Terry Heick‘s visual comparison of traditional projects versus how current projects can assist in deeper learning is helpful for understanding the changes to pedagogy in our schools today.
Completing ‘Projects’ and using the Guided Inquiry Design Process do have similarities but Guided Inquiry has built in scaffolding for support throughout the process of personalised inquiry. It also takes into account the affective domain of students at various stages of an inquiry.
The MindShift post by Christina Farr No Courses, No Classrooms, No Grades — Just Learning, describes how some students in the USA are taking time out of school to enrol in project-based learning that pairs them with real projects of problems that need solving.
The NuVu Studio describes their program:
“NuVu is a full-time magnet innovation center for middle and high school students. NuVu’s pedagogy is based on the architectural Studio model and geared around multi-disciplinary, collaborative projects. We basically teach students how to navigate the messiness of the creative process, from inception to completion.
No Courses: Instead, we have studios. Around 12 kids work closely with their 2 coaches on solving big (and small) open-ended problems.
No Subjects: Instead, everything is fused together. Students find themselves moving between a studio that requires them to design a telepresence robot to another that requires them to re-imagine Boston with a cable car system.
No Classrooms: Instead, we have an open space that changes all the time to adapt to the needs of every studio.
No One-Hour Schedule: Instead, students spend two weeks from 9-3 solving one problem.
No Grades: Instead, we have portfolios that document students’ design decisions and show their final products.”
On a smaller scale – many schools are now making pedagogical changes to using Guided Inquiry or Project Based Learning where students select a learning topic that is of relevance to them and where they can develop creative new solutions to issues and problems.
A science fair research project, about investigating ways to save money in his local school, led 14-year-old Suvir Mirchandani to discover that the type of font can minimise ink use and could not only potentially save money for his school but also millions of dollars for the Government. Madeleine Stix, CNN posts about this project.
Once again this year the Year 10 Commerce students have really connected with Issues in Australian Society, researched them and taken them to heart. The final ‘Share’ presentations were very moving. (More will be available from the GI 2013 page of this blog at a later date.)
At Broughton we have been using the Guided Inquiry approach to research for a number of years. Project Based Learning (PBL) uses many of the same elements with similar goals.
This video by the Buck Institute for Education explains how learning can be relevant and interesting and is far removed from the Industrial Age model of education in previous centuries.
Collaboration in teams and shared knowledge make the ‘project’ relevant to each student.