Edtech 542: Debrief the PBL

“Give students an open-ended task such as thinking of various endings for a story, recommending what to do in a case study scenario, or proposing solutions to a problem. Debrief the process they used and how it might be improved”(Larmer, 2013).

This quote is an example from the BIE website.  This is a pretty common statement in regards to PBL and the process that we should take as teachers.  The interesting part of this quote is at the end when it talks about debriefing.  The interesting take away from a PBL experience is you can reflect on the project, look at what could have been improved and what one did well.  Unlike a final test, the project has steps, specific moments that students can reflect on, break down, rebuild to understand their own process through the project, but also to understand about themselves and what they can do.   Learning occurs when we realize the problem and find a solution.  Like Edison failing 1000 times creating the lightbulb, he just needed that one learning moment to bring him over the top.

How does the debrief happen?
For the project that I created I would have the students be very vocal into their projects.  Students would have an opportunity to write in a blog or journal setting about each aspect of the project, breaking it down so there is more detail.  Second, there will be a group debrief where the groups will get together and write a final review of their work, how they worked together, and what the plan will be if they work together on a future project.

My hope would be that this reflection would happen more than once.  Once right after the presentations are done, while the content is on their minds.  And a second time 6-8weeks later as students can compare their work on a future project.

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