The book, Problem-Based Learning yielded great guidance to applying useful strategies and implementing necessary components of problem-based learning to this ImagineIT project. I learned valuable information from this book. The book provided a scaffolded approach to implementing PBL. I learned strategies for planning a problem-based lesson or unit using an inquiry process that encourages student questions, curiosities and uncertainties about phenomena in the world. The book allowed for suggestions for challenging students to become deeply involved in the quest for knowledge, seeking answers to their questions. I found this especially helpful for encouraging students to become investigators of information in their lives. Specifically for STEMdance, I utilize the suggestions for preparing students for inquiry and elements of PBL to help students become comfortable knowledge and seekers of solutions to problems faced when challenged to choreograph dance that incorporates key dance elements and mathematical and scientific concepts.
From the focus group and teaching demonstration, was able to utilize strategies for getting students to be collaborative in learning about math/science and dance and actually creating choreographic designs. I was also able to better assess student understandings with varied suggested assessment tools. In addition feedback included suggestions for learning about the concepts, such as watching videos, visiting performances and creating productions of their own. I was able to utilized students shared dance experiences with social, cultural and formal dance to incorporate into the imagineIt project.
From my colleagues, I was able to enhance my own knowledge and perspectives about problem-based learning that included multi-disciplinary approaches, assessment, and application. My colleagues explanations and reflections about PBL allowed me to have a broadened view of the information and strategies from our book and how they could be implemented in a variety of subjects and at various grade levels.
Some insights that I’ve had since the implementation of this project include the development of a more teacher-student shared inquiry process and advantages and disadvantages of using the KWHLAQ process. The teacher-student shared inquiry is a shared decision making process. During this process, students learn how to develop their sense of awe, wonder and curiosity and how it’s important to their growth. The KWHLAQ strategy is suggested for shared inquiry. From this strategy, I was able to see how new learnings can lead to new questions and how questions can really round out a unit - being at the beginning and at the end. Through this whole inquiry process, student inquiry and learning is extended beyond just the beginning and throughout the unit.
As I implement round 2, I am looking to capture more of what the students have been doing through this process. I want to chronicle and assess their understandings, thoughts, perceptions and feelings about what and how they are learning. I also look to reflect more on my understandings and growth. Lastly, I will look to see where the new questions take us in along the inquiry journey.
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