This fall, Jane Krauss will introduce a new course series to Powerful Learning Practice’s eCourse lineup. In this interview, Jane discusses her new Project-Based Learning Immersion eCourses and what participants can expect to experience in these courses. Jane is co-author of the best-selling Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age and we are very excited that she will lead three Project-Based Learning (PBL) eCourses for Powerful Learning Practice.
About the Project-Based Learning Immersion program: A passionate student is a learning student. As the world is becoming increasingly connected, the nature, use, ownership, and purpose of knowledge are changing in profound ways. Our goal as educators is to leverage these connections and changes as powerful means to improve teaching and learning in our schools. The Project-Based Learning Immersion, a 3-course series, will move educators from introductory to advanced levels of project-based learning for enhanced student engagement and achievement. During the courses educators will use a variety of media and new tools that help them learn with others, support PBL management, and make available so students can work in authentic ways and beyond the classroom walls.
Why are you so passionate about Project-Based Learning?
Nothing is more rewarding than seeing deeply engaged students working creatively and cooperatively in a PBL investigation. With shining eyes, students will tell you they’ve never worked so hard, cared so much, or felt more rewarded by their work. Their teachers are gratified by their response, and see that all their careful planning pays off. It’s a really gratifying way to teach! I enjoy helping teachers make the leap to this kind of learning experience– for what it does for them and for their students.
Why should 21st century educators be interested in Project-Based Learning?
Educators recognize that the world their students are entering is changing at a rapid pace and in unexpected ways. Their schooling has to address the unpredictable but very rich future that lies ahead. The one thing we can do to help students prepare is to give them learning experiences through which they develop a skill set that is transferable to many work and life contexts, and to instill a “can do” attitude that helps them to tackle new challenges. Project-based learning, learning by doing offers the context in which these skills and attitudes can form. Through meaningful projects, students learn:
• personal and social responsibility
• planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity
• strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
• cross-cultural understanding
• visualizing and decision-making
• knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task
Who should take this course?
Anyone excited about student-centered learning should take this course. Are you willing to loosen the reins on what’s allowed in your classroom, and let your students make some of the important decisions about their learning path? Can you imagine retiring your title of “expert” to start learning alongside your students? This class is for you.
What will the learning experience be like for participants? Can you tell us about some of the learning activities?
This series of courses is a gradual but deep immersion into PBL. In each course participants will meet accomplished PBL teachers and their students, learn best practices in designing and guiding PBL, and leave with practical activities and project-based units of instruction to use back in school. Throughout the courses we will be using Web 2.0 tools that you’ll want to use with kids, too.
What will participants walk away with after taking the PBL eCourses?
After the first course participants will know enough to distinguish proper PBL from all the knockoffs and wannabes – There really are important characteristics to pay attention to, otherwise poorly designed PBL can eat up student learning time pretty fast with little gain. They will also get in to the spirit of PBL, meeting inspiring teachers and trying new things with their students, such as new questioning strategies and approaches to class management. By the end of the second course teachers will have a PBL unit of instruction ready to go. It will be ironclad because classmates in the course will contribute their best thinking to it and help “stress” test it. Every element of the learning cycle, from the introduction of the concept under study to the plan for assessment, will be in place. At the end of the third course students will have implemented their unit of study and created a curriculum map for additional interdisciplinary projects.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
PBL has been around for thirty-plus years and it’s ground well trod. In this set of courses we’ll take advantage of great thinking and advice from Edutopia, Understanding by Design, Project Zero, Buck Institute for Education, ASCD, and other thought leaders. We’ll meet teachers who exemplify best practices in PBL and see their kids in action. Participants in the class will construct their own identity as a unique part to this class.
Ready to get started?
Sign up now for the next section of this eCourse.
Want to know more? Join us for a free webinar
PLP will host a free, live, one-hour webinar on Friday, August 3rd from 10 am-11 am Eastern (NYC) Time. Sign up now to attend this session.