After the open house event, I plan to have a few more assessments. The students will complete both their peer-evaluation and self-evaluation after the open house. We will also have a class discussion about the open house event and how students felt about it. Did they feel that they got a good response from community members? Do they feel confident about how their presentations went? We will also take time to discuss their Final Journal Entry and what they learned from the project as a whole. We will revisit the Padlet from the first day of the project and students will add what they have now learned and how or if their perspectives changed as a result of the project.
My role as a teacher when incorporating PBL into my classroom will definitely change, and I believe it will be a change for the better. I have always been a person that likes to feel in control, and I will have to let go of some of that control when bringing PBL into my curriculum. In PBL, the teacher takes on more of a guidance role and allows the student to assume more control over their own learning. The teacher must be able to offer help as needed, but should provide students with opportunities to choose their own learning structure. This is a great way for students to learn because it is exactly what they are going to have to do when they leave school. They will not always have someone there to instruct them in their learning or decision making. It will be up to them to figure out on their own, and I believe PBL can give them the skills necessary to do this.
My understanding of scaffolding is that it is where the instructor provides a starting point or guidelines to help students stay focused on the task or question at hand. It is where the instructor first teaches the skills that students need in order to be successful. Scaffolding is important because it provides organization for the project. It keeps both the students and the instructor on task and working efficiently. I think the two most important benefits of scaffolding are that it allows students to feel that they can be successful and lets them know what is expected of them. Scaffolding allows students to feel that they can be successful because it provides them with the necessary tools and skills to do so. If scaffolding is done correctly it clarifies the purpose of the project, what is expected of students, and how they will be assessed.
In my project, I plan to scaffold my lessons in a few different ways. I plan to take time to teach students some of the skills they will need in order to be successful. Before letting students loose to research, we will talk about what constitutes an appropriate source and how to find such sources. Before students present, I will give an example presentation and discuss important presentation techniques. I will provide rubrics and examples for students to follow, so they will know exactly how they will be assessed and not have to guess as to what is expected of them.
Is it still PBL without an authentic audience?
In answer to this question, I would say no, it is not PBL without an authentic audience. One of the largest components to PBL is the real world scenario and experience. In the real world, students are going to have an authentic audience. When they write, it is most likely going to be published online somewhere for others to read. When students complete a project in the work force, it is going to be reviewed by their boss or by a committee. Because of technology and the “online” world we live in, the majority of things we do are going to be seen by others. The use of social media is especially growing in our society and among our students, and EVERYTHING on social media is viewed by an audience. Students need to learn how to communicate and present their ideas effectively. PBL can help students develop those skills.
I also believe having an authentic audience encourages the students to put forth their best effort. When they know someone besides their regular classroom teach is going to view their work, they do their best because they do not want to be seen as incompetent or lazy by others in the community. If we take away that authentic audience, we are going to get a lower quality of work and it becomes just another classroom project students complete for a grade.
Before learning about PBL this week, I would have had no idea how to define it. I now have a much better understanding of what PBL is. PBL is student learning through real world experiences. Students work to answer a challenging question over a period of time and create a product they can share with others. I enjoy doing projects in my classroom and allowing students some choice and freedom in their learning. I have only done projects that take a day or two to complete. I think incorporating PBL into my classroom could be very beneficial for my students.
Psychology is a subject that is much more interesting to learn about with hands on experiences than through lecture. I believe student could learn and retain more information through a PBL based approach. I am excited to try a new project in my classroom. I am considering creating a project for our unit on developmental psychology. Students could perform research, conduct interviews, and listen to some guest speakers. Students could create a guide for one of the stages of development such as a parenting manual or manual for teenagers. Students could share their creation on a blog, website, or in an open house to which their parents and other community members would be invited. I still have a lot to work out and revise, but it is a starting point.