Educational programs within schools are brimming with projects and initiatives designed to revolutionize teaching methods for students. However, more often than not, these endeavors translate into burdensome tasks for teachers and uninspiring activities for students. The challenge lies in transforming projects into enjoyable and motivating experiences for students while maintaining efficiency for teachers.
With this question in mind, the new edition of the course “Introducing Project Based Learning in the Classroom” took place in Bologna from 21/02/2024 - 27/01/2024. The participants came from all across Europe, with Maria Fernanda Palhares Leite Moreira and Margarida Silva Barroso from Agrupamento de Escolas de Pinheiro in Portugal, Monica Göransson Lööf from Hjalmar Strömer School in Sweden, Lara Mendieta Montoro and Valeria Moreno Parredo from Gregori Mayans in Spain, Pantazi Marinela and Coman Carmen from ,,Constantin Brancoveanu" Techonological High School in Romania, Inmaculada Concepción Cepedello Dovao and Ana María Orozco Giménez from IES Politécnico Jesús Marín in Spain, Teodora Yordanova, Martina Doycheva and Darina Pachova from 112 Primary School "Stoyan Zaimov" in Bulgaria, Jana Rychtaříková from Gymnázium, Mladá Boleslav, Palackého 191/1 in Czech and Ellinor Hallgren and Johanna Borgggren from Turebergsskolan in Sweden.
In the initial phase of the course, participants delved into the fundamental concepts of Project Based Learning (PBL). Focusing on the 5 key elements of PBL, they utilized case study videos to illuminate these elements within presented projects. Spontaneously, a realization arrised – PBL is not just another project; it is a distinct teaching approach complete with its own set of rules and methodologies.
From this revelation, the course progressed to deconstructing the preparation of a PBL project into distinct phases:
Class Preparation for Project Based Learning: Teachers underwent self-reflection and collaborative discussions, recognizing the significance of instilling key skills and attitudes in students for PBL success—curiosity, critical thinking, inquiry, and collaborative spirit.
Definition of Learning Outcomes and "Backward Designing": Crucially, PBL should be intricately connected to the curriculum, avoiding the pitfall of being perceived as mere additional work tacked onto the end of a unit.
Formulation of the Driving Question and Project Details: At the core of PBL is the "Driving Question," acting as the catalyst for student learning. By seeking solutions to challenges or problems posed in this question, students engage in research and inquiry, uncovering major concepts within the involved disciplines.
Establishment of Appropriate Assessment Forms: Participants grappled with the challenge of evaluating individual student progress within a group context. The course addressed this by distinguishing between formative and summative assessments, emphasizing the significance of the former in evaluating progress and performance.
Integration of ICT Tools in Support of Project Based Learning: Acknowledging the indispensable role of technology in PBL, participants actively practiced essential tools facilitating the seamless and efficient implementation of PBL in the classroom.
The efficacy of the learning experience for participants stemmed from the opportunity to collaboratively create their own projects throughout the week. Each day, as a new facet of PBL implementation unfolded, groups engaged in designing projects tailored to their students' age group. This not only clarified any lingering doubts but also provided a platform for brainstorming and cross-cultural collaboration. The culmination of this endeavor instilled a positive sense of achievement and a personal commitment to implementing the projects in their respective classrooms.
Discover more about this course here.
Welcome to the ELA Blog. Here you will find articles and photos of our courses and have a look at the topics addressed during the week in Bologna, Palermo and Tenerife. You will also have the chance to take a peek at our projects and check out what we have been up to.