What research says
Students study topics they will not likely learn outside of school. Most of the time, the learned topics are disconnected; students do not see the connection between these different topics or how they are related. Project-based learning tries to address this problem.
With project-based teaching methodology, the learned topics are complex, they can't be addressed in a short period of time. The learners must develop a methodology to work on the project, for weeks or months, and it mobilizes knowledge coming from various domains, giving the learners a feeling of doing something authentic. Because of its difficulties, it is best conducted in a group.
The research on project-based learning is lacking, particularly concerning its learning efficiency; however, two notable points appear:
- Project based learning is very demanding, both to set up by the teacher and to conduct by the learners;
- Learners appreciate working in projects.
From the teacher's perspective, to organize a project, both media contents and organizational tools will be useful.
- Media contents support project-based learning, it could be various forms of media and dynamic contents such as simulations. We will discuss it further in another article;
- Organization tools will help the teacher to see progress on the learner's activity and the later to report back. In the Dynabook philosophy such tools could be adapted or crafted by the teachers.
As projects are conducted in a group, Dynabook tools for group learning could be useful.
In today's technology, one may think the organizational level will be centralized on a dedicated server. Two objections:
- In remote schools (or likely not so remote), this centralized server will not be available; the proposed tools will not be adapted and can't be modified;
- In term of usability, an integrated tool to the Dynabook will be easier to use, making the learners ability to report back on progress easier and the tool can be used when working off-line too.
Any opinion on the topic? If so leave a comment for further reflection.