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Edgewood Teachers Work To Incorporate Project-Based Learning
By Kera Mashek
July 2, 2014

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Charleston's newest school on the west side, Edgewood Elementary, will welcome students this fall. This summer, educators at the school are preparing for how to incorporate new, innovative teaching practices.

Teachers at the school will be incorporating a concept called project based learning, where kids get a chance to develop what they're learning into a real-world concept.

Teachers aren't taking a break for summer! With iPads in hand, they're going to school, learning about ways to use this technology in new ways. The idea is to get kids more engaged in how they understand what they're being taught.

"The technology really puts in their hands the capability to do and go anywhere, and it also allows them with the whole idea that they are the owners of their learning, a lot of productivity, a lot of creativity. They can create and share and edit. So the possibilities are limitless," said Pam Gould, Edgewood Elementary principal.

Teachers from the two Charleston elementary schools that will merge to become Edgewood this fall started to incorporate some of those concepts last year. A group of students were given the task of using what they'd learned in the classroom to design the playground space for their new school from scratch.

"They went through each step of the process from the design to picking out the products to presenting it to members of the school board, and the superintendent, architects and designers. And now they'll get to see it come to fruition when they come up the hill for the first time and see the playground that they've created," said Samantha Johnson, Edgewood teacher.

While the project was fun and rewarding for kids, it also helped teachers execute the core standards of learning.

"Once you can make that connection with something that's going to affect them personally, they can see it. That's where they're more engaged. The math and science and social studies was a natural flow. They had to think about the area of the playground, decide the size equipment that they have, if they have enough room for it, price out the pieces and see if were were able to put this into the budget. Thinking about the community and the nature around us, that's where the science came in," said Edgewood teacher Danielle Deull.

With more training now in hand, teachers know the playground project will be a launching pad to incorporate even more project-based learning in the future.

"They're going to see how what they did made an impact, and it'll continue to be like a ripple, domino effect in their education," said Duell.

Teachers say they want project-based learning to be as organic as possible, letting students generate the ideas for the projects and then coming up with the solutions.. With 21st century technology in hand. the world is their oyster. There's already talk about how to use these tools to tackle everything from bullying to recycling.





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