Monday, October 17, 2016

Project Based Learning and Rocket Launch!

Last spring we were asked to submit proposals for late start PD sessions for the high school.  I use twitter as a great source of PD for my own professional learning.  I have lots of teachers learning about GAFE and creating projects, but I was looking to take it to the next level.  I found lots of resources about #PBL which made me realize there is a difference between doing projects and project based learning. I started to explore a fabulous site The Buck Institute/BIE and realized the eight elements of PBL and checklist would help teachers understand and embrace project based learning.

I submitted a summer course proposal that would combine using GAFE, PBL and other Web-based tools to Fitchburg State University where I teach a Graduate and Professional Development courses based on teachers needs. So last summer I co-taught PBL/GAFE course with my colleague Craig Sheil, also a high school Instructional Technology teacher in New Hampshire!

The NEW Course: Project Based Learning with Google Apps for Educators
This course will focus on the key features of Project-Based Learning (PBL) a way to organize learning around projects that are student driven, with real world connections allowing participants to evaluate real problems while exploring curriculum content areas. The Genius Hour model allows students to work on engaging topics of interest while working with others. Prerequisite: Google Apps for Education/GAFE course, this course will build upon your technical knowledge covered Google Apps for Education allowing you to dig deeper into your Google, web-based and mobile learning toolbox allowing participants to use tools connecting them to real world work.
Learn more here

I was fortunate to have two of my colleagues from my department take the course.  Their classes in Woods, Engineering, Graphics are based on doing projects.  We introduce the BIE Essential Project Design Checklist and lesson planner to examine our current practices and determined we were not using all the elements, particularly the "public product" to share with our colleagues, parents, and community at large.  So, how do we get out lesson plans to the next level?  We introduced hyperdocs along with other web-based tools to enhanced or completely redesign our lessons/units.  Some of the tools used in class were (Edpuzzle, padlet, video/YouTube and more).
We spent time looking at other hyperdocs at Teachers Give Teachers and followed them on twitter. It was an amazing process to see how much a group to teachers could do in a week long summer class.

When we returned to school our group PD focus was on PBL. I set up a Google Classroom and incorporated many of the topics covered in our summer class.  But the real magic happened when members of my department, Andy and Dan shared their hyperdocs and what the learned over the summer and started to execute the PBL lesson and hyperdocs!  I also found that #ASCDtopics  @betamiller was conducting a slow chat on #PBL that we incorporated into our PD.

To top this off Craig organized a Google Hangout with the hyperdoc creators, Lisa and Kelly that we followed all summer!  We had members of our class participate and then shared several of the hyperdocs that we created in class. I tweeted the session out and had staff in the building and teachers that left my district @MrsAShetenhelm and now works in other district watched that hangout and then offer a hyperdocs session in her school!  I loved how a combination of working with talented colleagues combined with the right tools (GSuite, Hyperdocs) and twitter connections with BIE and this month #ASCDtopics on PBL has connected me to a more global audience.

We are planning to expand the class next spring to incorporate more gamification features and expand our learning with PBL.

I will be presenting a session later in November and will sharing "My PBL" about my teachers and students.

My PLT group will be presenting our story to our colleagues this year.

 Do you have a story to share?

BIE is asking, "Do you have a story to share?"

I love the Rocket Launch #PBL Lesson that @AleblancNRSD1 did with students and the video that was produced by McKenize in video.

Nice work!

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