This week in EDM510 I was given an assignment to listen to an audio recording of Dr. John Strange and Anthony Capps in which they further discussed Project Based Learning and answered some of the many questions that my class had presented over the course of the semester. I was really glad to hear that BPL had not always gone smoothly for Anthony. I know that this must sound terrible from an outsider’s perspective but up until this conversation the concept seemed so easy for Anthony that his success made me question my ability as a teacher to be able to successfully implement PBL because of my own insecurities. After listening to this audio I found that much of what Anthony has done has been through trial and error and has not always gone as smoothly as he had anticipated. Luckily for me and the other EDM students, we are able to learn from Anthony some things that we should anticipate and therefore be better prepared when we take on the challenge of PBL in our own classrooms. Thank you Anthony and Dr. Strange!
What Have I Learned From this Assignment?
· Always base a project on an engaging question that has relevance in the lives of your students
· Break up the standard that your project is based on and allow each student to choose the aspect that is the most interesting to them.
· Do not overload your students with more than they can handle. Break the project up into chunks and give them check points.
· Don’t go overboard with technology in the beginning. Master one tool at a time and make sure you don’t just teach the tool but you must also master using it yourself.
· When introducing PBL for the first time, choose to focus on one aspect at a time. Get the students involved in the development and before long they will be leading the PBL.
· Kids are more engaged when doing PBL because they are excited about the projects and are having fun.
· Administrations should take the initiative to implement PBL by training groups of teachers who can take a leadership role and then help other teachers in the process.
· The students love to show off their work to an audience. The audience can consist of many different types such as stuffed animals, other classrooms, parents, faculty, or city leaders.
· Be sure to be open with the parents about your grading procedures for projects. Parents may be accustomed to their children always getting A’s and they need to understand the criteria on which their projects will be graded. Parent teacher meetings held before the start of a project and an open line of communication will help facilitate a happy relationship between you and the parents.