So, the “Major Project” is completed. Students are currently doing the very last activity-writing a reflection blog post about what they learned – and I’ve read some very interesting thoughts on the matter. I gave them a list of questions as a guide as they write and the very last question was, “how can Mrs. Stone make this project even better next year?”
The answers I’ve read so far were nothing I expected:
Add more cool ways to do the presentations!
Have the students give more feedback to each other and more cool stuff to do on the computer.
(I had some simulations)
Let them add video!
We attempted video this year and the big, bad, AUP police slapped our hands for using YouTube. (still pissed about that, actually)
Do more projects and presentations period!
I participated in a grant project that taught me how to use project based learning more efficiently in the classroom, and my space exploration vehicle project was done using the tips I learned. I found the experience more student centered; they took more responsibility for getting things done the way they wanted. They also policed each other, so they weren’t focused on what Mrs. Stone would think, but what their peers would think… and worked harder to impress the crowd.
They had a model to build, I didn’t want to add bulky display boards to the mix, so I added technology for presentations. My God, my babies are so creative! As soon as I get a few of the nicer ones downloaded, I’ll gladly share them. Adding the technology to the PBL made all the difference in the world. The presentations flowed effortlessly; the class audience was completely engaged and the questions that came up were well thought out and answered as if each group really were scientists and engineers working for NASA. Heck, I learned a thing or two about a few of the planets and moons!
If you are interested in using PBLs in your classroom, may I suggest you check out the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) or Project Based Learning Online. If you want to try out some online presentation tools, check out what we used in our project in my article “Digital Citizenship: Getting Our Feet Wet.”
How student centered is YOUR classroom? Are you the one doing all the talking, or are the students engaged in discussion on the topic du jour?
- A Great Project Based Learning Checklist for Teachers (educatorstechnology.com)
- The New PBL (claudiacortesruiz.wordpress.com)
- PBL: What does the Research Say? (21k12blog.net)
- Project Based Learning (jennybato2.wordpress.com)
- PBL Blog (silveriocortesruiz.wordpress.com)
- PBL in today’s classroom…. (jdig525.wordpress.com)