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EFG Project Based Learning
Author: Barnes, Barbara | April 25th, 2016

EFG began as a concept by Joel A. Barker, Futurist, was developed by innovative educators and business partners in ten summer conferences held across the US and England, and has been implemented by students in K-12 schools, classrooms, grade level and cross age teams, summer programs, after school clubs, online art and eco fairs, and at home. Using our future focused projects, students integrate all subjects and core skills to research a real world issue, and create a project or product portfolio that that can be judged by learning leaders, experts, scientists, peers, business or community representatives. The latest technology and communication tools are seamlessly integrated in the projects, portfolios, and partnerships. We do not single out "technology" as a separate skill. These projects prepare students for real work in the real world where real decisions are being made in real time.

The following is a small sample of student work.

ECO Ed: Our relationship with the environment
Eco competent students have a working knowledge of the planet, understand their own role within an ecosystem and have knowledge, skills, and values to improve the environment.

The Water Project began in Chattanooga, TN, where K-12 students partnered with TVA and the Tennessee Aquarium to study all aspects of the Tennessee River. Research included water quality, wildlife, flood zones, work by scientists at the aquarium, economics of the river, water transportation and sports. Students also researched water quality at a local beach and maintained statistical records over a period of one month. Other students, in a summer school program, blogged water conservation strategies from their home and met weekly to create a power point portfolio of their investigations. Students, at the MTSU Campus School, using the Land Project, created a nature trail on their campus, featuring plants native to Tennessee. Marblehead and Concordia schools won Online Eco Fair prizes for their school gardens and students in a summer school in North Carolina partnered with Weyerhaeuser to learn about wood products and reforestation. Students in Tucson adopted a vacant lot across from the school, conducted an archeological dig, displayed the artifacts in a building on the lot, and utilized xeriscaping on the grounds. Using the Energy Project, students at a middle and high school partnered with the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Research Center at UC Irvine and met with automobile manufactures at a hydrogen fueling event. Recycling and Weather Projects have been implemented by individual students, classrooms and clubs.

FUTURE Ed: Our relationship with time - where have we been, where are we going.
Future competent students understand the relationship between past, present and future actions, have learned and can apply a broad range of future thinking tools, and understand responsibility for considering long term implications of new ideas and technologies before applying them.

For example, students in England, using the Economics Project, worked with a local bank to analyze language barriers and productivity of employees. Their report was so beneficial, the bank expanded the student research to all branches. High school students at 21st Century Prep created the Design & Build Project and taught the elementary students to design and build a structure. A cross age team at San Clemente High School designed a tool to help the elderly. Students wrote a business plan, conducted a marketing analysis, designed a logo, and created their product portfolio, a Power Point Pitch Deck and You Tube Video for the "Youth for the Elderly" competition, hosted by Hype Global Youth Start Up Foundation. The students competed with students from eight European countries and won the top prize for their product, MOM (Memory Optimizing Manager). Investors are now helping develop this product. At the same time 4th grade students at San Onofre School on Camp Pendleton used the same "portfolio" process, to create two companies, Blue Tech and Earth Power. They designed their logos, built their products, conducted an analysis of cost and profit, and wrote an advertisement featuring the benefits of their tools. Students have also developed projects and products focused on Communications, Business, and Health.

GLOBAL Ed: Our relationship with ourselves
Globally competent students have broad knowledge of the cultures of the world, deep knowledge of one culture beyond their own, fluency in at least one language other than their own, and accept responsibility for supporting global justice and peace.

Elementary students used The Arts Project to research the Monet exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago, including Monet's life, Impressionist art, economics of the Institute, and attendance. Students in Akiachak, Alaska invited the village elders into the school to teach them how to weave baskets and carve masks. They created a business plan to sell these artifacts to galleries across the US. The principal reported that the student essays, describing their art project, were the best they had ever written. Bellflower High School students, using the Travel Project, set up a travel agency and also partnered with Rockwell International to learn how the space station was constructed. Many schools have used the Government Project to analyze candidates, platforms, and voting procedures in local, regional and national elections. Students also met with their City Council to understand local government.

If you are an educator who prefers TRT, (teaching, reading, testing) this hands on learning is not for you. If you are a "Learning Leader" who encourages student projects, designed around a real world issue, EFG is a perfect option. Our portfolio matrix, assessments, exhibitions and presentations ensure mastery of core skills and subjects, including higher scores on traditional tests. The partnerships with business and the community provide up to date information about real world issues and careers of the future. We believe this is a win, win, win opportunity.

Check out: www.itsthekids.academy

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