Brian Crosby's video was a great example of the methods that should be used in Project Based Learning. I agree with what he said towards the end about learning cannot be a race - it is a lengthy process about students building schemas for the world. His balloon experiment was a blast to watch! It definitely got the students engaged by blogging, recording video, taking pictures, uploading those files, watching the balloon travel in real time, and reaching out to other students around the world. I believe those components are what made this project so fun and engaging, and the students were all a part of it. Every science teacher should try this. I also liked the part where he highlighted his Second Language Learners. Even if those students are at risk and in poverty, they are still students who deserve to be taught, and that is something every teacher should remember.
Paul Anderson's video,"Blended Learning Cycle" was also really interesting and he shared some great methods to use in PBL. His blended learning cycle method is exactly what it means-a cycle! He shared that if the students aren't understanding the material by the end then they will start back over at the beginning until they do. This is a great strategy to show the students that teachers aren't going to give up on them and their learning potential. The most important concept I took from his video is this: "Have you learned something if you cannot explain it to someone else?" This is an engaging and open ended question to ask students to really get them to reflect on their work and understanding.
The "Making Thinking Visible" video was all about the students noticing the difference in their thinking process from the beginning of an assignment to the end. The teacher presented them with a topic and a driving question, and the only instructions were to think and collaborate. What changed? What stayed the same? What caused this difference? I believe this method is very useful for encouraging problem solving skills and collaboration work.
Building Comics with a "super digital citizen" was one of my favorite videos to watch for this blog post. One of my primary concerns about the use of technology in the classroom is that children will be exposed to too many harmful things on the internet if they are not educated about it. The project of building and narrating comics about them selves prompted them to make choices of right and wrong. I thought this was a quick and easy assignment to teach proper online respect, responsibility, and safety; like the teacher said, it only took about 5 minutes to build the super hero character and then the rest was up to the students' imagination. Building comics looks like a really great online tool for teaching computer safety, problem solving skills, and most of all creativity!
The fifth video, PBL from Dean Shareski was also interesting. This school was blending three different subjects to reach the same goal in the curriculum. There was a ton of feedback being exchanged between the teachers and students and that seemed to help the students tremendously. I learned that we should never forget the value of feedback, no matter the level of education. I think that when a student really knows that a teacher is rooting for them to do better with every revision they take more pride in their work. When the student can take more pride in their work they are engaged in the learning process and want to do it again. From this video, I learned that there is no doubt that teachers can motivate students into trying harder every time.
The PBL program at Roosevelt Elementary was impressive. This school has had much success with really getting their students to understand the material rather than just passing the tests and getting good grades, and of course there is a difference. And the difference is self-motivation! The children are excited to learn and eager the begin each project that they can prepare themselves to learn. The parents had a great reaction to PBL, along with the staff members, about how well their children were learning to become self motivators. There is much more to Project Based Learning than a better understanding of the material; it teaches social skills, team work, presentation techniques and public speaking. All of these skills are important to learn at a young age so they become natural as children mature.