Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Project Based Learning

picture of students working on a project

Project based learning is not a novel idea. Teachers have been using this method for at least 30 years because as a student in elementary school I created projects and learned content during the process. We've all been assigned the solar system project at some point!

However, in the past, teachers assigned projects that usually required some use of materials that could be manipulated by the hands. The biggest difference I can see between the project based learning of the past and today is technology. Technology allows students to research, create, and share faster and more than ever before, making project based learning even more effective than in the past. Technology is such an integral part of students' every day lives using it in such a way allows the projects to become even more meaningful to them.

Watching the interviews with Anthony Capps, I was most impressed with his "scaffolding" idea of introducing and using technology with his students. I think this is an absolute must! This applies to all areas of learning. You wouldn't expect a student to do algebra before mastering addition and subtraction.

My question to Mr. Capps would be along the lines of classroom management. Does he ever experience a student who doesn't seem interested in the project, and how does he handle this type of situation? I might also ask if any of the projects that he assigns have an impact on serving the community in which he and his students reside. Are they learning to become good learners and users of technology, as well as, productive, caring members of their community? In my opinion, this would be the highest level you could reach for with project based learning, reaching beyond the walls of the classroom and making a positive contribution to the community through these projects.

As a fifth grade American history teacher, projects were a favorite way of mine to get standards met. I'm so excited about the advances in technology, for example iCurio, and I can't wait to find ways to integrate more of it into some of my favorite projects, as well as create new ones!

Alabama College and Career Standard:

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas: CCR Anchor Standard 7: "Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitively, as well as in words."

Text Types and Purposes: CCR Anchor Standard 1: "Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence."


  1. Chea,

    Those are all great questions for Mr. Capps. Classroom management in a class with several unmotivated students could be tricky. I would be interested in hearing his answers to all of your questions. Feel free to visit my blog anytime Anastasia Martin EDM 510 Blog.

    Anastasia Martin

    1. Thanks for your comments, Anastasia. I am planning to go observe in Mr. Capps classroom soon. You should come along if you have the time! Email me if you are interested.

  2. Chea,

    I can agree that Project Based Learning has always been a basses for teaching. In my opinion, I think that PBL is meant to excite students about learning. Every subject should incorporate a PBL assignment that should help the community. Every student should realize that you can apply subjects that they learn in school in the real world. However, as teachers, we need to realize that at the end of the day that it’s about making sure that the students are understanding the topic that is the inspiration for the project.

    1. T'Keyan, you are so right! The ultimate task is to make sure students learn the content and that curriculum standards are met. Fortunately, project based learning is one creative way to do that! Thank you for your comment!