What do you know understand best about Project Based Learning? What do you understand least?
My understanding of PBL has truly grown over the span of this course. I have gained a greater understanding of connecting the project back to the driving question as well as the addition of assessments within the project. I had not thought about adding assessments within the project. As I reflect on this process thought, it enhances the learning of the students.
What did you expect to learn in this course? What did you actually learn? More, less, and why?
My expectations of this course were greatly met. I think the BIE site was so valuable for understanding and building projects within my class. Though I have assigned projects in the past, I feel that I have the ability to have a more complete project that will allow students to have a greater opportunity for learning.
What will you do with what you have learned?
This year, I am going to be reviewing and rebuilding some of my major assessments, creating projects instead of tests. The project that I have created will be implemented into my class this fall. I am excited to have it in front of students and see how the project looks like in an actual classroom.
I had the honor of having my project reviewed by Kaycie Winn.
Kaycie did an awesome job reviewing my project. She brought back some really thoughtful feedback about my project. One area that surprised me about her review was the limited amount of audience that the students would be presenting to. Though I have them posting their videos on Youtube, I didn’t consider a bigger audience outside of the class. This is something that I am going to be rethinking as I finalize my project.
I also have been made aware by Kaycie the absence of the driving question in my final rubrics. I will need to alter this as well.
I appreciate Kaycie’s feedback and I think it will make my project that much more effective!
“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.
For these activities it has been very interesting to watch the project unfold. For example, when I was laying out my products and performances that the students would be completing, the information was already completed from my first plan of the project. The task was simply fleshing out the details of the project in a way that was helpful to the students. I think looking over this experiences, each step helps you as you move toward the final completed project.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 http://www.peertutoringresource.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/PBL-versus-Doing-Projects.png