Technology provides today’s students, known as the iGeneration, a platform to learn almost anything they want. They can produce music, make films, lead web-series, and write blogs about current events without leaving their bedrooms. iGens enjoy multi-tasking, visual stimuli, learning about global issues, participating in social movements, and sharing their lives through social media. They have access to countless people, apps, programs, and ideas. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that it’s tough to compete for their attention. So, what can schools do to make sure today’s tech-savvy students don’t get bored in the classroom?
Is your school willing to shift its philosophy to get iGens to school? Chronic absenteeism impacts as many as 7.5 million kids a year and is a strong predictor of low academic achievement and high school dropout. Some iGens are missing school due to lacking interest in daily instruction, how far would your school be willing to go to engage them? Shifting from traditional schooling techniques to project based learning could decrease chronic absences and increase student results.
Project based learning is a student-centered way to drive instruction that allows for creativity and pushes deeper knowledge through active exploration of real world issues. It gives students hands-on experience with their work and can be applicable to daily living. This type of instruction can revolutionize what students are capable of at a young age and put them on a track to be entrepreneurs, activists, engineers and more! Research has uncovered that students at project based learning schools maintained better attendance than students in traditional school settings.
Implementing project based learning doesn’t have to completely disrupt current academic practices. Finding a few cool projects to tickle student interests can be the difference between poor and good attendance.
Projects That Reduce Chronic Absenteeism and Have iGENs Running to School
Use technology and innovative ideas to engage students and keep their attention.
- Develop film reenactments of scenes from texts set in modern times.
- Plan a wedding for the matrimony of a villain and protagonist. Include a wedding website, registration and program for the service.
- Make a personal blog for a main character using daily submissions to show how the character develops over time.
- Make a web-series, as a class, that summarizes the main events of chapters of a text. One group will be the characters of the story. Each following group could be in charge of writing, directing, filming and editing one episode/chapter of the web-series.
- Make a playlist of songs that a character would listen to at different parts of the story. Explain why the song choice is appropriate.
- Develop a fundraising project plan for a business of choice. Study the financial earnings of the organization and develop a fundraising strategy, budget and marketing plan to improve the organization’s profits.
- Analyze the city’s budget. Play urban planner by thinking about how a shift to the city’s costs and assets can impact change. Research poverty levels, graduation rates, unemployment, prison rates, etc. Determine how the numbers might shift based on your proposal.
- Pick a problem that exists in your community and develop a solution for that problem. Develop a mission statement, crowdfund to get money to support the cause and plan an event to educate others about the cause. Find an organization to donate the proceeds to.
- Trace heritage through ancestry.com. (Use gofundme.com to raise money to assist with costs.) Document the process, make an ancestral tree and develop a film, music video, blog, or visual art project to show what was learned about family roots, culture and heritage.
- Develop a tourists’ guide to an international city. Research the city’s history and culture to provide a dynamic manual of what to do in the city.
- Create a civilization complete with language, artifacts, dress, etc. Make a website that introduces this new way of life to the world.
- Make hair products using natural ingredients from the kitchen. Make a how-to video to show how to make and use the product.
- Make a video cooking a recipe to add to a digital class cookbook. Use Buzzfeed Tasty videos as a reference.
- Make a machine or device to help with daily chores.
- Use google maps to catalogue the best and worst cell phone reception locations in the city.
Creative Art Projects
- Design a product. Develop a social media platform, market and sale the item.
- Create a music video.
- Record a song.
- Create an online photo or video journal documenting your summer vacation.
- Run a 5k marathon wearing a GoPro camera. Use video editing software to create a mini documentary.
- Use an app to participate in a weight loss challenge.
- Use an app to keep track of your food intake.
Here at Kickboard we have seen many schools turnaround chronic absenteeism by using our mobile app, web platform, and professional development services to support their project based learning initiatives. Kickboard provides teachers with a tool to track student engagement, attendance, and cultural programming.