Every now and again, I am blessed to feature a guest blog post on my page. This week, we’ll hear from the folks at Storyboard That and how this tool can help enhance PBL units in the K12 classroom. Full disclosure, I love this tool and they are not compensating me in any way for this post. You see, I love this tool already and I believe in its power to excite kids’ visual thinking (and beyond), I’m happy to let them have some space here. If you haven’t checked out Storyboard That, please do! Oh — and just so you know, it falls into one of my favorite categories: FREE!
Project Based Learning (PBL) mashes many subjects together to approach a problem or question. Project Based Learning has an end goal, a purpose. Students create something – a model of an ancient vessel, a video production, a web campaign, etc. – and work collaboratively from the early planning stages to the end. Projects can be small or long-term, lasting a few class periods, several weeks, or longer. Many projects include involvement in the community, showing the impact of student learning and action in life outside of school.
When these big projects are worthwhile to students, from interest, real-life application, or prospect of profound change, students become more motivated. PBL engages students with authentic learning; students take ownership of the work they do and student collaboration increases. Learning by doing, rather than just reading or watching, is far more concrete and memorable for students. PBL integrates real-life learning, making it clear to students that they are not doing busywork or being dragged towards a test, while still addressing educational standards.
The creative process is complex, and the process itself is what provides the greatest benefits. By doing projects, students better prepare for later grades, college, and careers, by developing valuable skills. Project Based Learning encourages students to try out different possibilities – make mistakes, but also learn from them. They develop learning strategies and practice various speaking, listening, and writing skills. They learn to speak intelligently and respectfully to others during small or large discussions. Teachers get students to think for themselves, learn how to approach problems or obstacles and not back down. They think it through and work together; teachers give tools to students, not just information.
Because PBL can involve many people and many steps, using visual assets, such as storyboards and graphic organizers, makes planning and communicating ideas with others fast and easy. PBL is beneficial for all subjects and levels, so whatever your project, Storyboard That wants to help! Use Storyboard That throughout the creative process: brainstorming, planning, creating, revising, editing, publishing, and reflecting.
Use any of our graphic organizer layouts to brainstorm! Try out different ideas in a spider map or on the traditional layout. Use the large art library of characters, scenes, and items to spark your creativity.
Storyboard That is perfect for planning film projects. Part of many projects include filming in some way. You might be doing a quick commercial, making a music video, or creating a full-length movie. No matter what you and your class are doing, you will need to decide on story, locations, props, characters/actors, costumes, dialogue, camera shots, and actions. Phew! Work like the pros and plan things out using storyboards!
Create a comic, visual narrative, or chart to accompany bigger digital storytelling projects. Storyboard That’s Storyboard Creator is fun and easy to use. Use the simple drag and drop interface to make a quick comic, or maybe spend some more time making a detailed narrative. The art library is not only vast, but customizable! In addition, you can use Photos For Class to include photographs and give your own twist on things.
Use storyboards for role-playing possible scenarios before speaking with an important community member, pitching an idea to a bigger group, or conducting an experiment. Easily revise and edit storyboards as new ideas come up. Either edit the storyboard directly, or make a copy first. Keep different versions for comparison or to try out new possibilities. Share your storyboards with peers so they can make suggestions for additional revisions and edits.
Publish storyboards on websites using the embed feature, or print out storyboards or individual cells for plans and posters. Present with PowerPoint or use the high-quality images for countless other digital storytelling possibilities.
Reflect on the amazing work that you have done! Look at each cell of your storyboards carefully by using the slideshow feature. What worked, what didn’t work? What needs to change? How did the audience respond? If you were to do this again, what would you do?
Don’t be fooled, PBL takes a lot of hard work for the teacher ahead of time. While students do most of the work during the project, so much more time is spent by the teacher preparing.The teacher maintains a tremendously important part – but takes on more of a guiding role: facilitating learning and providing assistance and instruction on background knowledge when needed.
Storyboard That offers project ideas for film making, brainstorming, and provides templates to get you and your students going. Also, Storyboard That has various layouts and applications to help you through your lessons, project planning, and project implementation.Students get so much out of interdisciplinary projects with PBL. The end result will make the work that you put into all the planning worth the effort. Student creativity will always amaze us. Worth it.