Project-Based Learning Around the World
L&L; February 2007
In this article, Kristen Weatherby discusses her work with Microsoft in creating project-based curriculum for teaching information and communication technologies (ICT) around the world. Microsoft’s Partners in Learning initiative, which also includes ISTE, is a movement to create stakeholders worldwide---governments and education ministries that will use the program to teach students basic ICT skills and train teachers how to use technology by customizing learning projects.
With the help of ISTE, they developed a dozen learning projects or about 40 hours of classroom time. Then they went through a process of localization, where general themes were adopted for local use. Thus far, more than 200 “master trainers” in about 50 countries have been trained with the materials. Weatherby reports that the first adoption of the ISTE curriculum occurred in Denmark and that the program was highly successful.
1. Is project-based teaching an effective way to teach information and communications technologies?
It is! Based on my experience in EDUC 422, the technological realm, at least as much as any other academic area, is well-suited for project-based learning. Also, ICT is extremely useful for an interdisciplinary curriculum as created by ISTE.
2. Is project-based learning a feature of San Diego’s pubic schools?
I am familiar with High Tech High School in San Diego, which is a public charter school that emphasizes project-based learning and technology. From talking with faculty there, I understand that the results are mixed. The students tend to like it, but the faculty turnover rate is high because of the lack of structure. Teachers are given broad parameters and must decide what to teach and create project plans from scratch. Some love this, but many do not. Additionally, they eschew AP courses, and I don’t know if colleges are receptive to this.