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Training teachers through innovative methodologies based in serious games

Training teachers through innovative methodologies based in serious games | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

When using the SimAULA platform, the teacher in training controls an avatar that interacts with student avatars (controlled automatically by SimAULA) in a virtual classroom, where lessons are taught and a series of situations liable to arise in a face-to-face environment are played out. By way of a specific example, the first version of SimAULA features a simulated biology class in which the teacher avatar has to help student avatars fulfil various learning goals.


Via Nik Peachey
ElizabethHS's insight:

This re-Scoop from Nick Peachey. Looks like an interesting simulation/game.

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Karen Johnson's comment, January 21, 2013 4:08 AM
Thanks Nik, I can see this being useful for all sorts of disciplines not just teaching. If this is really as flexible as is suggested it might replace some work currently done in virtual worlds.
Karen Johnson's curator insight, January 21, 2013 4:12 AM

In the future this could be be very useful for disciplines other than teaching.  I wonder if it will be flexible enough to replace some aspects of what we currently do in virtual worlds.

marenas's curator insight, March 18, 2013 7:30 AM

SIMAULA, Formación de profesores a través de metodología basada en juegos

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Five Things Education Technology Could Learn from Pokémon Go

Five Things Education Technology Could Learn from Pokémon Go | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

Whether you are a technologist working on the next great learning app or a teacher trying to figure out how to engage your students, Pokémon Go offers a powerful model that has quickly changed the way users behave and engage with digital content.


Via Nik Peachey
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Nik Peachey's curator insight, July 18, 1:59 AM

A must read for anyone designing elearning.

Elizabeth Hutchinson's curator insight, July 18, 2:21 AM
This article discusses how educators can learn from the new Pokemon Go game. A really interesting read. 
Darlene Clapham K12's curator insight, July 18, 9:53 AM

A must read for anyone designing elearning.

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Evaluating Project-Based Learning

Evaluating Project-Based Learning | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

"Last year I took a group of students to Cuba to produce documentaries about the island nation's culture and history. The main objective was learning how to produce documentaries, but one of my students learned a much more powerful lesson through the process. After completing her project, she posted it publicly to YouTube and received critical comments from someone living in Cuba. The feedback from an audience member in another country profoundly affected her, making her aware of what she was missing in her piece, and the impact that her work can have on others.

"No test, grade, or teacher evaluation could have come close to helping her learn that deeply, and it made clear to me how important it is for teachers to reexamine why and how we grade our students if we truly care about their success."


Using real-life, real-time partners, whether prearranged or by happenstance, as in this case, is a great way for students to receive authentic formative assessment.


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How Google Apps for Education Can Help You Implement Common Core -- THE Journal

How Google Apps for Education Can Help You Implement Common Core -- THE Journal | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

"Imagine giving more than 5,000 students an e-mail address, access to 30 GB of cloud storage and the ability to collaborate with each other. This is what the Pascagoula School District (MS) did during the 2013-2014 school year. When Mississippi adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in 2010, Pascagoula saw that there would be a growing requirement for increased levels of student collaboration, and students and teachers would need to master technical skills such as keyboarding and online research. The district began preparing by adding thumb drives to the supply lists, but we needed a way for students to connect and collaborate with fellow students as well as teachers. Students also needed a way to share and store documents and class presentations. The solution was Google Apps for Education (GAFE)."


Some even more imaginative uses for GAFE will no doubt come to mind, but this is a good start. Drive for writing and revising, with the use of the comments feature is especially noteworthy.


I would like to see an article with more specifics: Which CC standard is applicable to which uses of GAFE?

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Why Professional Development Should Be More Like 'MasterChef'

Why Professional Development Should Be More Like 'MasterChef' | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

"...the contestants on “MasterChef” work in an environment that keeps the pressure on, but in a way that motivates and inspires. When they are working hard, they get kudos. When they are slacking, they get a kick in the patookas. Even the normally sweet Australian hosts George, Gary, and Matt (“MasterChef” U.S. host Gordon Ramsay is a tad too aggressive for our purposes) will lay down the science when a dish is ill-prepared or tastes bad. But the contestants almost always get a chance to redeem themselves and try again.

"This sounds like a relationship most teachers yearn for when starting their careers. Instead, far too often, without hands-on guidance, we are told to aspire to “satisfactory.” I don’t know a single professional educator who wouldn’t be willing to nurse a few bruises to their ego in exchange for truly constructive critique."


Would teachers in the U.S. go for this? How can pd really speak to teachers' needs -- even if they are securely tenured and don't give a damn about the job or their students?

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Collaborative Learning Spaces: Classrooms That Connect to the World

Collaborative Learning Spaces: Classrooms That Connect to the World | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
By examining the landscape of the classroom, educators can design collaborative learning spaces that will support the teaching and learning of skills needed for the interconnected world of today and tomorrow. By seamlessly connecting pedagogy, technology, and space, teachers can create spaces that promote social learning and maximum engagement.
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Principal: What happened when my school ended useless homework

Principal: What happened when my school ended useless homework | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
Time management and organizational skills: Kohn points out that rather than teaching time management to students, homework actually requires parents to do more to organize children’s time.

Newly learned skills: Kohn argues that it is rare that all students need the same practice at the end of a lesson. For some, additional practice may be confusing, while for others, it may be unnecessary.

What the research says: Kohn scoured the research to find that there is no evidence that homework in elementary school leads to an increase in student achievement.
ElizabethHS's insight:
This principal found an excellent way to get her whole school on board with "no homework" (which actually turned out to be some 'homework' in the form of extensive reading with family): She gave them Kohn's book to read for their homework, held discussions, and had each teacher decide what the best way was to tackle the problem. Result: No more boring worksheets.
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The Victorian MOOC - Hybrid Pedagogy

The Victorian MOOC - Hybrid Pedagogy | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
This is the story of how Anna Ticknor in her fiftieth year, and over two hundred women volunteers, leveraged the postal service — the most advanced, accessible and democratising information technology of their day — to provide support, education, opportunity, and resources to women regardless of race, location, class, or financial disposition. Women who were actively, explicitly, and implicitly excluded from education. It’s the story of an edtech revolution that came to be called the “Silent University” — The Society to Encourage Studies at Home, founded in 1873.
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Lever Press Makes Academic Publishing Free | Digital Book World

The Oberlin Group, a consortium of university libraries across the United States, has started a new project called Lever Press, which allows academic authors to publish on an open access digital platform. Production costs will be taken care of by supporting academic institutions, and readers will access content for free.

The organization hopes to acquire, develop and produce 60 new titles on arts, humanities and social science topics by the end of 2020.

Because Lever Press functions digitally, costs of production will remain low and the platform’s editorial board can focus on publishing articles based solely on merit. This also allows the board to publish pieces that may be considered outside the realm of legacy publishing and explore partnerships with the emerging digital humanities community.

Nearly 40 liberal arts college libraries—many of whom are members of the Oberlin Group—have pledged more than $1 million altogether to work on Lever Press over the next five years. Now that the project has financial backing, the next step is to form an editorial board comprised of distinguished faculty members from participating institutions who will vet and approve articles.
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Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work - Faculty Focus

Ready to Flip: Three Ways to Hold Students Accountable for Pre-Class Work - Faculty Focus | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
One of the most frequent questions faculty ask about the flipped classroom model is: “How do you encourage students to actually do the pre-class work and come to class prepared?”

This is not really a new question for educators. We’ve always assigned some type of homework, and there have always been students who do not come to class ready to learn. However, the flipped classroom conversation has launched this question straight to the top of the list of challenges faculty face when implementing this model in their classrooms. By design, the flipped model places more emphasis on the importance of homework or pre-class work to ensure that in-person class time is effective, allowing the instructor and the students to explore higher levels of application and analysis together. If students are unprepared, it leads to frustration, stress, and anxiety for everyone.
ElizabethHS's insight:

These are three practical ways to keep everyone in class on track and ready to join the discussion of the day.

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What Kind of Feedback Helps Students Who Are Doing Poorly?

What Kind of Feedback Helps Students Who Are Doing Poorly? | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
Students perform poorly in our courses for a variety of reasons. Here are some students you’ve likely encountered over the years, as well as a few ideas on the type of feedback that best helps them turn things around.
ElizabethHS's insight:

Several good ideas to cope with college-age problem students.

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The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con

The Flipped Classroom: Pro and Con | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
So in the end, why should we care so much about the flipped-classroom model? The primary reason is because it is forcing teachers to reflect on their practice and rethink how they reach their kids. It is inspiring teachers to change the way they've always done things, and it is motivating them to bring technology into their classrooms through the use of video and virtual classrooms like Edmodo and similar tools. As long as learning remains the focus, and as long as educators are constantly reflecting and asking themselves if what they are doing is truly something different or just a different way of doing the same things they've always done, there is hope that some of Dewey's philosophies will again permeate our schools. We just need to remember that flipping is only the beginning.
ElizabethHS's insight:

An interesting article, although one might think that by now, 2016, most classes would be flipped, one way or another.

Always good to re-think our assumptions about teaching. This is a thoughtful article.

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CLIL for young learners

CLIL is not a matter of learning first one of either content or language and only then the other, but of learning both content and language simultaneously (Coyle, Hood &Marsh, 2010). This is, of course, the deceptively simple but critical difference enshrined in the original definition of CLIL (Marsh, 2012), as well as many subsequent reformulations.In this sense, CLIL is closely related (Banegas, 2012b; Tarnopolsky, 2013) to concepts such as ‘content-based instruction/learning’ or ‘CBI/CBL’ (the most familiar term in North American contexts), ‘immersion’ education (a term often associated with Canadian contexts), and ‘language across the curriculum’.

 

As Brown (2006: 91) notes, there are a “multitude of reasons” why children may have difficulty acquiring a second language, including complex personal, social, cultural and political factors. In response to these, the CLIL approach may offer greater and more flexible opportunities to improve language learning. Marsh (2000) argues that CLIL offers YLs more realistic and natural opportunities to learn and use an additional language in such a way that they soon forget about learning the language as such and focus only on learning the content. That said, language is a key ingredient to success in a world increasingly“interconnected by the exchange of information and knowledge” (Mehisto, Marsh & Frigols-Martín, 2008: 10). This re-emphasizes the primary importance that language education arguably should (but does not always) have in contemporary educational practice. CLIL not only provides learners with proficiency in the ‘vehicular language’ (VL) but also with the associated content knowledge and skills needed/required for a globalized world.

 

This chapter considers the potential benefits and challenges of implementing CLIL for YLs in light of the existing research. It highlights the relative lack of attention that has so far been directed towards CLIL in pre-secondary levels, but suggests particular avenues that might be suitable for CLIL implementation with YLs at different stages. . . .

ElizabethHS's insight:

Rather dense and scholarly, but with some good ideas for CLIL for YLs. "Immersion" is worth re-investigating.

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Parents: Reject Technology Shame

Parents: Reject Technology Shame | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
Digital mentors instead take an active role in guiding their kids onto the Internet. They not only make up a third of parents overall, but a little more than a third of parents in each age range—suggesting that this is an approach to digital-age parenting that can actually sustain a family long-term, from the time baby first lays her hands on a touchscreen all the way until she heads off for college.
ElizabethHS's insight:

Digital mentors' kids learn the skills needed to control their own behavior online and use technology in productive ways. The info graphic here indicates behaviors that can be avoided with good training in digital activities.

The article reminds us that all was not an idyllic world before technology. Parents probably spent no more time with their kids than they do now. Spending time with kids with technology can be very productive.

 

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Vocabulary apps: organising the content

Vocabulary apps: organising the content | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

How best to teach vocabulary? Organized by semantic set? By theme? This article has some interesting research:


"The answer depends, to some extent, on the level of the learner. For advanced learners, it appears to make no, or little, difference (Al-Jabri, 2005, cited by Ellis & Shintani, 2014: 106). But, for the vast majority of English language learners (i.e. those at or below B2 level), the research is clear: the most effective way of organising vocabulary items to be learnt is by grouping them into thematic sets (2) or by mixing words together in a semantically unrelated way (3) – not by teaching sets like ‘personality adjectives’. It is surprising how surprising this finding is to so many teachers and materials writers. It goes back at least to 1988 and West’s article on ‘Catenizing’ in ELTJ, which argued that semantic grouping made little sense from a psycho-linguistic perspective. Since then, a large amount of research has taken place. This is succinctly summarised by Paul Nation (2013: 128) in the following terms: Avoid interference from related words. Words which are similar in form (Laufer, 1989) or meaning (Higa, 1963; Nation, 2000; Tinkham, 1993; Tinkham, 1997; Waring, 1997) are more difficult to learn together than they are to learn separately. For anyone who is interested, the most up-to-date review of this research that I can find is in chapter 11 of Barcroft (2105)."

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WeAreTeachers: Making Matters! How the Maker Movement Is Transforming Education

WeAreTeachers: Making Matters! How the Maker Movement Is Transforming Education | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

The "maker movement" in education seems primarily focused on computers and the sciences. It is, in effect, "learning by doing." This article gives a few concrete examples of how the maker movement is applied in real-life teaching situations, and it can apply also in the arts, literature, and social sciences.


"All students need challenge and “hard fun” that inspires them to dig deeper and construct big ideas. Making science hands-on and interesting is not pandering to young sensibilities; it honors the learning drive and spirit that is all too often crushed by endless worksheets and vocabulary drills. Making is a way of bringing engineering to young learners. Such concrete experiences provide a meaningful context for understanding the abstract science and math concepts traditionally taught by schools while expanding the world of knowledge now accessible to students for the first time."


Some examples of classroom maker ideas (and some not in the classroom at all, of course).


"The Maker Movement celebrates the talents of young people such as Sylvia (aka “Super-Awesome Sylvia”) who has a webcast show, Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show, where she sings, plays, and teaches millions of viewers about electronics, Arduinos, and other fun projects. Joey Hudy is a young Maker and entrepreneur who surprised President Obama with a homemade marshmallow cannon in the White House. Caine Munro was a young man who made an entire game arcade entirely out of cardboard and tape. A passerby fell in love with Caine’s ingenuity and asked his father if he could make a video about the arcade. Not long after, Caine’s arcade lit up YouTube. Caine and his arcade inspired millions of people around the world. He received invitations to visit other countries, a scholarship fund was created for his college education, and a foundation was created to nurture creativity in kids across the globe. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa even gave Caine a cardboard key to the city!"


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Initial Findings After Implementing Digital Student Portfolios in Elementary Classrooms

Initial Findings After Implementing Digital Student Portfolios in Elementary Classrooms | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
An interesting short report of action research on portfolio assessment of reading and writing in elementary school.

 "All teachers were expected to document student writing at least six times a year in a digital portfolio tool. In addition, each student was expected to reflect on their work by highlighting what they did well, identifying areas of growth, and making goals for the next time they were asked to upload a piece of writing into their digital portfolio. The digital portfolio tool we used, FreshGrade, was well received by families. Survey results with these families revealed an overwhelmingly positive response to the use of this tool for sharing student learning regularly over the course of the school year. In fact, we didn’t share enough, as multiple parents asked for more postings.

 "The comments left by family members on the students’ work via digital portfolios seemed to motivate the teachers to share more of the students’ work. Staff requested additional trainings for conducting portfolio assessment. They could select the dates to meet and offer the agenda items that we would focus on.

 "If you have read any of the research on feedback and formative assessment, you will know that many studies have shown that educators will double their effectiveness as teachers when they focus on formative assessment and providing feedback for students as they learn. It should be noted that our 19% growth is almost double what we achieved in 2011-2012."
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Why smart kids shouldn’t use laptops in class

"Now there is an answer, thanks to a big, new experiment from economists at West Point, who randomly banned computers from some sections of a popular economics course this past year at the military academy. One-third of the sections could use laptops or tablets to take notes during lecture; one-third could use tablets, but only to look at class materials; and one-third were prohibited from using any technology.

"Unsurprisingly, the students who were allowed to use laptops — and 80 percent of them did — scored worse on the final exam. What’s interesting is that the smartest students seemed to be harmed the most."


Multi-tasking doesn't work.

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Is your one-to-one program destined to fail?

Is your one-to-one program destined to fail? | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

"At the outset, I typically ask a series of questions: “Why did you decide to go one-to-one?” “How does technology integration align with the school’s vision of meaningful and purposeful learning?” “How is learning supposed to be different as a result of a one-to-one program?” When I ask these questions, it’s not uncommon for there to be silence for a few moments. The administrators often glance at each other and hesitate before responding. What might emerge is a vague statement on improving student proficiency in the four Cs — creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication. Sometimes administrators divulge that they do not have a vision of how learning should be different as a result of the technology. Many point out that the teachers have everything they need and have given teachers freedom to develop implementation strategies.

"From the outside, it often seems crazy that schools make major technology purchases with no clear plans for how learning should change. We’ve found, however, that there are so many details in technology planning—acquisition, security, sustainability, teacher training, parent education, and so on—that many schools lose track of the most important issues. To paraphrase educator/speaker Dan Meyer: “If iPads/Chromebooks/laptops are the answer, what was the question?""

Just as with the implementation of computers in the 80s and the Internet in the 90s, schools seem determined to jump on board the latest tech without a clear plan for what teachers are going to do with it. Training teachers, visiting success programs in other schools, etc., have to be in place first. If teachers don't have a clear vision of how technology makes things different, no iPad is going to make kids better learners or thinkers.

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Life of an Educator: 5 ways to make your classroom student-centered

Life of an Educator: 5 ways to make your classroom student-centered | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

5 ways to make your classroom student-centered

A student-centered classroom allows students to be an integral part of the assessment development process. This doesn't necessarily mean every assessment is created and designed by students, but it does mean there is a collaborative and joint venture of teachers and students in the planning and implementation stages of assessments. Students who help to design and create their assessments will find the assessments to be more meaningful, and typically students end up creating assessments that are more challenging than what teachers would have created anyway.

"A student-centered classroom focuses on finding solutions to real-world problems. Too often our classroom focus is on solving problems that lack relevance and purpose in the eyes of students. The student-centered classroom addresses real-world problems that affect or will affect students. This in turn will provide meaning and context to student-driven learning, which then will increase levels of engagement and overall student involvement.

"A student-centered classroom is not about what the teacher is doing or what the teacher has done; it's about what the students are doing and what the students can do in the future. We all have experienced the teacher observation model that focuses just on what the teacher is doing, but more and more models are now focusing on what the students are doing. Obviously, what the teacher does affects and impacts what the students are doing, but the most important piece is what the students are doing or are able to do as a result of what the teacher is doing.

"A student-centered classroom embraces the notion that there are multiple ways to accomplish an individual task. When we limit and confine students to following a certain and specific path, we ultimately end up limiting their levels of ownership, innovation, and creativity. A student-centered classroom allows, encourages, and embraces the multitude of paths one can take to solve a given problem. This also allows for students to follow their strengths and their interests when completing a task.

"A student-centered classroom firmly believes that there is a partnership and a strong level of trust between educators and students. The teacher no longer is and hasn't been for a while the 'smartest' person in the room. Because of this, we need to continue forging a partnership between the teachers and the students and accept an equal playing field when it comes to learning, exploration, and discovery. This partnership is built on trust, and trust happens when we are vulnerable and open to learning with and from others...


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Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently

Free Technology for Teachers: 5 Things We Can do to Prepare Students to Work Independently | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

"Nearly ten years ago Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod’s Did You Know/ Shift Happens (http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com/) videos made many of us aware of the fact that the nature of learning and the nature of work has irreversibly changed. Yet in many schools we continue to we still teach as if we are preparing students to work and learn in the 80’s and 90’s (you can pick the century). While there is value in some of the traditional methods we must strive to incorporate new perspectives and instructional strategies."


R. Byrne offers ideas for preparing students for this century.

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Here’s a Snapshot of Online Learning in 2015 – The Ticker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Here’s a Snapshot of Online Learning in 2015 – The Ticker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
The Babson Survey Research Group released its last annual survey of the online-education landscape on Tuesday. You can read its report on the survey here, and below are some of its key findings:

The percentage of academic leaders who said online learning was critical to their institution’s mission dropped from 71 percent, in 2014 — the highest ever — to 63 percent.
The number of distance-education students increased at a slightly higher rate — 3.9 percent — from 2014 to 2015 than it did in the previous year.
The percentage of academic leaders who said their faculty members believe online education is legitimate remained very low — 29 percent.

This will be Babson’s final annual report. In the introduction to this year’s report, the authors — I. Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman, Babson’s co-directors — cite as reasons to end the annual survey “the maturation of distance-education programs in higher education and the growing number of other reports and surveys that have launched since we began this particular effort, back in 2003.”
ElizabethHS's insight:

Some strange findings -- academic leaders don't feel online learning is crucial, but distance ed students are increasing.

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Why We Changed Our Model of the “8 Essential Elements of PBL” | Blog | Project Based Learning | BIE

Why We Changed Our Model of the “8 Essential Elements of PBL” | Blog | Project Based Learning | BIE | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
Back in the day – September 2010 to be exact, but it feels like long ago - the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) published an article entitled “7 Essentials for Project-Based Learning” in ASCD’s Educational Leadership magazine. Soon thereafter we added an eighth element, “Significant Content,” to counter stereotypes that PBL was not an effective method for teaching standards-based knowledge, understanding, and skills – and to remind teachers to design projects with a clear focus on content standards. These “8 Essential Elements of PBL” became the framework for our publications and “PBL 101” workshop, which had now been experienced by over 50,000 teachers. That article, and the hexagonal graphic below, has been widely circulated and cited over the past few years.

Old Model for PBL


In 2014, however, we decided a revision was needed, and developed a more comprehensive, research-based model that we call “Gold Standard PBL.” With PBL’s growing popularity, we worried that if too many teachers and schools jumped on the PBL bandwagon without clear guidance and adequate preparation, problems will crop up. A lot of practices and curriculum materials labeled as “PBL” will not be rigorous or even truly PBL, and yield disappointing results. Some “projects” will really be only “hands-on activities.” Poorly designed and implemented projects could frustrate students, disappoint teachers, and damage PBL’s reputation. PBL could become another fad on the trash heap of failed efforts to transform education. We believe a Gold Standard PBL model will help ensure this does not happen, and we look forward to seeing high-quality projects in all classrooms, in all settings, for all students.

What we call the new model
In our new conception for Gold Standard PBL, we have created two separate but related components of the model: Essential Project Design Elements, and Project Based Teaching Practices. We call them the Essential Project Design Elements because that’s precisely what they are – not the “elements of PBL” the instructional methodology, which is a much broader topic than the design of a project itself. The Project Based Teaching Practices expand on what it means to implement PBL well, beyond designing the project. You can read more about our new model in the other posts linked above, but as you can see in the diagram below, while some of the familiar “8 Essential Elements” remain, others are gone. Let’s explain where they went and why.

New Model for Gold Standard PBL





What’s gone and what replaces it

From Significant Content to Key Knowledge and Understanding. To describe the student learning goals that are the central focus of a project, we think the word “key” still captures the idea that what students learn should be significant, in terms of state or local standards and what’s important to students, teachers, schools and districts. The term “knowledge and understanding” means the same thing as “content” but says it in more everyday language, since we want to use as little edu-jargon as possible for a broad audience.
From 21st Century Competencies to Success Skills. Our older model separated this element from content – albeit with a dotted line, to indicate a connection – but we now combine the two into one set of student learning goals. Recent standards now explicitly include such competencies as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and making presentations; they are to be taught together with content, since students need to, say, think critically about something, such as history, science, math, and so on. Furthermore, we think the term “success skills” is more readily understood by all audiences, and has less baggage, than our older language or other terms such as “college and career readiness skills.”
From Driving Question to Challenging Problem or Question. Our new model defines the fundamental element of a project – what it is “about” – more broadly as a “challenging problem or question.” This may be expressed as a “problem statement” in classrooms and schools where problem based learning is the preferred style of PBL. In other settings, teachers may prefer to organize projects around an “essential question” or “design challenge.” Although we welcome multiple ways to describe what a project is about, we continue to suggest in our PBL workshops and project design materials that teachers operationalize the challenging problem or question by putting it in the form of a student-friendly, open-ended “driving question” to focus the project.
From In-Depth Inquiry to Sustained Inquiry. Inquiry is pretty much, by definition, not a superficial process. So instead of depth, we decided to emphasize the point that in PBL, inquiry should take place over an extended period of time. Students could, during a not-at-gold-standard project, investigate a topic in depth but only on one occasion. But by extending inquiry over several occasions, students have enough time to engage in an iterative process that involves questioning, finding and evaluating sources of information, posing new questions, and applying what has been learned to the solution of a problem or creation of a product.
From Public Audience to Public Product. It’s hugely important – both for motivational reasons and to make learning visible and discussible – that students make their work public in a project. It adds to a project’s authenticity. But we don’t want to suggest that students always have to make a formal presentation to an audience. There are others ways to make work public; students can put it online, display it on a wall, or provide a product or service that is actually used by people in the real world.
Goodbye Need to Know. The fact that an engaging project creates a genuine “need to know” in a learner is one of the most powerful arguments for PBL. As opposed to learning for the sake of a test, grade, or approval from teachers and parents, students in PBL are motivated to learn because they want to successfully complete the project. However, we think this term belongs in a “Why PBL?” argument, not as a thing teachers design in a project the way they would, say, an authentic product or opportunities for student voice and choice. This concept also was easily confused with the “need to know list” used as a tool in a project. Instead, our Gold Standard PBL model places a list of student-generated questions (which is initiated by an entry event that launches a project) as part of the “sustained inquiry” process. The list of student questions could still be given the heading “What do we need to know?” or it could be called something else, such as a KWL (Know, Want to Learn, Learned) chart.


Two new elements – and where to learn more

Hello Authenticity and Reflection. BIE’s Essential Project Design Elements contain two new items, both of which are familiar to those who know PBL. One is “authenticity,” which has to do with how real-world the project is. The other is “reflection,” which we have previously coupled with “revision” but now stands on its own; students should reflect on what they’re learning, how they’re learning, and what they have accomplished in a project.

To learn more about these and the other Essential Project Design Elements plus the Project Based Teaching Practices, read our blogs and see our Hangouts on Gold Standard PBL at bie.org and see our new book published by ASCD, Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning, available in the bie.org/shop.



This post is also available as a downloadable article.

Watch a Hangout with authors John Larmer and John Mergendoller about the need today for high-quality PBL and the new model for Gold Standard PBL Essential Project Design Elements, Gold Standard PBL: The Why and the What.
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A venture capitalist searches for the purpose of school. Here’s what he found.

A venture capitalist searches for the purpose of school. Here’s what he found. | Computers for Education | Scoop.it

“What is the purpose of school?” Everywhere I looked — mission statements, meetings with school leaders, websites — I’d find sensible, even inspiring, purposes:

* teach students cognitive and social skills
* teach students to think
* build character and soul
* help students in a process of self-discovery
* prepare students to be responsible, contributing citizens
* inspire students through the study of humanity’s great works
* prepare students for productive careers

I probed educators on these alternatives, trying to determine the purpose of school, as though answering an SAT question. But I gradually came to realize that this choice was poorly framed. For starters, each of these goals have merit. If some classrooms prepare students for productive careers, and others prioritize on character development, that’s a good thing. And shouldn’t we celebrate an educator who accomplishes one of these goals — not snipe over whether an alternative purpose is superior?

But what came across loud and clear in my journeys is that schools don’t have the luxury of striving for any meaningful purpose. We’ve somehow imposed a system on our educators that requires them to:

* cover volumes of bureaucratically-prescribed content
* boost scores on increasingly-pervasive standardized tests
* get kids through this year’s vacuous hoops to prepare for next year’s vacuous hoops
* produce acceptable graduation rates and college placements
* deal with parents who are either obsessive micro-managers or missing in action.

How did we get here?

 

ElizabethHS's insight:

The article really takes us through ways that we can change and improve the learning experience in schools. One of the chief means, I was happy to see, is project-based learning (PBL).

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First language wires brain for later language-learning | Channels - McGill University

First language wires brain for later language-learning | Channels - McGill University | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
ElizabethHS's insight:

An interesting study of how bilingual learners use their brain differently. All minds are ready to learn a second or third language.

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The Internet's Dark Ages: Raiders of the Lost Web

The Internet's Dark Ages: Raiders of the Lost Web | Computers for Education | Scoop.it
Saving something on the web, just as Kevin Vaughan learned from what happened to his work, means not just preserving websites but maintaining the environments in which they first appeared—the same environments that often fail, even when they’re being actively maintained. Rose, looking ahead hundreds of generations from now, suspects “next to nothing” will survive in a useful way. “If we have continuity in our technological civilization, I suspect a lot of the bare data will remain findable and searchable,” he said. “But I suspect almost nothing of the format in which it was delivered will be recognizable.”
ElizabethHS's insight:

This Atlantic article is fascinating: We are all aware of how links become "unlinked" and how constant revision is part and parcel of any Web page, but in this article's perspective, the Internet is constantly losing ground, even when a site like the Internet Archive is trying to capture everything. The numbers are staggering.

A good read.

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