Guest author, Derek Keenan – More and more we hear in education about project-based learning; having students engage in meaningful, purposeful learning that is related to real-life. Also called inquiry-based learning, it is a subject that Alberta Education has researched in past documents like Focus on Inquiry from 2004. More recently, Alberta Education has used Twitter to link to an Educational Leadership Article on project-based learning. Our students are moving toward a much more open and engaging educational system, and many of them are already living it. In Rocky View Schools, project-based learning is alive and well. In fact, I recently gave a presentation at Teacher’s Convention on having a class of high school students write an publish a novel collaboratively. I also spoke tonight withan administrator at Springbank High School who is ecstatic about the energy surrounding project-based learning in that school.
Project-based learning focuses on addressing a problem or a key question, and doesn’t only focus on with student activities. What many leaders in RVS are finding is that an inquiry-based approach creates great results in classroom research as well. At Bert Church High School, we have been involved in an embedded (also called enhanced) coaching project at the school for the past two years. One of the fundamental methods of working one on one with a teacher to improve teaching is having them ask questions about their classes and the way students learn. If we can focus on one or two key concerns that the teacher identifies, then we can create effective strategies and measure specific change. This measured approach to change works well with teachers who often can’t adjust everything at once, but want to take a calculated approach to improving the learning in their classrooms.
People naturally want to answer questions. As education moves more fully into an inquiry-based model, with the school division, educators, students and even parents asking the right questions, we can experience massive shifts in learning while gathering crucial data as evidence of where the growth was achieved.
So? Any questions? :) Leave them in the comments below!
A little about Derek Keenan: I am a teacher and embedded coach/mentor at Bert Church High School. I have devoted the past several years to the successful implementation of technology in the classroom. First with a class set of iPod Touches, and this year with a class set of iPads. My work is research based and I have worked hard to support others in the implementation of mobile technologies in education. I blog, I tweet and I present on my experiences in teaching and learning. *image courtesy of wylio.com