Student-centered, ICT-Assisted PBL is a powerful aid to student learning. If used extensively in a course, it changes the role of the instructor from a "sage on the stage" to a "guide on the side." A faculty member can learn to do ICT-Assisted PBL in a "learn by doing" mode. This can be an incremental process, with the faculty member learning along side the students.
All educators are lifelong learners. However, some learn more than others while they are on the job. Some are "risk takers" while others are not. Thus, some turn out to be early adopters of innovations in education, while others are late adopters. Research suggests that 5% to 10% of educators fall into each of these two extremes. Most educators fall someplace between being early adopters and later adopters. Everett Rogers has written extensively about the adoption of innovations. Quoting from his 1995 book on the diffusion of innovations:
A change agent is an individual who influences clients' innovation-decisions in a direction deemed desirable by a change agency. Change agent face two main problems: (1) their social marginality, due to their position midway between a change agency and their client system, and (2) information overload, the state of an individual or a system in which excessive communication inputs cannot be processed and used, leading to breakdown. Seven roles of the change agent are: (1) to develop a need for change on the part of the clients, (2) to establish an information-exchange relationship, (3) to diagnose problems, (4) to create an intent to change in the client, (5) to translate and intent into action, (6) to stabilize adoption and prevent discontinuance, and (7) to achieve a terminal relationship with clients. -- Everett M. Rogers. Diffusion of Innovations, Fourth Edition, New York: The Free Press, 1995.
FAQ 1: Should K-12 students be learning to author multimedia and interactive multimedia documents?
Note that most people no longer ask the question whether students should learn to read and effectively use multimedia and interactive multimedia. However, most students are still not receiving adequate instruction in how to effectively read and learn from interactive documents. There seems to be an assumption that if a person can read, they can effectively read interactive hypermedia documents.
FAQ 2: Our school is placing great emphasis on preparing students for statewide assessment. Our superintendent and principle are telling us that we should specifically teach to the test. I don't see how PBL fits well into that kind of setting.
There is considerable support for education leaders (and, growing research), that curriculum content, instructional processes, and assessment should be closely linked and intertwined. Instead of talking just about authentic assessment, one should talk about the combination of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment being authentic and aligned.
FAQ 3: How does ICT-Assisted PBL fit in with portfolios and portfolio assessment?
A project results in a product, performance, or presentation. Thus, a typical project results in something that can be part of one's portfolio, especially if it an electronic portfolio.
FAQ 4: Give me an example of a good ICT-Assisted PBL activity for use in a Social Studies class.
Within any subject area it is relatively easy to think of PBL or ICT-Assisted PBL activities that are both quite challenging and may well be controversial. For example, think about the topic "diversity." A social studies course might decide to address the following topic.Make up a definition of diversity that you feel is appropriate to your school. Then develop a Diversity Index. To do this, first decide on a number of quantifiable items that relate to your definition of diversity. Then decide how these various items will be weighted in your Diversity Index. Finally, gather the needed data and compute the Diversity Index for your school.
FAQ 5: Can ICT-Assisted PBL be used at the lower grade levels?