What to Do When a Project Fails

“Failure is success in progress.” —Albert Einstein

“At the outset of a project, enthusiasm and idealism are high. As educators, we approach our project-based learning (PBL) with an eye toward success, but what happens when things don’t turn out as planned?

My co-teacher and I launched a Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) video project on World War I and World War II in our integrated American history and English language arts class. The project married the concept of CYOA books with videos where viewers choose what to do next. Rather than have each group make its own video, we decided to have our whole classes divide up the tasks to create one giant adventure.

Students were placed in different teams based on self-identified skills, and roles included writers, actors, directors, artists for props, lighting and camera operators, and video editors. Each class created a storyboard on a whiteboard wall, plotting all of the paths and choices like a sideways tree. Groups of students began writing scripts for each scene, including details of the setting and props.

The students did an excellent job of distributing roles and diagramming the big-picture storyboard, but they struggled with the rest of the project. Ultimately, we were unable to finish the videos, but the challenges gave us new insights on how to successfully implement this type of project in the future.”

Go to Edutopia to read the rest of this post and learn about the 5 things that I learned.