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Lessons of the Storm

Forbes' education blogger James Marshall Crotty argues that the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy presents an opportunity for educators to acquaint themselves with "challenge-based learning." The concept was apparently developed in 2008 by Apple Computer in collaboration with a group of educators as a way to give students more authentic and engaging learning experiences. Crotty explains:

As outlined in an Apple white paper, Challenge-Based Learning encourages students and teachers to work together to define problems, propose solutions, and then execute those solutions. This allows students to physically do something, rather than simply learn about a subject. Students also have an opportunity to work in multiple disciplines as they go about solving their "challenge."

Crotty gives the example of neighborhood "storm cleanup" as the basis for a possible CBL unit. Seen in that light, the concept sounds quite a bit like "place-based learning," which we wrote about yesterday. But it probably doesn't matter what you call it. The more important and more challenging factor, I suspect, is how you make the project truly enriching academically. From what we know about project-based learning generally, that can take considerable research and coordination.

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