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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


An Introduction to Project Learning

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.5 stars
Content Quality: 4.25 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 4.5 stars
Reviewed: Mar 08, 2010 by Teacher Education
Overview: This site is part of Edutopia.org. The site provides both documents and short movie clips to introduce project-based learning at multiple grade levels. The site provides examples (elementary and secondary) of a variety of hands-on projects across the curriculum. Each project idea has students utilizing higher order skill sets to accomplish a task. The site provides both documents and short movie clips to introduce project-based learning at multiple grade levels.
Learning Goals: To learn how project learning can be utilized to aid student learning of content. To identify essential characteristics and requirements of project learning
Target Student Population: Undergraduate and graduate education majors, K-12 in-service teachers
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: A background in problem-based learning or project-based learning will be helpful, but is not essential for using the site.
Type of Material: This site serves as a resource to the core concept of project-based learning. It provides introductory materials, multiple examples from classrooms, and links to research that validates the effectiveness of project learning. There is also a blog connected to the site for communications with other teachers around the globe.
Recommended Uses: This site could be an introductory exercise in an undergraduate teacher preparation methods course. As well, it could be an assignment for a methods course. This tool provides multiple case studies of project-based learning in action with students ranging from kindergarten to high school. The tool can be used to introduce the concept of project based learning and to provide examples of how to design projects to engage students and meet content standards.
Technical Requirements: IE 7, Firefox 3.0.15 and Chrome can be used without difficulty Internet access and the ability to open and view web-based video.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: The 6 - 10 minute vignettes of students engaged in project based learning are well done and deliver a solid core message to users. Not only do they show engaged students, but they also show teachers modeling effective delivery of project learning. The supporting links lead to more examples, an overview of what project based learning is, and current research that validates the effectiveness of project based learning. The site gives a concise overview of the nature of project-based learning. It provides excellent examples from a variety of content areas and grade levels.
Concerns: No concerns.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: Introductory video (and brief article) set the stage for the user. The various examples provide the user with several views of what project learning looks like in a classroom setting. As an instructor this tutorial would be very easy to use as an introduction to an assignment (both individual and group). The video clips demonstrate teachers and students fully engaged in their learning. As well, interviews with teachers and students related to how each sees project learning is informative and powerful.
Concerns: Learning objectives not clearly delineated. While both documents and videos are available with many examples, and some focus on how to develop effective project-based learning activities, the user must dig for them. Not all links are immediately apparent.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: Extremely easy to use with any of the 3 browsers tried. The instructions are clear, the audio has clarity and speech is neither too slow nor too fast. User is able to pause/rewind/fast forward sections at any point. Has an extensive array of materials to learn more about project learning through use of functional links. Access to videos is very easy and works flawlessly. Links are also established for the "nuts and bolts" of how to make project learning work for any group of learners. Navigation is easy and users can move from link to link without getting lost.
Concerns: It would be useful to provide user with insight into links that provide more fundamental information about project learning. Users do have to scroll and scan the side bars for links related to how to use project learning. Since the links are below the initial screen, some may miss them.

Other Issues and Comments: This is a very useful and intuitive site. It’s not necessary to complete all segments in one sitting. This is an excellent site to introduce the value and power of project learning to teachers who are considering trying such a project and to introduce alternatives to traditional lectures to pre-service teachers.