The Project-Based Learning (PBL) that we do at New Tech focuses on facilitators creating real-world projects that have authentic products (real-world solutions). Students are presented with a problem for which they will then have to create a solution. At the beginning of a project, facilitators have an entry event that prepares the students by getting them excited and telling them about the topic. After the entry event, students read through an entry document that tells them what the project is about and what they will be doing to complete it. Students form teams and draw up a contract where they list their team agreements, goals and tasks. Once their team contracts are completed, students then generate a list of “Knows” and “Need to Knows” that they will use throughout the project to request workshops from facilitators when they do not understand a specific topic about which they are learning. Each project is comprised of benchmarks that allow students and their facilitators to track the progress of their team. As teams complete their benchmarks, they are building their final product which is often a solution to the problem that was first introduced in the entry document.
What is New Tech? What makes it a powerful way to engage and connect with students to prepare them for college and empower them to be successful adults in the 21st Century?