As I witnessed the live video web chat and talked to the teacher and students afterward about their project and their Nepris experience, I had a few thoughts. Hopefully, something in this post will inspire you to create an unforgettable learning experience in your classroom or campus.
- I wish more teachers and more students had the opportunity to experience this project-based learning environment. As students applied their math skills to design their waterpark, they learned so much more than how to solve linear equations and plot coordinate pairs.
- When I asked the students if they would rather complete this project or practice solving problems on a worksheet, they, of course, chose the project. After all, they got valuable feedback from a degreed engineer which was way more meaningful to them than a grade in the gradebook.
- When I asked the teacher if she would rather prepare and implement the project or run-off worksheets and quizzes, she too chose the project. In fact, she stated, "I wish I could do this type of teaching and learning most of the time!" Instead, she feels pressured to follow the standard teach, practice, test format. But now that she's witnessed the learning that took place with this project, I have a feeling she'll be leading the project-based instruction philosophy on her campus next year.
- The learning experience was so much more relevant and rigorous and will be remembered by these students for many years to come.
- When talking with the teacher about her Nepris experience, she explained how simple and quick the request process was but definitely recommended to submit requests well in advance (2 to 3 weeks prior to the target date for video conference). She also raved about the ease of setup for the actual conference call. I hope other teachers will give it a try!
- My favorite quote from the video conference was the rollercoaster designer's response to "what is your degree in?" His answer, "I have a degree in engineering but what your degree is in is not what's important. What's important is your desire to learn!"