This week we focused on the role of the teacher as a manager or guide in the project development process. We looked at important and essential strategies to help make sure the teacher isn’t the whole show but rather a director. One of the most important ways to help “check” your facilitating is to think in the terms of the student. I think of it as the “I” or “me” syndrome that students often have. What does this have to do with me? What do I get to do? Thinking this way helps me stay in the management role rather than the “sage on the stage”. Some questions we were asked to reflect on help also with achieving a teacher/guide role. The questions and my responses are below:
- Will my role in the teaching/learning process change? I think depending on the activity I will have to be open to my role changing frequently. There will be some teacher presentation moments as I help students understand the tools we will be using. I will also become a team member/observer as I let students create their virtual maps. Flexibility and availability is the key to success in PBL.
- What are the skills of effective facilitation? The skills of effective facilitation have been outlined as:
-Understanding the role of the student
- Will the students develop the competencies and skills needed to be successful? I think some students will have an easier time at this than others obviously but overall I think they will be successful.
- What changes will you need to make in order to become an effective facilitator in your PBL unit? I think one major change is understanding when to facilitate and when to collaborate. Getting the right balance is the key to success.
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.
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.
For week 1 of EDTECH 542 we were asked to investigate into Project Based Learning. One website that seemed to be the heart of what PBL is, how to use it, and basically the main resource of PBL is found here. I have used elements of PBL in my teaching but I didn’t know the order and other elements involved in PBL. I’m glad I am learning about this because it will be very helpful in my approach to teaching.
One interesting observation was recognizing the difference between Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning. I thought it would be easy to distinguish between the two but I found it a little bit difficult to communicate my thoughts. Overall, I would conclude that Problem Based Learning is focused on creating a deeper understanding of a subject through analysis and solving while Project Based Learning is a way to put into real-world practice modern skills to be successful in life.
I had the option to choose 1 group out of 3 to discuss with other students. I choose group 1 which dealt with the definition of PBL because I wasn’t sure exactly what it meant. Come here to see my post.
The School Evaluation Summary was a really interesting assignment. In this assignment we were first asked to familiarize ourselves with the Technology Maturity Benchmark then make an evaluation of our school. This was completely new to me, I had never thought of technology in schools in such a complex way. I think that might be one of the main problems we have. It seems to me that with technology changing so quickly that we just let it come without planning properly and studying the developments. I think School Evaluation Summaries will help with keeping up with technology because we have a measurable way that changes with the advancement of technology.
The Technology Maturity Benchmark uses different levels to determine the maturity of technology in the school. The levels or stages are; the Emergent Stage, the Islands Stage, the Integrated Stage, and the Intelligent Stage. Emergent represents the least mature and Intelligent as the most mature. Each of these stages are divided into two categories; Behavioral and Resource/Infrastructure. I think the division of each of these areas is very necessary because the behaviors of technology use and the sources available really determine the level of maturity in technology. One thing I found interesting is that my school seemed to embrace technological resources but the behavior was one of the biggest factors in the development. While the school did well on the resource side, the lack of training was really a big indicator of the maturity level. Very little training was available and worse was the behavior of the teachers because the teachers didn’t have a strong desire to be trained. So the biggest hold up in my school was the lack of training. Technology is only as effective as the users ability. As technology advances it gets simpler for the user but we can’t assume anyone can “just figure it out”.
This assignment was very interesting and I really enjoyed it. It opened my eyes to realize the importance of defining what level of technology you’re using. If you don’t know where you’re at it’s difficult to see where you’re going especially in Educational technology.
School Evaluation Survey
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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