Because of problems on the TechLearning blog with commenting, I am cross-posting this over here so you may comment on my blog if you are not able to comment there. (I wasn’t able to directly comment this morning on Dave Jakes’ post from yesterday, so I’m following his lead.)
I’m a staunch advocate for project-based learning. As teachers, we need to be regularly facilitating student work on projects using real-world tools, as they collaborate with others in face-to-face as well as distributed work environments. Students need access to a diverse array of resources to accomplish their defined tasks, and need to work under deadlines. The real world is full of groups working on project teams, and part of the solution to fixing the disconnect between 21st century skills which employers say they want, and the skills emphasized in our schools, is operationalizing a learning culture in our classrooms which regularly involves project-based learning.
One of the biggest challenges to embracing project-based learning as a teacher, however, is the formidable task of structuring, monitoring, managing and evaluating student work. It is MUCH easier to simply lecture to students and deliver content, rather than manage a project-based learning environment. Often (as Darren Draper reminded me at NECC07) educators are focused on “doing what is convenient, not what is best for students.” As Dr. Tim Tyson exhorts us, however, we should be focused on maximizing student achievement, but that focus has virtually nothing to do with the emphasis of NCLB and high-stakes accountability. My understanding of maximizing student achievement includes inviting students to engage in potentially relevant, meaningful work in project-based learning contexts. Certainly our students need to take tests and score well on them, but there is SO much more we must do and on which we must focus in our schools than simply minimum standards for student performance established by the state.
My question, given this context, regards the most effective (and cost-effective) tools for helping teachers facilitate project-based learning. What are they? What is on the PBL software facilitation menu today? I learned about Project Foundry (commercial software) last summer, but I have more recently discovered a series of open-source project management tools that could be potentially used in school contexts for teachers facilitating PBL activities. The ones I have found to date include:
I’ve started a social bookmark list for “project management” via Diigo, which also cross-posts to my del.icio.us social bookmarks. I’m looking for more tools like these which are web-based, and include Gantt chart functionality similar to Microsoft Project. A couple of questions for you:
1. Are you aware of other software options which should be included on this list?
2. Are you personally using or aware of other teachers using project management software currently to facilitate student PBL activities?
Dean Groom has created a PBL group over on Diigo which I’ve joined, which looks like a great place to continue this conversation as well and share resources.
Did you know Wes has published 3 eBooks, and 1 of them is available free? Check them out! Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard!
If you're trying to listen to a podcast episode and it's not working, check this status page. (Wes is migrating his podcasts to Amazon S3 for hosting.) Remember to follow Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wesley's Facebook pages for "Speed of Creativity Learning" and his eBook, "Playing with Media." Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Mapping Media to the Common Core / Curriculum."
On this day..
- Book Review: "It's Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens" by danah boyd - 2014
- Interactively Explore Population Pyramids - 2013
- Bark Buddy iOS Game Development Begins with GameSalad - 2012
- Use a cell phone supporting 3 way calling to record audio interviews - 2011
- Create a Moderated Classroom Phonecasting Channel with iPadio - 2011
- Proposed K12 virtual school legislation in Florida a sign of things to come - 2011
- Openness is the only means of doing education - 2010
- What's magical? A bluetooth keyboard and an iPad - 2010
- links for 2008-04-18 - 2008
- Death threats for test scores - 2008