This second week, we started thinking about the PBL project that we’ll produce for this course. I would like it to be something useful for my Greek language students. So, it could be either Greek history or Greek language related. Actually, if I could combine a little bit of both, that would be fantastic. I explored many projects this week that were interdisciplinary. Among many others I really liked the idea of a project I found on YouTube (right) in which students were creating an itinerary in the target language to travel to different cities of their choice. The students had to explore various websites in the target language in order to decide their destinations and write their travel plans. I really liked the idea of a travel itinerary or maybe a vacation package for Greece (students’ suggestions of cities/ beaches/ islands/ sightseeing/ museums to visit, food to eat, etc.) that the students could potentially present (may be even “sell”) in a travel expo for Greece organized by the school at the end of the year. I like this idea as it combines Greek language, geography and history and I will work on this more.
Another aspect of my week’s explorations focused on the effectiveness of Project Based Learning in diverse classrooms. I read a very interesting article from Edutopia called “New Research Makes a Powerful Case for PBL” mentioned also by another classmate; the article presented two new studies funded by Lucas Education Research that revealed that PBL is an effective strategy for all students, even those who have been historically excluded. The two studies involved over 6,000 students in 114 schools across the nation, with more than 50 percent of students coming from low-income families. In one of the studies researchers looked at AP classes taught with a PBL approach. The results revealed that nearly half of students in project-based courses passed their AP exams, exceeding traditional classroom students by 8%. When compared to their wealthier peers, students from low-income families exhibited equal benefits, demonstrating that well-structured PBL can be a more inclusive method than teacher-centered strategies. The other study examined the effectiveness of PBL in elementary science classes. The schools chosen for the study included a mixed student population: 62 percent of the students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch, and 58 percent were students of color. Like in the other study, the elementary students in PBL classrooms outscored their peers by 8% on a science exam. I believe that these two studies revealed how inclusive and effective PBL can be.
Terada, Y. (2021). New Research Makes a Powerful Case for PBL Edutopia.