Part 7… Critique and Revision: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources


Welcome to the seventh in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards. I am very excited to share ideas relating to PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of Student Critique and Revision. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I am investigating each of the PBLWorks Gold Standards. I have been providing a short explanation and some free resources examples for each of the Gold Standards! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources. The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)\

Part 7… Critique and Revision: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

It is often said that a cycle of authentic learning demands that students reflect, critique, and revise. In the last last blog I presented the important idea of reflection and how it is integral to the learning process. This is a step that so many time educators run out of time to do because they have to get to the next standard. We must remember that John Dewey Quote:

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”

We must remember that reflection is an important element, but learning does not stop at this point. It is important to complete the cycle and continue with a critique of our learning and follow that with revising our thoughts. In this way, new understanding of the content is created. Let’s take a closer look.

Critique: It is important that students learn about, and have, the opportunity to critique. This can be a critique of a learning experience, project, lesson, concept, proposal, publication, etc. This critique involves a reflection and thorough inspection of the experience. Critique must be ongoing through out the project. It must involve peers, mentors, and teacher. Most important, it must involve the individual student. A part of this critique is a flow of constant inquiry, answers, and new questions. It should also include students in a collaborative setting. In the is way, they can see and understand learning experience from other’s perspectives. At the same time, it builds a culture of providing and accepting kind and meaningful feedback. This deepens the learning opportunity and builds out those important 4 C’s and the related success and career skills. It also allows for students to recognize and accept those hurdles that come up in their educational journey, while also providing an opportunity for celebration when success is found. Most of all, it opens the door to the next segment of this important cycle of learning.

Revision: Educators often ponder the idea of instilling rigor in the learning experience. How do they ensure that student experience deep and understandable learning while producing high quality work? The important act of reflecting and critiquing must be followed by revision. As students question, they must come up with answers that they act upon. These answers provide an opportunity to improve their understanding, or a product they are working on. Once again, this revision must be owned by the students and promoted through both individual persistence and group interaction. The classroom learning and production becomes more then a “do it… hand it in… and done”, but embraces the idea that learning and doing are an iterative process. This iteration includes reflection, critique, and revision and promotes the idea of life long learning.

Ways to Promote Critique and Revision in the Classroom

  1. Promote a culture of rigor by showing the importance of reflecting, critiquing, and revising. Provide modeling and bring in examples found in real life.
  2. Teach students that hurdles along the way are learning opportunities and help create better products and understanding.
  3. Set benchmarks and promote formative assessment that involves individual, peers, mentors, and teacher.
  4. Support kind yet specific and meaningful feedback along with an openness to critique. This must be modeled and students must be provided expectations which means rubrics are provided throughout the project and may even allow student input. Rubrics should be both content and skill driven.
  5. Provide protocols that include opportunities to reflect, critique, and revise learning and work. This might be a student gallery walk or a making thinking visible session such as Think Pair Share. How might some of these be done online?

Resources for Critique and Revision in PBL with Blended Opportunities  

I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop critique and revision resources in PBL as you blend the possibilities. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, just a learning activity inside a PBL, or possibly an online resource to help you better facilitate this gold standard. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some real student critique and revision across a wide range of subjects. Check out the links within the links… along with the sub links I provided. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

Better Lesson: – This article provides information on the Gallery Walk protocol including ways to promote it in the Blended Learning environment. Do you want more ideas on using the Gallery Walk Protocol in the classroom? Check out this video for some great possibilities.


New Tech CF: Discover a protocol that provides students a ways to critique their work and projects with an emphasis on reflection, critique, and revision
provided by the amazing New Tech School Network. You can learn more about the Critical Friends (Tuning Protocol) from this video at PBLWorks.

National School Reform Website – Discover a rich collection of learning protocols that can be used with teachers and with students. Remember that protocols must be strictly followed in order to work best. There are a lot to pick from. As you explore, think of how these might be used in an online environment. How might a Zoom Breakout Room, Google Slides, or Learning Management System Discussion Board work in?

Making Think Visible from Project Zero (Links to an external site.) – These are a group of metacognitive group protocols and activities that promote critical thinking through reflection, revision, and critique. They are powerful and will lead to student ownership of education with deeper learning and understanding. As you explore consider ways these could be brought into the online environment. I especially like this virtual look at Making Thinking Visible by John Spencer. You may want to spend more then a moment at these wonderful sites.

Common Sense Media Collaborative Tools – One of my favorite places to find peer reviewed education tools. With this link you will land on some tools that promote student collaboration and have possibilities to focus on reflection, critique, and revision. It is all about how the teacher sets it up. You can see an example for the free applications, Padlet and Google Slides from the article The Art of Education Digital Critique . Also, consider your LMS and always check your school Acceptable Use Policy before using with students.

Reflection on Critique and Revision

As you can see, the cycle of reflection, critique, and revision are an important part of the learning experience and critical to the PBL Classroom. It involves a formative process with constant assessment from peers, teachers, mentors, and the individual. As a student goes through setbacks and successes there is a growth, learning. quality work, engagement, rigor, and excitement, much like arriving at the next level of a video game. Students learn to produce quality products by working through cycles of teacher, peer, and self-critique. This iteration of learning turns into a flow while promoting and facilitating perseverance. Best of all, students conquer higher level content, while building on skills that will serve them in future schooling, the job place, and a wonderful future of life-long learning.

Next Post: Critique and Revision, PBL and the Blended Classroom… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021

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