Technology integration and project based learning are a perfect fit. Teachers can design learning experiences that incorporate the use of the computer to complete motivating projects. For example, an environmental technology project may include the design of an information pamphlet using Microsoft Publisher or a rainforest technology project may include the creation of a eco-tourism travel advertisement using Microsoft PowerPoint. Project based learning offers numerous benefits to students. The 6 most important benefits to project based learning are outlined below:
Benefits to Project Based Learning and Technology Integration
Benefit 1: Technology Projects are Interdisciplinary
An interdisciplinary approach connects learning objectives from two or more academic fields of study. Technology projects combine knowledge and skills from multiple subject areas such as language arts, mathematics, geography, history, science, and social studies. This approach gives students a relevant learning experience and encourages the transfer of knowledge to new situations.
Benefit 2: Technology Projects Encourage Collaboration
Collaboration is a process where two or more people work together to reach a common goal. Technology projects allow students to cooperate in partners or small groups to acquire information, share resources, and create original works using the computer as a tool. This benefits students as they can build on team members range of abilities and interests. As well, collaboration promotes participation, fosters responsibility, and improves social skills.
Benefit 3: Technology Projects Promote Inquiry
Inquiry is the search for knowledge or truth by asking questions, examining facts, and synthesizing the information. Technology projects often include an investigation into a problem to discover viable solutions with the search guided by a series of questions. For example, students may use Excel to record survey results and then graph the data to learn about food preferences to make decisions when planning a bake sale or use Publisher to design a pamphlet that summarizes researched questions to raise environmental awareness.
Benefit 4: Technology Projects Support Self Directed Learning
Self directed learning is when students are able to independently undertake a task and make judgments without the direction of a teacher. Working independently can often be challenging, even for the brightest students. However, technology projects motivate students to take control of their learning. The computer provides students with software to plan and organize ideas, monitor progress, and carry out the assignment with the teacher assuming the role of a facilitator. Students becoming self directed learners is one of the many benefits to project based learning and technology integration.
Benefit 5: Technology Projects are Motivating
Motivation is the incentive to act. Technology projects motivate students to learn because they are personally meaningful. During a project, students become engaged in the learning process. They select a topic of personal interest and pick the type of product they will make using the computer. This active involvement promotes learning.
Benefit 6: Technology Projects Target a Range of Learning Styles
A learning style is how a person comprehends, expresses, and remembers information to gain knowledge or develop skills. A benefit to project based learning and technology integration is that the activities target various styles of learning. This combination helps all students learn.