Editor, Townsman:

The current pandemic has brought online learning into the spotlight. Most secondary schools are implementing some form of online learning.

Considering the stay-at-home policy, it seems that this is adequate substitution for classroom-based instruction. However, online learning has a number of challenges that must be considered when replacing classroom instruction: providing internet access and devices to all students, allowing students to interact with the teacher and other students. In addition the developing of leadership skills, such as teamwork, problem-solving, communication, planning and group learning outcomes are extremely difficult to include the online structure. In most cases, online instruction is based on the individual student with a focus on academic learning.

If the goal of student learning is to gain knowledge, get high test scores and “cover” the material, then online learning will work. However, if the goal is to develop real-world skills such as critical thinking, analyzing, evaluating information, working cooperatively, and communicating effectively, Project Based Learning is the best methodology.

Project-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach in which students gain knowledge and skills by working together for an extended period of time to solve a complex, meaningful problem by utilizing authentic learning in combination with a student-centered approach to increase student engagement and interest. PBL can be used for individual or small group instruction

For more information on Project Based Learning and to see samples of student projects go to www.medfordccsr.org.

RICHARD TROTTA

Andover

 

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