This week we focused on planning and preparing our project by focusing on the tasks and activties of the project. We also looked at estimating time and preparing resources. We were given 2 options to post in our learning logs, I decided to go with option 2 and post about an article by Jamie Mckenzie titled, Scaffolding in PBL. I thought this article was so great I’ve inserted it here:
I think scaffolding is key to effective PBL. I have often wondered how to “let my students loose” without making the activity purposeless and unfruitful On the other hand there’s the challenge of being to restrictive. I strongly agree with McKenzie when she explains, “We should have learned by now that exploration by students progresses most effectively when those students have been well equipped, well prepared and well guided along the path.” (McKenize, 1999). There has to be some guidance in order for effective learning to take place. I think the analogy of the guardrail of a mountain highway fits well with the whole concept of scaffolding in PBL, it doesn’t road block the learning process but guides it safely and effectively.
I have pondered this issue in our project already. Using Google maps and other Edtech tools will require some major guidance and I have worried about being too constricting in the creative process. One thing we have done is narrowed down the tools to the most effective and simple to use. We haven’t put a limit on the tools and have encouraged in our project the opportunity to use other tools. I think scaffolding in PBL is worthwhile and its principles should be considered in other teaching activities as well.
Week 3 I feel like has been a very important week for the development of the project. There were two parts to this week. The first part was to develop a project idea. I scanned through various projects and as I mentioned on the last post the idea of creating a scouting activity would be great. I offered to team up with anyone in the class (collaboration) and Zach Fodor liked the idea and we ran with it. A few tweaks and this is what we came up with.
After putting the idea together the next part was to come up with a driving question. Zach and I had the same philosophy of using technology to enhance the experience in nature. The driving question we came up with was “What technological tools will enhance my experience with demonstrating, documenting and explaining various subjects of nature?” I think this question will be appealing and relevant to teacher and learner. This generation of students are so technological and sometimes teachers try to restrict its use that it just causes frustration for them. I have found that students will embrace and enjoy the idea of using technology and teachers won’t feel like they have to fight students to enjoy learning.
Other items addressed were the content standards students will be able to use and the 21st century skills that will be taught and addressed. The standards we used were adopted by the San Mateo Education Standards which I think is appropriate based on the goal. A visual project organizer was also created to help visually see the steps to take.
Overall, the project seems to be coming along well. I am really happy to be working with Zach, he has really helped to put it all together.
Our task this week was to review different Project-Based resources and find one that we really liked and look for how to implement it into the classroom. The project I found was called ““Using Technology to Connect Students & the Environment”. I really liked this project because it combined technology with the environment. I am involved in scouts and some leaders really frown on allowing the boys to use ipods or anything like that while we are camping. I think their philosophy was to help the boys “get away” from everything when we camp. I like that philosophy but this PBL project seemed to make the enviorment and outdoors more intriguing by using technology to learn about it. I think they had some great ideas and philosophies for teaching regardless whether I will be teaching science or not.
Another task was to ind an article on the topic of the effectiveness of Project Based Learning in diverse classrooms. The article I found is called, “Interdisciplinary project-based learning leads to success” by James Anderson an automotive tech teacher at Greenville Ohio High School. This article summarized very well the “idea” of PBL and also gave many evidences of it’s success. In Anderson’s (2010) article it states:
“In addition to winning awards, we see the success of having many students further their education through the Automotive Youth Education System (AYES) program, a summer internship at a local dealership or independent service center that takes place between the junior and senior year. And after high school graduation, a large percentage of our students go on to postsecondary education to earn an associate’s degree in automotive technology/science.”
Overall the research this week has been very enjoyable. I was starting to feel a little concerned because I noticed a common feature of the need for creativity through out the projects. I found a couple of sites that I feel will help with that concern though. I found that PBL has been positively adapted and almost every project seems to be successful. I’m sure if I dig a little deeper I’ll find some failures but overall I think that their are more pros than cons.
I think PBL will fit nicely into my teaching style. I think their may be some limitations because of the situation I’m teaching in but the philosophy of PBL will be very valuable to me.
As far as ideas for a project, I think I might try to look into doing some work with scouts to creating a successful experience as shown from the project I found. I still need to get a great grasp on PBL and where to start but I think I have a much greater idea now of what I want to do and where I want to go.
I learned from this assignment that importance and value of being able to work as a team. Our group was located in different states and even in a different country. I learned the value of VoiceThread’s ability to connect people from all over the world. We also used google hangout and google documents to collaborate ideas and plan to make the presentation successful. Using these tools I was able to understand the AECT standard of Project Management by “planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects” (Seels & Richey, 1994, p. 50) This assignment also helped me understand the digital inequality problem and different ways to solve it.
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