There are a number of reasons that schools should have an introductory Project-Based Learning class in the online, F2F, and blended learning environments. One of the most important reasons is that it teaches critical thinking skills to students. It is an exciting way for students to encounter these high level thinking skills as a part of a rich interactive online program that teaches real-world learning experiences. By incorporating a mandatory PBL class as a part of a schools teaching curriculum it gives teachers the opportunity to challenge students to learn skills necessary when they do PBL in their general courses. To implement an effective PBL class a school should develop what is called the Five Points of the Star method of learning. This type of class will have the students become highly engaged in their own learning and take the time to be better students, it is necessary to shift into this very different paradigm of teaching when developing high level thinking skills. By doing developing this type of class it will create an educational setting that allows students to explore and engage in multiple levels of learning. This class would include the following types of student engagement to develop the critical thinking skills necessary in the online or blended learning world; student-to-student, student-to-teacher, student-to-community, student-to- material, and student-to-technology. If an online, F2F, or blended learning program/class builds this type of hands on learning environment, the students will have one of the most intellectually exciting and memorable encounters of their educational experience. And the results will be that it would carry over into every other class and help the students, teachers and program run much smoother.
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