Wednesday, December 21, 2011

But, What Does it Look Like in My Classroom?

"But, what does it look like in my classroom?"

When discussing Project/Problem Based Learning (PBL) and other pedagogical practices this question sometimes pops up.  Teachers new to this type of learning often understand the theory, but have picturing the application of the ideas in their classrooms.

Today, I had my students watch a 25 min. video on how Disney Imagineers use levers and pulleys when designing attractions for Disney theme parks around the world.  I then told them that they had to design a new Disney attraction or restaurant with a story and theme in which pulleys and/or lever would be used.  After having lunch to think about their ideas, they were given 40 minutes in the afternoon to design a model or concept art of their idea to pitch to the class.  Tomorrow they will make their presentations and we will put their ideas into a Voicethread, which will be embedded on our class wikispace.

As my students (both regular and special education students) were totally engrossed in their work, having great discussions about their designs, and producing amazing visual descriptions of their ideas, I came up with my answer to the above question.

It looks a lot like me walking around my classroom looking for someone to help and nobody needing me because they are fully engaged, collaborating, and using technology to solve their own problems.  

3 comments:

  1. Your students are very lucky to have you, Mike! SO IS THE DISTRICT!!!!

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  2. I like the way you help us imagine problem based learning in action. You describe it well. I challenge "nobody needing me" because I bet you're encouraging, guiding and adding essential nuggets of knowledge, concept and skill as you move from group in response to their inquiry. Although, I realize the time to observe students' work in action is essential and informative too--a vital component of teaching which leads to the next steps. Thanks once again for a terrific post.

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  3. Jean and Maureen,
    Thanks for the kind words, and thanks for commenting.
    -Mike

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