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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

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Related Tags: Project-Based Learning
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11 Replies 625 Views
Just to give you a little background into what I am doing. New Hampshire has recently received over 11 million dollars to support charter schools and innovative educational ideas. While attending the November Virtual School Symposium sponsored by iNACOL, I also learned NH is exploring the option of competency based learning. At the time that Mistacres was developed, NH was not licensing charter schools. Consequently it was opened as a private school although it uses an online educational environment. It is time to move into a K8 Virtual Charter but New Hampshire law prohibits a private school to become a charter. An entirely new school needs to be developed. So a number of people with various backgrounds from all over the US are joining me to develop such a school and send in application - hopefully by June/July. We hope to develop a educational environment where students progress through each subject by mastering competencies, not by grade. We want to use programs that are Lexile-based as well as Quantiles. K-3 levels will focus on developing a strong foundation in reading, math and writing with exposure to science, social studies, language, art, music, and health. What I would like to have happen in levels 4-8 is to see that many of the competencies are addressed through project based learning activities. This would allow the students to continue through objectives using real-life learning to show mastery. I hope you are all following my rather scattered thoughts. So...why am I writing this here? I need a few of you who really understand PBL and have the experience and knowledge to develop lessons, to join our team. I have only a little knowledge from this summer ( and you know how dangerous that can be) but probably more then any of the other developers. We communicate mainly through google docs that are set up by topic. We will probably have small group conferences with Skype and try meet as an entire group monthly. Please let me know if you can collaborate with us on this project. I would like PBL to be a major component.

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Tracy Hanson's picture
Tracy Hanson
K12 Next Generation, Director

Jessica,
Please send me your contact information so that we can talk further. I would love to have your help.
Anne,
I have sent information to your email address.
I would love to have you aboard. Thank you for answering my plea.

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher
Blogger 2014

Dear Tracy,

Check out Montessori elementary schools in your area. PBL is a Montessori tradition going back generations. Our school does portfolio assessment, so it fits right in with PBL. The multi-age classroom also supports projects as students of multiple ages often have a broader range of competencies to share.
MK

Linda Obrien's picture

I would like to join the monthly discussions. There seems to be a lot of misunderstanding regarding PBL. I would like to learn more about PBL from those that are experienced.

Cari Jordan's picture

I would be very interested in learning more about project based learning and assessment. At this time, in my district, all I hear about is research based instruction. This instruction is very rigid. Project based seems like it would get the kids more involved in their learning. Learning styles could be explored. I can't wait to learn more about this.

Mary Kate Land's picture
Mary Kate Land
Montessori 4-6th grade teacher
Blogger 2014

Must be outdated research. Children learn when they care, and projects generate a great deal of interest. The latest neuroscience indicates that ideas like PBL lead to greater gains because they make kids care about being involved.

MK

Tracy Hanson's picture
Tracy Hanson
K12 Next Generation, Director

For the past month I have been involved in training on how to use Quest Atlantis which is sort of like virtual PBL. Students are engaged in transformational play . "The player must become the protagonist who uses the knowledge, skills, and concepts embedded in curricular content to make sense of a fictional situation and make choices that transform the situation." Basically for children 9-12. I am still looking for a few people that are interested in looking at milestones within the core standards and developing PBL activities that would then be used as real-time assessments of their skills. These PBL assessments will be what is used to determine advancement up the curriculum pathway rather then the typical multiple choice, regurgitation of information or the length of time a student occupies a classroom seat.
If you are interested send me your email address and I will send to you further information on my goals for this virtual charter. It is will be located in NH but, I hope, available to any school/district who would like to use the ideas.

Tracy Hanson's picture
Tracy Hanson
K12 Next Generation, Director

As our team develops a grade 4-8 competency based curriculum we are identifying milestones along the way where PBL modules will be developed to assess whether a student has mastered the skills necessary to move on. Each project will be designed so that the student will need to use target skills correctly for completion. I believe that this will be a much more authentic method to assess student knowledge then the current assessments that require the ability to fill in bubbles or repeat back what a teacher has told them. I have one organization that I am currently meeting with that may be leading this venture. If you are interested in more information or joining our group then let me know and I will be thrilled to add you.

SP's picture
SP
CEO Enterthegroup.com

Tracy,
I can try to help with the curriculum from the perspective of integrating technology. I have recently created a website which is totally free and designed to help students with group projects. It has tools and a structure for learning and doing PBL. It may be something more for Junior HS students (grades 7 and up), since it is has a lot of sharing and collaboration tools, but who knows kids these days are pretty good with technology.
Shoot me an email at Sal@enterthegroup.com if you're interested.

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