Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Positive Use of Technology and the Postponement of the Graduation Project

The news came out in the paper today that our district will be postponing the graduation project due to budgetary constraints.  This news made me step back and take a look at all of the positive things that have come from the graduation project through the Second Life Eco Tower on EDTECH Retreat Island. As a mentor on this project, I have seen a student not only work to complete the necessary components of the graduation project but also extend his learning above and beyond the requirements.  This project was not just about hydroponics and greenhouse construction but also about networking, problem solving, researching, hypothesizing and increasing social skills.  Through the virtual world of Second Life and the use of Twitter, we were able to find content specialists in just about every area we had a question. This is where the positive impact comes in with technology.  Before we were so connected, it would have taken much more time and energy to solve many of the problems we encountered on this project, but because the world was at our fingertips, we were able to find answers very quickly.

The student working on this project has had a great opportunity placed before him and has embraced every part of it to make his project a huge success, even being featured in the Second Life Showcase, several blogs and in an article on 3-D learning slated to come out in the Raleigh Post and the Charlotte Observer this month.  What Brendon has done with this project is a true representation of the great impact of project based learning and how technology can play a huge role in its success.

I feel very sad to see the graduation project in our county being put aside, although I do understand the budget constraints.  I wish from the few years we have had the graduation project, though, that teachers will understand the effects of project based learning and the impact of this on student knowledge.  There is nothing better than the look on a students face as they walk out of that presentation room at the end of their project and are so excited about how well it went.  These kids are learning something here and we can't stop that just because of money.  I hope we continue to implement some of these basic ideas in all subject area classrooms.

Image thank you:

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