Amble GPX: Project-Based Learning

Last-minute team briefing

This week I dropped in on the Amble GPX Project in Northumberland to see how they were progressing ahead of the official launch in July. When I arrived they were busy preparing to take their place the following day at the Alnwick Tourism Fair, a perfect opportunity to market their product and explain to the wider community exactly what a ‘geolocation treasure hunt’ is. Great progress had been made since my last visit in August 2010, and despite a number of frustrations with the software, the website has been

Some of the team prepare to meet the public at the Alnwick Tourism Fair

well and truly established. Next week a number of trails are being piloted, with invited guests of all ages being used as guinea pigs over the routes. Their feedback will be invaluable as the final routes and clues are put in place over the coming months. As the official ‘literacy adviser’ to the project, what struck me was how much the young people have matured since my first visit way back in December 2009. As Anna, the project leader, described it so aptly, they have now taken control of the project and are demonstrating leadership skills. Where, in the beginning, people would wait to be told what to do, they are now taking the initiative and doing it their way, because they know how they want it to turn out and they all have a vested interest in its success. There is no better argument than that for project-based learning!

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Curriculum for Excellence – Widening Horizons

When the main objective of a school system is to prepare young people to pass exams, and when the achievement of that objective supercedes all else, including critical thinking and an enterprising attitude, then it is time to think again. Which is precisely what many schools are now doing, with the support of the Scottish Government, in developing the values, purposes and principles of Curriculum for Excellence. In a series of illustrative video clips produced in association with schools across Scotland, these values, purposes and principles are given flesh and bones, as young people explain for the benefit of parents and others the advantages of a ‘project-based’ curriculum, where they have the opportunity to work together in finding solutions to real-life issues. Here, the young students from Biggar High School are learning about International Trade. Many other fine examples of enterprising learning can be found on the Scottish Government website.