21st Century Instruction with Project-Based Learning
This course is designed to enable participants to understand the principles of Project-Based Learning (PBL) and to create and implement PBL projects in their classrooms. The course consists of six sessions plus an Orientation during which participants actively explore and develop engaging, student-centered projects that promote high-quality learning of content. Participants investigate designing questions and assessments with the end in mind, questioning, planning, managing, and assessing PBL Learning projects. Participants will utilize standards-based instructional strategies to create PBL projects that enhance students’ learning.
This is an introductory course for teachers, technology specialists, curriculum specialists, professional development specialists, or other school personnel. Participants are expected to have regular access to computers. Although not a requirement, high speed Internet access definitely enhances the online experience. Participants should be proficient with using email, browsing the Internet, and navigating through computer files. Access to Microsoft Office is recommended. Participants who do not have access to Microsoft Office should download Open Office documents (a free download from Microsoft) to enable them to read and send word documents throughout this course.
This workshop will enable participants to:
define steps of a Project-Based Learning project design,
identify teacher and student roles in the PBL Learning process,
develop and refine driving questions for the PBL,
develop and refine multiple assessments for promoting student growth and inform instruction throughout the PBL and
design, map, and manage a PBL project supporting curricular goals.
Assessment and Course Requirements
Each session includes readings, activities, and a discussion assignment, which participants are required to complete. High-quality, active participation in the online discussions is vital to the understanding and completion of the course. Additionally, participants will develop portions of a PBL project design each week culminating in a Final Project PBL. Each project will be guided by a Final Project Template and a Final Project Rubric. Weekly submission of individual project components will be reviewed and feedback will be provided at midterm and on the final project.
As a final product, participants will complete a Project-Based Learning design template describing a complete plan for a project-based unit to be implemented in the coming school year. A mid-course check will occur during Session Three and the final project will be due during Session Six. Weekly sessions address components of this plan which will meet WV CSO’s and ISTE technology standards for instruction.
Participants will be evaluated on the frequency and quality of their discussion board participation. Participants are required to post a minimum of three substantial postings each session, including one that begins a new thread and two that respond to existing threads. Postings that begin new threads will be reviewed based on their relevance, demonstrated understanding of course concepts, examples cited, and overall quality. Postings that respond to other participants will be evaluated on relevance and the degree to which they extend the discussion. Participants are to read all original messages by course colleagues and enough additional responses to make a total of 50% of the messages posted for that session.
Session One: What is Project-Based Learning?
Participants will read about the basic principles of Project Based Learning (PBL) and explore the benefits made possible in a classroom structured around PBL. Participants will consider how PBL affects the roles of the teacher and students in the learning process and think about how PBL can be used most effectively in the classroom. Participants will consider a course project and share their ideas about designing a PBL to help create a high-performing classroom in which students collaborate to focus on achievement, self-mastery, and contributions to the community.
Session Two: Planning a Project-Based Learning Unit
Participants examine the characteristics of Project Based Learning (PBL) and the steps that help plan an effective project. Participants will start developing their own PBL learning unit for the Course Project. Finally, in the Discussion, participants will share the Course Project Plan and discuss how they can engage students in constructivist learning activities that develop higher-order thinking and individualize learning, and step aside to let students 'take charge' of their own learning?
Session Three: Framing Inquiry - The Project-Based Learning Process
In Session Three, participants will learn how to write Driving Questions that spark interest and propel students through a Problem Based Learning (PBL) project. Participants will submit their PBL Project Template for a midterm evaluation and complete a self-evaluation.
Session Four: Technology in the Design, Structure, and Presentation of Project-Based Learning
In Session Four, participants will develop balanced assessments that provide all students opportunities to demonstrate their learning and how well they apply their knowledge and skills to problem solving. Participants will create a rubric for students to use to self-assess their progress on one of the products in their project.
Session Five: Assessing Project-Based Learning
In Session Five, participants will learn how to launch a PBL project so as to engage students' interest as well as determine roles students will fill in working to complete tasks for the project. Participants will build a plan for their PBL project which supports learner's thinking throughout the process of their investigations and provides for student and teacher reflection.
Session Six: Creating Your Own Project-Based Learning Unit
In Session Six, participants will read about the challenges of managing Project Based Learning including changing teacher roles, students taking active roles in decision-making, classroom management strategies changing from those in traditional settings, and the possibility of multiple formats and multiple solutions to problems developing. Participants will discover that managing PBLs requires careful planning and involves time constraints that pose realistic problems while managing groups and supporting students as they make choices, determine pathways to solutions, and explore various learning styles. Participants will finish this session by completing their Project Design Template.