Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bring Project Pals into the New School Year



Digitized project-based learning transforms the traditional group project into a deeply collaborative, creative experience for students.
I know how challenging it can be to take a step back from your back-to-school preparation to learn a new tool—especially when what you currently use isn’t broken. But then I read yet another article on the popular Lean methodology, and I can’t help but seek tools that will help teachers and students use time more effectively.
Most teachers have group projects listed in the itinerary for the semester. By the time each student has a handle on a topic, their research, and materials, getting students prepared takes the same amount of time as completing the project. I discovered a company that has brought a project management tool, a resource that is popular in the corporate world, into the classroom. I met the team behind Project Pals, a dynamic, all-in-one platform that digitizes project-based-learning (PBL).
Project Pals is perfect for teachers who are both brand new and experienced in online PBL. Coordinating collaborative work is just the beginning of what Project Pals can do for students. Students and teachers can create project assets, import media, and visualize relationships within an interactive and collaborative workspace that is updated in real time. Project Pals integrates with Google Classroom, making creation and collaboration easy for everyone. At the end of a project, students have more than a shareable presentation; they have a gallery of information they can reference for future assignments and exams.

If you’re just getting started with PBL, you’ll definitely want to check out Project Pals’ catalog of pre-made content, as well as the option to create your own project. The catalog houses dozens of projects covering a wide-range of topics—everything from George Washington and the Issue of Slavery to Photosynthesis. Project Pals’ analytics and real-time whiteboard functionality make it a cross-curricular powerhouse. Project Pals allows educators to upload and link all the resources students need at one time and in one place. Getting students on board with the right resources for traditional projects helps them spend less time searching and more time learning.

Another game-changer the company brings to PBL is the ability to assess each student’s contribution. Project Pals’ analytics dashboard provides easy-to-read data on which students are playing large and small roles in each project. Finished work can be shared with parents and added to a digital portfolio that serves as proof of knowledge throughout a student’s academic career.

Bringing PBL to Your Classroom
When preparation time isn’t clouding the experience, students have more autonomy over the level of learning they want to achieve. Educators can create project templates and let students run with whatever topic they are passionate about. Students can store resources in one spot, and showcase their findings using a wide-variety of components available in the platform. In the YouTube video embedded below, you’ll see how Project Pals guides students to researching and writing a biography about anyone they choose.
The template guides students to create an introductory story about the person’s life, timeline, and map out the key events of the person’s life. Digitizing PBL provides an outlet for students to dig deep into their interests.

Support for the PBL Switch
Group projects have been a staple of the classroom experience for decades. Luckily, the Project Pals team understands that going from poster board and cutouts to an online platform can seem like an upheaval. A friendly member of the staff is happy to give interested teachers a free demo to see if the program is a good fit. Project Pals also offers free lesson plans that revolve around topics including digital citizenship and the disappearance of honeybees. For those who want to dive deeper into PBL, you can download The Educator’s Ultimate Guide to Project Based Learning eBook.
Head over to the Project Pals website to sign up for a free account for up to 20 projects and 50 students!

While this is a sponsored post, that doesn't make this any less awesome. Check out Project Pals to get a start on Project Based Learning.