“Start your Project Based lessons with a good driving question” – this is what you will find in every resource on PBL. Hard as it might be to create, the driving question is paramount for project based learning as it provides its purpose and sets its context. So, ask yourself, what you will be focusing on with your students. Is it trying to find the best solution to the problem? If yes, is it abstract and academic or practical and concrete? Is it provocative and leading to discourse? Is it expected to inspire discussion or present and/or establish claim? Will it be one question for the whole class/team or a number of individual questions related to individual projects?
Researching materials on PBL and the Driving Question might prove a really daunting task. So, for a start, why don’t you check out the the ones I found particularly useful, not too lengthy and really inspiring.
AN ONLINE COURSE: A couple of years go I completed a PBL course with School Education Gateway. Although the course concluded, you can still use the resources HERE.
A WEBSITE: An absolutely fantastic website You for Youth with tonnes of information about PBL, rubrics, worksheets and tools of different kind.
AN ARTICLE:An article “In search of the driving question” by Andrew Miller on Edutopia investigating a number of types of driving question and what we should remember about while creating it.
A CHECKLIST(an many more) which you can find on Tony Vincent’s fantastic blog.
Have a look at the visual which, hopefully, will help you remember what a good driving question should be like.
Together with my students I decided that the product of a series of lessons on DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP (see this post) will be a visual (poster, leaflet, flyer) with DOs and DON’Ts. Although there is a number of very good tools, we decided on a choice of four.
Below a wee overview and a selection of students’ work.
have a look how Jen Jonson created a beautiful infographics in google drawing
easy, fast, efficient, user super-friendly, FREE option is more than enough for your classwork
VIDEOS: your students can upload videos, add text , icons, music or voice without any sophisticated skills 🙂
in-house G-drive app; you can create: diagrams, posters, drawings; mindmaps, or concept maps;
good for individual work as well as collaborative project
FOR TEACHERS: just ditch a coursebook (joking) and prepare your own dynamic interactive lessons including videos for
a tutorial on how to use Canva – one of the best tools for any visuals
A drag-and-drop tool enabling you to produce wonderful visuals. Available as a stand-alone desktop tool or an in-built app (in G-Drive).
absolutely fantastic program using a drag-and-drop format, full of free icons, banners, templates, pictures, you name it. FREE version is enough;
a piece of advice: apparently, not good if you want to create a trademark and use it. Copyright issues. But for school use it is absolutely fine. If you want to find out more about legal issues, read an article by N. Styles here.
You can produce brochures, leaflets, banners as well as documents such as CVs, magazines or certificates. FREE option full of templates, icons or images.
SPARKS – gold medal for the VIDEO creation tools and for the fact that is is really FREE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
CANVA – gold medal for fantastic tools for static iamges/visuals
GOOGLE DRAWINGS – gold medal just because it’s google (joking,joking) – for simplicity and collaboration option
LUCIDPRESS – gold medal for simplicity and wide range of free tools
Below, simple visuals created by my students on DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP
In the process of planning a class project on DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP: DOs & DON’Ts which involved designing visuals (infographics, flyers, posters etc.), I decided that some of my students might benefit from more assistance/advice on which tools/programs to use and how to use them.
As time was (and always is) of the essence (15 minutes between my classes), I prepared very short video clips demonstrating quickly and without elaborate explanation, how to navigate inside these programs, using SCREENCASTIFY.
Please, have a look at the three short video clips done in no more than 15 minutes. No special equipment, no need for installing desktop tools. Just a chrome extension. FREE VERSION of the program.
And finally, a screencast (at the bottom) of you actually can do inside screencastify.
share (see the image) on Youtube or G-Drive
download your clip
get a shareable link
embed to any blog/website etc.
let others post comments
A short overview from https://www.screencastify.com
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.
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).
Below, a short overview how to use it in a video by Richard Byrne (technology in teaching guru).
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.
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.
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.
Going paperless – a dream or a real possibility? I am currently using Planbook and Box for communication and storage. I have my Blog which students can use for extended learning. So other steps or what different steps should I take to go paperless? Which platform would be the best option for my students?
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.”
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;
Risk–taking – The readiness to be courageous, daring, adventuresome – take risks or experiment with new things so as to stand apart.
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
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX and SKY IS THE LIMIT thinking are concepts laying the foundation for ENTREPRENEURSHIP EDUCATION.
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?
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.