Introductory Week in a Course about PBL

This week, I am beginning a course titled “Technology Enhanced Project Based Learning.”  The idea behind Project Based Learning, PBL, is that students explore and discover the content on their own through research and the creation of a project to be presented in some public (or electronic) forum.  PBL moves away from direct instruction which is something that most teachers are comfortable with since it is how we went through our schooling.  We are attempting to implement a new approach in our classrooms without being exposed to it from the student side or even a complete observation opportunity.  I have been shown multiple “advertisement” type videos with a 5-10 minute summary of why PBL works and how wonderful it is for the students.  I want to know how they get the student to create the question, and how do the students stay on task researching and creating for the same project and questions for days or weeks at a time.  I want to see and be a part of the whole experience, from beginning to end, as a student and as an observer in someone else’s PBL math classroom.

I have felt overwhelmed in the past about how to incorporate all the essential elements of PBL into my classroom.  I am hoping this class will help to answer some of my questions and provide me with confidence to try PBL more frequently.  Maybe this course will at least let me edit my existing PBL ideas into a more refined unit to meet the qualifications because I might be “cheating” on a few right now to make it fit into the PBL template.  I am glad to see that many of my classmates have the same concerns, issues, and questions about how to make PBL work as I do.  We are all starting out on the same page and will be able to grow together through this course.

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