Teacher Tap


Online Collaborative Projects: Adapting Projects

There are lots of great online projects. Unfortunately, there are also many reasons why they might not work in your classroom. The timing might be off, the project might be at the wrong developmental level for your students, or the project might be focused on objectives you've already covered.Consider taking an existing project and repurposing it. In other words, adapt or modify a project to fit your needs. If you use another person's project idea, be sure you give this person credit. You might even email them and collaborate on a future project!

Adapt for Resources

Sometimes a project concept is good, but the resources or information need to be modified. For example, you might use new data, websites, or books for an effective project. You might rewrite a project so it is more readable. If the project website has linkrot, you might include revised websites that focus on new perspectives or ideas. Consider adding new channels of communication such as audio, video, or graphics. Explore the Bird Sleuth project. How could you adapt this project?

Adapt for Best

There are sometimes multiple projects on the same topic. You'll want to examine each project and take the best elements in building your project. For example, most projects have an overview, timelines, guidelines, worksheets, products, and assessment elements. Compare the Scoobie project with other travel buddy projects you've seen. What elements do you like and dislike in this project?

Adapt for Level

Many times you'll find a good project that's at the wrong grade, ability, or interest level. Think of ways that it could be adapted for your class. For example, you might use a different example or scenario to guide the project. If the project involves reading a book, could your students read a different book? Maybe you could vary the outcome or rewrite the instructions for the reading level of your students. In some cases you need to revise the products to fit the hardware and software you have available. Check out the poetry project. It contains a series of activities. Maybe you could select and adapt one of these activities for your classroom and a partner group.

Adapt for a Region

Some projects are created for a particular time or place. For example, the project may be based on a field trip to a particular museum. Can you revise the materials for your local historical or natural areas? If the project is on weather or geography, could it be adapted for the features in your area? What about connecting with another class with varied experiences. For example, if the project is about the coastline and hurricanes, could it be adapted for the plains and tornadoes. If it's written for a particular country could you add other countries to the project? Many Canadian projects talk about their provinces, could you adapt a project for the United States? The key is to brainstorm ideas and modify the project to fit your needs. If a project focuses on a particular author or piece of literature think about how these general ideas could be applied to other examples.

Extend a Project

There are many projects that appear as ideas rather than established projects. Think about finishing an incomplete project or adding breadth and depth to a project that was done last year. Maybe you could expand the project options of a one dimensional project or enhance the assessments in another project. The key is to update the resources to fit your needs. For example, there's a great project call TEAMS with many ideas to adapt.
Adapt A Project Start with an existing project. Try modifying or adapting it. Share your ideas with a friend. Try it!

| Exploring Projects | Locating Projects | Selecting Projects | Adapting Projects | Creating Projects | Creating a "Call for Participation" | Implementing the Project | Doing a Travel Buddy Project | Online Collaborative Projects |

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