Resource Collection for Digital Project Based Learning

This website gives excellent information on using iMovie (Apple movie software) for making storytelling projects including biographies and a creative, personal project on each student’s special place. This lesson plan also gives teacher tips on using the iMovie software, timeline information, logistics, how to involve parents, and initial structuring for the lesson. NETS*S 1. Creativity and Innovation is addressed with this project as students create a new, original work as a means of personal or group expression depending on the project. It could also meet NETS 2. Communication and Collaboration if students are working on a project to which they all contribute. The author of the lesson plan includes an example of a class project done on Martin Luther King Jr. NETS*S 4b. is also addressed when students plan and manage their activities to complete their project. The author of the lesson plan noticed a big improvement in the attitude towards writing that I think would transfer to the digital environment NETS*S 5. Students would also be using NETS*S 6. To learn the software, and troubleshoot. I found this to be a very practical way to apply the project based learning approach in the classroom. It would be a useful way to build enthusiasm for writing. I could also see using this in the classroom to build enthusiasm for social studies topics.  It is also another example of using movie making software; similar to the article I reviewed last week, in which they used Microsoft’s Photo Story software.

This pamphlet is connected to the Oregon State University extension website. I found it interesting and valuable, because many of the project based learning examples I was finding on the internet had to do with planting a garden. Though this is a pamphlet about plants and not vegetables, I could definitely see doing a project on either. Sustainability and buying local farm to table products are increasingly important topics.  I would use this on-line pamphlet to have groups of students pick out a native plant in each of the categories to research and present to the class. I would also have students research why we want to plant native plants and not invasive species. They could also research local nurseries and see if their websites list native plants, cost etc. Students would be working on NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making, because they would have to identify native plants, discuss the problems caused by invasive plant species and make decisions about the right growing conditions for these plants, such as how much space, light, and the soil conditions they would need.

I found this article and video to give an excellent example of how to use technology (smart boards, internet) to add depth to project based learning with very young learners. This type of example was hard to find, as most of the resources for PBL are for intermediate and above learners. The article and video give a couple of common examples for project based learning with this age group: animal research and transportation research. They were also studying geography. NETS*S 3. &4. would be addressed with this type of project as the students would be researching actively with the teacher to locate and analyze information and to plan activities to complete a project. The teacher is modeling digital citizenship NETS*T 4. and providing an environment that is rich in technology (NETS*T 2b.). I also found it interesting that this school put some thought into how to incorporate the smart boards into a very young classroom. The boards are at a level where both the teacher and the students can interact with them easily. Many schools now have smart boards with internet access, so I would use this to do active class research on their driving questions. I would either take screen shots of information I wanted to review with them the next day and/or put down basic research notes on chart paper as you are researching with the class. I would then brainstorm with the kids about what could be a culminating experience for the project that they could share with each other, the school, and their parents.

This site gives a different wonder topic each day as well as access to archived wonders. There is information to research and discuss, often accompanied by learning videos. There are also links for further research. This is an excellent tool for project based learning. It could be used as a resource for a whole class project or for small group projects. Many of the topics are tied to STEM learning. It also gives links to many other sites which are helpful for math, language arts, science, social studies, and geography.  I would use this site to introduce the idea of project based learning. We all have wonders and here are a few great examples. Have you ever wondered that? What are your wonders? What wonders would you like to explore further?  This site could be used to address NETS*S 3. Research and 4. Critical Thinking. Let’s say for example you were discussing insects. You could assign groups to research different insects using this site and the additional links. The students could then decide how to present the information in their own words to the class. They might want to make their own videos using Vimeo or Animoto. They might draw the insect with a drawing program or by scanning in a drawing and captioning it.

This lesson plan on the ReadWriteThink.org website utilizes an on-line graphic organizer to help students do research for an animal study project. It also has links to Webquests on different animals and other links for further animal research as well. There are links to podcasts about authors of animal books. This would be a useful and interesting site to use for an animal research project. NETS*S 3. Research and NETS*S 4. Critical Thinking would be addressed as students would research the animal they picked out and plan their project. I would challenge students to think about “What is this animal designed to do?” as their driving question. I think students could also add a short video or podcast of their information to the project. Students would essentially become experts on their chosen animal.  The following video shows a good example of research on an animal, as well as other topics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HyFVEpZyEY

Here is a link below to the website resource mentioned in the video.

http://www.learner.org/jnorth/

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