Project based learning has been a staple in classrooms for decades. Educators have incorporated projects in the classroom to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving, skills that are important for college readiness.
Can any project in the classroom be used in project based learning? The short answer is not so simple. Projects, of all shapes and sizes are great ways to engage students in applying their knowledge in new ways. However, if the project is not aligned well with what students have or are currently learning, the project could serve to be a source of frustration. To ensure that project based learning is done correctly, educational experts recommend that projects include:
- Success Skills – The project should be focused on guiding students to a deeper understanding of a topic. Projects that emphasize collaboration, problem-solving, and innovation are the best projects to achieve the most student engagement.
- Levels of Complexity – A project that can be easily modified to various levels are ideal in making sure the project is appropriate for on-level learning and can be made to be challenging for advanced learners. The best projects are those that can be revisited over and over, but each time adding a new level of information or complexity to further the student’s understanding.
- Realistic and Relevant Topics – Students are engaged most with projects that speak to them and that involve topics that are of interest to them. Mobile application development or technology projects, in general, are leading project based learning in the 21st century classroom. Programs like MAD-learn are enabling students to delve deeper in the same technology they use day in and day out, but from a new perspective. With comprehensive lessons, MAD-learn participants are able to become creators of technology, not just consumers of it. This approach to project based learning motivates students to want to learn more about the world around them.
- Customizability and Freedom of Expression – Projects that allow students to voice their opinions or add their own personality are ideal in empowering students to be active participants in their learning. MAD-learn’s mobile application platform, unlocks scientific creativity in all students by enabling them to design mobile apps, from scratch, based off of their own original designs. Students are more likely to learn from a project that allows for some trial and error learning, and one that encourages students to explore the world.
Project based learning will continue to be an important teaching strategy well into the 21st century. With STEM-related jobs growing at a rate three times faster than other non-STEM related jobs, students will need to have learning opportunities that promote critical thinking, problem solving, scientific creativity, and innovation.
Schools across the nation are revamping project based learning with MAD-learn. Register here for a free MAD-learn demo to see just how mobile application development can enhance learning inside the classroom.