Let's Marry Project Based Learning and Technology

I have copied my blog from another site and posted here as well
Model Car Races?Posted by Kelley Irish on April 25, 2008 at 10:34pm on Macul Space

As a self described long term geek ,many of my fellow teachers were surprised to see kids from my class racing their model cars down the halway. What do racing cars have to do with technology any way? The answer requires a true shift in thinking-and seeing my classroom as not simply a computer lab but instead as a technology center. I do not use Tech just for the sake of using Yech. Instead Technology is a part of the overall lesson. We used the computer to reasearch cars from design process to finished model. Students used a CAD program to draw their car and then created a model of their design. The final step was to create a model-and then test it-just like the GM engineering and design team do. Student then reported their result in a podcasts.

In my classroom you might see filming for a pod cast, clay figures being constructed to animated a historical event, bridges being constructed with gumdrops and tooth picks, dollhouses painted to replicate a design, and you may even have to dodge a robot called roamer. M & M's may sit next to keyboards as graphs are created and students may be creating a wild rumpus while Maurice Sendaks Where the Wild Things are plays on the projector.

Technology is a critical part of the lessons I teach , but not the entire lesson. Incorporating technology does not mean giving up hands on activities at all. Instead technology offers us an additional tool, a different way of doing things to engage and extend our students thinking.

We lnow that the utilization of technology in the classroom leads to improved interactivity and creates more student-centered environments.
Recent research indicates that the adoption of technology in the classroom leads to qualitative and quantitative improvements
in teacher-student interaction and student-student interaction. Positive effects from educational technology have been
demonstrated in preschool through higher education for both regular education and special needs students. When using computer-
based instruction, students feel more successful in school, are more motivated to learn, and have increased selfconfidence
and self esteem. We also know that project based differentiated learning creates positive self esteem and motivated learners. Marrying the two ideas just seems natural in our digital age!

As we all work to create classrooms for the 21st century-let's not throw out the glue, pipe cleaners and books. Instead let's use every single asset we have to engage our students.

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Tags: differentiated, project-based, technologyrich


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