Using technology tools to support learning is a key feature of the PBL approach. Today we present to you a concept that takes this one step further: In virtual PBL, the “classroom” moves to the digital sphere and the entire learning process happens online.
Virtual PBL is not just a typical online course. PBL cannot be reduced to a process of reading text, watching videos, or completing virtual worksheets. Implementing virtual PBL requires that we maintain the same level of investigation, questioning, evaluation, reflection, and collaboration, which are key in the elements of project-based learning.
Currently, we have a wide availability of technology to make way for virtual learning. The edtech (educational technology) market has exploded with new products in recent years, as has technology in general.
Technology tools are vital to establish a learning environment for virtual PBL. Below, we name a set of tools that can help us put virtual PBL into practice . For example, meetings can now be done with Zoom or Whereby. Mural and Explain Everything are virtual whiteboards that can be used for remote brainstorming and problem-solving. Trello is a tool that helps learners track and share project action items. Education professionals and youth workers can also use Nearpod as a way to create personalized online instructions for learners or groups of learners.
Education professionals and youth workers can also make use of other specific edtech tools. Here are some examples that Honor Moorman, a member of the PBL Works National Faculty, included in her presentation at the Texas Association of Computer Education Association Convention, Leveraging Tech to Create Gold-Standard PBL Experiences for Students:
- Challenging Question: Parlay Ideas, Advanced Google Search
- Sustained Inquiry: Insert Learning and Webjets
- Authenticity: SketchUp/AutoCAD and Nepris
- Student Voice & Choice: Flipgrid, Padlet, Voicethread, Glogster, ThingLink, and backchannels such as YoTeach.
- Reflection & Revision: SeeSaw, Write About, and Kaizena.
- Public Product: Canva, Adobe Spark, and Soundtrap
The potential of PBL in remote/digital learning seems particularly relevant in light of current developments and schools closing temporarily all over Europe. The above-mentioned examples of tech tools can help the transition to a virtual learning environment. If you would like to know more about this topic, we recommend the following article: School Closures? Using PBL in Remote Learning, which is where we have found all the resources that we have talked about in this week’s post.