PBL Home Page

Outline of These Materials

1. Future of ICT in Education

2. Learning Goals in a PBL Lesson

3. What is ICT-Assisted PBL?

4. Planning a PBL Lesson

5. Authoring a Hypermedia Document

6. Timeline and Milestones

7. Assessment

8. FAQ and Conclusions


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Outline of the Workshop or Short Course

This Website was developed specifically to support a workshop, a short course, or self study. It assumes that the user is a teacher and a motivated learner. There are enough materials for a two-day workshop or a one-credit course.

In this document, I use the term "workshop" to cover both a workshop and a 1-credit course.

The assumption is that participants have given some thought to a project that they would like to develop for use in a course or unit they teach or plan to teach. The workshop will include a number of activities that focus on the specific PBL topic that a participant has selected. If you don't have a topic in mind, spend a minute or so deciding on a possible topic. You can change your mind later.

Before we launch into the formal workshop content, we will spend a few minutes discussing the set of materials available on this Website. Participants are encourages to browse as they simultaneously participate in the workshop presentations and activities.

Part 1: Overview of and Future of ICT in Education

This is a "keynote" address, focusing on the state of the art and the future of ICT in education. Although computers have been used in education for more than 50 years, we are just barely getting started in the changes Information Technology will bring to education. The goal of this initial presentation is to provide some overall common background and sense of direction as we move forward in the remainder of the workshop.

The content of the "keynote" address is drawn from the following book, which is available free on the Web:

Moursund, D.G. (2004). Planning, Forecasting, and Inventing Your Computers-in-Education Future. Access at http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~moursund/

If you like to read future-oriented books by highly qualified academics, take a look at the work of:

Activity: In small groups, discuss how the continuing pace of improvement in the capabilities of ICT might affect curriculum content, instructional processes, and assessment in the courses that you teach.

Activity: In small groups, discuss who establishes the "Standards" for curriculum, instruction, and assessment in the areas in which you teach. Are the standard setters appropriately taking into consideration the rapid pace of change in ICT?

Part 2: Transition to PBL ICT-Assisted PBL Workshop

We will make a transition from a "stand and deliver" mode of keynote presentation instruction into a workshop form of teaching and learning. We will do a couple of activities that get us interacting and sharing on ideas related to ICT-Assisted Project-Based Learning. One of the activities focuses on developing a table of the multiple goals in an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson. As the workshop proceeds, we will develop this into a PBL Lesson Table. One of our goals is to emphasize the idea that in some sense, ICT-Assisted PBL is a "two for the price of one" learning environment. It has all of the benefits (and drawbacks) of PBL, and it also is a environment to foster learning of ICT.

Another key idea is that the process that a teacher follows in creating an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson is essentially that of doing a project.

Part 3: Definition of and Overview of ICT-Assisted PBL

Project-Based Learning is an individual or group activity that goes on over a period of time, resulting in a product, presentation, or performance. Typically the individuals or the groups help to define the activities they will do. Even if there are several different teams working on essentially the same project, the projects they do will likely end up being quite varied. Typically, in a team-based PBL, different team members have different tasks to do and the activities are not all the same. Within a team, various members will work on different aspects of the project. PBL typically has milestones and other aspects of formative evaluation as the project proceeds. PBL shares much in common with Process Writing.

Part 4: Planning an ICT-Assisted PBL Lesson

The first phase of developing an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson plan focuses on defining the topic of the lesson and analyzing the curriculum, instruction, and assessment, and their alignment. We will continue work on the PBL Lesson Table that we started in Part 2.

Authenticity is an important consideration. The members of a team must be addressing a topic that they feel is authentic, relevant to their lives and intersts. Intrinsic motivation is a key idea; empowerment of the team and its members is a key idea.

Part 5: Nature and Extent of Instruction Needed for Each Learning Goal

An ICT-Assisted PBL lesson should be designed to include some specific emphasis and instruction focusing on each goal in the lesson. This part of the workshop focuses just on one of the possible goals in an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson—students developing a hypermedia document as a means of presenting the work they have done. We will look at what might go into a student learning to develop and developing a hypermedia document.

Be aware that it takes quite a bit of time and learning effort for studetns to learn to develop a hypermedia document (a multimedia presentation) that is of reasonable quality. It is easy to create an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson or unit in which almost of of the students' time is spend learning hypermedia—thus leaving little time for studetns to learn the curriculum area content that is the main purpose of the PBL lesson or unit.

Part 6: Timeline and Milestones

Students need to be provided with a timeline and a number of milestones. They need to learn to take responsibility for themselves in following the timeline and meeting the milestones. We will continue work on the PBL Lesson Table.

Part 7: Assessment

Development and use of rubrics or scoring guides. We will discuss self assessment, peer assessment, assessment by instructor, and assessment by others. Authentic assessment is a critical component of a good PBL unit.

Part 8: Final Questions and Discussion

Student-centered, ICT-Assisted PBL is a powerful aid to student learning. If used extensively in a course, it changes the role of the instructor from a "Sage on the stage." to a "Guide on the side." A faculty member can learn to do ICT-Based PBL in a "learn by doing" mode. It can be an incremental process, with the faculty member learning along side his/her students.

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