The article by John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller is the best explanation of PBL I feel that I have discovered to date. This article really breaks down the entire process of creating a project to implement in the classroom. This really taught me that creating the projects will take a lot of effort as a teacher, but it will be worth it for the students. I now see that there is nothing simple about this type of learning. However, if students are not retaining information, I am wasting my time as a teacher. Therefore, I want to take advantage of all of the ideas and resources that come available to me so that I can do the best job that I can.
One of my favorite things that Tony Vincent teaches us with this video is that by participating in PBL, “students learn Collaboration Skills, Communication Skills, Critical Thinking Skills, and Career and Life Skills”. Mr. Vincent teaches us that students will walk away from the classroom with actual skills by using PBL. Though tests are a very important tool for assessing knowledge, I believe that gaining life skills is so much more advantageous than this!
Next, I chose and watched three of the optional videos:
- Project Based Learning: What Motivates Students Today
- High School Teachers Meet the Challenges of PBL Implementation
- Two students solve the case of the watery ketchup by designing a new cap
I feel that listening and watching students can help us learn a great deal about project based learning. When we know what motivates students, we can see better ways to design projects to continue to help to engage them and keep them motivated. Student reaction to this type of learning is a great indicator of whether it is going to be successful or not. In the video about the two students creating a new ketchup cap, we are taught how capable students can be when given the opportunity to have some freedom to learn on their own. This shows us that project based learning can bring out student potential like never before.
After watching the high school teachers at Sammamish High School, I have even more faith in project based learning. I feel that if so many teachers are working so hard to create a fully PBL curriculum, they must have witnessed an astounding result from their students during original implementation. Even though at times the teachers were having trouble creating projects for all of the material, they still did their best to take advantage of PBL whenever possible. This teaches me how important it will be to make sure students are prepared for college as much as possible. Hearing the student testimonies taught me that they truly appreciated the new way of learning. And not only are students learning more, they are feeling better about themselves and their work. What could be better than that?
One more insightful thing I learned during this assignment about project based learning was about how to come up with project ideas. A teacher in one of the videos explained that the projects should be related to what a professional would do in the particular subject field being discussed. I think this is brilliant, because it gives students a chance to build up skills for when they are a professional themselves.
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