Ask most children and they will tell you that they can change our world. Whether that change is something small or large, they see this contribution as a good way forward for all of us. Imagine… a robot that picks up all the trash for a cleaner world, or a machine that waters plants to help feed those in need. These are just a sample of answers from children.
One way to start developing this type of thinking in classrooms is to implement collaborative or project-based learning. In the classroom, inspiring collaborative and creative problem solving through project based learning is a path that will help set up students for success in an evolving and increasingly collaborative world.
Project based learning is not a new concept. From early philosophers to modern educators, critical thinking and inquiry have been championed. Today, we see how technology can play a significant role in enabling and supporting an inquiry, project based approach in the classroom.
Around the world, amazing project based learning initiatives are truly helping to change the world, even as we speak. At SMART, we’ve been on the front line with some of our schools working together to identify solutions to real-world problems. One of these is the engineering brightness project that brought together students across the world who worked together using SMART amp to design an LED light source for students and families who live without electricity.
On a more local scale, teachers and students are “hacking” solutions to everyday problems. SMART regularly participates in hackathons, giving schools tools and access to professionals to identify and solve a local problem. Just recently, these hackathon events have included building and sanitation design.
Although the above stories are some of our favorite examples, you do not have to aim to change the world with every project based learning initiative. You can implement projects on a smaller scale and provide meaningful learning inside the classroom. Using a SMART amp workspace to brainstorm and capture ideas for student’s projects allows teachers to see who contributed ideas, and to keep track of the progress of a project. It allows students to contribute in ways that they might not otherwise, and creates a truly collaborative space.
Don’t believe us? Let’s ask students. At a recent hackathon in Texas, we had the chance to interview some of the school’s students about changing the world. Check out their answers and imagine what your students could create this year implementing project based learning.
Looking for some PBL inspiration? Register now for our Educator 2 Educator webinars this November, when we’ll be sharing lots of info about using SMART in your classroom for problem and project based learning. Register now right here.