Compose Our World
Recognizing a need to engage students in deep learning, reflection, empathy, and fun, this project aimed to design and study a Project-based learning ecosystem to support ninth grade English language arts (ELA). Researchers tested the prototype projects that were developed through a design-based research process from 2015 to 2019. The study was led by Drs. Joseph Polman, Alison Boardman, and Bridget Dalton at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Antero Garcia at Stanford University.
Principal Investigator:Drs. Joseph Polman, Alison Boardman, and Bridget Dalton at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Antero Garcia at Stanford University
Year of Funding:
Compose Our World
This course consists of four core projects that are organized around the following questions: “How is our world composed for us, and how can we compose our world?” Throughout each project, students cultivate habits and routines around authentic making; collaboration; feedback/revision; reflection; and the social and emotional learning components of caring, advocacy, perspective taking, and empathy. Researchers developed the projects with Universal Design for Learning principles so they are engaging and accessible to all learners.
In the first project, Project Media, students learn about media literacy and become remix artists who speak back to texts that compose their world. Next, students act as investigative journalists in What Happened Here to understand how perspective taking, time, and place shape the stories we tell. The project culminates in a narrative retelling of a personally meaningful local event. In Unearthing Humanity, students explore what it means to be human by reading stories and dilemmas of humanity and unearthing artifacts that make us human. They create an interactive museum of humanity to display their themes and to engage the public in a dialogue. Finally, students participate in Changing the Conversation, in which they become researchers producing information about issues that impact them. After conducting research and administering their own surveys, students design and disseminate multimodal messages to influence their audience.
Find Out More
Engaging the Community With a Project-Based Approach
This journal article discusses the pedagogical approach and benefits of Project PLACE, a Michigan-based PBL initiative that examined the impact of a PBL curriculum on a group of second-grade social studies students, and how community involvement impacts classroom experience.Learn More
Discourse Tools Amplify Students’ Ideas and Build Knowledge
This article describes a lesson in which the teacher uses discourse tools fromWIDA (https://wida.wisc.edu) to support second-grade students in the language-rich practice of argumentation.Learn More
Compose Our World: Project-Based Learning in Secondary English Language Arts
This book studies how to develop and sustain multimodal, project-based learning (PBL) instruction in secondary English Language Arts classrooms.Learn More
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