While Project Based Learning can be a transformative pedagogy, it’s often misunderstood by educators. Here at PBLC, we often joke that PBL should just be renamed: “L” (for Learning….) because when PBL is done well, it’s a lot less about the products and a lot more about rich, authentic and powerful Learning experiences.
A word of caution: Bad PBL might indeed be worse than no PBL.
So, how are we supporting teachers in co-constructing a vision of what high quality PBL really looks like? How are we supporting educators in learning how to design and facilitate powerful, high-quality learning experiences for students?
Imagine Professional Learning experiences in which educators can learn about PBL by doing PBL.
Cue: Project Slices.
Project Slices are one-day immersive experiences where teachers get to experience high quality PBL first-hand. Slices start with a provocative entry event on intriguing design challenges and end the day with an exhibition, complete with presentations of learning with educators’ products in-hand. Along the way, participants respond to powerful focusing questions. They experience high-quality, formative assessments with the use of protocols for drafting, critique and revision. They experience non-linear and personalized construction of knowledge first-hand.
Project slices aren’t an end point, but they may be one of the best starting points we’ve seen based on the powerful thinking, questions and reflections that emerge from educators’ meta-reflections at the end of our immersive Project Slice workshops.
Let’s move from PBL full of pontifications about theory to actually learning by doing and reflecting on those experiences.
Science and Engineering come together in this Project Slice:
Biomimicry Designs – For years, humans have been stealing ideas from plants and animals to create tools, solve problems and enhance their lives. For example, humans used biomimicry with the kangaroo's pouch to inspire the Baby Bjorn - a tool humans use to carry babies.
Try your hand at Design Thinking to ideate and conceptualize a solution, inspired from nature, that helps humans with an everyday problem. Solution concepts will be publicly exhibited at the end of the day.
Art, Language Arts and Engineering come together in this Project Slice:
Mechanized Masterpieces: This zany design challenge is an unexpected mashup up Art and Engineering with a splash of narrative writing.
Experience Design Thinking first-hand as you brainstorm, conceptualize and iterate a mechanized masterpiece to publicly exhibit at the end of the day.
Want to experience a project-slice for yourself? Visit our PBL Consulting Services Page to learn more about immersive project-slice workshops and other Project-Based Learning professional development opportunities.