Project Based Learning ( PBL) is one of the fastest growing education teaching trends and it is among several self-learning and group-learning techniques that are on the rise. Because of this trend, many teachers and PBL practitioners are seeking tips for using video in project-based learning. Why? Because a central goal of Project Based Learning is to teach 21st Century Skills and there is no better teacher of 21st Century Skills than the video production process.
To help us understand PBL, we interviewed John Larmer. Editor in Chief of the Buck Education Institute a non-profit organization that nationally trains teachers on Project Based Learning techniques.
According to Larmer, Project Based Learning is a multidisciplinary approach to teaching that immerses students in a group learning/discovery process. Students are either assigned projects that align with a lesson or unit goals and are then tasked to research the project, develop solutions and present their recommendations to the class and other project stakeholders. The goal is to use real-life problems and challenges for the basis of each project. The ultimate goal of Project Based Learning, commented Larmer, is the teaching of and exposure to 21st Century Skills: creative thinking, communication, problem-solving, and digital literacy. According to Larmer, BIE now trains over 20,000 teachers per year on Project Based Learning up from a few thousand just a few years ago.
Project Based Learning can be transformative for students. By presenting students with a mix of choice and responsibility, cognitive concepts and practical activities, within an environment of real-world authenticity, projects engage students in learning that is deep and long-lasting.
Two of the critical design elements of a Project Based Learning program, or what the BIE refers to as Gold Standard PBL, are Authenticity and Public Product.
Authenticity in Project Based Learning has several facets. First, authenticity refers to the fact that the project is a real-world concept or problem, not a theoretical concept used to illustrate a lesson. Authenticity can also stem from the use of real-world techniques and processes to help discover, solve and present the project and video is the perfect communicator of real-world techniques.
Video is now an important learning, communication and presentation tool. Students can learn about problems by watching real-life videos, interview people through video, develop communication plans that involve video and summarize and present their solutions via video. “In a Project Based Learning program, there is no more authentic and real-world process than video,” commented Larmer.
Public Product is the encapsulation of the student group’s work into a final form that is presented to the class, stakeholders or the community. It summarizes the problem, their research, their methods, their solutions or conclusions and is presented in a public format, preferably one that has a shelf life beyond the classroom and school year. The public product requirement of Project Based Learning is the definition and embodiment of video. Through video, students can convey so much more than just words on paper. Video has movement and emotion that is captivating, it can be easily shared and once hosted on the internet, it can have lasting value and make lasting contributions to society.
As nicely summarized by Larmer, “video is an important tool for a successful Project Based Learning program. It creates authenticity, it teaches real-world skills, it provides a medium for student voices and it’s a fun way to learn and engage students.” If you or your school has adopted PBL, SchoolTube encourages you to incorporate the use of video throughout the PBL process. The students will be more engaged and the end product and learning outcomes will improve.
Lastly, video inherently teachers 21st Century Skills. As shared during SchoolTube’s webinar on How to Make Better Videos for Classroom Assignments, the act of a student or group of students creating a video involves problems solving, collaboration, communication, digital literacy, critical thinking writing, and much more. Consider that students must learn how to use technology, how to write a script that succinctly conveys their findings, they must learn the importance of shot making and composition, lighting and audio and finally editing and final production. The world today runs on video and students will be better prepared when they are exposed to video production throughout their education.
It follows then that SchoolTube is the perfect partner for Project Based Learning programs because SchoolTube is 100% aligned with K12 education and offers free, safe video hosting for students, teachers, and schools. SchoolTube’s education association endorsed the process of using teachers and other trusted school administrators to approve all video content during the SchoolTube upload process keeps unwanted content off the system. Learn more about SchoolTube for teachers and schools or create a free account today.