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IBL & PBL: Problems and Projects

Inquiry-, Problem- and Project Based Learning embrace the notion of active learning rather than didactic teaching. In today’s vernacular it corresponds loosely to the idea of the ‘flipped’ classroom – that is, the classroom in which activity takes place because the reading and/or video watching has happened out of class time.
Tips: Rather than teaching a whole course – set the students to discover elements for themselves; see ‘How to trigger students’ inquiry through projects’ http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/how-to-trigger-students-inquiry-through-projects/

How we’ve done it:

  • Take headings from the Learning Outcomes – or divide sections of the course content – and give to students as topics around which they will have to run active and engaging student workshops.
  • Set projects or tasks that require students to research an element of the course and present their findings.
  • Require students to deliver poster presentations, presentation slamming, songs or dances (!!!) on all that has been learned from engaging in the module itself – or from their participation in something like #ds106 (http://ds106.us/). 
  • Set students the task of engaging with the Get Ahead student conference (http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/get_ahead_conf/). Require them to deliver interactive, exciting and engaging seminars and workshops on a topic that could be of interest to other students (our students presented on networking) – they could present on research they are doing for your module… Allow this to ‘count’ as part of the coursework – or recommend that they receive HEAR credits for their involvement.
  • Set students the task of helping to prepare and run Staff L&T Conference.
  • Seed critical thinking:
  • Frank Marsh · Intel & Law Enforcement: I have found the best way to teach critical thinking: Pair your students up and then put an object in front of your class and tell them they have two minutes to write down 20 questions about that object. Why? Critical thinking is directly connected to the quantity and quality of the questions we ask. If I ask you a question and you give me an answer you are not thinking but regurgitating info. If i ask you a question and you ask me back 2 questions now I know you are thinking. Now take a topic your class is working on and give each group 2 minutes to write down 20 questions about that topic. Now give them 10 minutes to sort and organize their questions into 3 groups. Next ask them to answer their questions. Next ask them to organize their answers into a presentation.

How others have done it:

Othman Hussain · Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia
I used to implement Problem-based Learning in my teaching and divided the learning process into five critical stages. Stage one is where the students meet with a problem trigger to start their learning. During this stage they will have to apply a critical thinking process to identify the problem and issues to be studied further. At stage two the students will have to go for their self directed learning in order to manage the problem. At stage three they will have to study in group and shared the result of their self directed learning. At stage four the students will present the result of their learning at stages one, two and three. At final stage they will have to reflect upon their learning experience in terms of the content and the process of learning. From my own observation and studies I have discovered that the students were able to develop their thinking skill significantly especially when they have to grapple with ill structured problem given at stage 1. 

Useful reading:
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/24869-henry-a-giroux-thinking-dangerously-in-an-age-of-political-betrayal
It seems the Texan Republicans were particularly fearful that "creationist" doctrine might be undermined if people were to think too deeply about it.

Seed creative thoughts with a music improvisation session:
Make Music - From Craig Whittaker: Make music like Mozart 
Ask your delegates to think of a sound that they can make. If they claim to be having difficulty, then examples of sounds could be clapping, popping, shrieking, humming etc.

Have them all make their sound as they walk around the room, and just enjoy the noise.

Encourage them to play with the sound - to change it or make it louder, or more unusual.

After a couple of minutes of this, ask them to stop, and to think what colour and shape the sound is. (Provide plenty of coloured markers and a white-board or flip-chart for this.)

Then invite someone to draw their sound on the board, and to repeat it at regular intervals across the board. This will form the base-line around which the rest of the composition will be built. Have them make the sound to illustrate what it will sound like.

Repeat the process with other volunteers until you have a composition of around five to seven sounds.

Now appoint a conductor who will cue the performers when to begin. The resulting sounds should pleasantly surprise the delegates, and illustrate the principle of synaesthesia.

Even more Music:
For those whose interest in MUSIC have been piqued: when we had a music session led by Dave Griffiths of our CELT with our students he developed our music as follows:

  • initial sound-making – with voice or rudimentary instruments or real instruments
  • call and response
  • round singing (London's burning)
  • into groups composing music in response to a picture - and performing for each other.

A finale activity was to choose the audience before whom we had to perform - we chose Glastonbury - it was fabulous!!!