Project-Based Learning Using Information Technology

Project-Based Learning Using Information Technology

Project-Based Learning Using Information Technology

Project-Based Learning Using Information Technology


Combine project-based learning and instructional technology to develop higher-order thinking skills in your students!


Knowledge is of two kinds. We know a subject ourselves, or we know where we can find information upon it.

Samuel Johnson (1709–1784)

This chapter contains an overview of PBL in an IT environment. It also discusses the teaching concept of [sage on the stage] versus ]guide on the side.] PBL and IT-assisted PBL represent a considerably different approach to teaching than the more commonly used [stand and deliver.]

What Is PBL?

The historical newspaper example from Chapter 1 illustrates a number of the features common to many IT-assisted PBL lessons. However, it is important to understand that there is no universally agreed upon definition of what constitutes PBL. Almost all teachers use some PBL, and the projects they use vary widely in form and content.

This book focuses specifically on PBL that is designed to be carried out in an IT environment. Sometimes the focus of the lesson will be mostly on IT. Very often, however, one of the lesser goals will be an increase in IT knowledge and skills among students participating in the lesson.

Project-based learning is sometimes called problem-based learning, and vice versa. In problem-based learning, the focus is on a specific problem to be addressed. For example, the problem might be to clean up a polluted stream running through one's city, or to save an endangered species of plant or animal. Problem-based learning is common in business education and medical education. The References and Resources section of this book contains information on both project-based learning and problem-based learning.

Project-based learning constitutes a broader category of instruction than problem-based learning. While a project may address a specific problem, it can also focus on areas that are not problems. A key characteristic of project-based learning is that the project does not focus on learning about something. It focuses on doing something. It is action oriented. In the historical newspaper example, students are doing research, doing writing, doing peer feedback, doing the design of a historically authentic newspaper, doing desktop publication, and doing a presentation to the whole class.

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