I was pleased to be a presenter for the Microsoft in Education webinar on Project Based Learning. The evening presentation which I was part of was not recorded, however you can view the similar morning presentation here. Project based learning has become an important part of my approach to teaching and learning. I really enjoyed hearing from the other presenters, Michael Gorman and Suzie Boss, and it was nice to share what I've learned and experienced with PBL.
Some of the key ideas which resonated with me were:
- The best projects are the "main course" - not dessert!
- PBL needs to focus on both skills and content. This requires balance and teacher judgement.
- Projects often lead to a cycle of in-depth inquiry: students ask questions, research and then new questions are generated.
- Audience is important: good projects go beyond the classroom and are seen by the community, an online audience or others.
- Projects need not be confined to one subject area, even if you teach only one subject.
- Good projects involve student choice and student input - I've witnessed the engagement that results when my students make the choices about their projects!
- Time management becomes less of an issue with PBL because you can integrate subject areas easily and students often spend time learning outside of the classroom.