Watching Project Based Learning Part 1: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher & Project Based Learning Part 2: Experiences of a 3rd Grade Teacher really opened my eyes so much further to the benefits of Project Based Learning! Hearing a real teacher give examples of how he was able to implement PBL into his classroom instilled a great amount of hope in me for this type of teaching. When listening to Anthony Capps, you can easily see that he is very proud of his students. They seem to be learning a great deal and to be actually enjoying it. I think these things that every teacher wants and strives for!
When I think back on my own learning, the things I remember most from K-12 in school are doing projects! I don’t have endless recollections of sitting in my desk and staring at the board. Rather, when I think back on something I really enjoyed or something I learned a great deal from… I now realize that it is when I myself was doing a project! Those are the times I gained the most knowledge, and I still carry much of that with me!
Next, I watched a video about iCurio. I learned a lot here, because it is a completely new concept for me! After watching the video, I now know it is a specialized search engine catered to providing educational material to students in a safe environment. This is a great tool in today’s world because there is so much “bad” content out there on the internet which can be stumbled upon, in terms of the level of appropriateness and also on the quality of the material. Although all schools have safe search filters, this still does not account for the fact that much of the information a child may stumble upon could be irrelevant or even incorrect. Having a tool like this which was created for helping students is something I could see being much more beneficial.
The following video was about Discovery Education. I learned that it can be an extremely valuable education tool when combined with other teaching and learning techniques. It’s great to know that there are so many ways to reiterate information to students! I also checked out their website and was able to find many of the ways in which one could use their tools in the classroom!
I really enjoyed learning some tips for new teachers in the next video. One of the most interesting parts to me was learning about how to motivate students to engage themselves into their assignments and projects, as well as discussing the difficulties of engaging all of the students, and the different ways in which to attempt that. Additionally, Anthony Capps made a great point when he stated that teachers are constant learners. This really brings to my attention the fact that I will need to be constantly engaging myself in order to engage the students! I feel that teaching will be more fun for me when I have more to share, and am very educated on the topics in which we discuss in the classroom.
Next, I watched Don’t Teach Tech – Use It. In this video, Dr. Strange and Anthony Capps discuss how implementing technology into the classroom does not always have to be difficult! I was surprised to learn that young children adapt to technology so easily. I remember during my observation hours that some of the teachers found many creative ways to use technology. I felt like it kept students engaged longer because it gave them something new to focus on. In one class, the teacher used a program called kahoot! where students were able to play an interactive game with the rest of their classmates up on the smartboard. Smartphones acted as clickers where students were able to choose their answers to questions as the popped up on the screen. I felt that this method of learning was very effective and it corresponds with what Mr. Capps was discussing in the video.
Lastly, in Additional Thoughts About Lessons, a short description of the basics of creating lessons was given. I have never created a lesson, considering I am not yet a teacher. Therefore, this gave me a good understanding of where to start with doing so. I now understand how important it will be to plan out the lessons in advance, and more importantly, how they are timed and scheduled.