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Grant sought for teaching innovations

Funding will make school regional training center


CHESAPEAKE — Collins Career Center is encouraging students to “learn by doing.”

Project-based learning (PBL) is considered an alternative to paper-based, teacher-led classrooms and research has shown its strategies are beneficial in the understanding of concepts, allows for a more broad knowledge base, improves communication, social, leadership and writing skills and increases creativity.

“We have a four-person team working with faculty on the conversion to PBL,” Steve Dodgion, Collins Career Center superintendent, said. “We have seen fantastic results from our students with this delivery of instruction.”

A grant-funded two-year pilot program in health informatics is taught under the guidelines of project-based learning (PBL) and the school has applied for a grant to become the regional training center for PBL.

“It would be quite an honor to get the distinction of being a regional training center for PBL,” Dodgion said, “And considering what we have done with PBL so far, I think we are an excellent choice to get the grant.”

If the grant is awarded to Collins, Dodgion said, the school would be the place in southeast Ohio where faculty and staff from any schools looking to convert to PBL would go for training.

“The long-term goal of the Ohio Division for Career and Technical Education is for all the schools to convert to PBL within the next 10 years,” Dodgion said. “We started the conversion here at Collins a year ago.”

Health informatics instructor Andrea Zaph feels as though PBL is not the only the best way to teach health informatics, but the best way to teach overall.

“Project-based learning research shows it is the most efficient way to deliver classroom instruction,” she said. “We’re really excited about PBL and we have begun the journey here to convert everything we do project-based learning.”

Collins administration will know in October of this year whether the grant is awarded.