A Student’s Perspective on Project-Based Learning

Learning, Online & Blended, PreK-12

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is an instructional approach to teaching students that allows for peer-to-peer collaboration and requires critical thinking and creativity. PBL instruction is often used in classrooms where students use blended technology to complete the assignments, while teachers can use the data in real time to assess the students understanding and application of the lesson.

New Tech Network (NTN) is a school network based in Napa, CA that is leading the charge in preparing students with necessary technological skills for today’s workforce through a blended project based learning approach. Their weekly Project-Based Learning (#PBL) chat on Twitter, has sparked conversation for teachers, administrators, parents and especially students during the back to school season. Below is a student voice recap of NTN’s most recent PBL chat by Jaylen Reese who attends Calumet New Tech. Jaylen has key takeaways and creative ways to approach PBL instruction from a student’s perspective. You can read more from the last NTN PBL chat in this recap here. 

Jaylen Reese

Last week I was so excited to have the chance to join the New Tech family in their PBL chat. A few of the things that stuck out to me in this chat was the discussion about creativity and the borders of learning in the classroom.

As a student who has been in a traditional and New Tech setting, creativity in the classroom will give you great results of learning. Here is some advice:

  • Don’t be afraid to have some fun in while doing a project.
  • Have project projects that requires students to have some type of art artifact or a short film or even a rap.
  • You can always turn content into something that will be memorable to the students.

These things are what you call the go-beyond in a project. You can have a set end product, but allow the students to have a creative component as well for extra credit. Having that personal relation to something or that creative component can have a great effect on the results given at the end of a project.

Challenge The Challenge

Another thing that struck me in the chat was specific instances where a facilitator might restrict learning. Look at it this way-you have mastered some skill as a facilitator when you can let your student not only show that they have gotten the content from what you have given, but that they’ve also taught you something in the process. You goal is to give students a drive for deeper learning and to think outside the box. If a student has a different approach to creating an end product for a project that you believe might be beneficial to class, encourage that student to be the one that goes beyond the normal.

Also I believe that we should get back into the habit of getting students ready for the workload of college. Students should have a feel for the amount of reading and homework that is ahead. Challenge your students this year by not limiting them but giving them a chance to extend themselves in learning.

Jaylen Reese graduated from Calumet New Tech and was the student Emcee at the New Tech Annual Conference. Watch Jaylens opening and closing remarks here.

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Cynthia @trevinoiu96 /

Thank you for sharing Jaylen’s blog. We are so proud of him. He is a testimony to the power of cultivating a culture that empowers. -Cynthia, Principal/Ditector at Calumet Nee Tech