I love the idea of Project Based Learning (PBL). Having students collaborate to create a product that tries to answer a question or solve a problem just makes sense to me. It excites me as a learner and as a teacher.
I’ve been to Napa, to check out High Tech High and New Tech High and how they do PBL. I’ve spent time at New Tech High in San Diego to listen to what teachers there have done. And I’ve tried it in my class before with limited success. Or what I believed to be limited success because I was focused on the product and not the process.
So here I am, a few years later trying it again. And when I write this I don’t mean that I abandoned inquiry because I like to approach many learning targets through the lens of inquiry. I mean that I’m trying “official” PBL, over 4 weeks, with a “driving question” and “need to knows” and an “entry event” and, most importantly, a focus on the process of learning and not the product.
In its previous iteration, my project was all about the product and a grade. As an older and wiser person, I value the learning process, where students struggle to work in groups, to establish roles for each group member,to work towards a common goal and to communicate their learning to an audience.
I am fearful and worried because in spite of all the pro-d and preparation I won’t be in control. And I have to trust that I have done what is needed to facilitate the process. But I am also excited to let go of curriculum and to be able to foster creativity and thinking. And learning.