PBL notes on teaching tools

The teacher in me learned that “project-based learning” is not just dumb phrase someone coined to sell some books

This was certainly a departure from the traditional style of ‘learning’. No note cards or endless pages of scribbled factoids clogging up the lines of some ruled notebook pages. I did not miss the ubiquitous 20-page research paper on some mundane topic that only its only worth-the points. Nor did I miss the cramming for an exam that only displays my ability to spit back those facts I scribbled down on that notebook page last week only to forget most of what I only ‘learned’ shortly thereafter . I did however come away with an appreciation for a fresh idea of learning through collaboration in an investigative effort.

We certainly learned a lot about a fairly narrow scope of information individually, then broaden slightly through discussion within our group and broader still with other groups. I’d say we all shifted a little closer toward ‘expert’ in our respective field of investigation for the introduction sections we were responsible for. Aside from in depth and the narrow scope of learning through research and synthesis. I felt that another type of learning took place, through discussion with those who had recently undergone similar acquisitions of knowledge, but in different areas whether regional, cultural, or both.

As a lesson in becoming a historian, gathering information from available sources, sorting out the misinformation, filtering for bias, and synthesizing to the best of your ability the correct story I see this as a goal achieved. We also engaged in the process of peer review that wore an editor’s dress. It took me some time to catch that but this too is part of the process and is incredibly valuable in that if done well it prevents further misrepresentation of ‘fact’ and protects the credibility of your voice.


4 thoughts on “PBL notes on teaching tools”

  1. Learning should be fun! I also appreciate the element of collaboration and investigation. Do you think you will be using this method in your science classes?

  2. Thank you Matt. Yes! I too also appreciated the peer review process. What a great opportunity to see and remove our own biases while refining our own research and voice in presenting information.

  3. Matt -‘Peer review that wore an editor’s dress’ I am so stealing that! Besides your turn of phrase, I also appreciated your thoughts on peer editing. This, for me, was the most helpful thing in the entire process. I would have loved to see this incorporated early on.

  4. Matt,

    I agree with you that PBL is not only teaching content, but this project taught us how to think. I believe this is the overall goal for PBL. The teacher in me agrees with you. I originally thought that projects are given by teachers for the teachers. After this project, I learned that the entire style is dedicated to projects that will help the students teach themselves.

    Information that people learn on their own is more likely to stay in their mind that when someone else speaks the same information.

    Thank you for your post,
    Mason Shearer

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