It’s kind of weird talking about the Review process in classrooms, because we sort of already have that. Sort of. We have…*drum roll*…class projects! Butt we’re stuck in antiquated notions of what a class project should be, and as a result are just now slowly warming up to projects that better reflect the world our students are growing into. I’m afraid the essay will never go away. There will always be articles and white papers of one sort or another to prepare. But dioramas? Book reports in folders with brads? The occasional Power Point presentation? What we need are projects that provide students opportunities to create, review, and iterate, ultimately leading to some kind of product.
In a way, we’re lucky. Project-based and inquiry-based learning have found an inconsistently applied home across schools and districts, opening the door to more robust opportunities to build systems like makerspaces and the PLE into the normal curriculum and to get students applying the skills and knowledge they’re acquiring while creating products that either resemble real-world products or that do actually contribute to the world beyond the schoolyard.
Which is the point of school, right? We’re guiding children in developing skills that will benefit them once they’re beyond the schoolyard. So, we’re in the perfect position to help them start developing project management skills and cycles that set the tone for their future success when they’re in a position to fully control their projects. That’s the point of project-based and inquiry-based learning – to arm them with the skill sets necessary to carry forward with their work once they’re beyond the guidance of the classroom.
Okay, so while a typical class project fits into our definition of the PLE the way a bell pepper fits in with a fruit salad, it does have an opportunity to take something you’ve learned in class or through research and turn it into…something. But we have to embrace experimentation, iteration, and reflection to really make the project an effective learning tool.