TCEA Highlight: Technology & Project Based Learning

The Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) is the largest state organization devoted to technology in education. We have just returned from their annual conference and over the next couple of weeks will be sharing resources we gathered.

The presentation by Karen Horn of Verizon Thinkfinity reminded me of a great web site that allows teachers to enhance learning with free lesson plans and educational resources, many of which are interactive. If you have never searched Thinkfinity for your content area and grade level you should definitely check it out: 

The focus of this presentation was on using technology and project based learning to think about/solve social problems. The presenter referenced the Buck Institute for Education's web site several times showing sample project videos. According to BIE, in project based learning, students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Rigorous projects help students learn key academic content and practice 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, communication, and critical thinking.

Examples shown:

Middle school students create menus, grant letters, commercials, and multimedia presentations for a healthy restaurant. Listen to their vocabulary!

ScienceToyMaker is a non-commercial, teacher-created site for people who like to roll up their sleeves and make science toys and projects.

In this ScienceNetLinks lesson, students discover the properties of light (radiant) energy from the sun by experimenting with solar collectors, cookers, and calculators.