This summer, one of my goals is to complete the transformation of my classroom to a student-driven, project-based learning environment. To that end, I'm immersing myself in PBL resources in the hope of creating something for my classroom that is based on the successes and failures of others who have walked this path before me. I am currently reading Philip Cummings' blog (@Philip_Cummings) which details his PBL process and it has been extremely helpful. I'm also going to look into PBL University (@PBLUniversity) and work through some of the courses on that site in order to better prepare myself for a PBL learning environment. Oh, there is so much to learn.
One of the things that excites me about moving to a PBL environment is the increased student voice. Kiddos will have more of a say in what they learn, how they learn it and how they will demonstrate their learning. One thing I must keep in mind is that kiddos will need an authentic audience so early on, I will have to teach them how to create a Google Site and use it as a portfolio of their learning this year and a showcase for their learning as well. In fact, a Google Site should allow them to have a page for each content area and also a link to their 20% Time Project Blog (Harmonized Learning). Since we have gone paperless on our team (Team Harmony - myself and Melissa Hellwig @melissahellwig4), we have used Google Docs to share, collaborate and turn in assignments. The Google Sites will also allow publication and portfolio creation as well. Indeed, the Google Apps for Education will be integrated more fully this year into our program.
From my reading, I have learned that it is more important to create the learning environment than it is to create the learning outcomes. If I am able to create an environment in which kids feel empowered, know that their natural curiosities will be supported and feel that their creativity will be nurtured, then real, authentic learning will take place.