Final Project and reflection for ET542

Here is the link to my website for the PBL, “Life in the Fastlane, The Science of MHS Hornets” that I created for EdTech 542.

This was quite a process! I am excited to try this project in my classes, although I must admit that it makes me a little nervous. How will it go? Will I be able to manage effectively? Will it take too much time so I cannot cover other topics? These are all concerns of mine.

I think that as a teacher hardest part for me will be effective management. I will need to manage the process by utilizing regular formative assessments as well as meetings with teams.

Like anything new, doing PBL will take practice, evaluation, revisions, etc (just like what I am asking my students to do!).

As part of the this last week of reflection, we are to do the following: Discussion Forum – Let’s Debrief!

Another avenue for self-evaluation involves reflection on the learning process itself. For our discussion this week, use the prompts below to think about and reflect on your experience in this course:

  • What do you know understand best about Project Based Learning? What do you understand least?

Now that I have taken ET542, I have a much better understanding of PBL. First, I understand that the project is the learning activity (Before taking ET542, I thought of PBL as “the dessert”. Students learn content, then create something). In PBL, students learn the content through creation of the project. Second, PBL require LOTS of upfront planning! In order for PBL to work, the teacher needs to plan, and plan some more. The teacher needs to be ready for possible roadblocks, and have paths to success ready. Next, assessment and management are paramount to success. There needs to be continual formative assessment throughout the project. I learned this the hard way a few years ago when I gave my students an assignment (create a children’s book on the solar system) and the final rubric, but didn’t have midway assessments!. Project management is a daily process, of meeting with teams, and using formative assessments to determine where each team is. Again, I learned this the hard way with that same project. Each day teams would get together and research and create. I asked them “how’s it going?” but I realize that  I needed to by much more present in the management process and with the formative assessments!

I think the part that I understand the least are what are the best tools for formative assessment throughout the project. I feel that this will vary from project to project and teacher to teacher to teacher. Every teacher has their own toolbox, and some tools work well, others not so much! Additionally, the daily management will require lots of practice to determine what works and what needs improvement!!

  • What did you expect to learn in this course? What did you actually learn? More, less, and why?

When I look back at the week one introduction, the three things that I hoped to learn were: 1. what exactly is Project Based Learning? 2. how do I create a lesson using PBL?  learn how to implement PBL within my current course structure? 3.  get some great new ideas for Project Based Learning Assignments (once I figure out what it is, and how to do it!)

I think I achieved those three goals then some! I have a much better understanding of PBL now and the necessary components. Before ET542, I didn’t realize the importance of the assessment and management components.

  • What will you do with what you have learned?

I hope to 1. try my PBL lesson.  2. plan some additional PBL units for other units and other classes that I teach. 3.  Hope to implement some key pieces of PBL in all of my lessons. In particular I hope to implement more formative assessment throughout all of my lessons, and more student reflection.

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