Part 8… Public Product: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the seventh in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards. I am very excited to share ideas relating to PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of the PBL Public Product. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I am investigating each of the PBLWorks Gold Standards. I have been providing a short explanation and some free resources examples for each of the Gold Standards! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources. The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (\

Part 8… Public Product: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

The Public Product must be authentic and meaningful in order to provide real engagement to students. PBL provides students that opportunity to create a public product that that allows for real world applications, purpose, student relevance, and an audience beyond their classroom walls. In the world of blended learning there are so many possibilities to bring the community and public into the making and presenting of that final product. With this in mind it is important to look at the Public Product as a creation from an authentic learning experience. It is not just the product that is public. Let’s take a closer look:

1. The Product Must Be True to the World – Learning must have meaning which extends to the real world, outside the walls of the brick and mortar classroom. Today’s technology and blended learning possibilities allow students to interact with the larger community, visit another continent, and even travel across the solar system. Curricular concepts and standards can become real and filled with meaning. How public can you make the learning experience? How can that final product make a difference to the students’ world?

2. The Product Must be Purposeful – PBL provides students a reason, allowing students to work on purposeful products that can make a difference to others. The purpose is amplified by seeing a real world difference because of the product. The final public product is the process and the final results. It not only provides a reason and purpose because of its impact on the world outside the classroom walls. This impact might be a physical improvement, an innovation, a piece of culture and beauty, an awareness campaign, or something that just makes community life more enjoyable. It does not always have to solve a problem. Students begin to see why they are doing and learning, and are provided the opportunity to contribute to a greater community. As students envision the product and its results… it must really answer the… So What?

3. The Product Must Be Relevant to the Here and Now – A common question from students is often, “Why do we need to learn this?” The typical answer is often, “Because you will need it someday. A public product might put them in the middle of saving a building, helping the less fortunate, communicating with a culture across the world, creating a museum, writing books for younger children, or authoring an article for Wikipedia. I am sure you can see how the blended experience makes this all the more possible. When students can see that their product will make a difference, a whole new deeper learning results. They may actually be able to tell their parents what they learned in school today, and more importantly describe what they did! Best of all, they might be able to pull it up on their computer screen and show a relative or friend over a thousand miles away.

4. The Product Must Include Real Audience and Mentors – A classroom is filled with students and a teacher and their interaction can be powerful. PBL goes beyond this and promotes the idea of the classroom being the entire world. Creating the product should provide students an authentic audience beyond their classroom as part of the process. This type of product promotes rigor and quality work because students realize their work is to be on display and will be viewed by more than their teacher and peers. It could be another classroom or better yet the world… whether it is real or virtual. Audience should also be an ongoing part of creating the product by using mentors and experts. This capability can exist in the classroom, or even online in a blended experience using proper procedures and protocols found in the school AUP.

Possible Public Products: As you can see the Product must be public, but also the process of its creation must transcend the classroom walls. Let me provide some ideas for making that final product public. I will look at this using a filter for blended learning. Realize that the final public product does not have to be a student presentation for some kind of panel. It can be a website, online newsletter, virtual magazine, video, 3D prototype, interactive map, nonlinear presentation, campaign, Zoom conference, makers invention, infographic, online gallery, and so much more. I am sure your students will have ideas. Give them ownership!

Resources for Public Product in PBL  

I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop that public product in PBL as you blend the possibilities. Keep in mind that it really does work well with student voice and choice. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, or just a learning activity inside a PBL. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some public product possibilities across a wide range of subjects. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

iEARN: Explore this global site crossing all disciplines promoting authentic class to class collaboration throughout the world. It also provides connection to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Not only will you have a public product, but the whole process will be public. Remember to also use your Learning Management System for its capabilities and always check you school AUP before putting students online.

PBLWorks: – Discover a wonderful article from one of the best, John Larmer, all about what a final PBL public project might look like to show a demonstration of learning. As you read this think of ways that you might blend these possibilities.

Journey North – Explore some wonderful collaborative PBL possibilities based on seasons and nature. Students will publish results and look to see what other classes have contributed. There are numerous projects that are engaging and content filled. This will also be a great opportunity to teach some of those digital citizenship skills and also look over your school AUP.

Common Sense Education Best Tech Creation Tools – Encourage your students to publish in the format that excites them. Keep in mind that you do not need to know how to use the tools… let your students own that. You will want to explore ways to make the student productions public. These are all peer reviewed. Remember to also use your Learning Management System for its capabilities and always check you school AUP before putting students online.

Thoughtful Learning – Take a look at these 38 digital product ideas and the tools with links for may of them. You will find out how creative your students can really be. Be sure to click on some of the links. You might even want to give your students this list. It will also be important to ask them how they will make that project public. Remember to also use your Learning Management System for its capabilities and always check you school AUP before putting students online.

Reflection on Public Product

As you can see, a public product based on an authentic learning experience is of prime importance when designing and planning Project Based Learning for students at any level. Through this practice students can see real world application that provides meaning. They are involved in a purpose that facilitates engagement and passion. They interact with an audience and mentors providing a gateway that employs rigor and quality work. Students are also able to see connections between disciplines allowing them to see importance of all content and disciplines. Best of all, they have the opportunity to see their work in public making some kind of difference for others. It really allows learning to come alive!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021

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