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Hackkl - A Platform to Help Teachers Create Project Based Learning Online

We're trying to find a new way to go about remote learning via a platform that enables teachers to put together virtual PBL.

Photo of Michelle Blanchet
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I am a.....

  • Teacher
  • Parent/Caregiver
  • Organization

Tell us about your idea

Hackkl is a platform where teachers can select an essential question and engage students in an online group project to answer that question. It's a platform that can measure the 4Cs (critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity) based on the online engagement of that student. You - the teacher - pick the challenge, students are divided into teams, and engage in virtual PBL.  The result: skill building and meaningful online learning.

How this works: The teacher creates a PBL assignment and presents it via the Briefing Page. They provide a code for students to enter the challenge and then facilitate them throught the following process:

  1. Briefing Phase (1 day): Students learn about the challenge and begin to brainstorm your own ideas. 

  2. Research Phase: Students connect with their virtual teams, dig into some data, or search the internet for inspiration to solve these challenges. This section is all about sharing knowledge. 

  3. Ideation Phase: Students make ideas their own and brainstorm what they could do to solve this challenge.  They build off of each other’s ideas and explore potential opportunities to take action. 

  4. Solution Phase: Students propose an official solution. They define how exactly they’d like to take action by providing examples, making prototypes, creating videos, whatever's needed to make this idea as tangible as possible for their teammates. 

  5. Voting: Students vote on which idea they feel has the most potential and that they want to hand in to the teacher. 

  6. Planning:  Time to make it happen! Students plan how to make their project come to life. They will think through the resources they need and the tasks that need to be completed and who will complete them. They will create a plan of action and work together to make it happen!

Debriefing Phase: The results of this challenge are published. Students are anonymous during this process (except to the teacher), so they will only know their score and be able to see everyone's projects. Teachers determine timing of each phase, but students can work at their own pace.

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

The 'drilling' of reading, writing, and math. Distance learning has made it very evident to us that schools are still clinging to a very traditional definition of learning and the need to practice for a test (seems very district led, not the fault of teachers). We'd love to see that go away. Also, teachers have really stepped up to the challenge of Covid19. It's shown how amazing our educators are and we're hoping this inspires more teacher-powered solutions to educational challenges.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

Michelle and Mekca are both former teachers now working more in the professional development space. Michelle is the Founder of The Educators' Lab and Mekca is the Technology Director for Centerville School District. We're both interested in finding meaningful ways to go about remote learning. Hackkl is an orgnization based in Denmark  that approached us with their platform to see if it might be a good fit for the K12 space. We've been piloting out the tool to see if it might be a viable way for teachers to conduct PBL online or their own 'OpenIDEO challenges'. Thus far, we've been impressed with the platform and how it can enable students to learn real-world skills and encourage learning in a dynamic way. 

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

Michelle is based in Virginia about an hour away from Washington, D.C. Mekca is located in south eastern Iowa. The Hackkl team is based out of Aalborg, Denmark.

8 comments

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Spam
Photo of Sarah Nethan
Team

Hi Michelle Blanchet 
I'm Sarah, one of the Community Coaches. Thank you so much for your contribution to this challenge. We're so glad that you shared about the incredible work you and your team is doing in the area of virtual PBL. I'm really curious to learn more about any key learnings or takeaways you've had till now?

Here are some virtual collaboration tools (whiteboards) that are used for brainstorming, research and synthesis: https://zapier.com/blog/best-online-whiteboard/ - I've personally used "Mural" and "Miro", and totally recommend it. May be your platform could have a similar feature for brainstorming and putting down key research findings?

Good luck!

Spam
Photo of Michelle Blanchet
Team

Thanks for reaching out! We've been really pleased with the first round of demos. Our key takeaways 1) This is a great platform to build relevant skills and this first prototype has validated its potential 2) Teachers often have to keep up with the skills of students so we need to provide teachers with more resources to use the tool 3) We need to make more tweaks so that it's more user friendly and teachers can facilitate this for themselves. Overall, we've enjoyed prototyping and watching this work evolve.

Thanks for recommending these tools! We love Mural - I'm curious, how did you imagine this put into place? As an extra function for students to take notes before posting and synthesizing their research and ideas with their team members? Sorry the video doesn't do the best job of showing how the research and ideation phases work (our apologies).

Spam
Photo of Sarah Nethan
Team

Hi Michelle Blanchet 
So good to hear about your takeaways. Yes, I was thinking about having a Mural-like feature for students to do all their "rough/raw work" remotely and for them to just play around (not sure if your platform already has one). The final research insights and ideas can be posted through a separate feature on the platform. Just a few thoughts! :)

As your thinking around this idea grows, please do update your post by hitting the Edit Contribution button at the top of your post.

Good luck!

Spam
Photo of Christina Magana
Team

I am interested in this idea. My school is currently running interdisciplinary PBL (math/sci and SS/ELA) during distance learning. We have been struggling to get students to collaborate during this process and am interested in the ability of this to help. I wonder though, can teachers add in mini-lessons and their own background building, instead of leaving the research to students? At the middle level, students are not yet well versed in research and still need guidance.

Spam
Photo of Mekca Wallace-Spurgin
Team

Hi Christina. Thank you for your comments and question! Recently Michelle and I piloted Hackkl with a group of educators and middle school students. You are totally correct! During the research phase students required a bit more guidance. As a tech director I explored options with educators involved. We agreed that utilizing mini-lessons whether it be via our Zoom sessions or as a mini-assignment would be most helpful in the future, chunking if you will. Also, Hackkl provides a platform that encourages collaboration in multiple ways (commenting, uploading video responses, etc.) Feel free to reach out if you have additional questions or want to know more about Hackkl.

Spam
Photo of Christina Magana
Team

Thank you for your response. I definitely am interested in hearing more about the platform and the ability to use it for collaboration. My school email is christina.magana@orecity.k12.or.us

Spam
Photo of Virginia Brackett
Team

Michelle, I like this platform, mainly because it seems one with which teachers can become creative about assessment of learning competencies, relieving them of concern about developing applicable examinations and trying to discourage students from "cheating" on such exams.

Spam
Photo of Mekca Wallace-Spurgin
Team

Hi Virginia. Thank you for the response. Agreed! When students participate through Hackkl they are able to show their learning through real-life experiences, while learning in a dynamic way. Students' individual ideas start to grow and eventually they are able to bounce ideas off of each other and solve real-world problems.