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Adam Babcock

Adam Babcock's Public Library

  • “Most schools and most of our learning stops at knowing and we need to move that and broaden it to the doing and the reflecting,”
  • know, do, reflect
  • Most projects at Envision schools culminate in an exhibition of work at which students reflect on how they could have done things differently or improved on their work.

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  • Any use of technology should improve the process or outcome. We must ask ourselves whether using technology is contributing to improved teaching and learning, be it a pencil, textbook, laptop, or tablet. Another point to keep in mind is that integration generally begins at the lower levels of enhancement and progresses upward, moving toward transformation, and this happens all along the SAMR continuum. Just as in Blooms Taxonomy, there is nothing inherently wrong with teaching at the basic levels, nor is it necessarily better to working at the upper levels. It all depends on what the teacher’s intent is.
  • Similarly, having students research online, watch videos, and take notes on the Civil War, planetary motion, or some other topic represents substitution. They are good uses of technology for learning and not unlike addressing Bloom’s lower levels of remembering and understanding.
  • Educators can now collaborate with other educators from the next town, the next state, or another continent. Students can interview authors, researchers, policymakers, and other experts no matter where they are. In addition, teachers and students can create their own multimedia productions to share what they know and are able to do. Moreover, they can create these productions in collaboration with any number of people anywhere in the world. These can be easily shared with anyone for feedback and commentary. Suddenly, the world is the audience and schools truly are without walls!
08 Apr 14

"The Language of Authentic Learning" provides a good overview of the terminology used in PBL.

  • We always debrief as a class. It is this follow-up that is really important; the learning takes place in the reflection. For social goals (for each lesson, we have an academic goal and a social goal, written right on the board), we'll discuss whether we attained them, what we learned, what worked, and what didn't. We'll ask the kids for ideas about solutions and strategies we might try, and, in light of this experience, what goal we want to set for next time.
  • disagree respectfully
  • great debriefing topic is, "Did anyone have a disagreement in his or her group? How did you handle it? What worked? What didn't work? Does anyone have ideas for how these students might have handled this disagreement differently? What might our social goal be for our next small-group work? Should we try some of these strategies you generated?"

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  • project charter." Teachers and students jointly created this document, or one similar to it, which forms a contract among students for every project at this school and at New Technology Foundation schools around the country.
  • also as a tool for creating accountability and managing group dynamics. And although the structure of the project charter or its equivalent is always the same, the contents are specific to the project.
  • 'You signed the contract.'" (Eventually, both the teacher and team members grade all the students on their collaboration skills. As a last resort, the group can decide to "fire" one of the team members, who must then complete the project independently.)

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  • ypical projects present a problem to solve (How can we reduce the pollution in the schoolyard pond?); a phenomenon to investigate (Why do you stay on your skateboard?); a model to design (Create a scale model of an ideal high school); or a decision to make (Should the school board vote to build a new school?).
  • What's the Reality?


    Although projects are the primary vehicle for instruction in project-based learning, there are no commonly shared criteria for what constitutes an acceptable project. Projects vary greatly in the depth of the questions explored, the clarity of the learning goals, the content and structure of the activity, and guidance from the teacher.

  • Moreover, the time demands of projects, especially in today's context of standards, high-stakes tests, and pacing guides, understandably discourage many teachers from venturing into the kinds of collaborative student investigations that form the foundation of project-based learning.
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