The Web provides many tools that can play a fun and helpful role in Project Based Learning
Project based learning is one of many active learning methods, providing students the opportunity to get actively involved in learning, stepping away from being passive receivers of knowledge. “PBL” often involves groups of students who work on a real-life project. Thanks to today's wealth of internet and cloud-computing technology, there are many powerful free digital tools available to teachers and students for use in a Project Based Learning environment. In this article we introduce 5 such tools, with references to web sources discussing the role these apps can play in this hands-on approach to learning.
Animoto brings fun and education together under one roof. It combines the environment of academic learning with an element of entertainment. Animoto provides teachers and students a platform where they can upload videos, pictures and audio clips for a project. In this web-delivered PDF, “Creating Animoto Digital Projects”, from the Instructional Technology Services Department in the Frederick County Public Schools in Maryland, we get a formal introduction to using Animoto in a PBL environment. This internet tool has a strong presence in the academic world with over 6 million users around the globe.
Dipity enables students to collaborate on a project for subjects like Geography, History, social sciences, etc., by creating a timeline consisting of images, text, and so on. Students can use this tool for any project where they can present the dates of events regarding a subject. In this article on “Helen Morrison's Educational Blog”, we learn how Dipity and other tools can be useful PBL resources.
Google Docs (more recently renamed Google Drive) is like your hard-drive on the go. It is a cloud-based tool that creates a virtual space for storing data and files. This online app lets students access all their documents saved in a virtual storage device that they can later access with a different computer, smartphone or a tablet PC. With this online tool, students can create, edit and view documents related to a project. For example, students can create a blueprint that others can view from a different computer and make suggestions. There are endless resources on the web discussing the use of Google Drive in a wide variety of education applications. In this article, we learn how Google Drive can also be a useful tool for giving student feedback while working through a PBL effort.
Glogster is a cool application where students can create interactive digital posters, and it can play a fun role in Project Based Learning. With this multimedia tool, students are able to share text, images, sounds, graphics and videos. As an example, for a project on ‘Global Warming’, students can present facts by putting carbon footprints of a country with related pictures and graphs while other students can post comments. Here we have an article from Oxford University Press that suggest using a tool like Glogster to motivate learning.
“Mind mapping” apps like Mindmeister can be a great resource for PBL. Mindmeister helps students generate and organize ideas, and it's an effective tool for unlocking latent creative ideas. This online tool serves as a platform to exchange ideas with fellow students on a project-based task or get valuable suggestions from teachers.
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