Tim Pelton, Leslee Francis-Pelton, University of Victoria
Bob St. Cyr, University of Victoria
Problem-based learning (PBL) supports the integrated development of scientific, mathematical and technical literacy in an authentic and engaging context. A field-web integrates a PBL challenge with a supporting web of field-based learning opportunities. As students traverse the web of field activities and develop a solution to the presented problem or challenge, they will:
- seek out and build meaningfully connected networks of learning experiences,
- construct and refine conceptual understandings,
- master relevant skills and procedures,
- develop confidence in representing and communicating data, information and knowledge,
- evaluate processes and products, and
- reflect on their own learning.
This research and development group is primarily focused on the development, implementation and evaluation of exemplar field-webs to support student learning. Additionally, we will be examining the effects of authentic application of tools and just-in-time (JIT) access to highly relevant resources.
It is expected that implementing field-webs as highlights in a well rounded middle-school curriculum many practical benefits will be derived:
- an increased student ownership of learning
- an improved learning potentials derived from the temporal and physical juxtaposition of instructional content and authentic experience,
- an increased fidelity and strength of internal representations of conceptual and procedural knowledge derived from hands-on explorations and activities in authentic spaces,
- an increased level of physical activity, and
- an increased level of engagement associated with purposeful, relevant PBL activities.
As students actively participate in a cooperative and iterative process of planning, seeking information, acquiring skills, collecting data, reasoning through errors and complex relationships, constructing understanding, communicating understandings and evaluating progress they are developing their Scientific, Technological and Mathematical literacy.