Project-based learning may seem like just another education buzzword. Every single thing we do in life may appear as a project. Publications, communication plans, and more, boil down to projects. Even things we do in our homes. Part of this process is breaking things down into chunks and working through them along some timeline.
What about in school? Where do we learn these skills? Students appear to be working on a lot of projects, displays, etc., but what really prepares us to complete projects in the real world? These are skills that today seem only applicable in the workforce. What happens in schools tends to be more time filler and not always something relevant or even intentional to a real-world problem. What if students of all ages were allowed the opportunity explore and discover? Remember, not all learning or discovery is earth-shattering innovation. It may just be an individual experiencing something for the first time.
Students at Raisbeck Aviation High School provide just one example of how students are being engaged in authentic and meaningful explorations. Students in this scenario are learning about the math and physics behind airfoil designs. Throughout the year, they explore, design, and test airfoil designs, documenting evidence for why one design is superior to another, followed by a recommendation for what they feel is the best design to meet the pre-determined specifications. They may not necessarily be creating the next generation of airfoils for the airline industry, but they are putting their skills and knowledge to the ultimate test.
In a real work environment, this is exactly how it works. There isn’t always going to be someone standing next to you explaining the next move and why. Individuals and groups must document their processes for exploring a particular problem and be able to explain what worked and what didn’t along the way.
What are some shifts you make in your classroom to provide a more authentic learning environment for your students? What ways do you turn those ‘projects’ into meaningful explorations?
Interested in hearing more about project-based learning from students in the aviation program? Read the original post from Getting Smart and listen to the podcast.
Original Post – Project-based Learning Connects Real World with Deep Impact
A recent HuffPo article reveals results of California’s efforts to reduce student suspensions for minor behavioral infractions. Spoiler: the results have been mostly positive.
Two important observations stand out:
- More efficient, less exclusionary discipline tactics result in increased instructional time for the students. These precious minutes of instruction translated into improved academic performances. The verdict: every little minute helps, especially for at-risk students most affected by these changes.
- To support the students, we must first support the teachers. A notable response from the study was that despite the many positive outcomes, classroom teachers were left with sometimes-rowdier classrooms and minimal guidance on alternative behavior management approaches. The verdict: always schedule PD to support teachers as a part of any change management plan.
This is just a guess: you’re here (on this link, this blog, this post) because you care about providing great education for kids. Am I right?
I thought so.
So let’s get serious about it. Folks at The Super School Project want to give you money for that. That = The Super School Project Challenge – imagining (and creating) the next great American high school.
If you just checked out that link and your first thought was CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, we want to know because we want to partner with you. We think your great ideas + our great ideas + the power behind Lumen Touch’s technology = the next great American high school.
Are you in? Let’s talk. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
School success stories are some of our favorite features here at ShiftED (need we say: DUH!). Next month a once-imperiled charter school will be featured in a film premier of its own name: Gordon Parks Elementary.
If you reside in the Kansas City area, we encourage you to RSVP immediately for this wonderful glimpse into the Gordon Parks Elementary School’s journey, and into the lives of the school’s myriad stakeholders.
Click here to RSVP for the event.
This is not a post about a Gen-Y world where every participant gets a trophy.
We’re talking about about the truest form of win-win thinking. This week Getting Smart shared a story about a struggling school that was successfully transformed by mentorship and investment from local business partners. This program, facilitated by the Council for Educational Change, is one many in the state of Florida.
According to the article:
“Under these partnerships, a CEO assesses the challenges affecting a school and, together with the principal, develops a strategic plan to address those challenges. The CEO mentors the principal throughout the implementation of that strategy and becomes an advisor to the educator, helping develop a leadership team with a shared vision: to help the students succeed.”
Read the full story here. Then leave us a comment telling us what you think.
Are you looking to recreate this success for your own school or business? Contact us for more information on ShiftED’s Lumen8 Assessment and Educator Experience.
Here at ShiftED we’re unofficially competing to set the record for how many times an organization can use the word transform on its social media channels in a week/month/year. Today is another push towards that record.
Recently, forbes.com published a Q&A with Andreas Schleicher of the OECD in Paris. The Q&A, “The Critical Role of Teachers in Transforming Education Systems,” paints an eloquent picture of the influence teachers can (and do) have in bringing students’ education up to 21st century speed. Schleicher’s responses also give insight into the global forces educators must take into account as they adjust their pedagogical approaches:
“…it’s about building relationships with people who may think differently from you—who may look at the world in a very different way, who come from a different disciplinary specialization. Economic success today is very much about you being able to collaborate, compete and connect with people.”
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: we love sharing school success stories! Being a catalyst of change is an overwhelming task, and taking on a failing school system is no exception. Read this success-in-progress story of one struggling school in Massachusetts that was recently highlighted in a New York Times post.
And we would love to hear YOUR success stories. We know there are many school leaders working tireless to bring about positive change in their communities. Tell us your story and you could be featured right here on ShiftED! Email us at email@example.com