Nazarbayev University (KAZAKHSTAN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 5478-5483
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.2299
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
One of the most effective ways of involving students in the learning process is content-based project delivery which promotes meaningful student engagement into the learning process. Integration of project work into the course instruction creates such a learning environment that spurs active student involvement, stimulates higher level thinking styles, develops self-study skills and makes students feel responsible for the outcome of their learning process. It also lays grounds for students’ self-organization and self-education and thus shapes life-long learning skills for continuous self- development.
This paper aims to illustrate the successful strategies that were used to impulse the learning process by integrating project work into content-based instruction within the course “Education context and reform in Kazakhstan” as one of its main assignments and students’ creative approach to its fulfillment on the example of a filmed cartoon video used as a technology tool for presentation of their project results.

The goal of the project-based assignment was to arouse students’ interest and motivation in analytical and creative approach to acquiring and broadening their knowledge and skills by fulfilling a semester-long group project. Students were requested to construct a summary of their detailed answers to course questions aimed at defining and indicating key stakeholders, main reforms and policy documents, achievements and problems in implementing the educational reforms at all the levels of education and future directions based on the readings for the sessions and their discussion in class in a visual format of their choice: mind map, table, poster, video. The project results illustrated in this paper demonstrate the creative approach of one group of students who visualized the development of Kazakhstani education system as a journey where a bus with passengers presenting key stakeholders moves along “the education road” and filmed it by using paper, plastic materials at hand, digital camera and Windows Movie Maker program for cutting and editing the video files.

The value of the project, however, lies not just in the final product that students produced but in the process of working towards the end point. It resulted in developing good team-work skills, building student confidence and autonomy as well as improving students' creative skills, cognitive abilities and deeper content comprehension by their engagement in design, problem solving, decision making, and investigative activities as well as technology use. Active roles of the students revealed through this project work of the real world problems resulted in a great experience for them, high level of their satisfaction with both technology use and subject content comprehension and feeing of involvement into the professional aspects of their career.

We hope that teacher educators and students will be able to adapt the ideas presented here to enhance their teaching and learning process and see that such kind of project - based learning can be fun, inspiring, challenging, pedagogically valuable, and more importantly, beneficial for both teachers and students.
Project–based learning, learning environment, technology, video, student engagement.