Perhaps an anecdote about a young man we know might illustrate this point. From an early age he loved fishing, hiking, and exploring the wilderness; he taught himself many kinds of crafts including fly-tying, carving, and painting; he loved participating in projects of all kinds. However, he found it difficult to sit still in classrooms and did not shine academically. In his first year of high school, his parents were asked to come to school to meet with his math teacher who told them quite bluntly that their son should never take any more math. "Why how will he be equipped to go to college?" inquired the mother. The teacher replied, "You may have unreasonable expectations for your son!" Recognizing the gifts and strengths of their son, the parents found a tutor to help him through subsequent math classes and made sure that he found support and outlets for his interests and abilities.
What really made it possible for him to survive classroom instruction was that he found an after school internship with the fisheries department of a local university. The last two years of high school, he worked in a small construction company after school, and there, reading and math became not only more understandable but found application as he read construction manuals and used math on the job. In college he learned to fly, and all his visual-spatial and kinesthetic abilities meshed with math as essential survival skills. He was at the top of his college classes in physics and calculus, and has gone on to be a highly successful adult. For him, applied learning was critically important. For how many others, is applied learning the pathway to academic success and further successes throughout life?
Perspectives from Researchers and Practitioners
submitted by Dan Keller
Kids Inventing to Learn
Education at the Museum of Glass
Director of Education for the Museum of Glass describes the value of active, integrated project-based learning in their program.
How to Use Problem-Based Learning in the Classroom