At St Lawrence Primary School, the key driver for our vision of learning and teaching is our focus on being ‘learner-centred’. For our school, being learner-centred includes promoting learning experiences which enable student voice, collaboration and cooperation, as well as providing students with opportunities to build on their self-management and independence as learners.
Students need to have opportunities to work collaboratively in teams and to see the links between their learning and real life problems. To help students develop these important life skills we have implemented the Challenge Based Learning framework from grades 3 – 6.
The students in grade 3 and 4 participate in Problem Based Learning, which focuses on students applying the knowledge and understandings they have gained throughout a unit to solve a problem. Problem Based Learning is the building block that leads to Challenge Based Learning, which occurs in grade 5 and 6.
This framework has emerged from the “Apple Classrooms of Tomorrow – Today project” (2008) and has continued to evolve as Apple, Inc. have worked in collaboration with exemplary educators to further enhance and build the Challenge Based Learning framework.
We currently work with an Apple Distinguished Educator, who supports staff to build engaging, relevant and purposeful iTunes U courses to meet the needs of our students. The iTunes U course is an important first step in our Challenge Based Learning process, as it allows the students to access relevant and up to date information on their iPads, so that they build upon their knowledge and understanding around the content of their Inquiry learning.
The Challenge Based Learning framework provides students with a ‘call to action’, where they must respond to a challenge question by providing a solution that the students can carry out themselves. This often requires students to make connections with outside agencies and people in the community. Collaboration and teamwork skills are essential when students work together to develop their solutions to real world problems and strive to make a difference in the world that they live in.