Project Based Learning.
This is something I’m working towards. There are practical limitations on hitting all 7 of the ideas contained in this article for example, but in particular I’d like my lessons to be:
- As real as possible to students in terms of outcomes
- Tied together by some kind of driving question / inquiry question
- Give the students a voice in the shaping of the final outcomes
- Include opportunities for feedback and improvement
In particular I’m trying to create a ‘virtual classroom’ to continue the community beyond the hour blocks we spend together. With Key Stage 4 and 5 classes (14-18 year olds) I’m using Edmodo. I’ve used (and will continue to use) Moodle, but there is no doubt that Edmodo provides more of a sense of community and less of the idea of a depository of resources. At Key Stage 3 I’ve created a class blog. In the first instance I’m using this to post homework, but I’m hoping that before too long we’ll be using to post examples of students work, and handing over control of what we put on there to the students from each class.
A few years ago I was at a seminar at Apple in London where the speaker referenced a paper that talked about various ‘learning spaces’ and their digital equivants. The author defined these as ‘Camp Fires, Watering Holes and Caves’ (you can read the paper here).
This was one of those ideas that got filed away as ‘interesting but not very practical’, until I saw towards the end of last year Bianca writing about her use of physical space using the same metaphors.
So, at the end of last year I arranged to have all the cupboards and storage bar two removed from my room, freeing up a lot of space. I’ve already started experimenting with this space, and plan to introduce the ‘learning spaces’ concept to students once we start out first project. My only worry is whether my old tables will cope with being moved around fairly regularly!
Philosophy for Children (P4C)
I tried this a couple of times last year and it convinced me that this should be a key part of my new approach. I’m lucky to work with an excellent P4C practitioner who I’ve already been to for tips, so I’m planning on trying to build at least one community of enquiry lesson into each term. I’ll try and share some more P4C ideas in a future post