September 24, 2011

Module 2- Learning Log 4

Posted in Learning Logs- Module 2 at 3:09 pm by lmt84

All of the videos that I viewed for this module were fantastic! It was amazing to see students 100% engaged and genuinely excited to learn. Furthermore, the projects that the students were completing were truly quality work—they were assignments that required research, analysis, and hands-on experience.

A quote that best sums up project based learning to me was from the video titled Project Based Learning: An Overview. The video stated that “putting students at the center of the learning process is the key to transforming the educational system.” I do believe that if the students are engaged in the material that they will be more personally invested in their own education. The educational system today is still largely based in fact finding, memorization of facts, and assignments that often require no original thought on the part of the students. Project based learning is a revolution that puts the students as leaders—teachers give them the tools needed for students to create their own educational experience. This is an opportunity for students to take charge of their learning, work with others to exchange ideas, and ultimately mold their own unique education.

One point that I am struggling with is the fact that although project based learning sounds exciting, our school systems are still very much grounded in local and state assessments. With the teachers feeling pressure for students to receive high scores (especially since teacher effectiveness may be tied to student scores), I feel like teachers may not see project based learning assignments as ‘worthy’ of their time. They seem to take longer than ‘typical’ projects such as papers or textbook assignments. I would love to show teachers in my school these videos, as to inspire others to take part in these unique opportunities. It will be interesting to see if I myself can push my lessons closer to inquiry based learning, even though I too teach an assessed area. The Project Based Learning: An Overview video stated “Standardization is a guarantee of no standards”. Perhaps education will enter a new phase where students are not judged by a score, but by their creativity and growth in the subject area.

I was really surprised by the quality projects that the students produced in the Anatomy of a Project videos. The students seemed genuinely happy to be doing the work, and I feel that this is because the projects had relevancy to their own lives and environments. It helped them to foster ownership, which only increased their enthusiasm and dedication. I see project based learning as a fantastic way to encourage students to work with those around them, which helps them to develop interpersonal skills that they will need in school and life in general. Project based learning is a way to give students authentic learning experiences, which in turn creates life-long learners. I am unsure of the direction education is headed, but the skills students gain from these types of projects will help them forever. No matter where our students are off to “creativity, cooperation, and problem solving” (Anatomy of a Project: Kinetic Conundrum) will always be there and are thus invaluable skills to master at a young age.

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