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The Evolution of PBL: Change and Project-Based Learning.

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1 The Evolution of PBL: Change and Project-Based Learning

2 There was a time when all learning was project-based

3 Then, educators tried some other approaches. Chinese students gathering around a wall posting the results of the civil service exam. Sui Dynasty Aristotle teaching at the Academy 300 BC

4 Education reinforced and was prescribed by class division. Hands-on education was traditionally for craftsmen, trades, and laborers (and upper-class women)

5 “Hands-off” education = prestigious education Education based on reading, writing, abstract mathematics, and speaking (rhetoric) was reserved for aristocracy, civil servants and clergy

6 Vocational / Career Education Traditionally for apprentices, indentured servants, and slaves By the mid-1880s “trade” education was mostly for children in institutions (orphans, Native Americans, the poor) Booker T. Washington believed trade-specific education was a good way to integrate

7 Major reform: Francis Parker and John Dewey 1870s- early 1900s Parker’s “Quincy System” called for child-centered and experience-based learning Dewey: “The Modern Father of Experiential Education”

8 “My Pedagogic Creed” (John Dewey, 1900) I believe that the active side precedes the passive in the development of the child nature; that expression comes before conscious impression; that the muscular development precedes the sensory; that movements come before conscious sensations; I believe that consciousness is essentially motor or impulsive; that conscious states tend to project themselves in action.

9 “My Pedagogic Creed” (John Dewey, 1900) I believe that the neglect of this principle is the cause of a large part of the waste of time and strength in school work. The child is thrown into a passive, receptive or absorbing attitude. The conditions are such that he is not permitted to follow the law of his nature; the result is friction and waste.

10 The Progressive Education movement (1900s s) Progressive educators opposed separating academic education for elite vs. vocational training for the masses. During the 1920s, education turned increasingly to "scientific" techniques such as intelligence testing and cost-benefit management. Progressive educators insisted on the importance of the emotional, artistic, and creative aspects of human nature.

11 Constructivism Piaget and Vygotsky argued for play as a learning method, and provided scientific evidence for its importance Both encouraged hands-on, active learning for all students

12 After WWI, drastic educational reform in 20th century Europe Maria Montessori: hands-on learning Loris Malaguzzi: the Reggio Emilia approach (Italy 1950s)

13 In the US: the Progressive Education movement (1940s) A major research endeavor, the "eight-year study," demonstrated that students from progressive high schools were capable, adaptable learners and excelled even in the finest universities. During the Depression, a group of politically oriented progressive educators dared schools to "build a new social order" Students of Dewey taught the principles of progressive education to thousands of teachers and school leaders

14 Backlash to progressivism Death of Dewey, 1952 Onset of the Cold War launching of Sputnik a wave of "back to the basics” reforms Reagan conservatism Bush-era NCLB

15 1990s: Rebirth of Project-Based Learning Interactive digital tools spurred a rebirth of thinking on constructivism and project-based learning Many researchers and practices: “action learning,” “ideas in action,” “WebQuests,” “neo-Piagetism,” “service learning,” etc.

16 Constructionism Constructionism (Harel & Papert, 1991; Kafai & Resnick, 1996) posits that individuals learn best when they are constructing an artifact that can be shared with others and reflected upon, such as plays, poems, pie charts or toothpick bridges.

17 Debate over PBL Purely constructivist theory of project-based learning, with minimal intervention/ instruction Vs. a “guided instruction” theory Jonassen (1997) proposed well-designed, well- structured learning environments provide scaffolding for problem-solving. Both Sweller and Jonassen support problem-solving scenarios for more advanced learners

18 Everything old is new again… Despite its long history, “learning by doing” is at the leading edge of educational reform and is often seen as radically new!


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