|Publisher:||Project Management Institute|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||7.50(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.70(d)|
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Bringing Project Management to Schools, Educators, and Students
Why Is Project Management So Important to Student Success?
What's in It for Our Children?
The illiterate of the 21st century are not those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.
— Alvin Toffler
The question of "What's in it for our children?" is addressed not only to PMs who have children, but also to everyone who feels that helping all children be prepared for a successful future will make us all better off, now and well into the future.
That being said, to find a worthy answer to this question, it's appropriate to start with a quote from Richard Riley, sixth U.S. Secretary of Education, who said:
We are currently preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist, using technologies that haven't been invented, in order to solve problems we don't even know are problems yet.
His message is clear and strong: Within an uncertain and rapidly changing world, the risk of one's current knowledge becoming quickly obsolete is very high. Young learners need to develop a wide selection of sharp "thinking and doing tools" for quickly analyzing complex problems, for conceiving and creating innovative solutions, and for effectively communicating and collaborating with other team members, all working together toward a clear goal. In other words, all students need to develop their competencies and supports to tackle complex questions, problems, or challenges through a project approach.
The good news is that school educators are becoming increasingly aware of this need for a dynamic and challenging learning approach in which students acquire deeper knowledge and skills through active exploration of real-world questions, problems, issues, and perspectives. The not-so-good news is that, in general, educators have very limited exposure or familiarity with the best practices of project management — practices that cannot be learned by reading a textbook or memorizing the key principles of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK Guide), but through direct experiences in managing and leading real learning projects with real students in real schools.
This "project experience gap" represents a tremendous opportunity for our community of project professionals to partner with schools, teachers, and educators everywhere to bring project learning experiences into the heart of education — collaborative project experiences that truly show the best of education and project management together.
With sturdy "PM4Ed" bridges in place, our future generations will be able to prevent the dangerous possibility that American futurist Alvin Toffler warned of in the quote at the top of this section. We can certainly add project learning literacy to the essential skills of the future.
Learning the principles and methods of effective project management holds the promise of bringing powerful sets of life skills, learning strategies, and career benefits to all students, enabling them to do more and better things in their lives, become lifelong self-motivated learners, and be highly productive and creative contributors in their school, family, work, career, and community lives.
What's in It for Project Managers?
Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
Though accurate estimates are hard to come by, as of 2017 there are nearly a million certified project managers in the world. If you could count everyone who is regularly involved in managing projects in their work, with or without official certifications, that estimate could easily rise to well over 15 million PMs around the globe.
Projecting into the future, by 2025 the global number of PMs could reach more than 50 million, given the accelerating growth rate of the profession and the projected demand for project management capacity across all business sectors. One thing for sure, the demand for workers with project management expertise is clearly rising, and rising fast!
Though the compensation levels for project manager professionals is also high and rising, the job of being a project manager is not an easy or simple one. It involves daily challenges and multiple demands. PMs need to continuously and rapidly grow and deepen both their technical and people skills. Often, PMs are not fully recognized for the deep contributions they provide in creating successful organizational strategies and business successes.
Based on these observations, it is reasonable to ask whether PMs should invest time and energy to promote project based learning and project management in elementary and secondary schools. In addition to the good feelings generated by helping teachers and their students, what are the real benefits for the professional growth of those who have the everyday responsibilities of successfully managing "temporary endeavors undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result" — the essence of projects?
The answer to this question can be found in the above-mentioned challenge that many PMs face in receiving the full recognition for their contributions to business and strategy success. To stay motivated, PMs must achieve a goal that is personally as important as meeting their project goals: to be recognized, not only as experts in a body of knowledge, but also as open-minded and caring professionals who have the ability to adapt their project language and methods into the common language and culture of the organizations in which they work.
The project language is flexible and intuitive for thinking about and accomplishing things — a language that can be spoken by all stakeholders regardless of their position in their organizations' hierarchies, a language that enables everyone to benefit from the best talents and skills available, a language that is the foundation of collective leadership and collaborative teamwork.
Now, if this goal of teaching and reaching as many as possible with the benefits of the project language and project principles and practices is really important for a PM, the possibility of bringing these gifts to students and educators represents an extraordinary opportunity to become more:
Aware of how the project language is agile and easily adaptable to all levels of education;
Impressed that young learners, even in the first grades of primary school, are able to develop creative and critical thinking through the use of simple project methods and tools, such as brainstorming and mind mapping;
Admired by educators and students for providing such simple and powerful organizing tools such as the Work Breakdown Structure, from which even young students using simple versions can benefit;
Surprised by the unself-conscious excitement children express when they are able to organize their activities on the basis of team agreements and ground rules of their own design; and
Deeply moved by students' new awareness and surprises, such as a nine-year-old student who suddenly realized, "Even the shiest children felt involved and took part in our project's teamwork."
From so many reports of PM's positive volunteering experiences supporting project based learning in schools, colleges, and universities, it is clear that PMs can bring positive learning and beneficial changes to students, teachers, and schools, and, in turn, become more aware of the power of projects for student learning, more influential in their ability to spread the power of project practices, more able to embrace complexity (such as the culture of school classrooms), and much more. Simply put, bringing one's expertise to the world of education makes a PM a more dedicated professional.
There are many ways to bring the benefits of these education experiences back into one's everyday work world, and in particular, within project management training. Examples of successful school projects can be used as "ice breakers" in a basic project management training course, or as an effective way to compare the principles of "agile" project approaches (e.g., iterative planning, self-organizing teams, etc.) with the methods of project based learning used in schools.
Another response to the "What's in it for me?" question can be related to both the strong need for self-motivation in PM work and the desire to constantly improve leadership and communication skills.
A PM, by definition, is the main hub of each project network. As a result, a PM's motivation level can deeply influence team members and other stakeholders, including the project sponsor.
The experience of educational volunteering has a profound influence on the deep motivating agents — the "intrinsic motivators" — that propel our project work and our careers forward.
Daniel Pink, author of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, overturns the conventional wisdom about human motivation that the best way to motivate people is with external rewards such as money and "carrot-and-stick" methods. His research reveals that three "intrinsic motivators" offer a much more effective path: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
The way to better performance and satisfaction — at work, at school, and at home — rests on the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to serve others and a cause much larger than ourselves.
Now, if these motivating factors are really decisive for the professional growth and success of a PM, school volunteering may be the best "exercise gym" to practice and develop these "motivational muscles" because:
Autonomy is assured — a PM is free to choose when and how the collaboration with educators and school directors will occur;
Mastery is assured — a PM is strongly stimulated to think out of the box within a vital and dynamic environment such as a local school or community program and bring her/his expertise and mastery of project management to new levels of understanding; and
Purpose is assured — a PM is fully rewarded by the satisfaction of making a direct contribution to the local community and helping to make learning more engaging, meaningful, and useful throughout a young person's life.
This is exactly what is happening to passionate and motivated PMs all over the world. Thanks to many of you, and many more to come, this double benefit — one, for improving the learning lives of students, and two, for increasing the motivation and professionalism of a PM — will become a regular part of the professional and leadership development of all PMs.
Project Management as Learning, Work, and Life Skills
How Can Learning Projects Help All Students Become More Successful?
Thinking about the PMs and professionals who are reading this book (let's hope there are many!), the most appropriate answer to "How can we help all students become more successful?" may best come from those PMs who have actually worked with students and teachers over long periods of time, maturing their outlook on what is most effective in supporting teachers and students in their learning projects.
How have these successful PMs made a difference in bringing project management to education?
The simple answer is the one suggested by American futurist Alvin Toffler as how to best cope with an unknown future — by "learning, unlearning and re-learning."
The example most familiar to this project manager author (Walter) is my own experience of over 10 years working in schools. The following is my personal story, but one that will undoubtedly be similar but still unique to other PMs who are bridging the worlds of project management and education.
My goal is not to provide a detailed picture of a structured approach to project based learning (PBL) for schools; rather, my goal is to show the path that allowed me to understand the deeper meaning of PBL ("why"), to design a project cycle compliant with the learning processes of the students ("how"), and, finally, to select the best set of tools and techniques needed to deliver the expected product or result ("what").
Why? — Projects as a Model for Building Life Skills
As of 2007, after the pilot projects I developed in three primary schools in my city of Milan, I started a promotional campaign to spread the word about these first successful experiences and to respond to the interest many school teachers and directors who heard of these early successes expressed.
I must confess that their reactions at the end of my presentations were not always completely positive and encouraging.
In some cases, they showed a sort of diffidence about my proposal of a new PBL experiment; in others, they expressed interest coupled with a large amount of skepticism.
I tried to justify their reactions as the typical resistance to change of those facing something unfamiliar, who already had a great deal of existing work on their plate, and a clear desire not to increase any uncertainty in their status or role as a teacher or principal.
But, looking back over my 10-year journey, this was clearly not the most common reason for their reactions. There were two reasons why my thinking was incorrect:
First of all, the wide majority of school teachers, and primary school teachers in particular, is open to contribute to pilot projects of new learning approaches, especially those that really engage the hearts and minds of students.
Second, a large number of motivated and experienced teachers is fully aware that her/his mission is not only to perform a knowledge transfer of information, but also to enable each student to become a self-directed learner who can acquire the ability of "learning to learn." In other words, they know that teaching is a creative profession aimed at getting students to become independent learners, and not a delivery system based upon efficient information transmission and standardized testing of memory.
In short, today I can say that the main cause of those early misunderstandings and communication blockers at the beginning of my collaboration with the school world was not a result of the educators' resistance to change, but rather was because of my limited comprehension of their true answer to the question of "why" to even consider applying project management best practices in a classroom of K–12 students.
In fact, if I go back to my first presentations, I remember that I used to focus on the need to prepare students for their future jobs, especially with the increasing demand for project management practitioners by private and public organizations.
This implied that, in order to engage school representatives, I was dealing with the "why" issue, not from the perspective of an educator, but only from my perspective of a project manager who thinks project management is a sort of "proprietary language" for the business world.
How could I have altered this too simplistic vision of project management for education, and on whose benefit should I have been really focusing? The benefit must be recognized by the team of school teachers, including my wife, Mariù, with whom I have been so lucky to collaborate on the design and validation of the school toolkit.
Thanks to their help, I have become fully aware of two facts that are strongly interrelated:
First, students' learning and life skills are extremely important to all teachers, whose day-to-day efforts are aimed at ensuring a progressive and harmonic improvement of these skills, both at the individual and collective levels.
Second, adopting learning projects doesn't mean adding a new discipline (project management) into the school curriculum, but instead using simple project language (that's not business proprietary) as an effective tool for stimulating and improving students' learning strategies and everyday life skills.
In addition, I discovered that learning, work, and life skills, or 21st century skills as they are often called, are the focus of educational interest in many governmental institutions, both global and local.
In my research on these skills, I found three reference models that are particularly meaningful:
The first one, conceived in 1993 by the World Health Organization (WHO), defined life skills as "abilities for adaptive and positive behaviors that enable individuals to effectively deal with demands and challenges of everyday life." Within this framework, the WHO identified a set of 10 abilities (listed in the chart below).
The second one, issued in 2006 as part of the Strategy of Lisbon (an initiative to modernize education in Europe), contained a set of recommendations aimed at ensuring that Europe's citizens can acquire a wide range of key competences to face a rapidly changing and highly interconnected world. This European framework identifies eight key competences for lifelong learning (listed below).
The third one, designed by the United States–based Partnership for 21st Century Skills (or P21 — now the Partnership for 21st Century Learning), selected a set of four key competences to be adopted and implemented into the curricula of schools, school districts, and professional development programs. This framework is the Four Cs of 21 Century Learning, or "The Four Cs" for short.
Excerpted from "Project Management for Education"
Copyright © 2017 PMI Educational Foundation.
Excerpted by permission of Project Management Institute, Inc..
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Table of Contents
Educator Foreword vii
Educator Preface xi
Educator Author Page xiii
Educator Introduction xvii
What Does Project Management Bring to Education? xvii
The Five Ps of Project Management for Education xviii
Educator Chapter 1 Bringing Project Management into Classrooms and Homes 1
Why Is Project Management So Important to Student Success? 1
What's in It for Students? 2
What's in It for Educators? 3
What's in It for Parents? 4
Educator Chapter 2 Project Management as Learning, Work, and Life Skills 9
How Can Learning Projects Help All Students Become More Successful? 9
The Blood Project 9
Introductory Guide to Managing Learning Projects 11
Project Cycle Terms Overview 12
Projects Defined 13
Everyday Life Projects 14
Learning Projects and 21st Century Skills 16
Learning Project Phases 17
Project Learning Cycle Overview 18
Types of Learning Projects-Inquiry and Design 22
Types of Learning Projects-Debate and Expression 24
Educator Chapter 3 Project Based Learning (PBL) and Project Management (PM) 27
How Do PBL and PM Work Together? 27
Brief History of Project Based Learning (PBL) 27
Brief History of Project Management 28
PM + PBL = Future-Ready Students, Schools, and Societies 31
Educator Chapter 4 The Timeless Time Management Challenge 35
How Can We Help Students Tackle This Lifelong Motivational Challenge? 35
Time and the Speed of Thinking 35
Time Management = Motivation + Flow Management 36
Educator Chapter 5 Agile and Adaptive Learning Project Methods 39
How Can Adaptive Methods Build Engagement, Discovery, and Motivation? 39
Who and What "Drives" the Learning Project? 39
Learning Project Approaches-Prescriptive and Exploratory 41
Educator Chapter 6 Evaluating Projects-Products, Process, and Learning Progress 43
How Should Learning Project Outcomes Be Evaluated? 43
The Three-Legged Stool of Project Evaluation 43
Evaluating Product Results 44
Evaluating Project Processes 47
Evaluating Learning Progress 49
Educator Chapter 7 The Future of Project Management in Education 53
Project Management as a Bridge to 20st Century Education 53
Project Bridges to 21st Century Learning 61
A Learning Project Sampler 61
Primary Grades 3-5: Art Exhibit Project 62
Middle Grades 6-10: Olympic Stadium Design Project 68
Secondary Grades 9-12: Managing Science and Engineering Projects 74
Project Learning Resources 82
Key Learning Project Components Review 82
Project Management Pathways 88
21st Century Skills Descriptions 90
Project Method Frameworks Comparisons 98
Eucational Research on Project Learning 99
Recommended Resources and Guides 104
Life, Learning, and Professional Project Glossary 109