Did you know that currently one-third of American workers are engaged in some kind of freelance or project-based work? And because the internet can reach much larger audiences than ever before, almost anyone can download an app and start a business (examples: Uber, 99designs, TaskRabbit, Etsy). It is estimated that by the year 2020, four out of every ten Americas will be engaged in project-based work. These changes in our economy lead us to believe that we need to reimagine how we teach our students.
The Deeper Learning initiative at NWESD is helping districts look at new pedagogical practices that are a combination of (1) a deeper understanding of core academic content, (2) the ability to transfer that understanding to novel problems and situations, and (3) the development of core competencies that prepare each student to be a transforming influence in the world. These core competencies include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, citizenship, and character traits such as persistence and grit. Michael Fullan (2014) defines the ‘new pedagogies’ not just as instructional strategies, but as powerful models of teaching and learning, enabled by digital tools and resources, taking place in learning environments that support deep learning throughout the entire education system.
One pedagogical approach to Deeper Learning is project based learning. Some districts have adopted the concept-based curriculum design as their pedagogical approach. (offered at NWESD October 24-25), while other districts are incorporating problem-based curriculum design. (offered at NWESD on November 14-15). This article, “Preparing Students for A Project-Based World”, describes why and how all students would benefit from project-based learning and how you can get started.
Preparing Students for a Project-Based World http://gettingsmart.com/publication/preparing-students-project-based-world/
Fullan, M. & Langworthy, M. (2014) A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning, London: Pearson.