Global Village Academies

Authentic Learning (PBL) » Authentic Learning using Project-Based Learning

Authentic Learning using Project-Based Learning

Global Village Middle Schools have deepened and broadened their academic program by incorporating one of the nation’s most highly acclaimed Project-Based Learning (PBL) programs offered by New Tech Network. Based in Napa, California, New Tech Network (NTN) was formed in the mid-1990s to help high schools, and later, middle schools implement authentic project-based learning (PBL). They now provide support to 180 schools in 28 states and Australia. Global Village uses PBL because it engages middle school students in meaningful ways and effectively prepares them for high school, college, and career.

This partnership is helping our students gain the knowledge and deeper learning skills needed to succeed in life, college, and the careers of tomorrow. Global Village Middle School students have this opportunity because they are “learning by doing” standards-based projects that bring the real world into the classroom.

Some key features include:

  • Laptop/tablet technology for each student to enhance learning.
  • Professional development to help teachers enhance their skills to engage students with real world projects and experiences.
  • Fostering a culture of trust, respect, and responsibility to empower all students.
  • Access to the New Tech standards-based project library that will help engage students with the local community and beyond.
  • Echo, New Tech’s online Learning Management System, which connects teachers and students in robust ways to implement projects that are engaging, yet complex.
  • Online parent access using Echo
 Project-based learning is at the heart of our instructional approach.
  • In project-based learning, learning is contextual, creative, and shared.
  • Students collaborate on projects that require critical thinking and communication.
  • By making learning relevant to them in this way, student engagement reaches new levels. This higher level of engagement is associated with better educational outcomes.
 The smart use of technology supports our innovative approach to instruction and culture.
  • All classrooms have a one-to-one computing ratio.
  • With access to Web-enabled computers and the latest in collaborative learning technology, every student becomes a self-directed learner who can independently access a wide range of sources for knowledge and direction.
  • Middle Schools use Echo, an online learning management system to create a vibrant network which helps students, teachers, and parents connect to each other and with student projects

 In Project-Based Learning, the process:

  • Draws on key academic content & 21st century skills
  • Involves a challenging problem, issue, or question
  • Requires sustained inquiry
  • Involves a real-world context
  • Invites ongoing input and decisions by students
  • Utilizes ongoing reflection on the process by students and teachers
  • Requires that students give and receive feedback
  • Demonstrates learning with a culminating product and a public presentation

 As the following illustrates, PBL is more dynamic, engaging, and effective than traditional instruction.

Traditional Instruction

Project-Based Learning

Teacher centered

Teacher-initiated, student engaged

Working alone on short simple assignments

Working in teams on a long, complex project

Individual focused tasks

Individual and group-focused tasks

Accountable to teacher

Accountable to teacher, peers, and self

Passive student roles

Active student roles

Static information

Dynamic information

Single subjects taught in isolation

Teacher creates multi-subject, relevant projects

 Finally, this Global Village model creates a culture that promotes trust, respect, and responsibility.

  • Our students and teachers alike have exceptional ownership of the learning experience and their school environment.
  • Working on projects and in teams, students are accountable to their peers and acquire a level of responsibility similar to what they would experience in a professional work environment.

 The New Tech approach works.

  • NTN schools demonstrate high levels of student engagement and continued growth along several measures of academic progress.
Results on college acceptance rates, graduation rates and behavioral indicators point to strong performance levels among many New Tech schools