Project-based learning is an instructional approach where teachers pull away from the typical teaching “script” and allow students to find their own way through learning subject material by researching, studying and/or creating a project to understand the curriculum. Through this approach, students are put at the center of their own learning, and they gain the ability to make choices about how they will learn, and how they will present their mastery of the material.
When students have autonomy in their learning, they are more likely to find aspects of the curriculum that interest them, which increases their overall engagement.
When it comes to project-based learning, there are a variety of ways educational technology can lead students to be more successful. Here are five examples:
- Blended Learning Instruction
Blended learning supplements traditional classroom learning with online activities that students can complete on their own time. You can provide students with projects that utilize blended learning principles by giving them online learning options to access on their own time. Additionally, there are countless other ways to merge blended learning with project-based learning by using technology, such as collaborative projects between students and embedded media in online modules.
- Game-Based Learning
Students can use technology for a project-based approach to game-based learning by creating their own digital or online games to act as teaching and learning aids or as practice assessments. Online learning games such as Quizlet can be customized by the student to teach or assess specific content, while other students might opt to create their own game by coding or programming their own interface.
- Videos and Animations
Videos and animations can be an efficient way for students to express their understanding of a large amount of learned information in a visual and creative way, supporting project-based learning through media creation. This approach offers options for students with any level of understanding of video production and editing. For less experienced students, applications and websites like Animoto provide a drag-and-drop video maker where students are able to import their content and create a video in just a few clicks. For more experienced students who are looking for more customization, iMovie is a popular video-creation application on Apple devices that works well and is easy to use. Advanced students can design their own cartoons and animate them with computer programs like Adobe Flash or Toon Boom.
- Robotics and Programming
Project-based learning thrives through hands-on activities, and robotics is a great use of technology to combine these two concepts. Students are able to assemble actual mechanical parts while learning about the functions of and relations between each part to create a working robotic machine. This is an extremely invaluable learning experience for students to understand complex STEM principles and ideas. Students can discover further STEM concepts by learning how to program their robots to do actions and complete tasks. For classrooms without access to the proper building materials or workshop, online robotics coding programs such as CoderZ or RoboMind Academy offer the ability to code virtual robots and can be an accessible way to provide valuable STEM instruction.
- Learning Management Systems
Because of the wide variety of learning options offered by a learning management system (LMS), it is easy to implement project-based learning. An LMS offers the ability to manage all parts of a project, including student collaboration and communication, access to a variety of rich media content, presentation options and teacher rubrics and feedback. Students can present their findings in several ways, including blogs and discussion boards directly on the platform, file submission to the assignment, or by submitting documents and digital presentations from supporting platforms that can all be accessed through one login.