1. Have I been doing PBL or just projects?
2. Am I doing it ok?
3. How can I improve my teaching and use of PBL?
Some of my answers
1. I read a great post this week http://teachbytes.com/2013/03/17/whats-the-difference-between-doing-projects-and-project-based-learning/ which had a clear comparison between doing projects and PBL. It made me reflect on the programming projects I get my students to do (in the HSC Software Design and Development course). Over the 2 years of the HSC course I feel that I move gradually towards PBL, with early projects being more problem based learning. By their major project in the HSC year which every student must complete (as a requirement of the syllabus) I feel my students are doing PBL.
Some of the factors that I think make it PBL include:
~ Each student has a client/real world problem for which they create a piece of software, so every project is different
~ I never know what students will create because every client's requirements are different
~ I act as the students' work supervisor, simulating a workplace
~ At the end of the project students have an exhibition where they demonstrate and explain their projects to parents, students, teachers and clients.
2. Yes, I think I am going OK with PBL I know this from comparing what I'm doing with other teachers through reading tweets, blogs and websites (which has been one of the benefits of my PLN) and from talking to my current and ex-students.
3. There are lots of areas I am working on or have improved.
~ I am now using feedforward with goal, medals and missions. I love the simple framework and ease of giving feedback
~ I struggle at times helping my students to find real clients and tasks. Real projects/problems are always a key for success.
Real problem = real world = real success
~ I want to refine how I use driving questions. I think I have always used them, but not explicitly. I have always asked questions "what does the client want/need?" but I would like to refine them and give students more control over them
~ I want to be to be more explicit about "needs to know", not just what they need to do, and I have implicitly done this with students but I want to move to being more explicit.
So in summary I want to thank my PLN, because you have made me question and reflect on my teaching.