Getting Started and PBL
This summer, 2017, I am on a transformative learning journey. I teach elementary math and science. I have a great desire to be a teacher who inspires. I want to create a truly significant learning environment and experience for my students. This goal has sent me down the path of being the learner so that I can be the teacher my students deserve.
I have also begun my Master’s in Educational Technology at Boise State University’s online program. I am taking EdTech 501, Introduction to Educational Technology and EdTech 542, Project Based Learning.
Edtech 501 has been a great experience and I have gained a lot of skills. I especially like the layout of the course and feel it is a great example of what I can do for my own classroom. The course has specific learning outcomes, but we are given choice in the artifact that we create. I love how the professor has made suggestions that offer choice in tools but leaves it open ended for us to explore. I learned so much by playing around with the tools and creating the assignments myself. In addition, we did a collaborative project where we created a Google slide presentation on the Digital Divide. My team lives in 3 different time zones. but we were able to create together using and exploring with digital tools. I truly believe this one course has already changed how I look at work in today’s world.
My second class EdTech 542 has just started. I have gained an insight into what is PBL, what are the essential components, and explored example projects. Clarifying the difference between Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning was an important distinction that I grasped. Between the two. Project Based Learning is more dynamic, crosses multiple disciplines, is longer in duration and definitely must have an authentic audience to inspire and give it purpose for the students. What is exciting about Project Based Learning is it teaches the content knowledge and skills and promotes deeper learning and is infiltrated with 21st Century Skills such as collaboration, creativity, problem-solving, and communication skills. Students buy in when it is meaningful to them. It is much more likely that a dormant passion is unleashed in a Project Based Learning experience than would occur in other methods. By participating in a Project Based Learning we are preparing our students for tomorrow’s workforce.
When I think about PBL, I struggle with one issue. The issue is caused by my districts’ rigid scope and sequence, in addition, my students are tested by the district on a timeline that matches this rigid structure. I understand the value of removing those chains to accomplish more and to create the learning environment that inspires. How to make that happen within my organization, is my issue. I hope this course will help me find a way to add PBL into my class.