Video Explanation: Project Based Learning

I am a big fan of explanatory videos. This is a great one explaining Project-based learning, where instruction and learning occur within the context of a challenging project.

Just as workers encounter complicated tasks in the workplace, students are presented with questions and problems that act as catalysts for learning. Projects usually extend over a few classes or weeks to help students acquire new, necessary knowledge and skill sets (Thomas, 2000). In other words, instead of working on a small project for a week, projects build upon each other and can carry over from semester to semester as they facilitate the learning. Long-term projects make it possible to personalize learning, achieve more active involvement by students in shaping their education, and enable more authentic assessment of what students have actually learned. In history and social studies, a particular interest of mine, project-based learning (PBL) engages students as historians or social scientists and stimulates them to want to know more about the events and people they investigate.

Technology tools have become so user-friendly that teachers can easily create their own virtual field trips. Teachers, on their own or with their students, can visit a site and use digital cameras or video to capture information. Maps and reference materials can be added to maximize the actual site study. Lesson planning is part of the process of making pedagogical, intellectual, and ideological choices. In constructivist classrooms, students get involved in making these decisions, choosing interesting projects or places that they would like to visit. Virtual field trips can include a range of instructional approaches and technologies. As Cassady and Mullen noted, there needs to be a shift from discussions about hardware and software to the inherent desire of children to explore the world (2006).