Ready to make project-based learning a reality in your classroom this year? The term project-based learning (or PBL) might seem intimidating at first. But, if you haven’t tried out PBL in your classroom, this school year is the perfect time to start. Setting a clear purpose for students, giving them opportunities to explore high-interest topics, and promoting collaboration, are critical factors in boosting student engagement.
Regular readers of the blog know that PBL has been a popular topic this year, including a few podcast episodes focused on the idea of bringing authentic learning experiences to classrooms. If you are interested in trying out a PBL experience this year but unsure where to start, Tract has you covered.
As you’ll see at the bottom of this post, the fantastic team at Tract is looking for teachers to try their platform for free! Scroll down for all of the details.
PBL in Your Classroom
PBL isn’t just another education acronym; it’s a dynamic classroom experience that anchors student learning in a mission. Students work to solve a problem through research, collaboration, and artifact creation. It provides kids of all ages with a chance to dive deep into a topic while building skills to use in the classroom and in future careers.
Project-based learning experiences push students to identify a problem in their classroom, community, or the larger world. They conduct research and design a solution while collaborating with classmates. Students can explore topics they care about with or without digital tools while connecting to your state and local standards.
There are many ways to bring PBL into your classroom, which is one of the reasons it might feel intimidating at first. One of the concerns I often hear from teachers when talking about technology integration and student projects is how to manage student work in digital spaces. Tract is a new EdTech tool that provides teachers with a turnkey solution to implement PBL in a meaningful and manageable way.
Tract and PBL
If you haven’t heard of Tract before, that may be because they are new on the scene. I had a chance to jump into their platform to look at what they offer teachers and students. Once you log in to Tract, you’ll find that it makes it easy to find project examples to share with students, and give students a space to create content and share their learning.
How does Tract work? Tract is a web-based application, meaning teachers and students can access it from any Wifi-enabled device, including a Chromebook, tablet (like iPads), laptop, or smartphone. It leverages AI (artificial intelligence) to moderate student contributions to ensure it stays a secure and safe space for all users.
As you can see in the video above, Tract empowers students as creators and gives them a space to share their learning. There is a gamification element to Tract, too. Students can earn coins and give awards through the platform. You can use Tract within the school year, as part of a Genius Hour, during an after-school program — you name it!
Learn Through Teaching
Project-based learning experiences give students an opportunity to become experts on a topic. They spend time diving deep into content as they learn something new and share their learning with the world. Through Tract’s Learn Through Teaching model, students can both learn and create new classes for other students on Tract.
Teachers can give all students (including aspiring content creators) a structure for setting up a class of their own. Tract’s platform provides support to help students harness their passions as they create their own content. This happens by giving students access to a seven-week structured lesson plan they can use to share their own creations.
Students can earn Coins as they participate on the platform. These Coins can be redeemed for real-world donations from the prize board that align to the UN’s 2030 SDGs. For example, students can use their Coins to plant a tree, protect the coastline, and donate a meal.
Free Pilot Opportunity
Want to try out Tract in your classroom this year? I’m so excited that the team at Tract is giving my readers a chance to pilot Tract for free! All you have to do is head to this landing page and request access with the code MONICA. This opportunity is limited to the first 1,000 teachers who sign up, so if you’re interested in PBL, make sure to grab your spot right away.