For this blog assignment, we watched a series of video interviews that Dr. Strange facilitated where he interviewed Anthony Capps. Anthony Capps is a third grade teacher at Gulf Shores Elementary School and uses PBL in his classroom. The first conversation was about "Project Based Learning" or PBL. Anthony believes that PBL is a means in which to learn and also a means in which to show what you have learned. PBL is very much driven by content. Anthony creates a project that is directed at having the students learn the content that Anthony wants them to learn. Dr. Strange adds that PBL is not about being a consumer when it comes to learning but to be a participant and eventually a producer. With PBL, the students are at times even involved in the grading process.
Of course, like most of anything else, this is not a perfect system. Things do not always go well and it is at these times that Anthony uses these imperfections to challenge himself and his students to find real life solutions to these every day challenges. Even these seeming imperfections bring occasion to learn and be creative. Anthony encourages future teachers not limit our students but to allow them to explore within the boundaries of the assigned project and goes on to say that with this type of approach you will often times get more than you expect from the assignment.
The students have responded positively to this learning style but they do find the collaborative part a bit of a challenge. When using PBL, the students are allowed more freedom in their approach to learning the content and this, as you would expect, generates more excitement. PBL has not only earned high marks with the students but from the administrators and principal as well.
Another topic of discussion that was of particular interest to me was about icurio. As a mother and a future educator, I have been somewhat concerned about the safety of the web pages or video content that are often used when applying PBL. These concerns were put at ease when I learned of icurio. So, what is icurio? Icurio is a safe search engine that has web sites that have been carefully pooled for educational purposes. The searches include text, audio and video.
Dr. Strange and Anthony agree that to be a good teacher, is to be a good learner and PBL encourages the learning process which is essentially a lifelong process. A good teacher must also be flexible and prepared for unplanned situations. Take the time for reflection and self-evaluation because this will only make you a better educator.
These conversations were filled with information for teachers that is rich with day to day experience. What a better way to test PBL than in the classroom?
Interview with Anthony Capps part I
Interview with Anthony Capps part II