Friday, June 1, 2018

Simplifying the Shift to Project-Based Learning

If you’re just getting started with project-based learning (PBL), the logistics can feel overwhelming. Where do you find the right resources? How do you facilitate collaboration among students? How do you give students feedback along the way?

Over 10 years ago, I started to explore Project based Learning in my classroom and it was a tough go at the start. I wasn't sure if what I was doing was correct and I did not have many resources or tools available to me online. Google Tools were not available to me or my students, so trying to make everything accessible and sharable was a huge mountain to climb. I look at the edtech landscape today and I see so many great tools out there that make Project Based Learning so much more accessible to teachers and really lower the bar for entry. 
Organizing Resources
Teachers who are brand-new to PBL, as well as those who have experience using PBL in the classroom, should take a look at Project Pals. This online collaboration platform offers a catalog’s worth of cross-curricular content that’s ready to use right away. Teachers can add their own materials, too. It’s teacher-friendly by integrating with Google Classroom, and allows teachers to keep all their project materials in one place. From there, resources and entire projects can be shared among teachers and students.
Facilitating Collaboration and Feedback
Project Pals gives students one centralized place to collaborate with their peers. The collaborative workspace is updated in real time, so students can participate in problem-solving activities either in class or from home.
Meanwhile, teachers can access student work and provide ongoing feedback. The platform allows teachers to guide students throughout the process to make sure they’re learning the lessons of each project, and to analyze how much each student is contributing to the project.
The interactive lesson plan function allows teachers to ease their students into each topic. They can start their investigative journey by asking comprehensive questions, and then breaking down the problems into separate components. This allows students and teachers to stay organized and focused on problem-solving.
In the video below, you can take a tour of the platform to get an idea of all of the resources ready for teachers and students. It shows how to navigate Project Pals, and what it looks like when you sign up and dive into this student-friendly space. You can find a few lesson examples here.
If you want to take Project Pals for a test drive, teachers can use the platform for free for up to 20 projects and 50 students by signing up here.

This is a sponsored post, but that doesn't mean I don't believe that Project Based Learning is awesome and tools to help teachers embrace it are important and worth exploring. 

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