Posted by dougbutchy on April 17, 2010
The National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) is a set of standards developed by ISTE, the International Society for Technology in Education. These standards help to outline guidelines for students’ use of technology in six major areas: 1. Creativity and Innovation, 2. Communication and Collaboration, 3. Research and Information Fluency, 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making 5. Digital Citizenship, and 6. Technology Operations and Concepts.
Having students work on a PBL project can help to meet many of these standards. Perhaps one of the most obvious standards met include 2a. interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media. A PBL project lends itself easily to this standard, as students will be working with their peers throughout the project, and may even have an opportunity to work with local professionals, depending on the nature of the project.
Also notable is standard 2c. develop cultural understanding and global awareness by engaging with learners of other cultures. Through a PBL-type project, students may have the opportunity to work with students from around the globe with something such as ePals, or another Web 2.0 communication project. These types of projects give students an opportunity to work not only with peers, but with peers outside of the classroom walls.
Standard 1a. (apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes) is met through publishing or documenting the PBL project by use of a Web 2.0 tool such as Wikispaces. When students are publishing their work for everyone to see, they are more apt to create a quality product.
Of course all types of these projects meet standard 4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making. Students will be doing a lot of their own thinking and work on these projects, as the teacher assumes a more supervisory role. The teacher becomes more of a guide, and asks more leading and guiding questions, than providing direct instruction. Students are then required to think on their own and come to their own conclusions. They may even need to ask themselves the appropriate guiding questions during the process.
Any type of PBL project can help students to achieve standard 5. Digital Citizenship. Most PBL projects will involve a significant technology piece that will encourage students to become more technologically literate and skilled.
PBL projects are a great vehicle for meeting the NETS-S standards. Nearly every standard is met during the course of a PBL project. When students communicate, collaborate, and publish their work according to these standards, they should be able to produce a great product.