Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Project-Based Learning...

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, I will be teaching as a GA this fall. The textbook we are using is the book titled, Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real-World Projects in the Digital Age, by Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss.

I have just begun reading it this week. I'm reading a chapter a night so I can get through it prior to semester starting the first week in September. At the end of each chapter, there is a section called, "Your Turn." Authors, Boss and Krauss, suggest that readers may want to "work your way through these chapters, use this book as your own learning project." Along with reading I'm going to try and work through the chapters as suggested. Currently, I'm a couple of chapters behind in working through the questions and end-of-chapter suggestions, but I'm hoping to catch up tonight.

The first "Your Turn" section I want to reflect upon is the Introduction. Questions asked by the authors are:

  1. Where are you starting your journey? Why?
  2. Think about your own experiences with project-based learning. If you have already used the project approach with students, what did you like or dislike?
  3. What would you like to do better in the future?
  4. Do you have regular opportunities to collaborate with colleagues?
  5. Where do you turn first to sound out new ideas for your classroom?
I'm starting my journey into Project-Based Learning or PBL as someone who has experienced PBL as a student, but have never taught before, so this will be my first experience at teaching PBL. I'm very excited to be teaching PBL, as I've always felt the real-world projects make sense and brings about a more effective learning experience.

I don't know that there is anything in particular that I don't like about PBL, but I do know that they take more planning and require more time. In many respects this is a positive, but as a teacher I expect it can be a challenge to find the balance between keeping things manageable and timely while providing engagement-rich experiences for students.

As I begin teaching using PBL, I hope to share the excitement and difference using technology with real-world problems can make in the students' experiences. From my own experiences, learning how to use various technologies, learning to search for information, and applying knowledge gained to solve problems has given me a true sense of achievement and a confidence to try things I would never had tried before. Hopefully, through the PBL activities we will be doing this semester, the students will become as excited as I am about the possibilities PBL offers.

Currently, I don't have opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, but this will definitely be a part of the experience this fall and next spring. The projects are already in place, but I will have the opportunity to talk about what is working and what isn't working, as well as what I need to do to better teach or share the concepts. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to work with my mentor and other instructors. 

References:
Boss, S., Krauss, J. (2007). Reinventing project-based learning: Your field guide to real-world projects in the digital age. Washington, DC: International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE).

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