Reaction to global PBL examples

Unit 4 – As you explore the global PBL projects – iEARN, ePals, GLOBE, Global SchoolNet, Flat Connections etc. – share what you found interesting and why those specific projects, PBL vehicles, tasks, and products appeal to you.

It was evident that the variety of a PBL unit design options is amplified by the incorporation of the World Wide Web.  Internet integration of PBL projects can be as simple as online sharing of project idea as we found with the BIE Data Base of PBL and with New Tech High School PBL Projects; both giving magnificent offerings of tried and true projects. But the classroom’s perimeter is truly expanded and provides global outreach like no other opportunity when the student’s interaction in a PBL project that is digital in nature.

The six global PBL projects that we learned about this week have a myriad of positive outcomes.  Two accomplishments that are near and dear to my heart are:

  • intercultural awareness
  • making a positive change in the world

The opportunity to learn about the life conditions and experiences of another student in an entirely different part of the world is priceless.  And, the exchanges described in these global projects were even more authentic because it went beyond student-to-student interactions, many also included communication with community experts providing feedback.  

A project that I considered interesting can be found through the iEARN site called Nature’s Global Zoo.  From the onset the challenge of saving animals who are at risk of becoming extinct can be very appealing to many students.  Students participate with classrooms around the world which generates interactive collaboration involving design, critique and budget management.  Students also learn to develop trust, and expand their language skills. The resulting products are a blend of this collaboration and the developing skills of the students as they

  • learn to design and create their zoo website
  • present their project at a global youth conference (virtually)

This project also has students divided into roles:  zoologist, financial advisor, publicist, and architect.  I found this particularly interesting because it connected back to a previous concern/challenge that I had shared about PBL execution.

Another global PBL that I found interesting was  ePals, but not so much for the reasons listed above.  ePals provides a Pen Pal exchange platform which can connect students with other classes from around the world.  This was appealing because it seems like an avenue for adding global exchange to my classroom almost immediately without the full implementation of a PBL project, and can possibly lead to developing relationships which would facilitate the introduction of a future PBL project.

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