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E is for Endless Inquiry: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning

 

e_pbl

Welcome to this fifth post in a series that promotes PBL and 21st Century Learning through the examination of Seven Building Blocks. In this post, I would like to provide thoughts involving the importance of supporting inquiry in the classroom. Student owned inquiry is at the heart of powerful learning opportunities. It is my intent to provide some answers and instill some new questions.  Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also, remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  I am taking dates for 2018 with 2017 now full…  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Note: Join me at FETC for some very special workshops and session. I am proud to be a featured speaker and do I hope I see you there. Best of all it is in sunny Orlando, Florida January 23-26, 2018….  Learn more at: http://www.fetc.org

E is for Endless Inquiry: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning by Michael Gorman at https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Project Based Learning supports a child’s natural tendency to acquire and learn more about the world they are a part of. The very hook that engages the student the very sense of inquiry of the world of which they are a part of.  As in many Inquiry Based Models, PBL begins with an Investigative Question. This question could be called the open question, focus question, driving question, essential question, or probing question. The investigative nature of the question cannot be answered in a yes or no, but instead must call for student investigation. It will require students  to uncover their need to know. As students find answers, they discover new questions of a more sophisticated in nature. This begins an upward spiral allowing for deeper learning and understanding. This is often seen as a repeated convergent to divergent process that becomes more complex with each cycle.. Students need to learn how to ask questions, understand various ways to investigate, and become familiar with research techniques whether it is through metacognition, collaboration, traditional fact finding, or digital literacy.

1. The Investigative Question
2. Student Inquiry
3. Spiraling Questions and Answers
4. Skill Based

Investigative Question (IQ) – Project Based Learning relies on a question that is open and allows for student investigation and inquiry. This simple inquiry and investigation will help guide the project. If an answer is qualified by just a yes or no reply, there
is no project. The questions can be one that is formulated by the teacher or worked out by the students. It may have a final answer that is completely open-ended, or possibly could have a prescribed answer in which case it may align more with PrBL
(Problem Based Learning). In all cases, it must connect and be aligned with the curriculum standards. The more engaging and open the question, the more it allows for an investigation that spirals.
Student Owned Inquiry – In PBL students should begin to list their own questions (need to know) after becoming acquainted with the Investigative Question. This initial investigation is a brainstorming session. As new questions are asked, the teacher does
not answer any of them, but instead accepts all possibility inquiry. Looking for answers will be a task for the students as they begin their journey into further inquiry, employing different investigation and research techniques. Some answer will be provided through
teacher facilitated learning opportunities and activities. Best of all, the inquiry is student owned and generated and leads to further investigation and engagement.
Spiraling Questions and Answers – As students answer question through the PBL process they will also think of new questions. This is a process of converging and later diverging ideas as new knowledge (content standards) are uncovered. This is one
way a teacher facilitates students into uncovering, while not covering the curriculum. In PBL this is much more than an inquiry cycle because the inquiry becomes deeper with ongoing iterations. It is for this reason that the question investigation is an ongoing process that ultimately can be described as an inquiry spiral. This spiral not only amplifies the inquiry but also deepens the learning.
Skill Based – The inquiry process in PBL is deliberate and planned out by the teacher. It must have the opening investigative question, student investigation beginning with need to know, lesson and activity mapping, product outcome, plus final and ongoing assessment that is aligned to the content standards and skills. Students learn how to investigate research, collaborate, self-learn, analyze, evaluate, and even derive information from traditional lectures, readings, and resources along with the vast amount of possibilities that can be found online. The skills demand not only the ability to find answers, but the skill search for information, evaluate the resources, and ask new questions.

Reflection on Endless Inquiry
Project Based Learning facilitates and activates that essential human desire to learn, investigate, and inquire. It fosters the ability to ask good questions while seeking possible answers and solutions. It is often stated that the only thing better then great answers, are great questions. A PBL Unit facilitates the student process of inquiry while seeking knowledge, along with high level skills that will serve a lifetime of learning.

Resources For Blended with Technology

  • The Right Question Institute – Inquiry is the foundation for great thinking and metacognition. Here you will learn how to not just find answers, but also how to construct great questions. This is an amazing process that will scaffold your students to “genuine  learning’ with life long possibilities.
  • Google Advanced Search – Stop sending your students to just the Basic Search… instead show them how to use the Google Advanced Search. I have an article to get you started.
  • Genius Hour – This site might just help you get started in providing students the opportunity to learn how to learn, while practicing self-regulation. Best of all, it supports that important voice and choice along with spiraling inquiry!  It really encourages that important Maker’s Culture that so many schools are employing.
  •  Wonder Wall Edutopia article  – Read this article on how creating a Wonder Wall provides ways to incorporate the inquiry in the classroom.  It really can help build a culture of wonder.
  • Smithsonian Learning Lab – Explore this amazing resource to create wonder and excitement in the classroom.
  • Google Search Education – With the materials on this site, you can help your students become skilled searchers, whether they’re just starting out with search, or ready for more advanced training
  • SearchResearch -Discover this blog about search, search skills, teaching search, learning how to search, learning how to use Google effectively,  and learning how to do research. It also covers a good deal of making sense of research and information foraging.
  • Driving Question Series – Learn all about Driving Questions in this two-part series hosted at my blog, 21centuryedtech.
  • Education Resources for Web Literacy – In a world of information overload, it is vital for students to be able to find information on the Web, as well as to determine its validity and appropriateness. Alan November’s web literacy materials demystify the process on the web so you can impart the vital skills students need to be safe, competent, and successful 21st century learners.
  • Facilitating Inquiry in the Classroom – Check out my series of posts that provide multiple ways to facilitate inquiry. This link leads to the first post… be sure to check the posts that follow for a goldmine of information.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017 and the 2018 calendar is filling fast.  It’s also not to early to begin thinking of spring, summer, and autumn PD for 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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D is for Developmental and Formative: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning

d_pbl

Welcome to the fourth post in a series that promotes PBL and 21st Century Learning through the examination of Seven Building Blocks. In this fourth post, I would like to examine how education must be both developmentally appropriate fir students while providing formative learning experiences and assessments. These two concepts allow the education experience to proceed in a powerful and natual progression that is neccessary if true learning  is to take place.  Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also, remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  I am taking dates for 2018 with 2017 now full…  start thinking of next spring, summer, and autumn….  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Note: Join me at FETC for some very special workshops and session. I am proud to be a featured speaker and do I hope I see uou there. Best of all it is in sunny Orlandoi Florida January 23-26, 2018….  Learn more at: http://www.fetc.org

D is for Developmental and Formative: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning…  by Michael Gorman at https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Project Based Learning is so much more then covering content though lecture and reading followed by doing a project to show what one has learned. The project is the vehicle and journey that allows the students to get to a final destination with new learning as a reward. That final destination is a project that has been built along a highway filled with on and off ramps allowing for experiences filled with individual and collaborative investigation, research, experimentation, inquiry, metacognition, and authentic learning, These ramps have been built intentionally by the teachers to provide that important metacognition, process, cycles, and map that will allow the project to be so much more than a noun, but  also a verb built on action and process. John Dewey probably said it best in the following statement.

 “Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning naturally results.”

Let’s take a look at the following ideas that re prt of this developmwntal and formative process. Be sure to also enjoy  the provided resources. They will allow you to really dig deeper into the process.

1. Metacognition (Thinking about Thinking)
2. Emphasis on Process over Product  (Doing)
3. Cycles of Formative Learning (Iterative Learning Process)
4. Map for Learning
Metacognition (Thinking about Thinking) – Often  two terms metacognition and thinking are used together to demonstrate the need for students to be aware and reflective in their learning. It allows for a deeper learning by asking students to think, critique, and apply learning. So many times, in a rush to get to the next content objective, education fails to allow students to focus on their learning. In PBL this happens at the entry event, through out cycle of lerning, and at toward the close of the project. Perhaps one of the most important post reflections might be… what can I now do with my learning?  It is important that students have that opportunity to think about thinking.
Emphasis on Process over Product (Doing) – PBL emphasizes the importance of the journey and not so much the destination. While the final product can be a wonderful and exciting occurrence, the journey is filled with important contents standards, skills,
experiences, and intellectual growth. As John Dewey reminds educators, it really is the doing. There is an emphasis on the verbs found in the standards highlighting Bloom’s higher orders of process. It not just what one learned in school today… it is what one did!
Cycles of Formative Learning – Note that this indicator is a reminder, stating the importance of reflecting on the concept of formative learning. It is through a process of formative assessment that a teacher guides and activates student learning in a
formative manner. As a student goes through setbacks and successes there is a growth, 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 cycle of learning turns into a flow while promoting and facilitating perseverance. It is at this point that formative assessment really becomes fomative learning with the individual learner perhaps being the best judge. Students conquer higher level content, while building on skills that will serve them in future schooling and the job place.
Map for Learning – By looking at unpacked standards and student learning targets, educators design lessons and activities that allow learning to take place throughout a project. This may include using past lessons teachers may have always had, along with
new lessons that might incorporate 21st century skills and digital technology. These activities are then placed in an intentional order along a unit timeline, culminating in a final product. The activities and opportunities are differentiated, providing an opportunity for all learnerning styles. Students can even provide input to this map or scaffold.  This map allows the project to be so much more than a destination, it allows it to be a learning process.

Reflection

As one can see Project Based Learning is very intentional. The teacher truly is a designer, facilitator, and activator. There is a constant formative process allowing for student progress through metacognition, iterative cycles, and learning experiences. It is an exciting journey for both teachers and students, one where each side trip adds to the entire process. The destination is bound to be filled with a celebration of learning and new possibilities!

Resources For Developmental and Formative

  • Students Reflect On a 21century Competency Rubric – Be sure to visit the BUCK Institute (BIE) and check out their rubrics. The link will take you there. Have students reflect on one portion of the rubric. It can be an exit ticket or a journal exercise.
  • GoFormative – A great digital tool to get real time feedback in a multitude of ways on any device. Very easy to use.
  • Habits of the Mind Institute – Take a moment to become familiar with these important “Habits of the Mind”  concepts that will encourage the important thinking and metacognition to support “genuine learning”.
  • BIE Student Learning Guide – Take a look at this amazing map for learning at the BUCK instutute. Be sure to check out the examples and download the form to create your own PBL map or scaffold.
  • Going Beyond Group Assessment for Learning – This could hacve been an assessment resource but instead I decided to put it with formative and developmental learning. The author, John McCarthy has also written a wonderful book filled with ideas and reflection… So All Can Learn
  • Beautiful Work – Check out this free article by Ron Berger, an amazing educators. When finished you just might want to check out his book, An Ethic of Excellence.
  • 5E Learning Cycle – Chck out some links to one of my favorite cycles for learning from thses selctions compiled at Wayne RESA.
  • Metacognition – Get familiar with the idea along with some great applications from Vanderbilt University.
  • Formative Teaching and Learning – Check out this article from the Teaching Channel.
  • Activities for Metacognition – You will find some great activities to get your students to think about thinking from the DePaul Teaching Commons.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now booked through the rest of the 2017 calendar.  It’s  not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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C is for Centered on Students: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning

 

c_pbl

Welcome to this third post in a series that promotes PBL and 21st Century Learning through the examination of Seven Building Blocks. In this third post, I feel it is important to stress the importance of a student centered classroom.  It is only when we get our students to own the learning, that really great things can happen. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also, remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  I am taking dates for 2018 with 2017 just about full…  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Note: Join me at FETC for some very special workshops and session. I am proud to be a featured speaker and do I hope I see uou there. Best of all it is in sunny Orlandoi Florida January 23-26, 2018….  Learn more at: http://www.fetc.org/

C is for Centered on Students: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning by Michael Gorman at https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

One of the most powerful attributes of Project Based Learning is that it is both student centered and driven. The student autonomy may come in varying degrees depending on student age, student experience with PBL, and teacher experience and comfort in both facilitating and activating a PBL learning experience. PBL at its most powerful stage is a deep learning experience allowing students to self-regulate and gain insight into their own learning process. PBL employs student ownership, voice and choice, personalized and relevant experiences, and a culture of learning that can drive
engagement, rigor, and student success.
1. Engagement (Activation)
2. Ownership (Self-Regulated)
3. Personalized (Student Voice)
4. Student Driven Culture
Engagement and Activation – A project engages and activates student learning through its authenticity and inquiry. This produces a learning culture where students are in a flow. The project begins with a staging activity event that provides an age
appropriate and high interest hook. This activity activates student inquiry that should be aligned with curricular content and skill based outcomes. This is the very first step at getting each student to own their learning.  This engagement is powerful because it often relies on past knowledge and nuild new knowledge from prior learning. This connection helps in both activating the learning and engaging students.
Ownership (Self Regulated) – A goal of PBL is for the student to gain ownership of the learning and the process associated with learning. In a true PBL environment the teachers is a partner that not just facilitates, but activates this process. The goal is
learning that becomes self-regulated by the student. The amount of ownership will depend on student maturity, comfort, and past experience with PBL. The teacher must also have a comfort level built on experience in the PBL classroom. The steps from
teacher controlled to student autonomy may come in increments,, and teachers should feel free to begin at the bottom of the stairs when they first implement. As students begin to own the learning a new classroom synergy becomes evident.
Personalized (Student Voice) – A student centered learning environment allows student to choose how to learn, within given parameters, that can support essential content and skills. This personalized ownership begins with giving students voice and choice in certain areas, eventually growing to a large part of the process as comfort levels and experience rises. When students have a voice and choice there is an exciting empowerment which leads to wonderful engagement. This voice and choice may be a say in classroom operations, creation of contracts, choosing tools to demonstrate learning, and even deciding on an interest within the boundaries of the standards. The teacher in a PBL classroom provides differentiation using grouping, roles, one on one conversations during group work time, and tasks in the scaffold. At the highest levels of PBL students become familiar with their strength and strategies in learning. Having the ability to personalize the learning experience students can often see relevance of the why and what they are learning. They are able to take with them an important skill of lifelong learning which will serve them beyond their formal schooling.
Student Driven Culture – A student centered PBL classroom and related project portrays a unique and powerful culture that embraces and fosters learning. Students learn what it means to be a member of a Personal Learning Community. The classroom
is a place of opportunity, wonder, expression, excitement, and knowledge. Critique and revision by individuals and peers are a common place and performed in a kind, caring, and effective manner. Norms are established and protocols are honored. The idea of process and formative learning trumps content acquisition, although content is still rich and becomes more vibrant. Learning is student regulated. The students in a true PBL classroom genuinely display an understanding that they really do own their learning.

Reflection

Learning will always be most powerful when the student is in the center of the experience. Putting the student in the center provides a motivation and engagement that will serve well beyond the formal education years. Perhaps the most learning a child ever does is in those years before school. These are years when a child is in the center asking observing, questioning, and trying. There is no formal instruction, and perhaps that is for the best. PBL allows students to go back to that amazing time period of wonder and excitement while the teacher carefully crafts experiences and activates possibilities while keeping in mind that the student must be in the center.

Resources For Centered on the Student

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017 and my 2018 calendar is filling fast.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of  the spring summer, and autumn of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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B is for Blended with Technology: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning

b_pbl

Welcome to this second post in a series that promotes PBL and 21st Century Learning through the examination of Seven Building Blocks. In this second post, I would like to build the idea of the Building Block I call Blended with Technology.  It may just provide a whole new look at what educational technology really is and why it is important to PBL and Deeper Learning. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also, remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  I am taking dates for 2018 with 2017 just about full…  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

B is for Blended with Technology: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks, Elements, & Compounds of Deeper Learning by Michael Gorman at https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

There are many educators that believe that Project Base Learning must be integrated with technology. In a sense this could be correct, although it depends on the definition of technology. One must remember that John Dewey was an advocate of projects long before the laptop computer, or even mainframe. He did believe that students must be doing, and this does involves something beyond sitting in a row listening to a lecture. Doing involves “using tools”, a basic definition of technology. It is for this reason that some form of analog and pre-analog technology should be blended into the learning experience. In this increasing binary world it is also important to bring in digital devices including the computer, and so many other electronic tools. At the same time the SAMR Model based on the progressive steps of substitution, augmentation, modification, and replacement integrated with Bloom’s and Webb’s DOK can truly transform the PBL experience while amplifying learning  with endless possibilities. At the same time technology allows for increased student ownership of learning. It provides the opportunity for independent learning, self-regulation, formative assessment, and self regulation. Take a look at the four indicators that can blend the PBL experience..
1. Analog tools
2. Deeper Learning Opportunities
3. Provide Student Ownership of Learning
4. Digital Tools beyond the device

Analog Tools – Perhaps it is a paint bush, a carpenter’s tool, or some items from a maker’s workshop. These may be referred to as the analog tools. It is the many pre-digital age tools that can still be used to engage learning. Take a moment and watch a
child play with an old fashion toy and it will become obvious there is still a world of possibilities from the pre-digital era. In fact, there are some experiences that the world of advanced technology and computers could never replace. Never forget that smell
of a first crayon!
Deeper Learning Opportunities- In the 21st century classroom digital technology can also amplify the learning experience. New opportunities exist that were not possible before. The connection to the real world provides a new window for students, and
the ability to bring in engaging content and activities to the classroom are endless. Technology climbing to the top of SAMR with careful integration of Webb’s Depth of Knowledge and Blooms provides students with deeper learning opportunities
fostering an authentic understanding.
Provide Student Ownership of Learning – Students are no longer captive to the teacher’s lesson plan in the school walls. Learning with the internet is possible 24/7 and at any place. Students have choice of what to learn and how to learn it. Programs can be used to allow students to advance at their pace. Technology also allows for new assessment techniques allowing students to demonstrate learning in creative and innovative ways. The teacher can facilitate technology to provide this optimum learning experience.
Digital Tools Beyond the Device – It must be remembered that the digital world goes beyond just the digital device whether it be a computer or tablet. There are a multitude of digital possibilities including toys, cameras, GPS units, games, robots, and
electronic wonders. An investigation in the of the Makers World will not only enlighten the digital possibilities, it may also bring a new look to the analog world.

Reflection
One can only imagine what John Dewey may have done in today’s 21st century classroom. It is certain that he would have had the students helping him make those decisions. PBL has always relied on some sort of technology, no matter how basic it may
have been. After all, it is the tools that allow students to do. The modern technology of today can also amplify all of the other themes found in the ABC’s of PBL. It is important for educators to understand that digital technology can help foster a blended
learning experience between the classroom and its physical walls, reaching to the community and a wonderful authentic world.

 

Resources For Blended with Technology

  • Wordle or Tagxedo or Wordclouds – Use one App really well and in multiple ways. My pick  for getting teachers started was always a Word Cloud Machine such as the websites Wordle, Tagxedo, or Wordclouds (for those who experience some challenges with java). Take a moment to read my article that states 200 Ways To Use Word Clouds In The Classroom.
  • Imagination Foundation Cardboard Challenge – Take a break from digital technology and devices and find a way to bring old fashion technology in the classroom such as… cardboard!
  • SAMR Model – Get To Know the SAMR Model… begin with good substitution. Do not worry about what category you are in. Be willing to allow student to work ahead of your technology capabilities.  Check out this SAMR Video.
  • Five Ideas to go Beyond SAMR – Once you understand SAMR learn how to take learning even deeper by reading and looking at the resources in this 21centuryedtech article.
  • TPACK – Take some time to discover how technology, pedagogy, and content all work together. It really is enlightening to teachers as they reflect on their teaching practice.  You might even wish to watch this video.
  • Common Sense Media – Are you looking for great programs and apps that really do reflect great educational pedagogy. Check out lessons and reviews at Coomon Sense. Take a moment to even view this video on Technology and Blooms.
  • Integrating PBL and Technology… Keep the End in Mind – Take a look at this wonderful artcile by Suzie Boss and P21.
  • Beyond the Tech Shine – Check out this article from 21centuryedtech that allows teachers to look at their standards and then figure out what verbs get their students learning and doing using technology.
  • Building a Makerspace Culture to Support Standards and Learning … 10 Ideas and 16 Resources – Another article from 21centuryedtech that allows teachers to discover technology with and beyond the device in a atmoshere that allows students to do.
  • Blending Technology into Project Based Learning – Bob Lentz and Sally Kingston provide a great overview of technology and PBL The article from P21 also answers the question, “What tools might fit with PBL?”.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018!  Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com)

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A is for Authentic: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning

a_pbl

Welcome to this first post in a series that promotes PBL and 21st Century LEarning through the examination of Seven Building Blocks. In this first post, I would like to build the idea of why Authenticity is so important in any deeper learning experience.  Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  I am taking dates for 2018 with 2017 just about full…  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

A is for Authentic: The ABC’s of PBL … Building Blocks to Transform Learning          by Michael Gorman at https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Learning must be authentic and meaningful in order for the content to really be understood and usable. While there are several education models that promote this idea, it is a necessity in a well-planned Project Based Learning (PBL) Unit. While memorizing and reciting facts may actually give some positive results on a test, it demonstrates only the lowest levels of learning as represented at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy. PBL provides students that authentic learning experience that allows for real world applications, purpose, student relevant, and an audience beyond their classroom walls. Read more about these four special indicators of an authentic learning experience. While a PBL project may not always have every indicator, it is important to keep these qualities in mind when designing a project

  • Real World (True to the World)
  • Purposeful… The …So what
  • Relevant to the Here and Now
  • Audience and Mentors

1. True to the World – Learning must have meaning which extends to the real world, outside the walls of the brick and mortar classroom. The equations of math and the theories of science are a language of their own and reside in that real world. Today’s technology allows students to interact with the larger community, visit another continent, and even travel across the solar system. Curricular concepts and standards can become real and filled with meaning.
2. Purposeful – PBL provides students a purpose, allowing students to work on purposeful projects that can make a difference to others. This project is the process and the final results not only provide a reason and purpose. While a diorama displaying a garden can demonstrate some basic learning at the end of the unit, a student initiated vegetable garden that provides food to the community provides real purpose. Students begin to see why they are doing and learning and are provided the opportunity to contribute to a greater community. As students envision the project and its results… it must really answer the… So What?
3. Relevant to the Here and Now – A common question from students is often, “Why do we need to learn this?” The typical answer is often, “Because you will need it someday. Students should be learning concepts and ideas now, because they also need it now. A PBL Unit might put them in the middle of saving a building, helping the less fortunate, communicating with a culture across the world, creating a museum, writing books for younger children, or authoring an article for Wikipedia. When students know why they are learning and using their knowledge to make a difference, a whole new deeper learning results. They may actually be able to tell their parents what they learned in
school today, and more importantly describe what they did!
4. Real Audience and Mentors – A classroom is filled with students and a teacher and their interaction can be powerful. PBL promotes the idea of the classroom being the entire world. Providing students an authentic audience beyond their classroom is powerful. It promotes rigor and quality work because students realize their work is to be on display and will be viewed by more than their teacher and peers. It could be another classroom or better yet, of the world whether it is real or virtual. Audience can also be an ongoing part of any project in the form of mentors and experts. This capability can exist in the classroom or even online using proper procedures.
.

Reflection
As you can see, an authentic learning experience is of prime importance when designing and planning Project Based Learning for students at any level. Through this practice students can see real world application that provides meaning. They are involved in a purpose that facilitates engagement and passion. They interact with an audience and mentors providing a gateway that employs rigor and quality work. Students are also able to see connections between disciplines allowing them to see importance of all content and disciplines. As teachers become more familiar with the PBL process the will learn to plan projects that employ more of the indicators. Please feel free to explore links that may help you better understand why A really is for Authentic Learning in PBL

Resources For Authentic Learning

  • Kids can make a Difference – An educational program for middle- and high school students, focuses on the root causes of hunger and poverty, the people most affected, solutions, and how students can help.
  • You Tube – Search YouTube for relevant and engaging possibilities.
  • Online Newspapers – Look at the newspaper for curriculum connections… or search for those connections with Google News
  • Authentic Learning Post – Check out this guest post from Dayna Laur at 21centuryedtech. Not only is it filled with links, it also connects to her wonderful book on “Authentic Learning”
  • The Power of Authentic Learning – Read this amazing article from ASCD that brings some wonderful ideas to light on Authentic Learning.
  • What Does it Take for a Project to be Authentic – This Edutopia article brings together the idea of what it really takes to make a project authentic and real for students.
  • What Does it Take for a Project to be Authentic – John Larmer at BIE brings four important ideas to light in making PBL real.
  • 15 Classroom Literacy Ideas for Early Childhood – The folks at NWEA have assembled a wonderful list of real literacy ideas to bring your students not just in their early education years, but also ideas that can be adapted for older students.
  • Real Projects – Inspired by approaches pioneered in the US, and developed through a partnership between Innovation Unit and High Tech High in California, REAL Projects are now being used by schools all over England.
  • 8 Video Resources for Authentic Project Based Learning Design –  The New Tech Ndetwork supplies these wonderful resources made to keep learning and projects authentic.

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017.  Its also not to early to begin thinking of 2018!  Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com)

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10 Timeless Inspiring Education Lessons From An Almost Analog Native

welcomeIt is back to school time 2017 for many of us in the United States and beyond… welcome to the future! I dedicate this post to all of you wonderful educators . Please enjoy this reflective journey and share with others what I hope to be a teaching inspiration.  I wish all of you the very best as you enter a new school year! I hope you enjoy this timeless lesson… one that really does have a place in 21st century education. It is a reminder that teaching truly is an amazing art. Let’s all keep up the wonderful painting.  Please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS and also give me a follow on Twitter at mjgormans.  I promise you will find some great information coming your way this school year…So Sign Up Now and please pass this on with a retweet!   – Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017… very few dates left.   It’s also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

Are you going to FETC 2018 in January in sunny Orlando? I have four workshops and one featured session to share. Watch for more news coming soon!

10 Inspiring Lessons From An Almost Analog Native – Mike Gorman ((https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

It was a normal first day back to school. The building was still quiet and still. I could sense there was an air of extreme excitement and anticipation in the air. I sat at my desk and pondered the reality of a new year wondering about the new faces I would greet.  I already knew that all too soon I would be waving good bye to another group I had come to know so well. It is amazing what the short period of a school year brings to both educators and students.  Suddenly awakened from what was either my deep reflection or possibly a type of relaxing nap that only the whisperings of being another year older can bring, a panicked voice was heard at my classroom door.

He was a brand new teacher dressed as one who just might enlighten the downtown business club, yet he stood with the glazed eyes of a student still waiting for that moment of enlightenment. I had seen it all before, perhaps even in the reflection of a distant mirror over thirty-seven years ago. He was summoning me to his room, not that I regarded it as his room… at least not yet. You see, I had great respect for the educator who had been a part of the four walls that this soon to be teacher was leading me to. As he led me through the doorway of his new headquarters for dissemination of information I couldn’t help but notice a peculiar feeling of past warmth that was missing. There was a indescribable void, covering a large aura which had been in place for nearly fifty years.

As he motioned for me to look at the archaic blackboard behind the new, still packaged, and not yet plugged in interactive whiteboard I couldn’t help but smile. There, still written with chalk that  had the smell of fresh dust, were the words “A Message from an Almost Analog Native”.  Then I heard the young teacher’s voice asking how he might  get rid of the words. He pleaded that, after all, he saw no button to push to dissolve the print. I smiled and walked to the board and picked up the eraser. I cleverly planned to display to this obviously digital native, one of this school’s first such inductees, the magic of an eraser. I even had my strategy for providing a professional development moment on the use of chalk. After all, improper use of chalk can lead to an annoying screech that will send most students diving under their desks. As I held up the eraser I walked to the board and began to perform the ancient teacher ritual of erasing a black… not green,board. Amazingly, it did not work out the way I had planned. As I observed the pupils of this brand new teacher’e eyes grow large, I turned to the board and took a step back in awe. Not only were the words not disappearing… but new words were beginning to appear underneath. It was now quite obvious that we were both extremely engaged in the lesson that was about to begin. I have recorded for you the amazing script that came before my eyes that very day.

The Ten Lessons

Welcome to your new classroom. I am sure you are going to explain and teach in a way that I might never understand. You see, I come from a day of filmstrip projectors that beeped, ditto paper that left my fingers blue and the students enjoying the scent, bells that really did ring out a mechanical melody, 16 millimeter films that, if in color, amazed the kids. In fact, if these films were shown backwards it provided bonus entertainment. In recent years I have heard words that are so strange to me. These words include foreign terms such as twitter, blog, wiki, Skype, web 2.0, clickers, and interactive whiteboards. I have heard all this talk about 21st century skills and I am not even sure if I can tell you what they are. So there you have it. I am not one of those digital natives, nor am I a digital immigrant! I may not even be an analog native or immigrant. So, even though I do not know all the new terms, I thought that I might give you a list of ten items I feel just might ensure success no matter what century it is.

  1.  You come to school to serve your students. Put them at the center of their learning. Find great books, integrate fascinating projects, and include engaging resources.  As you do this, always remember that students must be at the center of their learning.
  2.  As you teach you will come upon some amazing tools. My very first full sized erasable blackboard was wonderful and I was amazed by the pull down map. I remember the very first time I used colored chalk and our very first classroom set of encyclopedias. Imagine having almost all the knowledge of the world in your classroom. Please remember that tools are only as effective as those who use them. You will be introduced to amazing new tools. Make sure these tools become the servants and not the masters of your teaching.
  3. Realize that every student is truly gifted. It may be that your job is to find that special gift and make the student aware of it. Each gift is different and will ultimately lead that student to an interest and vocation that they find great pleasure in while contributing to society. They may even come back some day and thank you for revealing that gift to them.
  4. Learning does not just happen in the classroom. Open your students to the world by introducing them to experts, authors, cultures, and multiple disciplines. Teach them to become lifetime learners who will embrace learning beyond the classroom and beyond their school experience. It seems this world is ever changing and, in order to keep up with things, they may need to someday be their own teacher.
  5. Allow your students the experience of searching for success. This involves allowing multiple attempts, occasional failure, and eventual triumph. Learning does not always need to be graded, but must always be guided. Remember, it is not always the destination, but in most instances… the journey. Allow your students those journeys with multiple opportunities and outcomes.
  6. Encourage cooperation, teamwork, and healthy competition. Teach your students that the thoughts and contributions of many can be so much more powerful than just the contribution of one. Emphasize true discussion and listening, and allow for discourse. The ability to work, plan, and play together has been, and always will be, an important skill.
  7. Promote thinking that is outside what many might consider the box. Allow your students to have their own ideas, play with possibilities, and invent what doesn’t exist. Not everything in life can come from your textbook. Remember, what we believe as facts today could change in twenty-five to fifty years. It seems that information probably doubles every hundred years. I suppose that might even speed up a bit as time goes on.
  8. It seems that all of us learn best by doing. Allow your students to not just hear it or read about it. Provide them with real life experiences and allow then to do it. Guide them as they are doing so they are learning relevant content and gaining new skills. Give them some say in what they are doing.
  9. Remember your humanness. Always have a sense of humor and be yourself. Remember that teaching is a people business. Enjoy the laughter, the stories, the victories, the accomplishment, and the small (but really big) moments that can only happen in a real live classroom. Some say that someday robots or some kind of two way wireless radio will take over education. I truly think this will never happen because teachers will always show that the human element is essential. A smile from a real person sure beats that of a  robot or a distant person on a wireless radio covered in distant sounds of static.
  10. Always remember that you teach children… not subjects such as science, history, arithmetic, ciphering, citizenship, reading, English, and shop. You see, it is the teaching of children that convinced me to get into this amazing business… and it is the reason that most great teachers have a hard time giving up a classroom like this.

Please take good care of this classroom. It never was mine, only one that I was allowed not just to educate children in, but so much more. It was a classroom in which I was allowed to perpetuate a culture of learning for almost fifty years. You see, not all of these ideas were mine. I found them on an old slate lying in a back closet when I first entered this room. I was so happy I had a pencil in hand, because no faster had I made my copy than the words on the slate disappeared. I think I may have made a few changes. I know I will have a chance in my retirement to read about some of these new tools and even learn about these 21st century skills. It will probably give me a chance to think about what I might have done to make learning in my classroom even better. When I find out… I might even send you a message. Until then, please take care of this old classroom and, more importantly, take even more care with those children who will enter tomorrow and thereafter. I know you will perpetuate the culture of learning that has permeated these four walls for more years than even those I taught.

You know… there wasn’t much to say. I looked at the new kid who seemed even more ready to teach. His eyes appeared already a few years older. As we both stood there we saw the old blackboard magically erase and turn a clean dark shade of black. I picked up the eraser that I had dropped during this unusual encounter and handed it over to the new guy. He opened the closet door and threw it in. I heard a gentle thump as it landed on something that may have been a slate. Together, we both unpacked and plugged in his new interactive whiteboard. He carefully positioned it so he could still see a portion of that old blackboard from his desk. We both knew why. As I walked out of the room that day I couldn’t help but think about the history that just might occur in that old classroom in the next fifty years. But, I had plans to make and students to get ready for as I was incorporating many of those new 21st century skills I had been reading about all summer. I was so excited about providing so many new opportunities for my students. After all, this is a new era for new techniques and strategies and yes… some that have always been a [art of learning.

Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey of 21st century (and even before that) learning. Join me in future weeks as together we continue to explore several more posts devoted to the Flipped Classrooms, Project Based Learning, Assessing 21st century skills, PBL, STEM, technology integration, web resources, and digital literacy.  I enjoy learning from all of you. Also remember to subscribe to this blog by RSS or email and follow me on twitter at mjgormans. I also appreciate your sharing of this post and any retweets. Keep up the amazing work,  have a great week, and a enjoy this wonderful new school year. Welcome to the Future! – Mike Gorman

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through the rest of the 2017 … just a few dates left.  It’s also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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Part Four: Beyond SAMR… Technology, Deeper Learning, and Rigor

samrimage

Welcome to the fourth  in this series of posts promoting the idea of going to SAMR and beyond.  In this post I would like to introduce  you to way that you can ensure the deeper thinking and rigor are part of school wide technology integration. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS, and also give me a follow… on Twitter at mjgormans. I promise you will find some wonderful information coming your way in the posts that follow…So sign up now and please pass this on with a retweet. Also remember you can book me for a conference or your school district with workshops that are informative, engaging, and practical. Check out my Booking Page and as always… thanks so much!  Mike Gorman (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/)

Quick Notes

A big shout out to EdTech Magazine for recognizing this blog on its 2017 Honor Roll. That is quite a compliment from such an amazing publication. I especially appreciated the following quote, “On his blog, Gorman shares what he has learned with a focus on how tech enables project-based learning.” Check out this wonderful magazine for some great K12 educational articles,

I will be presenting at Alan November’s BLC in Boston in July. I have three pre-conference workshops that you may want to register for. They include; One-Half Day PBL Splash, Full Day PBL Starter; and a One-Half Day Technology Workshop dedicated to amplifying standards and process using Technology. I will also have three concurrent session during the main conference. As a member of Alan’s Team all year, it is a lot of fun to meet so many people from around the world at his summer conference in Boston. Learn more at the conference master classes page.

Part Four: Beyond SAMR… Technology, Deeper Learning, and Rigor

 

With being what I think is the last post in the “Beyond SAMR Series”, I want to emphasizes several other ideas that will allow you to employ SAMR and then take a few more steps. As stated in an early post, SAMR is a wonderful model to begin with, as teachers learn to integrate technology into their curriculum. For those unfamiliar with SAMR, this is a model that allows teachers to see different stages of technology integration. At the same time, as teachers travel on a best practices journey it will be important to look at lessons with some other filters, SAMR, after all, is only one.

Your question might be… can you explain further?  Please understand that the highest level of SAMR is not always filled with deep learning and rigor. Sometimes it is just transformative technological in action, not representing real transformative learning. Understand that there may have actually been higher levels achieved on the way to the final step. Is it possible to get to the top step with out higher level l;earning? Imagine an entertaining and polished green screen presentation summarizing route content, with no higher order thinking. The technology has gone through a Redefinition… but has the learning?

For this reason I ask teachers to use both Blooms and Webs DOK as a filter along with SAMR as they employ technology. The high-end of SAMR provides a wonderful opportunity for students to own content creation with the redefinition of technology use. At the same time,we must think about where the content thinking applies on our other filters. Most of us are familiar with Blooms. These amazing verbs allow our students to perform the verbs of remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluation and creating. It is important to note what steps the students took to get to creating. Did they have to go beyond remembering… or did they even have to remember. It is possible that they could be at the top of Bloom and SAMR without some of the other high level or even basic verbs. When designing a technology task be aware of the Bloom’s verbs that are being used.

In fact, why not bring in Webb’s DOK. While not as well-known, it is important. Let’s take a closer look. Webb’s actually contains four levels.  I have listed these below with possible verbs and applications that might be associated at each level.You may wish to learn more about  Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels. 

  1. Recall and Reproduction – This task does not require high cognitive tasks and is not real demanding except to those who have problems with memorization. The idea is really based on learning facts, and learning could actually be questioned based on your definition. Verbs include: copying,  matching, memorizing, computing, defining, recognizing, labeling.
  2. Skills and Concept – This is usually a task with more than one mental step. It may require some extra thinking  but will have one closed answer. It will usually require application of a skill or understanding of a concept. Verbs include: comparing, predicting, organizing,  showing, modifying, summarizing, estimating.
  3. Strategic Thinking – This may require multiple answers or approaches. It requires an understanding and may require a reasoning and abstract thinking to provide a multiple step response. Verbs include: solving non-routine problems, designing an experiment, or analyzing characteristics, formulating hypothesis an answer, develop argument, differentiating between idea, designing to solve a problem.
  4. Extended Thinking – This task requires the most complex and extensive cognitive effort. It demands the synthesis of information from multiple sources, often over an extended period of time. It can also include the transfer of knowledge from one domain or area to solve problems in another.  It can represent the idea of real applications in new situations. Verbs include: applying concepts, connecting ideas, reasoning, designing, critiquing.

Webb’s DOK is a very important filter, along with Blooms, when integrating technology in the educational setting. Many times a project will display signs of SAMR’s substitution but lack important levels in Webb’s DOK and Blooms. Take a look below and try to assess the deeper learning and rigor in the following projects.

  1. Students provide a green screen production of overview of Mar’s facts found on page 25 of the Science Book
  2. Students type an opinion paper contrasting the ideas of Britain and the Colonies in regards to the American Revolution using articles supplied by teacher.
  3. Students create a paper slide video to explain a difficult concept in math
  4. Students invent a new water purifier for under $50 that can be used in drought stricken areas of Africa citing recourses and demonstrating success and possibility of use for product.
  5. Students in robotics studying gear ratio program a car to go through maze.

Note that some provide high SAMR levels but low marks on Blooms and Webb’s DOK. Others may actually be higher on Blooms and Webb’s DOK but lower on SAMR. It might also be important to look at all of the activities that led up to a final project. Sometimes some of the deepest thinking can be found during this cycle of learning. In conclusion, it is not about the technology, it really is about the learning and understanding that is a final result of the activity. Please take a moment and try to use this document I put together in order to assess the level of learning in a given lesson. _Tech_Deeper Learning Score mjgormans

Places to Learn More

Thank you for joining me and I hope you found this information something you can use in your school and useful to share with other educators. As always, I invite you to follow me on twitter (mjgormans). Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit. To ensure you do not miss a future valuable post or other resource covering PBL, Digital Curriculum, STEM, 21st-century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week! Mike (https://21centuryedtech.wordpress.com/

 Booking Info – It is time to think about your school or conference needs.  Are you looking for a practical and affordable professional development workshop for your school or conference? I have traveled the country delivering PD relating to technology integration, PBL, STEM, Digital Literacy, and the 4 C’s. I have delivered hundreds of workshops and presentations. Check out my Booking Page .  Please contact me soon if you have an interest. I am now almost booked through June and the rest of the 2017 calendar is filling fast.  It’s also not to early to begin thinking of 2018! Please take a look at my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans. Thanks so much.  Michael Gorman (mjgormans@gmail.com).

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