Technology integration can incorporate the use of the computer in the classroom throughout the learning process to have students complete technology-based projects. For example, students can use software to write reports, create advertisements, publish a web page, and design a poster. These activities are meaningful and motivating to students. This article examines how project based learning and technology integration can be combined to enhance learning experiences.
What is a Project?
A project is an open-ended assignment with the goal of achieving specific learning objectives from multiple subject areas. A project is different from tasks such as answering questions in a math book or completing a reading comprehension sheet. What makes it different is that the task is open-ended, student-directed, takes a longer time to complete, and includes a combination of learning objectives from various curriculum areas.
What is Project Based Learning?
Project based learning is an instructional approach that poses challenging questions or presents real-world problems that are meaningful to students. The project requires students to investigate these issues and propose viable solutions.
Project based learning is not new. As long ago as the early 1900’s, John Dewey supported the use of projects as a teaching strategy. Educators for years have been designing activities where students select a topic of interest, formulate questions about the topic, research information, and then present their findings in original ways such as a presentation, article, or database. Educators call this type of assignment a project.
What Does Project Based Learning Have to Do with Technology Integration?
Project based learning is an instructional approach that lends itself easily to the creation of technology projects. These projects are open-ended assignments that use technology to create unique, student-driven products with the goal of achieving specific learning objectives from multiple subject areas. Throughout the learning process, computers are used to acquire, organize, demonstrate, and communicate information. The seamless integration of technology into each stage of the project creates a meaningful learning experience.
Project based learning is a unique approach to teaching technology skills. In many classrooms, students learn how to use the computer by completing lessons focused on a software application, such as an introduction to Microsoft Word. Learning computer skills in isolation can lack interest for students and does not meet their individual needs. With project based learning, students complete technology projects that focus on problem solving tasks. Students build technology skills as they complete activities such as publishing a magazine, creating a digital story, or tracking investments in a simulated stock market.
Project based learning is meaningful to students because they develop the skills needed to complete the task. Within the framework of the technology project, students can pursue their own interests and work at their own level.