What is Project Based Learning?
Project-based learning (PBL) is an educational approach that has been gaining popularity in recent years. This approach involves students working on a meaningful project, often designed to address a specific real-world problem or challenge. PBL is centered on inquiry-based learning, where students develop a deeper understanding of the subject matter by asking questions, conducting research, and collaborating with their peers.
This blog post summarises the main benefits of the approach and why it is such a powerful and effective approach to learning, and crucial for students leaving school in the 21st century. There is also a useful list of ideas for project based learning activities that can be adapted depending on the age of your students and on any specific learning goals for the year. There are also suggestions of some interactive ways that your students could present their projects.
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The benefits of project-based learning for students, teachers and schools
The project-based approach encourages critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, while also helping students develop essential skills such as communication, teamwork, and time management. With its focus on student-centered learning, PBL offers a unique and engaging way of learning that can help students develop a lifelong love of learning.
It is an approach to education that nurtures learners’ curiosity and helps them acquire the skills they need for the 21st century. Through PBL, students are not just passive consumers of information, but active researchers, curators, analysts and presenters. Firstly this “active learning” means that content knowledge retention will be vastly improved
In taking their research and applying it in their own way to create and shape a final product, it leads to a deeper learning of how information can be used and shared.
Projects can cover any topic, respecting the student choice of subject area that genuinely interest them, meaning that levels of student engagement will naturally be higher.
PBL develops interdisciplinary 21st century skills
Just like all real-life project management outside the classroom, PBL requires students to research independently and work toward their goals with self-discipline. Concurrently, another part of the learning process is learning how to work with others, as many PBL projects will involve group collaborations.
Perhaps most importantly though, project-based learning experiences allow students – particularly at high school level – to apply their knowledge and find practical solutions to complex questions and issues in real-world applications. For this reason, it can often be equated with “problem-based learning”. In a world where adaptability and innovative thinking are essential, project-based learning is an approach to pedagogy that best cultivates these vital life skills.
“Long term and student centered, project-based learning is a rigorous hands-on approach to learning core subject matter and basic skills with meaningful activities that examine complex, real-world issues. Project-based learning helps students develop and retain useful, working knowledge of subjects that are often taught in isolation and abstraction.”Edutopia
Seven examples of project-based learning activities
This list provides some starter ideas for PBL for all grade levels. They have been deliberately chosen so that you can either simplify or extend them, depending on the grade level and ability of your students. All of them could be used in some way from elementary school all the way up to high school.
- Create a community garden: Students can learn about plants, soil, and the environment by planning and designing a community garden. They can research the best plants to grow in their region, create a budget, and work together to plant and maintain the garden.
- Build a simple machine: Students can learn about physics and engineering by building a simple machine such as a pulley or lever. They can work in groups to design, build, and test their machines and then present their findings to the class.
- Design a board game: Students can learn about game design and marketing by creating a board game. They can work in teams to brainstorm game ideas, develop rules and game pieces, and create a marketing plan to promote their game.
- Create a cookbook: Students can learn about nutrition and cooking by creating a cookbook. They can research healthy recipes, write and illustrate their own recipes, and compile their work into a cookbook to share with their classmates and families.
- Conduct a science experiment: Students can learn about the scientific method by conducting a science experiment. They can choose a topic of interest, develop a hypothesis, design and conduct their experiment, collect data, and analyze their results.
- Create a podcast: Students can learn about journalism and storytelling by creating a podcast. They can work in teams to research and report on a topic of interest, write and record their script, and edit their audio to produce a high-quality podcast.
- Plan a community service project: Students can learn about civic engagement and social responsibility by planning and executing a community service project. They can identify a need in their community, develop a plan to address the need, and work together to implement their project.
Interactive ways that students can present their projects
Mock up of a website
This example below uses page layouts created with Canva which are made interactive with ThingLink. It uses the tour tag to create the feel of moving from page to page and could be used for students to present their business idea, product design or services.
Its just one example in this blog featuring ten education-focussed Canva templates for use with ThingLink!
More interactive ways students can present projects
There are lots of other ways that students can use ThingLink to present their work. Here are some of our favourites!
- Interactive infographics
- Interactive maps
- Virtual tours
- Interactive presentations
- Interactive timelines for students
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