Project Based Learning at Tinkersmiths means utilizing projects that address a problem, questions, challenge, production of a product or meet a goal defined by a client as a learning method. This can be a more effective way to learn over studying written material in text books that have no relation to the life experiences of the observer. Evaluating certain criteria to engage both the mind and ones tactile skills is far more enriching experience. Having a physical deliverable over simply echoing back previously written knowledge is learning that creates pathways to critical problem solving. The later is simply memorizing information already defined by others.

The PBL teaching method engages each student or workshop participant to find a solution without an over defined set of guardrails forcing the means and outcomes to be identical. We find most often innovation not only comes from trial and error, but big errors. Mistakes in product development are paramount to discovering new ideas. To gain knowledge risks must be taken. To assume we already have even many of the answers is a level of arrogance that detours possibilities for new discoveries. At Tinkersmiths we say fail often and fail big. Take the time to understand why something did not work an really learn from it. Don't always focus on what did or does work.

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Other aspects of Project Based Learning is understanding, critical thinking/problem solving, collaboration, self-management and skills. Challenged by a problem, a PBL project is framed to be solved by seeking resources, and applying information. This includes the process of asking questions, finding resources, and applying information. Projects can include real-world context, tasks and tools that may or may not fall with existing standards. Participants are encouraged to make individual decisions based on the knowledge they acquired along with applying their own creativity.

Here is more about Project Based Learning in our local Albemarle County schools.