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June 24, 2011
For immediate release

Project based learning prepares students for 21st century

Education and Early Childhood Development

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Students are diving deeper into creative problem-solving by focusing on project based learning, said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Doug Currie.

“It is exciting to see students tackling real-world problems in the classroom,” said Minister Currie. “The education system continues to evolve and adapt to prepare students for careers and lives beyond public school. Project based learning provides innovative opportunities for students to connect learning to their lives outside of school.”

Project based learning is an evidence-based teaching strategy that allows students to work through an extended process of inquiry and investigation in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student "voice and choice," these rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content. The goal is for students to practice 21st century skills such as collaboration, communication and critical thinking to create high-quality, authentic products and presentations.

Geography students at Souris Regional High School investigated geographic and historical points of interest in Souris in order to design walking tours of their community for younger children. Students at Souris Consolidated recently telecommunicated with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield while exploring their science unit on space.

Grade 9 science students such as Patricia Nino-Esparza at Birchwood Intermediate built model wind turbines to examine whether or not it was efficient and feasible to power a personal electronic device, such as an iPod, with renewable energy.

“It made learning fun,” said student Nino-Esparza. “We had more control and freedom over how we ran the project and learned a lot by figuring things out on our own rather than being told.”

This type of learning can be incorporated into all courses using provincially authorized curriculum across Prince Edward Island. Three schools have been identified as early adopter schools including Birchwood Intermediate School, and Souris Consolidated and Souris Regional High School in preparation for the construction of the new Souris Educational Centre.

More technology is also being used in curriculum delivery. SMARTboards were installed in many classrooms and new online resources allow students to access additional materials outside of the classroom.

“Educators are beginning to create the shift from a teacher-centered learning environment to a student-centered learning environment,” said Minister Currie. “More than 250 stakeholders participated in the Summit on Learning in 2010 and the message was loud and clear. We need to create an atmosphere of discussion with a greater emphasis on 21st century skills that can help students prepare for a competitive economy and society. ”

For more information, please contact the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.

Broadcast Copy:

Students are diving deeper into creative problem-solving by focusing on project based learning.

The teaching strategy incorporates real-world skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.

Geography students at Souris Regional High School designed walking tours of geographic and historical points of interest in their community for younger children. Souris Consolidated students telecommunicated with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield while exploring their science unit on space.

Birchwood Intermediate students built model wind turbines to see the efficiency and feasibility to power a personal electronic device, such as an iPod, with renewable energy.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Doug Currie says it’s exciting to see students engaged in classroom activities.

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Media Contact: Rebecca Bruce
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