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Student groups determine their projects, in so doing, they ask students’ participation by encouraging students to take full responsibility of their learning. This is what makes PBL different from Projects as the students work together to accomplish specific goals.
When students use technology as a tool to communicate with others, they take on an active role vs. a passive role of transmitting the information by a teacher, a book, or broadcast. The student is constantly making choices on how to obtain, display, or manipulate information, while discussing and making use of their critical thinking skills to pick and choice what is best for them. Same goes for projects, yet it lacks the chance to utilize others’ knowledge, information, ideas and opinions. Technology makes it possible for students to think actively about the choices they make and execute. Every student has the opportunity to bring something to the table to fulfill their roll within their group.
The teacher no longer plays an instructor role in Project Based Learning, but of a facilitator, hence the earlier description. It is not of relinquishing control of the classroom or student learning but rather develop an atmosphere of shared responsibility. As the Instructor must structure the proposed question/issue so as to direct the student’s learning toward content-based materials. While for projects the teacher must create guidelines and frameworks for the students to work within to collectively come to the same project or answers as they leave the students up to their own individual devises to design a project they can present with the same information or answer.
For PBL the facilitator must regulate student success with intermittent, transitional goals to ensure student projects remain focused and students have a deep understanding of the concepts being investigated, discovered and discussed. The students are held accountable to these goals through ongoing feedback and assessments from the facilitator. The ongoing assessment and feedback are essential to ensure the students stay within the framework of the driving question and the core standards of the project.
The facilitator need to be able to track and monitor ongoing formative assessments, that show work toward that standard as they use these assessments to guide the inquiry process and ensure the students have learned the required content. Once the project is finished, the instructor evaluates the finished product and learning that it demonstrates. While individual projects are summative assessed and displays the students’ acquired knowledge sans their learning process. The teacher can only determine the students level of critical thinking skills through marking the end product/project.
Student role is to ask questions, build knowledge, and determine a real-world solution to the issue/question presented. Students must collaborate expanding their active listening skills and requiring them to engage in intelligent focused communication. Therefore, allowing them to think rationally on how to solve problems. PBL forces students to take ownership of their success. While Projects are mainly used to show the students’ acquired knowledge at the end of the curriculum and their success depends on their capabilities of presenting such acquired knowledge and without developing any further skills.
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