The next session I’m attending is “Transforming Project Based Learning with iPad” by Ah-Young Song from Phillips Exeter Academy. Ah-Young tells us that she will be discussing some of the PBL projects she has implemented in her own classroom. She will be covering communication tools, gamification, audio/video tools, and media resources.
Ah-Young has just become teaching at Phillips Exeter, which is a harkness school. Harkness is a form of teaching that engages students collaboratively.
“Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge.” – Buck Institute for Education.
Ah-Young believes that even without institutional support we can, as teachers,
advocate for our own students and innovate in our classrooms. Some examples of PBL projects include:
- track migratory species
- beautify space with a public art project
- meet with local officials to address local concerns
- create a tech start-up budget
- analyze and project sports statistics
There are numerous resources out there for PBL lessons. in the process of building a project based lesson, students develop a variety of skills, including:
- Critical Thinking
There are numerous tools that educators can use with their students as they develop their PBL. One of her favorites is Blogger, which students can use to post text, video, images, etc. By posting a blog, students can publish small writings and engage in collaborative feedback. She does this through a Google+ community.
Additionally, she likes to have students backchannel book discussions using Today’s Meet or SMS Generators to engage with a fictional character! She uses Google Sheets as a rubric for certain activities, such as a jury trial of Lady MacBeth. The jurors created the rubric for the trial and used it to assess the verdict.
She also uses Google Docs to create a paperless environment. She distributes content with Google Drive, grades on Google Drive, and returns content this way. However, Exeter is not a Google Apps for Education school. However, the students have their own accounts so it works.
If you want to gamify your classroom, there are several fun tools you can play with. You can run a Space Race using Socrative.
Another tool she shares is Qrafter, which lets you read and generate QR Codes (paid version). You can use this to create a scavenger hunt. Voice Record Pro 7 is a robust audio recording tool that will let you record audio and share with others. You can use it to teach language assessments, read poetry, or for students to engage in alternative assessments. Adobe Voice will let you build an audio slideshow. Canva is another really cool tool that will let you build posters and infographics.
She is going to have students produce vignettes using a tool like Canva or Penultimate to explain their learning.