Project-based Learning Theory Course 2019

In January of 2019, I will be facilitating a theory course on Project-based learning at the University of Winnipeg as part of the Post Baccalaureate programme. This will be followed by the PBL Applied course in Spring 2019. The description is below:

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I have had several people contact me regarding how the course will unfold, so I thought I would post this note as a means to clarify some of the details.

Online Format

This is an online course that is live. We will meet on Tuesdays (beginning January 8th, 2018) from 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm CST via Zoom. While each session will be recorded, members of the group are responsible for attending every Tuesday night. This is not an online course that is static. The advantage of this format is that it provides greater access for more participants while still bringing people together for rich and authentic conversations about how and why we learn. (It also means no winter travel on sketchy roads in the dark.)

Each week, we will engage in readings, guests speakers, virtual field trips, and project work. Participants will be asked to design a project that they can reflect upon throughout the course. Participants will be asked to think, read, listen, write, and speak about the theoretical underpinnings of PBL and about their own practice.

We will use Edmodo as a means for housing our online discussions and course documentation.

Rationale for course

As project-based learning schools become more and more part of the pedagogical mainstream in North America, the need for teacher education in is this area is paramount. While project-based learning can be a powerful platform for authentic learning, transformation, and growth, the danger is that project work is merely activities, teacher-led, or not rigorous. With several PBL schools in Winnipeg, and a desire at all levels, including higher education, to pursue meaningful and educative experiences for learners, a theoretical course on PBL is essential.

This course is designed to offer practitioners a foundational understanding of the evolution of PBL, while examining what we deem an educative experience.  Learners will look at a variety of critical issues related to the success of PBL and how PBL manifests itself in various contexts.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, learners will:

  • Have explored a variety of different theoretical model so project-based learning
  • Will have entered into dialectic discourse as to what is meant by an experience
  • Be able to articulate the foundations of project-based learning
  • Have conducted an inquiry project whereby they pose a research question, offer an argument, and provide evidence for their rationale
  • Articulate how they would theoretically employ project-based learning principles into their own practice
  • Describe the process of introducing learners to projects and guide learners to propose and carry out these projects
  • Be able to discuss a variety of assessment practices and tools used in project-based learning.

Assigned Readings

Boss, S., Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2015). Setting the standard for project-based learning: A proven approach to classroom instruction. Alexandria: ASCD.

Roberts, J. (2012). Beyond Learning by doing: theoretical currents in experiential education. New York: Routledge.

Related Readings/Bibliography

Bassey, M. (2010). Education for the rest of the world: An illustration of John Dewey’s principles of continuity and interaction. Educational Studies, 36(1), 13-20.

Dewey, J. (1933). Dewey outlines utopian schools. Retrieved from: http://www.yorku.ca/rsheese2/3410/utopia.htm

Dewey, J. (1938). Education and experience. New York: The MacMillan Company.

Dewey, J. (2008). Democracy and education. Project Gutenberg eBook, retrieved from: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/852/852-h/852-h.htm

Freire, P. (1970). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: The Seabury Press.

Glass, R. (2001). On Paulo Freire’s philosophy of praxis and foundations for liberation education. Educational Researcher, 30(2), 15-25.

Hassan, S. (2013) Guiding high school students through applied internship projects in college environments: A MET School story. Education Canada Retrieved from: http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/guiding-high-school-students-through-applied-internship-projects-college-en

Illich, I. (1971). Deschooling society. New York, NY: Harper & Row.

Kolb, D. (1984). Experiential learning : Experience as the source of learning and development. Engelwood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Larmer, J. & Mergendoller, J. (2010). Seven essentials for project-based learning. Educational Leadership, 68(1), 34-37.

Mezirow, J. (2000). Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Pearson, G. (2012). Success, but slowly, as MET School redefines learning. Education Canada, 52(5), 37.

Senge, P. (2012). Creating schools for the future, not the past for all students. Leader to leader, 65, 44-49.

Zull, J. (2002). The Art of changing the brain: Enriching the practice of teaching by exploring the biology of learning. Sterling, VA: Stylus.

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US History Seminar: The Road to Civil War

R-603133-1142975317.jpegThis week, we have taken a closer look at Chapter 9 in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States and we watched Steven Speilberg’s tale of The Amistad. We were shocked to learn that the United States grew from 1000 tonnes of cotton and 500 00 slaves in 1790, to 1 million tonnes of cotton and 4 million slaves by 1860.

We were also struck by how presidents of the United States, when facing reelection, did not want to seem too eager to side with the abolitionist side. The addiction to slavery and the creation of a slave society certainly could be deemed as deep cause for racial tensions, not to mention the Civil War, Jim Crow laws, the Civil Rights movement, and the Black lives Matter movement.

Using the criteria for analyzing and determining cause and consequence, how might other historical events played into the racial strife that is the United States?

Below are a few examples of events, movements, pieces of legislation, Supreme Court decisions, and people who may have contributed to the Civil War and racial conflict:

1820 | Missouri Compromise

1831 | Nat Turner’s Rebellion

1839 | The Amistad

1850 Compromise

1852 | Uncle Tom’s Cabin

1857 | Dred Scott

1859 | John Brown’s Raid

Select one and argue briefly but powerfully how this historically significant event might have been a cause of the Civil War. Be sure to provide both primary and secondary source evidence to support your case and be sure to comment on the arguments of your peers!

French Immersion & Project-based Learning – Together at last!

In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers launched the first hot air balloon and were able to sustain a flight of nearly ten minutes. The petrified farm animals who were the passengers probably were’t impressed by the experience, but the brothers pushed their passion for flight to the next level. This is a project!

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At the Maples Met School, we love projects! As a project-based high school, we offer learners the opportunity to pursue their passion, work with passionate adults in the field, and demonstrate their learning in authentic ways.

And now, just like the Montgolfier brothers, learners can pursue their projects in French!

Beginning this fall, the Maples Met School will be offering French Immersion at the Grade 9 level. Learners will be able to engage in high quality project work, internships in the Francophone community, and exhibitions of learning all in French.

For more information about the Maples Met school, call 204.632.6641 or visit us at www.7oaks.org/school/maplesmet

As a Big Picture Learning school, our mission is to cultivate a safe and educative environment by which learners engage in critical issues of interest to them so that they can develop the skills and knowledge essential for affecting positive change through meaningful and informed action, or praxis.

 

Projects! Projects! Projects!

Over the winter break, I spent a lot of time reading, thinking, and hanging out with my kids doing projects. I also spent a great deal of time speaking with people throughout the world as to what they think a project is. What is a project?

Based on this line of inquiry, I started to comb various media outlets to get a sense of what people were doing in the world in terms of projects that might inspire Maples Met School learners. There is a huge difference between a project and an activity or hobby. Projects come from a place of questioning, of curiosity, and of purpose.

While we all know that great projects begin with a powerful essential question that questions our role within the universe, here are links to potential final products, resources, platforms, and other supports for our inquiry:

Preserving the History of a City

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Why is it important to preserve the history of a city? 

 

Create a Student-run Newspaper

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Newspapers are critical to any democracy, as they hold governments to account. Why not connect with other writers, artists, and thinkers to create your own press!

Create Your own Solar Panel

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Create a Bike Generator!

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Images of Winnipeg

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The Winnipeg Free Press recently published a photo essay of aerial views of the Winnipeg. What parts of the city are missing? Why? What would you include? How could you use GIS to create maps of areas of Winnipeg that are ignored? What are important areas for youth?

 

50 Book Pledge

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The 50 Book Pledge is an amazing way to motivate yourself and also share your research with people throughout the world. No matter what essential question you’re attacking, this is a greta way of creating a digital library.

 

Radical History Poster Project

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The Graphic History Collective has launched a project called the Radical History Poster Project. This is a fantastic way for learners to use their artistic talents to think historically (The Big 6!) about Canada, Treaty 1, and what it means to live in Red River.

 

Manitoba Robot Games 2018

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Take a crack at the Manitoba Robot Games!

 

Northern Hydroponic Project

 

Can Flying Machines Help Save Lives?

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Create Work Benches for your School’s Fabrication Lab

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Hint: We need these at the Met for great projects!

 

Lego Crane (Why not?)

 

Create an interactive Periodic Table!

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CBC Nonfiction Prize

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What a perfect final product for a project! (And you could take home some loot!)

 

Mennonite Central Committee Hygiene Kits

 

Design a New Arlington Bridge

Banning Plastic Bags

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There is some recent support for banning plastic bags in Winnipeg. This might be a really cool, authentic, and impactful project to investigate!

 

Imagine Portage & Main

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What should Portage and Main look like? Design it!

 

Create Your Own Zine!

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Go underground and create a zine that reflects your manifesto!

 

Make your own Wind Turbine!

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Aquaponics System

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Lots of essential questions and tangents with this project!

DoNow: Too Much Screen-time?

texting“Three-quarters of North American teenagers either own or have access to a smartphone. Too much screen-time has been linked to sleep disruption, loneliness, anxiety, depression and even an increased risk of suicide.”

On yesterday’s version of CBC’s The Sunday Edition, the issue of too much screen-time was addressed by the host Michael Enright and his two guests, Jean Twenge and Clive Thompson. Both guests argue as to the negative consequences related to our smartphone use.

Curiously, the episode did not feature youth. Perhaps this isn’t a surprise, but your voice is important.

Have a listen and read and then respond to Michael via the Sunday Edition’s feedback page. In a concise, well-crafted, and well thought out manner, offer your insight and your argument.