PROJECT BASED LEARNING

Background

During my (Mr. Burghardt's) undergraduate study at SVSU, there were few classes that I got over and above what I expected out of it.  Yet there was one professor who was able to do this in each of the three classes that I had him as a professor.  He was Dr. Gary Clark.  Dr. Clark's classes were different.  

I can remember my freshman year being in a history class and listening to to elegant speaking and well aged Dr. Braddock explain how civilizations evolved and these key events in history that shaped our world today.  But every Dr. Braddock class was a straight lecture with each of the almost 100 students vigorously taking notes.   As long as you could take decent notes and cram for a test you were able to succeed in the course.  

Dr. Clark's classes were constructed very different, and enabled students to work and real-world experiences in the classroom.  While taking Dr. Clark's classes I was able to build a website and present the website to a local tutoring business, conduct a market research study that included sending out 500 mail surveys and compiling and analyzing the results which were presented to a local flower business.  

These experiences were hands on and the class learned through doing, and trail and error.  Dr. Clark guided us and helped us correct our errors and overcome the obstacles that came up but we the students were in charge of the projects and our learning.  Each of these experiences were the things that I learned the most from throughout my education and are skills and memories that stick with me several years later.  

To try and give my students the same long lasting experiences that will positively benefit them, this 2014-2015 school year will institute project based learning into my courses. 

What is Project Based Learning?

Is a method of classroom instruction that allows students to work and gain content knowledge and skills through completing long-term projects that answer a complex question, problem, or challenge.

Why Project Based Learning?

Research shows that compared with students receiving traditional instruction, those participating in PBL 
*become more engaged, self-directed learnings
*learn more deeply and transfer their learning to new situations:
*improve problem-solving and collaboration skills; and
*perform as well or better on high-stakes tests
      http://www.edutopia.org/video/five-keys-rigorous-project-based-learning viewed Aug. 29th, 2014)

Closing

The end goal of project-based learning is to give students the most opportunities for students to maximize their learning, and be better students enabling them to be more effective, successful, and productive members of society.  

 

The YouTube video below shows an example of project based learning posted by Kevin Brookhouser, this is our end goal!