In this clip from The EdTech Startup Show interview with Brandon Goon, founder of Be Anything, we discuss Brandon’s views on project-based learning and language arts.
How do you view the role of PBL in the next year, five years, 10 years?
Brandon Goon: Yeah. I think a lot has changed. so a, I think just awareness around project-based learning is a lot bigger than it used to be.
It’s definitely much, much higher. Especially among teachers. Outside of education, most people you say project-based learning, they generally have an idea, you could figure it out. It’s in the name, but there’s still just, I still don’t really know what that is, but a lot of teachers these days, they’re, they’re pretty familiar with the concept, right?
They might not know exactly how to get started, but at least they know what it is. I think another thing that’s changed a lot is professional development around project-based and blended learning. there’s a lot more of it these days. I think, Edutopia has a lot to do with that, Teach Thought, Buck Institute, or as they’re known as PBL works now.
There are even project-based curriculums like crafted out there. there’s, there’s just so much more. and, and there’s a lot more blended learning, professional development out there, professional development, learn that that is blended learning and is blended for project-based learning. So I think there’s just a lot more out there that has caused the ecosystem to grow a lot more.
Although I still think that there are some laggers. I think language arts in particular, there’s a little bit of a lack of language arts content for project-based learning. There’s a lot of math projects out there. There are tons of STEM projects out there. I think the default way to teach anything related to science technology or math.
Is project-based. but I think language content is still, somewhat down there. and I think something that’s literally still in its infancy. Is, is the tool’s side of thing, specifically for interdisciplinary projects? So, for me, I think one of the problems in schools that I felt is that a lot of the subjects were kind of just siloed.
So we really wanted to build with that in mind. And for us, you know, it’s taking the form of where students can connect tasks to skills across different classrooms, whether the teachers have co-planning sessions or not. Mmm. So, you know, there’s, there’s a lot that could be done in that area that needs to be expanded upon.
Mmm. Yeah, yeah. I’m wondering if you have any more to say about literacy with PBL and language arts.
What’s your take on project-based learning and language arts?
Brandon Goon: Yeah, I think if you wanted to do a project-based learning unit or I guess more of a project-based learning curriculum for literacy, you’d probably have to move to more of the skills-based way of grading.
I don’t think, if you look at one of the standards, one of the first sixth grade standards is “Compare and contrast the difference between, different forms of texts and a book.” What am I going to do that in my real life? I’m never going to do, I’m sorry. I watch a lot of movies. I read books, but I just don’t do that. I’m sorry. so, and also, even if I were to do that, like nobody, nobody would care right.
It’s, it’s just pointless. So I think one of the things that we have to do is, is just convert those standards to skills such as find ways to communicate a story across multiple mediums or find ways to, and then you could kind of build upon that and maybe make a level four for being able to determine what medium is the best way to communicate something.
And then at number one, it would just be “Differentiate the difference between a story, a movie, and a book,” right. And then I think giving students the ability to work on projects and then, you know, find where they can meet that. That. That’s kind of the way to do it. Hmm. Yeah. So right.
Focusing on, on the skills and end, as you’re saying, maybe having to do some negotiation and reflection on the relevance and the authenticity of the standards that teachers are working with and the keys that the skills have to be transferable, so they can’t just be a okay, check it off. You did it.
It’s gotta be, you gotta really just sit down and, and, and there are great already converted standards out there. I’m, I’ve been to somebody’s blended and personalized learning conferences., I’m sure I have a bunch off that I could find somewhere on my hard drive, just entire spreadsheets where they’ve already converted them to master stuff.
Or, you know, a lot of teachers will, we’ll just do it themselves per unit too. So yeah.
Interested in hearing the full interview with Brandon Goon? Click here.