PBLs are so much fun to do, whether you are a teacher watching the students and their processes or the student yourself. Either way you get so much out of it. The excitement and energy you see when watching or the experience when participating for yourself is so invigorating. You put all of this time and effort into something that you feel empowered to create. The freedom to approach a problem by any means necessary really opens the door for creativity. Then, as an instructor, allowing for those kids who don’t like it that open to have an option or some sort of guidance to find their own approach really facilitates differentiation. Every kid is different and has different needs at every given moment. By empowering them we feed into their need to be themselves and try things in ways that we may never have come by any other way.
Mia brought up a great point though, “I often hear from my students (and from adults) how much they disliked group projects in school (or at work),” if the PBL model is not used correctly you are just creating a project for the kids to do and it doesn’t necessarily differentiate. Teachers need to guide the students in the right direction, not forcibly push them towards an answer. Then Cindy went into how we have to step back and let the students become responsible for their own learning, while Tristan reminded us that through middle school we need to be guiding them towards independent learning so they are able to go through high school capable of doing things on their own.
As teachers we need to be able to stay as current as we possibly can, in regards to technology. We won’t be complete experts, but we need to keep as up to date as we possibly can. We use technology every day and as our students become the adults they will probably use it even more. Keeping them informed on what types of technology is out there and using it will help them to prepare for their jobs in the future. Even empowering them to be the educators, teacher us what they know in regards to technology, can become a really good way for students to feel confident sharing with others and communicating information.
Through research, the blog posts and the tweet session I was able to really understand what the PBL model is all about. I see that differentiation is just a part of this model. It is such a strong approach that it takes into account every student from every level. With much forethought you can come up with inquiry based PBLs that will help your students to become independent and self-motivated in attempting to answer questions using technology and other approaches which will help to build strong lifelong learners.