BRINGING PROJECT BASED INSTRUCTION INTO THE COLLEGE CLASSROOM

Anthony J. Petrosino
Science & Mathematics Education Center,
The University of Texas at Austin

This three day workshop focuses on developing coherent and classroom tested methods for bringing project based instruction into the teaching of science. This approach places students in activities that develop knowledge as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world. As indicated in the National Science Education Standards, this method allows for students to identify assumptions, use critical thinking, and consider alternative explanations. But while there is a clear call for project based or “inquiry” forms of instruction from many national organizations, there exists relatively little practical advice on how to bring this pedagogy to the college classroom.
Using material developed for the NSF funded VaNTH project (Vanderbilt, Northwestern, Texas, Harvard/MIT) in bioengineering, as well as materials developed under a NASA Space Grant Fellowship, this course will explain the theoretical foundations of project based instruction, incorporation of the recent How People Learn findings from the National Research Council, and the process of overcoming the day to day challenges of implementing project based instruction in the college classroom. Participants will get both a firmly rooted theoretical foundation as well as a practical and operational method for implementing this form of instruction. Issues of assessment, prior knowledge, technology, and learning theory will be fully integrated in this three day course.

For college teachers of: science education, general non-science majors
Prerequisites: none

Dr. Petrosino is an assistant professor in Science Education at The University of Texas at Austin. He has developed a course entitled “Project Based Instruction in Mathematics and Science” for the NSF funded UTeach program. In addition, he has published numerous papers on both technology integration and project based instruction. His specific area of research centers of the use and analysis of data by K-12 students in inquiry environments. Upon completing his doctorate at Vanderbilt University’s Learning Technology Center, Dr. Petrosino completed two years of post doctoral study tat he University of Wisconsin’s Wisconsin Center for Educational Research where he was a Fellow with the National Center for Achievement in Mathematics and Science.