Project based learning used at Lincoln High School

Critical thinking, collaboration, communication are required skills in a modern day workplace.

Students at Lincoln High School in Talladega County are using those same skills{} now.

They have developed inventions aimed at helping fellow students with disabilities. The school has six project-based learning classrooms, where students work to find a solution to a complex question, problem or challenge.

Educators say this will help their students be ready to enter the workforce.

"It enhances student ownership in their work, it's no longer the teacher's assignment it's the student's project," says Shelby Reynolds, a science teacher at Lincoln.

Reynolds says project based learning allows for students to develop an idea from start to finish."Students create an authentic product of some sort and a presentation of high quality," says Reynolds.Each project is planned, managed and assessed. The question students like Gabrielle Curry worked to answer is, "how can we create a complex machine to help students with disabilities?'" "As we got more into it, I believe we understood more, and we decided we were going to do a project that would help them gain a sense of security and independence, that they are able to do things for themselves," says Curry.The students in groups of three to four students had to determine the role of each person within the group, including project manager, engineering manager, design manager and marketing manager.

Before starting their projects, the students interviewed their "customer," a student with special needs, to discover which project would best benefit that student. "At the end of the day, it made life easier 0n them and helped them in ways that they couldn't be helped if we didn't do it,"

The two devices developed are reaching tools and iPad holders for students in wheelchairs the end result, more than 30 final products designed and built by the students. Each project took just longer than three weeks to complete.{} With students setting individual assignments and team goals.

Principal Terry Roller says the bigger picture is giving students the skills they need to succeed outside of the classroom."What this project is really doing, is transitioning our kids into a position where they can go out and get a job," says Roller. "Ultimately, that is our goal is to help our students transition to be successful citizens."

Within the next 18 months, all high schools in Talladega County will be adopting and utilizing project based learning. Dr. Suzanne Lacey, the superintendent has expressed strong support in the movement, mainly because of how it prepares students for the future.