Parker County Today April 2016 - Page 82

APRIL 2016 PA R K E R C O U N T Y T O D AY Video chat with Parker County Today Publisher Marsha Brown “I certainly see it as a more engaging teaching methodology for staff to use and get kids involved. ... And we all know when they are engaged, they learn at a deeper level,” Hanks said. “Project-Based Learning is very much about some real-life application of skills that we hope all of our kids learn. They are working often times in group format, collaborating with each other and having to communicate and express themselves. “What [PBL] does is it gives teachers the opportunity to present some real-world problems for kids and they have a chance to come up with their solutions for it, and often times it’s multidisciplinary. In other words, it may involve writing, it may involve math, it may involve some science application or maybe some social studies.” Reflecting on his own elementary 80 education, Hanks said it would have been incredible to experi ence some of the things Rogers and her team are bringing to their classrooms. Last year, Rogers had world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall conduct a web-based video discussion with her classroom.  Hanks said it’s amazing what teachers like Rogers are doing, “just giving kids opportunities that I am sure many of our patrons and many of your readers probably have never even fathomed as going on in school.” Although PBL isn’t new and schools across the world embrace the methodology on varying levels, Hanks said he foresees WISD using it increasingly in the future, while still supporting educators more keen on traditional teaching methods as well.  Expounding further on the level of student engagement, McCoy said, “There’s a whole different image that they have in their minds of what school is because they are in control. Makes a huge difference for them. Beyond kids having fun in the classroom, one of the biggest facets of education in WISD is future readiness, and that’s just what PBL is all about, Mask said. “The kids that are growing up right now and in the education system right now, we’re preparing them for jobs that we don’t even know exist,” Mask said. “We’re getting rid of so many jobs that have been around forever because there are robots and machines doing them. [PBL] is really giving them the skills they need to think creatively, to think outside of the box.” As for how far outside the box these three teachers are wanting their kids to go, Rogers said, “I push the limits as much as I possibly can.”