My project page can be viewed here- https://sites.google.com/view/standrepbl
My self-evaluation rubric can be viewed here- https://docs.google.com/document/d/18fzSGJTa6G0Go-J2n0ff23E6RcMzZh9scX1KFwP2c28/edit?usp=sharing
Final ReflectionWhat do you know or understand best about Project Based Learning? What do you understand least?
What I understand best about Project Based Learning is the importance of student voice and choice, authenticity, critical thinking, and collaboration. When I work on something, I like to break it down and try to pull out the why? Meaning, why are we doing this in this manner? Why are these aspects of PBL important? I find it interesting that if you look at PBL on a fundamental level, it is modeled after real world experiences. Most successful people are successful because they are confident in their problem-solving abilities, can make informed decisions, and they are able to communicate and/or collaborate both effectively and efficiently.
What I understand least has to be the pedagogical side of PBL. I understand the structure, but I feel as though I would struggle getting up in front of a group of teachers and facilitating this project. I attribute that to the lack of time I have spent teaching in a classroom. I look at great teachers teaching students with admiration, that is a skill that I lack confidence in.
What did you expect to learn in this course? What did you actually learn? More, less, and why?
I expected to learn about PBL. I think we did, but beyond that, I think that we learned how to integrate PBL into our instruction in a way that is not only effective, but also in a way that promotes PBL as a alternative to traditional instruction. I don't know if I had ever realized how transformational PBL could be.
What will you do with what you have learned?
I will pass it on. I am not in the he classroom, but I do help planning and implementing professional development in my district. I already have some teachers that are actively using PBL in their classes. I hope to have the opportunity to work with them to promote PBL districtwide.
CuThis week we worked on finishing up our PBL projects page, and peer reviewed our classmates projects. I reviewed Karen Trevino's Project about sports statistics. I found the her project was very well done. I really liked her driving question, "How can we create a dream team?".
My project was reviewed and, while I received mostly good feedback, I was told that I needed to add more instructional support. My project already included the support of instructional specialists throughout the project, but I went ahead and added wordage to certain parts of my project that reiterates the support that will be provided throughout.
Overall, I am very happy with how my project turned out. You can view my project site here - Using Technology to Redefine Instruction. Currently, all I have left to do is my self-evaluation, turn-in, and reflection post.
This week we were tasked with completing the processes of our projects, including the culminating activity on our products and performance page, the differentiated instruction portion on our student learning guide, and the reflection methods in the products and performance page.
We were also tasked with including a Web 2.0 tool in our project. As I have stated before, I have included a task in my project that requires the use of the WeVideo creation tool to create a reflection video once the project is completed. WeVideo will be a powerful tool for not only the teachers to use in their own project reflection, but also to create media for their class, or to have their students create media content.
In the forum, we were asked a series of questions regarding criticisms we may receive when implementing a PBL project. The questions and my answers are as follows:
What are some potential criticisms that you might receive from administrators, parents, and colleagues?
I think that the biggest criticism that might be received will relate to the time commitment to the project that teachers will have to make. Though teachers generally complain about how dry and boring traditional professional development is, the fact that this project will take place over a period of 6 weeks and requires some work on their part will lead some teachers to criticize the process.
How will you respond to those criticisms?
I would respond to these criticism by reminding them how much they hate traditional professional development. I think that if we treat this project as a test and provide a good support structures, the teachers will be thrilled with their final products and the added reflection process will leave them feeling empowered. Hopefully, that will shoehorn into not only to them embracing a new form of PD, but also lead them to embrace PBL in their classrooms.
What rationale can you give for incorporating PBL into your repertoire of effective instructional strategies?
Incorporating PBL into my repertoire of effective instructional strategies will be valuable as a means to provide instruction that is engaging and builds soft-skills beyond the content that is covered in the given instructional lesson.
This week we were tasked with creating the Student Learning Guide, Project Timeline, Entry Event, and Resources pages of our PBL project website. While this portion of the course was a lot of work, I feel as though the project structure is now becoming solidified. I can see how the project will flow and I am beginning to have a better appreciation for the impact that this PBL project could have on my teachers as compared to traditional professional development.
My Student Guide includes all of the products, assessments, standards, and support for the teachers throughout the project. The Project Timeline lays out the timeline in a structured and easy to follow manner. The Entry Event gives teachers the opportunity to get motivated about the project and discuss any preconceived notions that they bring to the table. Finally, the Resources Needed page lays out all of the needed personnel, hardware, and software tools. It also provides resources that teachers can use while taking part in the project.
We were also tasked with discussing a Web 2.0 tool that will be used in the project. Even though I have tried to give many opportunities for student voice and choice in what tools are used throughout the project, I made a point to select WeVideo for the final reflection video. This video will be the culmination of the project and will be shared publicly on Twitter. WeVideo is a great web-based tool to use for video creation. Not only does it have similar functionality to iMovie and Adobe Premiere, but it is also completely web-based and therefore accessible from any device, including Chromebooks. It also integrates with Google Drive, which is used heavily in our district.
This week, we were tasked with creating an assessment plan for our PBL project. This task was very eye-opening as I evaluated the learning outcomes that I wanted form my project. I began to see how my formative and summative assessments could not only be authentic activities, but how they could be evaluated through the use of a rubric.
My formative assessments are as follows:
1. Group Research
Student's will work in groups to brainstorm and research in an attempt to answer the projects sub questions. A research template will be provided for team members to research and answer questions. Once they have researched the questions individually, they will brainstorm as a team and add their team answer to the template. This activity will assess their research skills, their understanding of the project, and their ability to collaborate with a team.
2. Strategic Lesson Planning
Collaborating with the other students in their groups, students will build an individual strategic lesson plan for creating a transformational unit using state standards in their given subject area.
1. Public Product
Students will post their finalized lesson plan on their staff website and share it on Twitter with the district hashtag once the plan is approved by the district curriculum and instruction department. They will then implement their lesson into their instruction. Once the lesson is complete, students will provide a survey to the children that took part in the instruction to gather their feedback.
This task was very beneficial as it allowed to me to evaluate my project against the content standards and 21st century skills that I think are important to the learning outcomes of my students.
This week we were tasked with brainstorming our driving question and sub-questions for our projects. This process was not only intimidating, but also very insightful. After brainstorming, discussing and revising, I feel like I have a much better grasp on what my project will look like.
According to RJ Dake, driving questions contain the following criteria. They:
At first, it seemed like a very daunting task to create a narrowly-scoped driving question that contains all of these criteria. Here is my first attempt:
“How can we implement technology into our instruction in transformational ways?”
After a discussion with Dr. Rice and some classmates, I revised my question to be:
"How can I transform my teaching with technology?"
My Sub Questions are as follows:
I believe that these sub questions will guide the teachers that are taking part in this professional development to a deeper understanding of using technology in their classroom in a transformational way.
We were then tasked with creating a Visual Project Organizer. I chose to use Piktochart. You can view my organizer here. This was my first attempt at using Piktochart. I really enjoyed it. It was easy to use and the end product looks professionally done. The Visual Project Organizer also helped me to better visualize my project. I feel like every step we take, my end product becomes a little more focused and makes more sense.
Driving Questions (RJ Dake)
This week in EdTech 542, we began developing our project idea and creating our project website. My project website can be accessed here- sites.google.com/view/standrepbl. I really struggled with my project idea, but was able to come up with a broad overview of my project. I am sure that I will be able to narrow down the scope of my project in the next few weeks as we brainstorm driving questions and work through the specifics of our projects.
As an overview, my project will be professional development in which my teachers will be the students. The overall objective for the project is to get teachers to think about instruction from another point of view. Rather than using technology to substitute traditional instruction (worksheets, textbooks, drill & kill, etc....), how can we provide transformational instruction?
This week in EdTech 542, we were tasked with searching for articles about the effectiveness of PBL in diverse classrooms. I found a great article on Edutopia, "Project-Based Learning Research Review: Evidence-Based Components of Success". According to the article, "Compared to traditional instructional methods, students engaged in small-group learning achieve higher grades, retain information longer, and have reduced dropout rates, improved communication and collaboration skills, and a better understanding of professional environments".
I believe that this very thorough shows that PBL can have a positive impact on diverse classrooms. With that said, it is important to calibrate the project design to avoid common pitfalls in a PBL setting. Teachers need to act as facilitators, modeling active listening, encourage students to explore contradictory resources to make informed conclusions, and be both realistic and flexible while planning projects.
In the discussion forum this week, we were tasked with researching projects and evaluating one using the "Essential Project Design Elements Checklist" from BIE. I really enjoyed searching through all of the example PBL projects. I noticed that most of them that I looked at had multiple artifacts tied to the project, a lot of student voice and choice, and a public presentation of some sort. The project that really stood out to me is the “Get Bent” project from High Tech High. In this project students used three-dimensional geometry, calculus, physics, art, and woodworking skills to design, explain, and construct books, posters, chairs, and lamps people would actually want in their homes. There isn’t a lot of background information on the resources site, but all of the student projects are on display on the project website. I was drawn to this project for two distinct reasons.
First, as a woodworker, the fact that these students planned out and made this exquisite furniture blows me away. These final products are a testament to student voice and choice. They make me realize that we often underestimate what students are capable of with creative freedom and a little guidance.
Second, High Tech High was the subject of the documentary Most Likely to Succeed. I have watched screenings of this film at multiple conferences and it is the original reason behind my interest in the impact that PBL can have on learning. I highly recommend seeing this film if you have not already.
As I would like to adapt staff professional development to PBL, I don't know how much this particular project is relevant. With that said, I think that the artifacts show evidence of how engaging and impactful that PBL can have on instruction.
This week, I began my introduction into the world of project based learning in EdTech 542: Technology-Supported Project Based Learning. Once the class introductions and syllabus review were out of the way, we were exposed to a plethora of PBL resources. Here is a comprehensive list:
With such a structured and inclusive element workflow, BIE makes project based learning implementation look somewhat easy. However, in doing more research, it is easy to see that there are several considerations and difficulties that create roadblocks for many teachers that attempt to implement PBL. My Research found that, while PBL has a positive impact on student’s content retention, engagement/empathy, motivation, and the development of soft-skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem solving, it can be difficult for teachers to implement (Brush & Saye, 2008; Krajcik, et al., 1998). One study (Marx, et al., 1997), found several difficulties with PBL:
These studies seem to promote the idea that both students and teachers need effective support while planning for and implementing PBL in the classroom. This support should include help in time-management/organization, directing inquiry, scaffolding, and integrating technology effectively into instruction (Brush & Saye, 2008; Krajcik, et al., 1998).
Brush, T., & Saye, J. (2008). The effects of multimedia-supported problem-based inquiry on student engagement, empathy, and assumptions about history. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 2(1), 21-56. https://doi.org/10.7771/1541-5015.1052
Krajcik, J. S., Blumenfeld, P. C., Marx, R. W., Bass, K. M., Fredricks, J., & Soloway, E. (1998). Inquiry in project-based science classrooms: Initial attempts by middle school students. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 7, 313-350. http://stem.gstboces.org/Shared%20Documents/STEM%20DEPLOYMENT%20PROJECT%20RESEARCH/InquiryinProject-BasedScience.pdf
Marx, R. W., Blumenfeld, P.C., Krajcik, J. S., & Soloway, E. (1997). Enacting project-based science: Challenges for practice and policy. Elementary School Journal, 97, 341-358. http://libproxy.boisestate.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=9708235766&site=ehost-live