Ideas for how to overcome issues that teachers new to project-based learning frequently encounter.
By John McCarthy
October 23, 2019
In effective project-based learning (PBL) experiences, students are actively engaged in decision-making, confidently manage their team’s shared accountability, and develop quality products and performances. Many schools achieve this success, while others struggle. When a PBL unit doesn’t achieve the expected outcomes, the teacher, especially if they’re embarking on their initial attempt with PBL, may find that their difficulty arises in one or more of those three common areas.
PBL is a great structure for students to practice collaboration within teams. Done well, group work guides team members to help each other understand the content and tackle complex tasks that build deep knowledge of core concepts.
Problems occur when some students do most of the work. The team collaborates on not working together. Sometimes this happens because one or more students refuse to do the work. Other times it happens because one or two members do not want others involved, fearing that their grade will be damaged by the efforts of peers they perceive as having lesser skills.
Solution: Make all graded assignments individual tasks—don’t give any grades for group work. Taking grading out of the equation enables students to focus on the work without concern that peers’ efforts might affect their grades, and it encourages all students to participate. Teams work together to collect data and complete tasks for the purpose of building understanding through mutual support. Students take the results from the collaborative work to complete individual assessments. Ultimately, each learner must show what they know and do not know.
Three strategies for supporting students in working together effectively:
•Establish guidelines that include roles and responsibilities.
•Provide criteria and logistical checklists for each role.
•Coach students on how to collaborate.
Another reason not to have group grades is to eliminate false data. With group grades, students who do little work or who don’t participate may get a higher grade than they should based on true performance. Such grade inflation hides gaps in concept learning. The teacher lacks accurate data to help the student grow, creating later struggles with progressively complex skills because of missing foundation knowledge. And learners who do high quality work may get a low grade because of the work done by other team members, leading the teacher to see phantom gaps in learning that do not exist. This assessment fog creates extra and unnecessary work for the teacher.
Lack of student buy-in can occur when a project behaves like a traditional unit. A common clue is the types and purpose of the assigned products. Products presented in class or posted on school walls are a good start, yet PBL units can be so much more valuable to students when they are developing answers and products for a person, group, or organization who will value the finished work.
Solution: Put a face to the audience. Make student work truly public. Dayna Laur, author of several books on implementing PBL, says, “Use experts to design challenges and provide feedback to learners.”
Invite someone to tell students how much their search for solutions or ideas will be important for that person or organization. Meeting face-to-face or virtually has the powerful effect of giving students’ work a larger purpose. You can bring in experts or people affected by a problem that students are exploring, or set up video calls for this purpose. Guide students to see themselves as working in the profession so that their practices are authentically connected.
If possible, invite these sources to listen—in person or via video meetings—to students’ progress reports and give feedback, and then have students close the project with a presentation or publication provided to the outside audience.
Many students feel like passive participants in their education—and many education experiences lead them to that—so teachers who want to set up powerful PBL experiences first need to guide students to take the lead in their learning.
Solution: Include student voice above choice. People own their learning when they have decision-making on what and how they are learning. Giving choices is a starting point, not the final solution. Choices are designed by the teacher. Once students design their own choices within the PBL structure, they have more buy-in to truly express themselves.
•Provide assessment criteria and leave the product format open-ended, so students can choose, for example, to make a short film or produce a newsletter or write a traditional essay—any product that meets the criteria is OK.
•Use protocols that enable students to lead the learning activity, such as Chalk Talks, a silent discussion on chart paper, or Save the Last Word for Me, a small group reading-comprehension discussion protocol.
As an important content of the comprehensive practical courses, the FABO research project utilize university resources and cultivates students research and innovation abilities through the PBL and scientific study. Through systematic training, PBL research projects combines the discipline knowledge with science and design, and Form a portfolio, create inventions, research papers and other achievements, while preparing for domestic and international science
FABO course would not let any students fall behind. The course continues the characteristics of MIT online course: Online and offline teaching mode, combining the ideas that “hands-on ability”, “cooperation”, “laboratory immersive experience” with online “collaborative teaching” and “multi platform interaction”. Training students to master the future learning style！
The world is witnessing digitization and has been changing rapidly. People summarize these unseen changes in human history with “Exponential Change”, “Augmented Thinking” and “The Coming Singularity ”. We will usher in an era of technological-innovation, and artificial intelligence will be integrated into the society and people’s lives. What kind of capabilities are needed to adapt to these new changes?
Education in farming society is by word of mouth and by text in the modern industrial age. What is the educational mode of artificial intelligence era? It is digital education and creativity education! The work for people in the future to do will include more creativity. Therefore cultivating creativity is the primary and paramount goal of education for children.
In FABO, there are domestic and overseas academic mentors accompanying the children throughout the whole course, teaching them the way of learning and letting them experience the cutting-edge technology. The slogan “Learning by Doing, Learning by Playing” involves brainstorming and hands-on practice, which will lay a solid foundation for kids’ mindset and interests in mathematics, physics and computer science.
This course is to explore our planet from an observer’s perspective, to take a close look at the living condition of animals and plants, to feel the invisible nature forces, to understand the current pollution problems, and to think about how we can protect this wonderful planet and improve the living condition of beings. Focusing on these fields, combined with the study of digital fabrication skills, students will build several short-term individual projects.
Students will have chance challenging the impossible perpetual motion machine, designing their own LED spinners base on the same principle; folding paper microscopes and observe micro-worlds; mixing light sensitive chemicals and making cyanotypes with sunlight; learning about plastic types; and learn simple graphical programming software, make interactive animal toys, etc.. The most recent digital fabrication skills will be introduced along the projects, including 2D computer drawing, laser cutting, 3d modeling and printing, and basic electronics. Students get to form a preliminary impression on subject including physics, chemistry, and biology, exercise their hands-on DIY skills, and improve creativity and artistic aesthetics. This course also trains students in soft skills such as presentation and teamwork.
Interdisciplinary learning: understand basic knowledge from physics, chemistry and biology
• 设计、个性化和制造几个小的项目，培养创新思维 Design, plan, personalize and fabricate several small projects, form creative thinking
• 组合使用各种数字制造技术和工具 Work with a combination of various fabrication techniques and digital tools
• 掌握基础图形化编程软件使用方法，用简单输入输出设备实现互动 learn to use basic programming software to realize interaction with simple input and output devices
• 加入艺术的视角，提高动手制作能力 Improve hands-on DIY skills with art perspective
• 增强环境保护意识，且能通过项目表达自己的态度 Develop awareness for environmental protection, and able to express attitudes through projects
• 了解可持续发展目标，用设计思维改善现存问题 understand SDG (sustainable development goals), use design thinking to solve existing problems
Through project-based learning, students can not only combine physics, chemistry, biology, digital manufacturing, art design, basic circuit and other related disciplines to integrate learning and application, but also cultivate the basic attitude of problem-solving.
• 重心量测\Center of gravity measurement
• 平衡点量测\Balance point measurement
• 能量转换\energy conversion
Electronics programming knowledge:
• 基础回路设计\Basic circuit design
• 图形化编程软件的基本功能\basic function of programming software (mixly)
• 输入及输出组件控制\Input and output component control
• 编程逻辑设计\Programming logic design
• 颜色搭配原则\Color matching principle
• 构图原则\Composition principle
• 能量转换\energy conversion
• 基本力学\forces and mechanics
• 三维空间\3D space
• 三维空间概念\3D concept
• 结构角度计算\Structural angle calculation
•观察及探索自然材料特性\Observe and explore the characteristics of natural materials
•学习显微镜原理和使用\learn to use microscope and its working principle
•观察溶液间混合后产生变化的效果\Observe the effect of change after mixing between solutions
Get to know the earth; observe our cities and living environments; and imagine the functional forms of future architecture. Learn 3D modeling and printing to build models for the future buildings you envision.
Learn about the evolutionary history and current living condition of animals on Earth.
Learn basic programming with mixly, and create your own interactive animal friends.
Understand the existence of microorganisms, make a foldable microscope, and observe the world that is hard to see with the naked eye. Get to know plants, learn how to compress the plant materials found in nature into specimens, and try to use the ancient cyanotype technique to make art works.
Challenge to make the impossible perpetual motion machine, and feel the relationship between friction and movement. Based on the same principle, learn 2D computer graphics, laser cutting, design and make your own fidget spinners.
Learn about the influence of plastic pollution, plastic classification principles, recycle standards, and how to reuse plastics.
Learn to compress the collected plastic bags into new raw materials, and make them into practical items such as bags, lampshades, greeting cards, etc.
The Chinese Society of Education, in conjunction with Tongji University, will hold a series of activities entitled “From STEM to STEAM, Structure and Mechanism Design of A-Led Innovation STEAM Education” International Symposium from October 29 to November 3, 2019 at FABO of College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University. At the same time, it is also the grand finale of Tongji Design Week.
With the advent of the era of Internet and Artificial Intelligence, the “bottom-up” innovation mode of maker under the third industrial revolution has become a driving force for social and economic innovation. Education is the source of innovation and the foundation of the country’s innovative competitiveness.
In the era of intelligence, future-oriented education breaks through the gaps between disciplines and the walls of schools and regards the world as a classroom.The 4C Capabilities refers to Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity. As the four necessary abilities for talents in the 21st century, it points out the direction for cultivating talents needed for future social development. STEAM education is an innovative educational concept and measure for talent cultivation in the 21st century. It is an holistic education that advocates lifelong learning. Emphasis is placed on breaking discipline boundaries, not being limited by the major, using multidisciplinary knowledge to solve problems in real life, and cultivating students’ comprehensive qualities. The core of STEAM education coincides with the requirements for the cultivation of 4C capabilities and has become an important educational carrier for the cultivation of 4C capabilities in the age of intelligence.
本次峰会将会将深入展开STEAM教育的构架建构及机制发展的讨论。发掘以“A”为引领，将泛艺术/Art、人文与科学 / Science、 技术/ Technology、工程/ Engineering、数学/ Mathematics的完美结合，以设计思维（Design Thinking）、项目式学习PBL(Project Based Learning）为基础建构STEAM的顶层框架和思维逻辑创新，并探讨STEAM教育的新途径。同时就师资建设，平台建设，国际趋势和本土化，标准化及个性化，城乡差异等重点问题作深层次探讨
This symposium will further discuss the framework construction and mechanism development of STEAM education. We will take Art as the leading discipline, perfectly combining Art, Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, constructing the top-level framework and logical innovation of STEAM based on Design Thinking and Project-Based Learning, and explores new ways of STEAM education. At the same time, in-depth discussions will be also made on key issues such as construction of teaching staff and platform, international trends and localization, standardization and personalization, and rural-urban differences.
10月30日-11月1日 主题讨论，实践工作坊/Thematic discussions, workshop practice
11月3日 开放创新参观/ 分论坛/主题工作坊 Open Innovation Visit/Pre-Forum/Workshop
出席嘉宾(含拟) Honored Guests（including proposed）
全球FABLAB 嘉宾 / Global Fablab Guests
Neil A. Gershenfeld/尼尔·格申斐尔德 美国麻省理工学院教授，比特与原子研究中心主任；全球FABLab-“数制”工坊创始人; Professor, Director , Center for Bits and Atoms, MIT
Sherry J Lassiter 美国麻省理工学院原子和比特实验室(CBA)项目主管，全球Fablab基金会总裁； Project Manager，Center for Bits annd Atom， MIT；CEO FAB Foundation
Basile Fiore Fab基金会首席信息官，Fab Academy全球数制学术课程项目负责人Chief Information Officer of Fab Foundation, Head of Fab Academy Global Fablab Academic Program
丁峻峰 Fablab O |中国第一个“数制”工坊创始人，同济大学设计创意学院,环境设计专业副主任，副教授 Founder and Director of FABO; Associate Professor, College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University
Cecilia Raspanti 织造学术课程创始人 Director of Textile Academy, Waag Society
Lucas Evers 生物智造学术课程创始人 Director of Bio Hack Academy, Waag Society
Sarah Prendergast Wallace SCOPE STEAM项目老师带头人,美国克利夫兰大都会校区Fab Lab项目负责人 SCOPE Program Teachers leader, Cleveland Metro School District Fab Lab Coordinator
Saverio Silli Fablab O｜中国“数制”工坊课程开发导师，FABO X 课程总监。同济大学设计创意学院，研究助理 FAB Academy Guru; Curriculum Development Manager, Director of FABO X; Research Assistant of College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University
Daniele Ingrassia FABAcademy全球权威导师，莱茵瓦尔应用科学大学科学助理FABAcademy Guru, Scientific Assistant for Rhine Waal University of Applied Sciences
全球创新教育嘉宾 / Global Innovation Education Guests
Suzie Boss 美国PBLworks委员会成员，作家，教育顾问，PBL倡导者。 Member of the American PBLworks committee, PBL advocate.
Kostas Terzidis 人工智能专家，哈佛大学设计学院副教授（前）；同济大学设计创意学院教授； Artificial Intelligence Expert, Former Associate Professor of Academy of Design,Harvard University; Professor of College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University;
施建农 中国科学院心理研究所研究员、博士生导师；中国科学院大学教授、博士生导师；北京中科青云实验学校首席科学家兼校长； Researcher and doctoral supervisor of the Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences; Professor and doctoral supervisor of Chinese Academy of Sciences; Chief scientist and principal of Beijing Zhongke Qingyun experimental school;
郝京华 南京师范大学教育科学学院教授，教育部南京师范大学课程中心常务副主任，中国教育学会小学科学教学专业委员会副理事长; Professor of Academy of Education Science, Nanjing Normal University; Executive Deputy Director of course center, Nanjing Normal University, Ministry of Education; Deputy Director of Primary School Science Teaching Committee of Chinese Society of Education;
王素 中国教育科学研究院STEM教育研究中心主任王素， 中国教育科学研究院国际与比较教育研究所所长 Su Wang, Director of STEM Education Research Center of National Institute Of Education Sciences, Director of World Council of Comparative Education Societies, National Institute Of Education Sciences
沈军 北京市八一中学校长。新加坡南洋理工大学国立教育学院硕士，中学高级教师，海淀区高中教学专家组成员。 Principal of Beijing Bayi Middle School. Master in National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; senior teacher of middle school; member of Haidian District High School Teaching Expert Group.
更多嘉宾陆续揭晓中，敬请关注。/More honored guests will be announced, please stay tuned.
工作坊/研讨会一览 / Overview of Workshops and Senimars
项目式学习/Project Based Learning
项目式学习中的项目管理/Project Manager in Projetc Based Learning
吸管机器人：用吸管制作步行机器人/Strawbotics: Making walker robots with straws
适用于K-12学生的SCOPES DF课程/SCOPES DF- Lessons for your K-12 classroom
“数制城市”设计工作坊—-城市怎样自给自足/Fabcity Design Workshop: How can a city produce everything it consumes?
如何制作几乎可以制作万物的机器/How to Make Something that Makes (almost) Anything
开源循环时尚/Open Source Circular Fashion
Scratch编程工作坊/ Coding by Scratch
木工工作坊/ Carpenter Workshop
研讨会：如何在校内建设一个适合你的FABLAB实验室和STEAM课程 / How To Build A Fablab And STEAM Curriculum System At Your School？
如何在C端建立数制工坊中心/FABLAB O X and FABLAB Playground / How to build a FABLAB training center out of school？
项目制学习 / Project Based Learning
PBL,合作学习 / Collaborative Learning Practice In PBL
STEAM课程评价 / Assessment in STEAM Education
如何开展一场创客比赛 / How To Organize A Maker Competition?
更多详情陆续揭晓中，敬请关注。 More details will be announced, please stay tuned.
Fablab O|中国“数制”工坊深耕于同济大学设计创意学院（设计学科QS全球18，亚洲第一；教育部双一流学科），在美国麻省理工大学为首的全球Fablab系统的长期合作中，在全球分布式FabAcademy的课程基础上，在多年的创客教育实践基础上，联合中国教育学会科创教育联盟共同开展一场有关青少年 “做中学|Learning by Doing” 创客教育国际论坛和工作坊，展开在中国如何以大学和研究机构为依托，开展STEAM创客教育和生态系统建设的研讨。
Fablab O is deeply rooted in Tongji University’s College of Design and Innovation (QS, design discipline ranks 18th in the world, No.1 in Asia; Double First-Class Rate of the Ministry of Education.) In the long-term cooperation with the global Fablab system led by MIT in USA, on the basis of the global distributed Fab Academy courses and many years of maker education practice, in conjunction with Scientific and Innovative Education Alliances of the Chinese Society of Education, it will launch an international forum and workshop on maker education- “Learning by Doing” for adolescence, to discuss how to carry out STEAM maker education and construct ecosystem in China relying on universities and research institutions.
We hereby invite you to attend this STEAM Education Summit and meet with the international leaders in STEAM education, and to share and discuss with all levels of school principals and front-line teachers .
时间：2019年10月29日-11月3日 Time: October 29 to November 3, 2019