Reinventing Project-Based Learning

Several of the Midwest Education Technology Conference Advisory Committee members have volunteered to read the books being offered at the METC book store  and are providing brief reviews on the content. Here are the latest:

Reinventing Project-Based Learning – Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age
By Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss, Reviewed by Will Blaylock

PBL BookReinventing Project-Based Learning is an outstanding resource to use when working with teachers on how to best implement Project Based Learning.  This is the first resource I have found that takes the teacher from beginning to end on how to plan, implement and assess project based learning.  The authors use vignettes throughout the book demonstrating real-world examples.  This should be very beneficial when working with teachers who are not eager to adopt this instructional model.  Most chapters include a realistic example, discussion on the topic and how-to’s when it comes to leveraging technology.  Technology use is woven throughout the book to amplify the positive effect it can have on the learning process.  An interesting and timely topic of discussion within the book is the development of a Professional Learning Community to facilitate the implementation of Project Based Learning. I highly recommend this book to increase personal learning as it relates to Project Based Learning!

1-to-1 Online Learning: Laptop Programs that Work
By Pamela Livingston , Reviewed by Cindy Marston

1-to-1 Online LearningThis book is an  in-depth and practical guide for administrators, teachers, and parents.  As a second edition, it contains chapters on programs using tablet PCs and effective use of Web2.0 resources.  The book is well-organized into three parts, allowing readers to easily  locate the information they seek and skim what may be marginally relevant.  Part 1 describes the possibilities of a 1-to-1 program, with specifics from several schools, including Whitfield  School right here in St. Louis (page 43),  and a chapter that summarizes the research and lessons learned from early adopters.  Part 2 discusses the critical steps of planning and implementation, including a “must read” chapter on professional development for teachers.  Finally, the chapters in Part  3 contains practical information regarding classroom management, helping to answer the essential question: What does teaching and learning look like when every student has a computer in front of them?  Based on her research, Ms. Livingston makes strong and  persuasive arguments that “students get to the thinking levels faster when they have their own digital assistants to help them.”

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