— Dean J. Fusto (@DJFTLL) December 15, 2014
Dean Fusto clearly explains his framework for implementing Project Based Learning.
During our last project, I could see a need that Dean suggests: a place for teams to curate the pieces of their project, so they can discuss and organize it for the final production. He suggests Weebly or Wikis for final sharing, and as a Google Apps school, we could use Google Sites [ which is a wiki]. But before that final production, students need a way to organize the research they’ve gathered. Google Drive holds any type of file. Students could share a folder with all their notes, images, videos shared. Here’s a post by Alice Keeler on how to share folders, nested folders, and differentiating shared files. Students also track their tasks in a Progress Tracker.
Diigo now has Diigo outliner, which would work great to save their annotations and images. I find Diigo a wonderful tool for research as students can highlight the text, then annotate with their own summary and ideas. The website, highlights, and annotations are saved to the student’s account. If you haven’t used Diigo, try it. Here’s the Teacher Account page.
How do your students organize their projects?
Creativity = Connections
Creativity is innovation. If, as a country, we want innovators and innovative educators and businesses, then we must develop our ability to make connections in diverse ways.
Steve Jobs was a master of innovation — his creative ideas developed from thinking globally — beyond the box in which he was working. So, the Apple II case was inspired by kitchen appliances. The mag-safe magnetic power plug was inspired by Japanese rice cookers. Outside the usual idea of computers. He connected the disparate. He imagined how one could translate to another.
So, education needs to be more flexible, more amenable to connecting ideas, to taking time to solve problems through creative and critical thinking. It’s more powerful learning than demanding objectives and parsed skills. We need more conversation and more time for playing with ideas. If we want innovation, we need time to play, to make, to step back and see how something completely unrelated may help solve a confusing issue.
What I see in my classroom is a hope to get the teacher’s answer. What I see are glazed eyes when I talk about the objective for the day. What I see is a sparkle when I turn the tables so students ask the questions, when the topic is relevant to their lives, and when the task is determined by their desire to share something important to them — their connection, their ideas.
When do you see that sparkle?
Today the Buck Institute for Education offered a thirty-minute discussion on Google Hangout on “Collaboration and High Quality Student Work.” Find the archives and more bie.org.
In the video two successful Project Based Learning school districts discussed collaboration and it’s affect on student work. Collaboration by the staff and with students were key factors. Both guests suggested just diving into content that requires collaboration rather than spending time on team-building activities. Just get right into the rigor of authentic projects.
In addition, because staff and students are collaborative by design, students come back from summer break without a lag in achievement with regards to the processes of collaborative team work. The thoughts were then of “How do we collaborate with this new team?” In other words, the summer lag for this process and strategy achievement did not occur.
Finally, collaboration just doesn’t “happen” because we ask “turn and share.” It must be taught, nudged, discussed, and debriefed.
Of course, that’s what you thought, wasn’t it? Get your PBL back in the classroom! And check out the Buck Institute for Education for more PBL resources.