Students are tired of boring classrooms. Teachers are sick of disengaged students. It doesn’t have to be this way. Project-based learning offers a fun and meaningful alternative to “teaching to the test.” If you’re interested in trying a new approach to learning, you don’t have to do it alone.
Project Pals integrates Common Core with project-based learning, allowing educators to select fun, engaging projects that still meet learning objectives. A wide range of web tools for project-based learning can make projects even more immersive and entertaining. Check out these great options:
Project-based lessons are designed to help students prepare for scenarios they’re likely to encounter in the real world. Ed Leadership Simulations helps students build emotional intelligence and resilience by presenting them with realistic scenarios—try incorporating one or more of these scenarios into a project your class is working on. This helps students anticipate some of the challenges they may experience in the workplace, and it offers them a safe space to cultivate skills for tackling those challenges.
For students who love comic books, Pixton makes it possible to convert school projects into professional-quality comics. Ideal for language arts, art, social studies, and science projects, Pixton allows students to collaborate on projects using simple templates.
Graphics and visual aids can help seemingly dull concepts spring to life. Glogster makes it easy for students to create elegant, high-quality digital posters.
Animoto is a creative storytelling tool that allows students to create slideshows, digital animations, and more. Turn a recent field trip into a slideshow, or help students illustrate a recent project with a video that includes text. This excellent tool is student-friendly, and even the youngest learners can master it with a little help.
If you’re tired of endlessly redirecting your students’ attention away from social media, consider using social media to your advantage. Create a classroom social media page for easy collaboration, or have students publish their projects on the social media platform of their choice. Twitter also is a great way for students to publish brief, real-time updates to their parents or peers. Just ensure that students set privacy settings to limit the audience of their posts. Doing so offers a great opportunity to add a lesson in safe social media use to your project.
Students may want to share their best projects beyond their immediate school community, too. Blogging platforms such as Tumblr and WordPress allow students to share their projects with the world. Encourage them to “publish” their scientific findings or share a group of op-eds. Constructively responding to comments, choosing the audience for the blog, and designing the blog itself all add additional layers of complexity to a project. These design and communication skills will serve students well, no matter what field they eventually choose.
Project-based learning demands a lot of teachers. You’ll need to stay on top of changing technological trends, and you’ll have to help students navigate both technical and social difficulties within a digital world. If you feel unprepared, Kyte Learning can help. It’s full of professional development videos created by teachers, for teachers. Whether you’re new to digital educational platforms or a highly proficient user, there’s a video on Kyte that can deepen your knowledge.
Use your students’ love of video games to your advantage with PaGamO. This easy-to-use tool supports teachers in turning lesson plans into fun video games. It offers tools for all grade levels and curriculum goals, as well as tips on effective strategies for converting lessons to games.
Piper is more than just the latest digital fad. It’s a complex game that can teach students critical thinking, spatial reasoning, and a host of other real-world skills. Turn your students’ love of Minecraft into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) lessons with Piper, which features a simple computer kit that allows students to build real electronic circuits through Minecraft.
These web tools for project-based learning transition learning into the real world. Rather than forcing students to be passive recipients of knowledge, the right tools encourage students to ask intelligent questions and gain a sense of mastery across a wide range of subjects. Consider offering your students a choice from among several projects, or allow them to devise their own projects using one or more of these tools. Then, watch them surprise you with their passion for learning about subjects that they find personally engaging.