Final Project – Unit 2: Project Based Learning

Reflecting on this past year I know that my students had very little agency in their education. Our days and content were very structured. There were often open ended questions but not questions that pushed my students beyond a brief answer. I don’t find it suprising that engagement was often a struggle, particularly in the low parts of the year. Even before I joined EdTechTeam’s Teacher Leader Certificate program I knew that I needed something different to take into next year. Something that would push me and my students further, require all of the 21st Century Skills to accomplish, and engage my students more.

In April I went to the Google Apps for Educatin Sonoma Summit put on by EdTechTeam. While there I was really introduced to Project Based Learning (PBL) for the first time through Kevin Brookhouser’s keynote and sessions. There I started to learn about 20% Time and the impact it can have on student learning.

Next year I will be a TOSA and I will not have my own group of students so I focused my research on Genius Hour and how to encourage the rest of my staff to implement PBL in their classrooms. For my PBL research, I researched Genius Hour because it can be implemented on a smaller scale than 20time which should make it more attractive to teachers with impacted schedules. I believe with encouragement and support the teachers at my site will be able to move away from “unit projects” towards Project Based Learning and have a positive impact on the learning outcomes of our students.

With a little luck and a lot of hard work our students will go from having very little agency to having Genius Hour where they can reach for the stars!

Here is my Final Project for Unit 2: Project Based Learning.

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Genius Hour – Higher Order Thinking Through Student Agency

Photo Credit: ScottNorrisPhoto via Compfight cc

As a part of EdTechTeam Teacher Leader program I had to research one type of Project/Problem Based Learning (PBL). I chose Genius Hour because I had heard some good things about it. Having researched it I think that every teacher should implement Genius Hour or some other form of PBL in their class. Even or especially teachers of primary grades. Genius Hour has the capability to catch the wonder of younger students and intensify their curiosity when it is still strong to help grow lifelong learners. While PBL does take a lot of time that can be difficult to carve out of a heavily scheduled school day the rewards far outweigh the difficulties.

I recently read Twitter that “school has the habit of crushing the curiosity out of students”. I wish I could remember/find who said it so that I can properly attribute it. The person who said it as part of their support of PBL. PBL is one of the ways that we can reverse the troubling trend of disengaged students. We need active curious learners who will shoot for the stars and help us solve the wicked problems that are so overwealming we ignore them rather than try to fix them, problems like global climate change.

Genuis Hour Research Presentation