle.

Watch this excellent video to find out what other features of PBL are.

 

 

 

DRIVING QUESTION

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question mark ? Leo Reynolds via Compfight

here

It might be: solving a problem or task, creating a product, education others, convincing others, a broad theme, forming an opinion, philosophical issue, thinking divergently.  What is divergent thinking? Well, how many uses of a paper clip can you think of? More about divergent thinking here – a really nice video clip.

SO WILL BE MY DRIVING QUESTION for the SCOTTISH FESTIVAL project?

Fringe Cavalcade 2010 020 byronv2 via Compfight

P2P:

A GOOD DRIVING QUESTION 

NC4 ESOL for Employability is a full time college course for young learners (16-25) living and working/planning to work and studying in Scotland. It consists of 12 various units including ESOL Writing for Employability, IT and Living in Scotland. As part of assessment for these three units, students will have to produce a leaflet on SCOTTISH FESTIVALS. Each student will have a different festival.

Students will research the festival chosen, using at least three websites with full accreditation. They should give two reasons for deciding to write about this festival, say where and when the festival is celebrated, say why it is celebrated, describe what activities the festival involves and say why it is important. They might add their own ideas. For IT, the leaflet should be in Arial 12, 1.5 line space.

The driving question:

Why should (or shouldn’t) Scots celebrate ………. (the name of the Scottish festival or the festival celebrated in Scotland such as Burn’s Night, Common Riding of the Borders, Burning of The Clavie or Mela)?

  • Is the question open-ended? It will allow students to develop more than one reasonable answer.

It is an open question started with WHY.

  • Do you feel the question will spark curiosity and engage the students? (remember this might be dependent on the local contexts of the students)

Yes, students will need to research the origin of the festival, how it was and still is celebrated in Scotland or in different regions of Scotland. And, finally, students will reflect on why people still celebrate it which will lead to the driving question – should it or should it not be still celebrated?

  • Is it aligned to the learning goals identified? To answer it students will need to gain the intended knowledge, understanding, and skills.

The task will cover performance criteria for 3 subjects: ESOl writing (Everyday Life context), Living in Scotland (Outcome 1) and IT.

They will develop such skills as: research, crediting sources, editing a document in Word, making notes.

  • Is it difficult to answer by using Google? – I checked myself and it is not possible to find a strait forward answer to this question.

PROJECT BASED LEARNING – my learning diary

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THIS IS GOING TO BE MY LEARNING DIARY for the PBL course. More information about the course HERE and in the video below. 

I feel this will be the easiest way not only to fulfil the course requirements but also to share my reflections, my findings, other teachers’ thoughts, ideas, tools and whatever is worth sharing, with my colleagues.

As a course requirement, this diary will include:

  • My answers and reflections to the questions and tasks posed during the module sections.

  • Comments, ideas, resources from the course materials and shared by other course participants that I hadecka042953a05525433aa2f0d45b204ec957c3f1d1dve found interesting or relevant for my own situation.

A brief introduction prepared using a TRADING CARD TOOL – a very easy program for creating selfies like that. You can use them with your students at the beginning of the course. I must admit I found it a bit limited but, for a short selfie like that, it should be more than enough 😉 

 And finally MY BLOGS – FOR TEACHERS  and for STUDENTS  

There is also a dedicated PBL website I prepared as a course task