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Project-based Learning

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I hear, and I forget.
I see, and I remember.
I do, and I understand.

Project-based learning (PBL) has earned greater attention over the past decade from leading education reformers seeking effective strategies to incorporate 21st century skills into the learning environment. According to the Edutopia website, these 21st century skills include:

personal and social responsibility
planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity
strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
cross-cultural understanding
visualizing and decision making
knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task
Today’s employers reportedly favor workers capable of critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and compassion over those who have simply amassed a series of facts. More and more, teachers are being asked to help students take charge of their learning and to become active participants in the process. Rather than the “sage on stage,” some teachers are shifting their role to become the “guide on the side.”

PBL is not new. Effective teachers have long used projects to enhance learning in the classroom and to engage their students. Exploratory laboratory experiments, dramatic reenactments and service learning projects are staples of cutting-edge schools. However, moving PBL from the exceptional to the mainstream, and doing so effectively is not a simple task. Many educators confuse PBL with a “unit project.” PBL is not the same as asking students to make a diorama of a Civil War battle, for instance, or asking students to act out a scene from a novel. PBL is a sustained, student-driven, collaborative process that incorporates real-world situations and skills.

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