The Joy of Project-Based Learning

Teaching can be a difficult job. We are constantly bombarded with gazillions of things to do, we make about 200 decisions per hour, we have to plan ahead, and we have to be present to the moment at hand.

Every once in awhile, we all might ask, “Why do we do this?”

To that I will answer: Project-Based Learning.

I’ve done projects for years, but it wasn’t until I started having students use iPads correctly that I was able to get the full Project-Based Learning experience. In my past life, I used to assign topics to groups of students, each group would complete a project, and we would all find a way to share with each other. What I have since learned is that students should find a topic of their choosing and investigate it before actually creating a product. Due to the ease of internet searching and the proliferation of information available on the internet, students learn a lot throughout the process and sometimes create amazing products.

That being said, the thing that makes it so rewarding for me is watching students huddled in groups, totally engaged. Some work on their products (perhaps Prezis, Google Slides, or video editing), while other search blogs and videos. If students are disengaged, it is very easy to redirect them. The other day, some students were playing around, and I asked them how their project was going. They said that they were going to create a Powerpoint at home, which could not be completed at school. I asked them if they had considered creating a Google Slide presentation. They jumped at the idea and immediately got to task.

Is there anything more inspiring than watching a group of teenagers totally engaged and excited about learning?

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