Innovator’s Learning Lab is a semester course that is centered around Project Based Learning. PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to a complex question, problem, or challenge. Essential elements of PBL include:
- Significant Content-At its core, the project is focused on teaching students important knowledge and skills, derived from standards and key concepts at the heart of academic subjects.
- 21st Century competencies-Students build competencies valuable for today’s world, such as problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation, which are explicitly taught and assessed.
- In Depth Inquiry-Students are engaged in an extended, rigorous process of asking questions, using resources, and developing answers.
- Driving Question-Project work is focused by an open-ended question that students understand and find intriguing, which captures their task or frames their exploration.
- Need to Know-Students see the need to gain knowledge, understand concepts, and apply skills in order to answer the Driving Question and create project products, beginning with an Entry Event that generates interest and curiosity.
- Voice and Choice-Students are allowed to make some choices about the products to be created, how they work, and how they use their time, guided by the teacher and depending on age level and PBL experience.
- Critique and Revision-The project includes processes for students to give and receive feedback on the quality of their work, leading them to make revisions or conduct further inquiry.
- Public Audience-Students present their work to other people, beyond their classmates and teacher.
Today’s students, more than ever, need an education that has real-world applications, connectedness and meaning. In PBL, students are active, not passive. They are engaged in a project with their hearts and minds that has real world relevance for learning. After completing a project, students remember what they learn and retain it longer than is often the case with traditional instruction. Because of this, students who gain content knowledge with PBL are better equipped to apply what they know and can do to new situations. In the 21st century workplace, success requires more than basic knowledge and skills. In PBL, students not only understand content more deeply but also learn how to take responsibility and build confidence, solve problems, work collaboratively, communicate ideas, and be creative innovators.
We want to provide real-world opportunities for our students to develop the necessary employability and personal skills needed to thrive in the 21st century. We are committed to ensuring that our curriculum remains current and creative, and responds to the changing needs of our students and their future employers.
- Students will learn the content matter over a subject for each project based unit.
- Students will learn how to budget resources, including time, when completing a project, and to self-assess their progress.
- Students will learn to work as a team member during a project.
- Students will learn critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity/innovation.
- Students will learn to be a problem-proposer, a problem-solver, and a creative, higher-order thinker working in a learning centered environment.
- Students will transfer their learning over subject areas, time, distance, and environments.
- Students will prepare and participate in presentations over their project based learning units.