What do you know understand best about Project Based Learning? What do you understand least?
I understand that what students learn through the project must be of significant importance and a real-world problem for the students to remain engaged. I also know that students are more motivated to learn when they feel like they are making a difference and sharing their work with an authentic audience. In addition, something that most teachers allow little time for in their classrooms is the reflection component. Students can almost learn as much from looking back and reflecting on the process and their learning, which is something I myself often forgot about.
Something that I at first felt lost about was finding expert partners. However, once I did find the right people in our community I found it very beneficial because they were able to answer any of their questions that they could not find anywhere else directly from someone in the field. Something else that I still need to continue to get better at is being okay with messy thinking and unorganized steps (as long as they are all headed in the right path). I need to learn to be okay with a less rigid calendar because my students really showed me that they know the in and outs of the endangered species of Idaho.
What did you expect to learn in this course? What did you actually learn? More, less, and why?
Honestly, I simply wanted to know what PBL really was. A colleague of mine (who used to teach Spanish at BSU) kept talking about PBL but I never truly understood what it all entailed. I thought that it was all about working in the community since she was working with prisoners and having her students do some community service. I understand now the importance of the community component but also all of the other components that a teacher must take into account to make a PBL project successful in her classroom for her actual students.
Thanks to this class, I have learned to use the standards I am responsible for teaching in second grade in a more meaningful way thanks to the PBL Model. I feel like I have a good foundational understanding on how to develop instructional units that tie to the standards and I can make it more authentic for my students which I used to find challenging at times because I teach all subject matters in Spanish. I understand the value of having an authentic driving question and an authentic audience. And I feel like I can create web-based PBL units without as much guidance and scaffolding on my own from now on.
What will you do with what you have learned?My plan for this summer is to turn our quarterly summative assessment that either combine science and language arts or social studies and language arts into PBL projects. At the moments I feel like I have many of the same components but students were not as in charge of their own learning and it was much more individualized. I really hope that I can encourage students to use technology to design solutions to the proposed problems, give them a voice, ask them to dig deeper and provide opportunities to become engaged citizens.
You can find my PBL project at: https://sites.google.com/a/u.boisestate.edu/saving-caribou-technology-supported-project-based-learning/home