New Tech Network: Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) is at the heart of New Tech Network’s (NTN) instructional approach. In PBL, students start each new unit of study with a complex and authentic task to complete. Learning often occurs in integrated subject-area courses, like English and Social Studies, where students collaborate with their peers to investigate a real-world problem. This demands mastery of subject matter content, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, oral and written communication skills, and individual agency (work ethic). The student inquiry process is supported along the way by NTN practices like Entry Events, the Need-to-Know (NTK) process, engaging with content area experts, skill building workshops, and authentic assessment.  Projects culminate with the development and presentation of a real-world product, which is evaluated by community experts, educators, and peers.

Project-Based Learning at Winton Woods City Schools

VIDEO:  PROJECT-BASED LEARNING FROM START TO FINISH

 

They recognize students inherent drive to learn, their capability to do important work, and their need to be taken seriously by putting them at the center of the learning process.
They engage students in the central concepts and principles of a discipline. The project work is central rather than peripheral to the curriculum.
They highlight provocative issues or questions that lead students to in-depth exploration of authentic and important topics.
They require the use of essential tools and skills, including technology, for learning, self-management, and project management.
They specify products that solve problems, explain dilemmas, or present information generated through investigation, research, or reasoning.
They include multiple products that permit frequent feedback and consistent opportunities for students to learn from experience.
They use performance-based assessments that communicate high expectations, present rigorous challenges, and require a range of skills and knowledge.
They encourage collaboration in some form, either through small groups, student-led presentations, or whole-class evaluations of project results.

Problem-Based Learning
New Tech Network schools also use Problem-based learning. PrBL is a form of inquiry-based instruction used primarily in Mathematics that places the students in several smaller Problem scenarios rather than a single, large Project scenario. Supported by NCTM and the NSF, much of what makes PBL so successful is present in a PrBL environment, including Entry Events, the Need-to-Know (NTK) process, and student-centered scaffolding.

Additional Info



 
Re-Imagining Teaching and Learning
 
 
 
By Judy Brown∗ , Jennifer Helton, M. Todd Edwards
and Dr. Tamra Ragland, Winton Woods City School
Math Curriculum Supervisor 
 
 
 
 
  ARTICLE:  Engaged...Equipped...Empowered on PBL by Debra Howe