Things I Know 195 of 365: Projects for projects’ sake are fine by me

For those of you playing the home game (I’m looking at you mom and Debbie), you’ve noticed my posts this month have been a bit fractured in their, well, posting.

While I’m certainly no slave to the rules, it is driving me slightly batty that I’m not able to get something up every day.

It turns out not having a wireless connection everywhere I go out here restricts my ability to post.

The whole inconsistency of access has started to frustrate me.

It’s what caused my brain to flag this tweet from @kealyd when it rolled through my feed the other day:

#eduphilosophy affirmation day 4 projects for projects’ sake are not PBL

I think they actually might be.

I’ve got no end game in mind once I document 365 TIK. The whole decision to begin this project was made in a matter of seconds and prompted by the fact that Ben would soon be finished with his 365 Questions Google Can’t Answer.

It seemed to me like someone should keep up the mantle just for the sake of doing it.

We call projects for the sake of projects play in children and hobbies in adults.

I see nothing wrong in giving students time to read in class or unguided time to write. I see many things right in it.

What I think might be a more perfect statement is that not all PBL learning should be projects for the sake of projects.

I sit and write this post for me and the sake of some self-imposed goal. Later today, I’ll be building a podcast delivery system, writing a newsletter and prepping for a conference call. Each of those projects come with ends in mind. I’ll know where I want to go before I get there and the route will be straightforward.

In this space and in this moment, I’m playing with ideas toward the end of having played with ideas.

While Lewis and Clark had an overall goal to their expedition, they didn’t wake each morning to write their learning objectives on the board or else consider themselves failures. No, they were explorers.

January 1, I didn’t write down a list that said somewhere, “Refine your thinking on project-based learning.” But here it happened. As a learner I know when I am learning with purpose and when I am learning for the joy of learning alone.

Allowing the breathing room for crazy random happenstance means I feel better equipped to move toward objectives when the time comes.

2 thoughts on “Things I Know 195 of 365: Projects for projects’ sake are fine by me

  1. For the record, if I was the “Debbie” referenced, I am not keeping track! It's part of my newish (and likely ongoing) attempt at being a bit more “relaxed” about life. [Ok, I admit to sometimes WANTING to figure out if you've made a post per day, but I swear I have yet to actually get around to doing the math!] I just LOVE reading what you write. (-:I absolutely love the concept of this post. This year, as we begin our at-home e-learning adventure, I hope to see rekindled in my 12 year old the flame of learning for the joy of learning that ignited at birth but was reduced to a smoldering ember the last few years by our local public school system. I hope I can tell her, on the days she doesn't feel like “doing” school, to just find something somewhere in the curriculum she is interested in learning about and go do that lesson – because the k12 curriculum allows for that!  I an ecstatic that the learning we have always done in the form of family trips to a museum or participating in “First Night Akron” with its crafts and music might “count” in a formal sense toward her learning – because it's ALWAYS counted in an informal sense.Yes, she will NEED to learn to move toward a specific objective in a specific time frame, even when she sometimes doesn't want to. But heck, that's a lesson I am still learning and I am more than 3x her age.So please keep blogging and questioning and thinking and sharing and allowing and playing without regard to some of the “rules.” We're all the better for it.

  2. One problem I'm having this summer is that everything seems to be blurring together, so I thought if I was prompted to parse out one belief a day, the thoughts might sort out. I knew when I tweeted that particular one that the 140 characters couldn't do it justice. I'm glad it prompted this post though, as I can use this comment opportunity to think it out more. I can see what you are saying, but my problem might be in the varying definitions of project. I'm a big believer in playing and experimenting with process. Lots of things that are called projects, though, don't really seem to be. A poster or a creative product may not be enough if there's no goal behind it or no link back to what's being studied. In particular, I don't agree when colleagues claim to be doing interesting assessments when the creative “project” doesn't actually challenge the students to work beyond a basic level of thinking. For me, projects work best when the students are at the center and the develop their own objectives, activities, etc, which leads me to today's affirmation. When I started my affirmation of the day, I had not started following you yet, so when I noticed your posts, I thought your idea is better. Maybe I should be expanding upon what I think. For now, I will keep trying to put together a coherent thought per day. Thanks for the post and for getting me thinking more. -kealyd

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *