Want to witness creative ways that children are being allowed to control their own project learning experiments? In iTunes U you can go to Edutopia and find these two podcasts I just had the pleasure of viewing. It is pretty cool what they do here. It is another way to step outside of the box and give children valuable learning experiments that I would bet they never forget.
"The Edible Schoolyard" gives us insight into what these Middle School students are getting the opportunity to do in Berkley, California. They spend the first hour of school caring for their organic garden and in a kitchen classroom setting. It is a valuable hands on project based learning experience for these students. They learn about growing, harvesting, produce, nutrition, working together, and basic kitchen and table values. These children are very lucky to have this integrated into their education system. It takes them out of a desk and puts them in an active learning environment. These kids probably aren't even realizing the amount of education they are actually getting.
"A Night in the Global Village" is a project that puts students in a poverty stricken village for a night. They role play in this re-creation of communities in developing countries. It gives them real insight into hunger and poor living standards. It looked pretty intense on the podcast and students clearly learned a lot from it.
Project based learning is a fabulous thing teachers can do for their students. It is inspiring to see these things going on in school systems. Hopefully when present or future teachers get wind of these type of learning experiments it sparks some drive to incorporate project based learning in their schools or classrooms.