Module 7 Reflections

Being a facilitator can be overwhelming depending on the students' self-confidence about taking responsibility for their own learning and also depending on their technology skills and prior experience. I am learning that the more tools I offer students (handouts, checklists, information published on a Web page), the less needy they are. The tools that I am creating will not only make students more successful, they will deepen my students' understanding of unit concepts and their ability to answer the Essential Question.

Module 5 Reflection

Assessing Student Learning

 I have been using ongoing assessment as opposed to only summative assessment for years now, as I discovered quickly that only grading a final paper is making every assignment a test, not a learning experience. I have students write proposals for major papers so that I can see where they are headed and how well they understand the assignment. Peer feedback takes several forms in my classes. Students have writing response partners to share their drafts with and receive feedback several times during the writing process. I also use self-assessment for all major assignments, as well as at the end of a grading period, along with a goal setting section for the coming six weeks. What the Intel training has added to the mix for me is the thorough planning for these assessments before teaching the unit. Honestly, I usually have to build units as I teach them the first time, and I am creating rubrics late at night to hand out the next day because we are starting a project. I throw everything together in folders on my computer and hard copies in a notebook, and then modify them the next time I teach. I know from experience that the more I teach something and refine the components of the unit, the more the kids learn.


Module 4 Reflections

Technology is used most effectively when students are learning THROUGH technology, just as they use their pens, paper, and books to learn. The tech tools should fit the learning. If I want my students to collaborate on something to publish to a wide audience beyond the school, typing a Word document would probably not be the best choice. Having several students collaborate on producing a wiki page would be a better fit. If I want students to give and receive feedback in an authentic, real world way, having them read each other's typed paper is probably not as good a choice as having them post their writing to a blog and then setting up time and accountabiiity for students to read and comment on others' blogs.

Module 3 Reflections

The Internet levels the playing field (and the world) so that my students in a rural area have access to resources that formerly only privileged individuals in urban areas could use. How cool that we can access the Library of Congress from central Texas! We haven't discussed online library databases, but I use these frequently in my classes. I have students perform searches for articles related to units we study and then have them write about one they read and share information from the article in class discussions, etc.

One way I try to ensure responsible use of the Internet is to have clear guidelines and parameters as to the reason we are using the Internet with the expectation that no off task behavior (shopping, music downloading, etc.) is tolerated. Of course, teachable moments are invaluable as I have websites up on the projector in the classroom from time to time. 


Module 2 Reflections

Ongoing assessment is vital to student success in a project based unit. I plan to have students keep a journal where they respond to assessment prompts in order to gauge their understanding, questions, and progress. A project checklist/timeline will keep students focused on the requirements for the unit. Students will receive feedback from a peer review of their project with time for revisions before the project is turned in. The final project rubric will also act as a self-assessment that students can refer to as they created their project.

Module 1 Reflections

I am already a firm believer in student centered learning, but seeing the big picture in such an organized format is wonderful. The information is thorough and sequential so that it makes planning PBL units so much easier. Being very sequential and left brain by nature, I love the checklist! One new insight I've had is the publication that explains the rationale of PBL to parents and administrators. I've thought in passing that I needed some tool to communicate this information, but I've never taken the time to create this type of document. I am eager to finish my brochure and share it with other teachers I know who are using PBL.
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