Sharing: Project based learning should be medium agnostic

If It’s Not Medium Agnostic, It’s Not Project-Based Learning

All types of rubrics (not just those created by students) are medium agnostic when the categories and descriptors are focused on learning, no tasks.

For example, an excerpt from a poor rubric might read, “The poster includes at least 6 facts about the state and is interesting to read.” In this instance, we have at least two problems, as (1) students must create posters to demonstrate their knowledge, thus throwing a great deal of choice/creativity out the window, and (2) a hidden emphasis on compliance (not learning) exists, as students know exactly what to do (include 6 facts) to receive the highest mark.

Meanwhile, from a rubric on an opinion/argument unit, a superior descriptor under the reasons/evidence category might read, “Multiple reasons support claim. Evidence is clearly stated and supports reasons with statistical numbers/data or stories. Audience is convinced!” What is of significance here is this descriptor (which was created by teachers during our professional development session) can be met however students choose: essay, TED Talk, radio show, etc.

What I have found as you work toward student led projects is that the students have a real tough time with the freedom at first. Without the experiences, students will need to be given a limited number of choices at first, lest they run into the paradox of choice.

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