Category Archives: Reflective Assessment

The Importance of Reflection

Student-Centered Project-Based Learning has given me the opportunity to write freely. When I describe this type of learning as “freely”, I am emphasizing the freedom I was given when choosing a topic about which to write. I enjoyed the blog drafting process a good deal because I was able collaborate ideas with classmates and add visuals to my written work. For my drunk driving blog post, I incorporated a graph which included death rate statistics due to drunk driving; I thought it added a visual element to my writing that words couldn’t necessarily describe. The blog posting process created a platform for successful collaboration, in which I was able to give and receive constructive feedback from my peers. Equally, I really liked how our class used Twitter, which made it less of a social media platform and more of an academic resource. The use of Twitter caused me to become a more creative writer because I had to condense my ideas into less than a sentence, which initially proved as a daunting task, but ultimately impacted my writing positively. Through using Twitter, I have realized that social media is equally as social as it is collaborative. Twitter has allowed me to reach out to different experts and has shown me what the networking world looks like. Before taking our A period class I actually did not understand how to network, but throughout the winter term I’ve gained not only life-long skills but experience. I was able to take these skills I learned and apply them to real life situations. Our PBL class has created an atmosphere where students feel comfortable in the classroom setting to share their opinions during classroom discussions. The biggest takeaway from this first term is the importance of collaboration. At first, I was against having other students read my work because I feared they might think it was “stupid” or “did not make sense”, but I have come to realize it is an exercise that is very beneficial. I think working hand and hand with other students builds my confidence in the classroom setting, and by collaborating ideas with my peers, I was able to produce some of my best work. I worked with Anna on the “What’s News” blog post, and by combining elements of both of our work, we produced a high-level final product. Ultimately, I think I’m developing as a person and as student in our PBL class.

Implementing reflection into your every day life
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“Why” Student Centered Learning is so Important

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” These words of wisdom once spoken by Benjamin Franklin are words to live by especially as a student. Project Based learning teaches students skills that cannot be taught in a normal classroom setting. PBL is structured around the concept of student centered learning. This is where students do the teaching and the learning. In our PBL English class I have learned more in class than I have in any other class in four years. The lessons that I have learned in PBL translate to the real world where a class such as U.S. History or chemistry do not. Throughout the year each student has researched various topics about issues that teens face in today’s world that are more prevalent than ever. In the Winter, our class researched experts in certain fields and we encountered one that has changed the way I think. Marco, a classmate of mine in PBL was researching screen use among teens and found an expert by the name of Simon Sinek. Simon Sinek explains why having a purpose is more important than anything else. He talks about how having a why is much more important than having a what or how. After learning about Simon through Marco’s research I learned an immense amount of information to hold onto just from learning from my classmate in a student-centered classroom.  Throughout the year in PBL we have learned many skills but one of the most important skills we have learned is using social media in a positive way. We have learned how to use large social media platforms such as twitter. Using twitter has not only helped our research skills but also our networking skills. Once again skills that will help you for life. PBL student centered classes don’t prepare you for high school or even college, they prepare you for life. The class teaches you lessons that will help you find that why.

How Can We Teach & Learn Innovation Skills?

how-I-built-this.jpghttps://www.npr.org/player/embed/562887933/563105739

Let’s have fun learning about how the founders of this now ubiquitous App Instagram developed this Billion dollar model, and then we will examine how we can adopt elements of their success story as we begin our first steps in our own project-based learning journey. So how can we use this Instagram’s story to teach the dynamic disposition and positive attitude a student needs to cultivate in a project-based learning classroom?

It is very fascinating to hear the early iterations of Instagram (see more here: https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/07/instagram-used-to-be-called-brbn/373815/) and then realize all the changes they made to make the app what it is as a working app today. That process that is narrated here is design thinking, which is a process we will explore more this year. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Design-based_learning

Perhaps an important moment in their start-up was when they followed the advice to ask their users about what they enjoyed about their app rather than investing time into wondering what others who are not using the app would want. What did they learn from this part of the process?

(Podcast Time: 6:30) Isn’t it fascinating that the best thing for any entrepreneurial is failure? The founders of Instagram cite Eric Ries and his ideas about the process of a lean startup. “Don’t ask why people don’t sue your startup. Ask why people who continue to use your start up use your startup.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lean_startup 

(Podcast Time: 8:00) One of the founders tells a story of being burnt out and going on a break. Does he really take a break? Why type of thinking does he do on this “break” and how does it help the next iteration of the product of Instagram?

(Podcast Time: 9:00) Style topic. Did you notice how the music delivers a great downbeat when the divergent thinking that one of the founders has when his then girlfriend and now wife provides an insight while walking on the beach?

(Podcast Time 12:00) Just appreciate this moment. No response necessary. This is my hook for our audience!. “It was trial by fire; so many chances to fail. Kept working; all nighters. The amount we learned in that first year was crazy. It was fives years of college in one.” I would make this the hook because I’m an educator, and the producer here chose a more entertaining hook.

(Podcast Time: 17:30) There is a great conversation about how the story of success is never linear. It’s always dynamic, an up-and-down journey. Reflect on this moment and also reflect on how the founders keep their eye on the experience of the user. Do you have a personal success story that was not linear and had several “false starts” along the way before you achieve a degree of success? Write a 3-6 sentences here about that experience. We’ll share these moments in class and expand more on them.

(Podcast Time: 23:00) Around minute 23 they discuss the currency that feeds an entrepreneur. Explain in your own words this experience and its value. Then reflect on our course description and explain what experience will make our experience valuable.

(Podcast Time: 24:00) They reveal another great moment where they learned a lot through failure. This moment had to do with a mistake. What was the mistake? Could the mistake been avoidable? What else did they learn about the relationship they had with her users?

What do you think of the founders’ thesis about luck and talent? What role do resilience, grit, and optimism play in capitalizing on luck?

Many people define a person’s mindset as an established set of attitudes, what did you learn about the mindset of these innovators? Does it help you realize your own mindset(s)?

Got HOT Log? A Great #PBL Assessment

Higher.order.thinkingSimply stated, a HOT Log (Higher Order Thinking Log [log = systematic record, journal of one’s intellectual expeditions) explains what you have learned, what you want to learn next, and what skill(s) you will apply for your discovery. Because we will categorize each HOT Log on the blog, we will be able to access anyone’s discovery when we begin to synthesize our information before our final presentation. As a class we will assign students to compose individual HOT Logs ritualistically (every 7 or 10 days) or sometimes the research process prompts us to do so sooner or in groups. Sometimes when the student(s) discovers an interesting collection of sources, primary or secondary, it is best dive into the source and upon. Likewise, when students make discoveries together or when the class makes multiple important building block moments, students can team up and compose these HOT Logs together. The most important feature of the HOT Log process occurs when students follow up with the PQP peer review process.

Another way to describe this Project Based Learning writing assignment is to think of this task as an intellectual reflection on your next step towards our goal of finding more information about members of the Connecticut 20th Regiment. You should explain what skill you will use to learn this next topic or research step.

In 500 words, make a claim about the necessity to explore one, specific resource (article, book, periodical, web site, historical society, historian (even better if we can Skype him/her}, historical library [I am a member of The Connecticut Historical Society), movie, technology or other research tool, learning lens, such as Place Based Learning, etc). Your short paper will evaluate the potential importance of this source for our investigation as well as building upon our research story.

In terms of skills, click here (http://www.pinterest.com/bill0353/ } to reflect on the possible skills you will need for your next steps.

Be sure to include an informative and pithy (concise and forcefully expressive) title and embed complementing media (video if possible, clear and interesting image, audio link, etc).

Citation standard. Let’s have a list of sources at the bottom. You can type “source:” with a colon after it. Then create a hyperlink to your actual source. If it is a book, create an interesting link associated with that book. You can be creative as long as the reader knows exactly what source you used. If it is an image, let’s type “photo credit” and then paste a hyperlink for the image.

A range: lucid, logical, sequential, includes a valuable source or resource. Well-written following rules of Standard English. 500 word range achieved in a concise and fluent manner. You also articulate well the skill you will require for your next intellectual step.

B range: there is a missing ingredient or prose contains issues of Standard English. Overall logic or sequence of ideas may need to be addressed.

C range: Length and other significant issues.