My Final Project: The Ultimate Animal
“The culminating event is over, the project presentations have been presented, groups and peers have been evaluated, reflection journals are in. Is the PBL experience really over?”
This is the question I have been asked to consider for this week’s reflection. It’s been a VERY fast and interesting journey stepping into the foreign world of PBL over these past 5 weeks. I know that I have created and executed many lessons that have PBL elements built in but a full-blown project has never really evolved in my mind before now.
Going forward I believe the answer is that NO, the PBL experience is not over. What I haven’t even really even considered or thought about before now is that THIS process of creating a PBL project for EdTech 542 has been a PBL project in itself. Dr. Baek may be shaking his head in disgust at this comment and probably wants to smack me up side the head and say “no duh.” I suppose that in the hurry hurry hurry aspect of this very short summer semester, I hadn’t really even given it much thought. I was just ticking boxes on a checklist to accomplish a task. In the end I believe I have a pretty spectacular PBL project created for 3rd grade students. And THROUGH the process of creating it for 3rd grade students, I have experience PBL for myself. My deepest apologies to Dr. Baek for not figuring this out sooner. This is what long sleepless nights will do to a student in a very short summer semester.
As I have submitted my project for peer evaluation I have dreamt about and come to the conclusion that this PBL project will be ever-evolving. I know from experience that a good project is something worth repeating year after year. However, each new batch of students offers new challenges and teachers have to adapt to those challenges. The PBL project will likely take on many different shapes and forms for the future especially as technology becomes more available in my school.
As I mentioned to my peer-reviewer, our school has a shortage of computer lab time and mobile devices are far and few between. When our classrooms do get the iPads it is for one day a month. Technology integration is simply difficult in our school district. WiFi is slow and cumbersome, about 1/3 of the classroom will get kicked off their device because of poor infrastructure. It is sad that in the Boise State University EdTech valley, our elementary schools are so lacking. Hopefully as the years progress, these issues will become a priority to our administrators and government and our students will have a better experience with technology. Until then, tech-heavy PBL projects are just impossible.
In assessing my own project, I know that this process will recur often especially as it gets implemented the very first time. A smart teacher will make notes of what does and does not work and make adjustments as necessary. The beauty of assessment is that while we are looking for a final product, HOW we get there is fluid and can change.