Monthly Archives: July 2015

Edtech 542: Challenges as a teacher doing PBL

Will my role in the teaching/learning process change?

As a teacher in a PBL environment, my role goes away from the lecturer/holder of all information, and toward a facilitator of experience and knowledge.  Instead of me telling students what to know, how to use the information and when to repeat it back to me, I am encouraging students to find the information, be creative on the collection  and presentation of new knowledge.

What are the skills of effective facilitation?

Effective facilitation comes down to coaching, encouragement and communication.  Being a facilitator does not mean that you give students the project and sit back and play games on your iPad.  Being a great facilitator means that you are working with the students, building them up, encouraging them and communicating clearly when they have a question.  Facilitators challenge students to build the answer from the ground up, rather than simply handing the answer over.

Will the students develop the competencies and skills needed to be successful?

Yes.  The challenge though comes from the growing pains of PBL.  Students are brain-washed to absorb and vomit out information projected on a screen.  PBL is encouraging students to take a problem and present their organic findings.  With good facilitation and hard work, the skills will come.

What changes will you need to make in order to become an effective facilitator in your PBL unit?

For my unit, I will need to have more preparatory material to encourage student participation and skills (such as iMovie and storyboarding!


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Edtech 542: Assessments in PBL

For my project, “The Early Ministry of Jesus Project” I have created three assessments (so far).  The first is a checklist that the students will use to mark their progress through the project.  Submitting this periodically will allow me to see where students are at on the project, which groups I may need to spend more time with, and which groups I need to challenge more.  The second assessment is a peer review.  Once the groups have gotten to a “rough cut” of their video, they will share with their peers and be reviewed based on a simple rubric that I created.  Through this assessment, students are critiquing each other, allowing for greater growth in their projects through their peer interactions. Finally, there is a summative rubric for the entire project that I will use to assess the groups final draft.  The rubric breaks down each category and allows the students to see what is expected from their project.

I think one way that I could enhance my summative assessment is to integrate a student grading rubric as well.  This way students have input on their peers videos and can give them a grade that will give extra feedback as well as give a different perspective from mine about the project.

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Edtech 542: Building a Driving Question

This week was focused on the driving question, the x on the treasure map for the students to strive for.  As I was reflecting on these actvities I found that this project will be really challenging for students.  This is a revamped project that I am building from a past smaller project and test that I have done in the past.  I really feel that the driving question sparks an instance of curiosity and an open ended challenge for students when they work on this project.  I found the sub questions to be more difficult because each student will not be presenting on the same information.  Overall, I really learned the importance of a driving question that is provocative, open ended, and one that encapsulates everything we are studying in the class.


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EdTech 542: Effectiveness of PBL in a Diverse Classroom

In my search for PBL in a diverse classroom I came across a video that was looking at the effectiveness of PBL in an ELL setting.  The video shows a biology classroom that is using hands on projects to help students have understanding of the content.  As the students work in small groups, the teacher has encouraged his students to use their native languages when they can, while using english in the large group setting.
The important point I saw from this video was the hands on aspect of PBL for students.  No matter their language, if students are able to have hands on experiences, they are going to understand the content on a greater level than simply taking notes on a screen.

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Edtech 542 Week 1: What is PBL

I have to admit that I have had an idea of what PBL is, even experimented with it in my classroom.  What I didn’t realize was that I was doing a horrible job at it!  There is so much more detail going into “PBL” than simply assigning a project and reflecting on the process.

This is one reason I really like teaching, I get to try new and different strategies and activities, learn from them, make them better.  Ultimately my students will be the ones to benefit in the end as the process becomes more and more defined.

Below is the image I used in my discussion post showing the difference between PBL and Traditional-  I find this image very humbling as I consider what the past “PBL” was in my classroom.  I also find it inspiring for what could be in my classroom!

Image found at

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