(Photo by Evan Krape)
Some would argue that traditional teaching methods (the old textbook learning and standardized tests) are less effective than project-based education in almost any classroom — least of all in classrooms educating students with language-based differences, social or emotional issues and auditory processing disorders like those who attend The College School (TCS) in Newark.
At TCS, run by the University of Delaware’s College of Education and Human Development, kids in grades 1-8 benefit from a learning space that uses tech to overcome the challenges.
Now, as reported by Jordan Howell of UDaily, TCS students have access to a newly-deployed creative STEM curriculum that allows them to incorporate virtual reality, 3D printing and hands-on project-based learning, thanks to a partnership with UD’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and funding by an unnamed donor.
In addition to expanding the STEM program, TCS will also incorporate the national project-based program Project Lead the Way into its curriculum.
“This curriculum definitely helps kids who struggle in a traditional school setting to show their learning in a different way,” said [Laurie] Drumm, [master teacher at The College School], “but it also helps them to develop soft skills that they’re going to need for the rest of their lives, like creative thinking, collaboration, teamwork, perseverance, and problem solving in difficult situations.”
And the thing is, Drumm explained, students aren’t even aware that they’re learning these skills. “Which is the cool way to do it,” Drumm said.
The College School benefits from its affiliation with UD. Teachers attend workshops hosted by the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Engineering to learn best practices for using a makerspace. The workshops are held in UD’s Spencer Laboratory Design Studio.
(In Philly, a similar approach can be found at institutions like The Workshop School, which used project-based learning to teach students about STEM and, in the process, launch a pint of ice cream into space. Well, sort of.)
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