Teachers use projects to supplement classroom instruction and enhance the learners' concrete learning experiences. Good student projects provide students with actual and hands-on experiences to solve problems or answer questions. The evolution of new learning tools, such as the internet, provides a new avenue for teachers to conduct project-based learning. Specifically, the Internet enables learners to exchange ideas and experiences and to collaborate with distant peers on a certain project.
Telecollaboration or telecollaborative learning projects enable student participants to "share the labors" (collaborate) of learning "at a distance" (tele) using Internet tools. They may work together through electronic mail, newsgroups, discussion forums, and a number of other online tools and learning environments. There are three primary types of telecollaborative projects: (1) interpersonal exchange, (2) information collection and analysis, and (3) problem-solving. The Pollution Trail Project, which is described here, is an example of the second type.
The Pollution Trail Project, which was first conceptualized during a workshop conducted by FIT-ED and Coca-Cola Ed-Venture for selected teachers nationwide, was conducted by students of Manaoag National High School and Nueva Ecija National High School. The project aim was to make a survey of the effects of pollution on the population of organisms located in particular areas in Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija. The results gathered from the students' surveys were submitted to the teacher and recorded prior to uploading to the project website.
The Pollution Trail Project is an example of project-based learning using information technology. It was sufficiently innovative to be awarded first place in the nationwide search for the best telecollaborative project in 2003.