ITI Journal #7: Problem and project based learning

There are many exciting avenues to be explored when considering problem and project based learning for the classroom. I cannot say that it is a regular occurrance in my own classroom, but what I can say is when I have facilitated this sort of learning experience with my students they have gained a lot out of it. It brings the students and the classroom to life, and work is produced that the students feel extremely proud about.

There are clearly some key factors that need to be considered before embarking on any learning activity such as this. Key to everything is preparation. And there is usually quite a bit of it if the activity is going to be of any success. If the teacher is not prepared completely, then children will be led up and along paths that may not have been paved yet, creating potential hazards such as children heading off-task or becoming bored and disinterested while waiting to find out what comes along next. I also believe that the experience needs to be planned to great detail to ensure that students are engaged right throughout, and not just “interested” in what they are doing. The expectations of the work they will produce, their audiences and the way they go about putting all these together needs to be carefully planned out to ensure that students can maximise the use of the time given to them. I’ve sensed it can be far too easy for expectations  not to be defined clearly enough and what follows is sub-standard work for students who have far more potential.

Ultimately I believe the more project based work students do throughout their schooling, the better they become at taking part in such activities, with follow-on effects in their ability to plan their own projects, research and produce work of their own in the future. 


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