“Need to Know”: Partnerships in Project-Based Learning

“Need to Know”: Partnerships in Project-Based Learning

Rhonda Huisman (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4361-1.ch011
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This chapter outlines, defines, and illustrates examples of project-based learning, while focusing on how librarians can offer support to teachers when creating and leading project-based learning programs. Various disciplines and grade level (K-12 and higher education) examples of projects are discussed, pointing to strategic methods of intervention from school librarians, as well as ideas on how to collaborate and build relationships through project-based learning opportunities.
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Engaging students in the classroom, regardless of age, grade, skill level, or content area has presented challenges for educators for decades, despite advances in understanding learning styles, multiple intelligences, curricular design and assessment measures, and access to technology-rich and information-excess environments. Students and teachers alike are hungry for an atmosphere that capitalizes on the talents and interests of students, while driving them forward to meet both intrinsic and extrinsic goals in their classes and beyond: “Since learning is inherently human, and since we never really stop learning, how can anyone object to policy attempts designed to provide everyone opportunities to learning throughout their life?”(Rizvi, 2007, p. 114).

This is also the case with information literacy skills (or fluencies) that students begin to acquire and explore in their very early years, even before formalized schooling starts. Who do I go to for information? How do I sort out this information into something that is meaningful? And, do I know that there is more out there for me to explore? Often it is the parent or caregiver, or sibling that the child seeks in answering these questions, but once schooling starts, many of these questions are posed to teachers or peers in the classroom. Children are naturally curious, and librarians can capitalize on this curiosity by offering countless resources and opportunities to encourage questioning, evaluation, enlightenment, and, hopefully, demand for more information. Schools that develop curriculum models that also encourage these innate traits through choices, research, creativity, consultation, collaboration, and presentation through project-based learning models see significant changes in the ways they perceive their education as well as having an impact on how they connect with and perceive others in their class, community, and world (Tracey & Mandel, 2012).

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