1. Overview of PBL

The first week we met everyone.  We also looked into what PBL really is.  The task was the research what PBL is and answer questions from one of three different groups.  We also needed to respond to others in all the groups.  Here are the questions I answered in group 3.

  1. What do the numbers say?How many K-12 teachers/students/schools/programs are involved in the move toward PBL?

One survey looked at several different types of schools, public, charter, magnet, after-school programs, technology-based, GATE, etc.  Of these schools, charter schools seem to have the independence to run a school-wide PBL easiest.  The schools that were most successful had multiple teachers and courses using the PBL.  With multiple teachers using this style there are support groups and collaboration that can take place.  The main barrier within this study, when implementing PBL was the lack of professional development.  Teachers have not been trained to use this style, and for it to work the most efficiently, teachers would need training.
My school is set up to use PBL and many of our staff uses some form of it.  Yet there is a lack of training and so it isn’t working the most efficiently yet, however the foundation is there.

Research
http://www.edutopia.org/groups/education-leadership/96349

  1. Are at risk students served by programs that incorporate PBL? How?

Students who are considered “at-risk” can greatly benefit from PBL because of the idea of learning outside of the box.  One reason students struggle in the traditional school is the feeling of being robotic and not fitting into that style.  Once applying the PBL style, students have freedom to see how the subject matter fits into interests of their own and find a connection to what is being learned.

Resources:
http://www.edutopia.org/at-risk-students-project-learning
http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-student-motivation

  1. What role does NCLB play in encouraging/inhibiting the use of PBL in traditional classrooms?

I’ve taken the liberty to change this question.  I struggled with finding research on the connections with NCLB and PBL so I made up my own question.  This question is a concern in my school, and I know to others as well.

What role does staying technologically current play in schools and applying PBL in the classroom?

In order for PBL to be most efficient it is important to have the technology to support the projects.  Whether this is hardware or software, schools struggle with having efficient technology because of the cost.  Technology is expensive!  It changes so quickly, and is hard to stay on top of what is the best to have for the longest period of time.
Our small little school is dealing with this issue as I type.  We have plenty of laptops but they are so outdated students struggle with their projects because the school computers are not compatible with home computers.  In order to update all the computers it would cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Can we afford it?  This isn’t the real question.  Can we afford not too?  Our goal is to prepare students for college and future careers, if we don’t have current technology, we aren’t preparing our students, we are handicapping them.  This is a huge concern for schools and districts throughout the country.

Research
http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/01/lack-of-funding-creates-barrier-to-using-tech-in-class/

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