For this assignment, you need to assume the role of a classroom educator. This can be based on a class that you are currently teaching, one that you have previously taught, or one that you hope to teach in the future. Suppose you are participating in a department team meeting with the other teachers in your grade level discussing an upcoming unit.. One of the teachers indicates that she plans to distribute the same packets she used last year and schedule five days of independent seat work for her students to complete the packets by locating answers in the course textbook. This would be followed by a written exam covering the material in the packets.
You have been aware for some time that the students in this teacher’s class are frustrated, bored, and worst of all, not really learning anything important about the content as shown through the student data. This could be your opportunity to get her to try something new and more valuable to students. You explain to this teacher that you plan to implement a week-long problem-based learning experience for your students, involving group projects, computer time, and class presentations; you would like to share this plan with her and to partner together on the project.
In this assignment, you will apply principles of project and problem based learning (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcGOe_JsXUY) to the design of a specific learning experience within a culturally relevant and collaborative learning experience that facilitates the 21st century skills of creativity and innovation. Review the Week Five Instructor Guidance for detailed assistance on preparing for and completing this assignment, including access to resources that will help you identify the characteristics of problem-based learning environments. Next, create your assignment to meet the content and written communication expectations below.
View the video, problem-based and project-based learning (PBL2) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., Create a general plan that includes the following six components:
- Overview of the general problem you will establish related to the topic, including the following:
- A brief description of the grade, subject, and demographics of the class.
- An overview of how student groups will be assigned and monitored.
- A description of the project that will need to be developed by the group and presented to the class.
- Common characteristics of problem-based learning, addressing an open-ended problem posed to each learning group (see guidance).
- An explanation of how the creativity and innovation with 21st century skills are learned and/or specifically applied within the project.
- An explanation of how culturally relevant strategies are included/applied within the project.
** Feel free to use this opportunity to design/revise a plan that you will be teaching in the future.**
If you are enrolled in the MAED Program, it is imperative that you keep copies of all assignments completed in this course. You will return to them for the portfolio that you will create in your final MAED course. This portfolio is a culminating project that will demonstrate that you have met program outcomes.
Review this week’s Instructor Guidance for additional information about completing this assignment. Contact your instructor for clarifications about this or any assessment in the course before the due date using the “Ask Your Instructor” forum. Then, also using the Grading Rubric as a guide for your performance on this assignment, construct your assignment to meet each of the content and written communication expectations.
Review your assignment with the Grading Rubric to be sure you have achieved the distinguished levels of performance for each criterion and submit the assignment for evaluation no later than Day 7.
- Must be at least two to three double-spaced pages in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must use at least three scholarly, peer-reviewed, credible sources in addition to the course text.
- The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.
- Must document all sources in APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
- Must include a separate references page that is formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
Instructor Guidance Week 5
Looking back at the first couple weeks of class, you were presented with some common attributes and concepts within varied definitions of culture. This week, you are asked to analyze both the macrocultural as well as microcultural factors that likely influenced the decisions made in the development and implementation of the school or program. You may need to review the concepts of macro and microculture in the material presented on within Chapter 1.3 of the Wardle (2013) text.
The types of decisions teachers and/or program developers make in order to successfully plan schools or programs might include (but are not limited to) the following:
- In what ways will the school/program serve the community?
- What instructional outcomes should be facilitated in the school/program?
- What type of students will the school/program serve?
- How will the school/program accommodate the individual needs of the students?
- What basic approach will be used to help students learn?
- What resources will be used to help students learn?
You may be surprised at how easy it is to imagine the cultural influences (both macrocultural and microcultural) that affect these types of decisions.
Review the video Interview with David Perkins (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. He says many things about the decisions teacher and policy-makers make regarding education, and one of the shocking conclusions he draws is that “…90% of what we teach is a waste of time.” Dr. Perkins raises a very valid point about the lack of discussion in the field of education about WHAT is important to be learned. Standards-driven curricula and state /national accountability measures seem to focus on ensuring that teachers can effectively teach so that their students successfully learn specified outcomes. But such efforts tend to emphasize HOW teachers can ensure the learning of specific outcomes without addressing more obvious questions related to what students are actually expected to learn, and whether or not such outcomes are even worth trying to learn well. This is a very important distinction, and it speaks to the most important decision educators make on a daily basis: “What is important for my students to learn?”
Up to this point in the course, you have been encouraged to consider how culturally relevant pedagogy and strategies for encouraging creativity support the learning of 21st century skills. When you examine the 21st century skills framework (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., you will notice that content-related outcomes do form the core of the skills model. But content specific outcomes represent only part of the picture. The importance of the 21st century skills framework is its emphasis on skills that are used by people in the real world to be more successful in their lives. These skills include creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration (Partnership for 21st Century Skills). One of the underlying, hidden goals in this course is that you will choose to facilitate these skills in your classes, regardless of the grade level or subject area…and you will choose to ensure that all your students have equitable opportunities to learn them through culturally relevant experiences.
Project- and Problem-Based Learning
The final pieces of the puzzle in this course involve learning more about tools that can help you develop creative, culturally relevant instruction. These tools include the methods of project-based and problem-based learning (PB2L), as well as the tools of technology.
The week begins with a discussion about cultural characteristics that influence the decision-making of professional educators. These characteristics are considered at both the macrocultural level (i.e. U.S. culture) and the microcultural (i.e. local community) levels. Such analyses help to identify decisions teachers make in light of their personal perspectives. Based on these insights, you will reevaluate the case of poor instruction criticized by student Jeff Bliss. You have an opportunity to suggest strategies that would create a classroom that emphasizes cultural relevancy and creativity. And finally, you will examine how PB2L environments naturally support the learning of creative and innovation skills within culturally relevant frameworks. This is coupled with the role technology plays in defining and supporting PB2L contexts, resulting in more relevant, engaging and creative instruction. These skills will be directly applied next week as you develop your final project.
The final project in week six requires you to propose a new program, idea, or concept to either an administrative team or a team of colleagues in order to implement an innovative idea that will highlight culturally and creatively relevant instructional experiences. This task requires making many design decisions related to structuring effective learning experiences. And one important pattern that you may or may not have identified when examining the different examples you and the other students provided of schools and programs that promote the learning of 21st century skills is the use of project-based and problem-based learning within the classroom. This video provides an excellent overview of project-based learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site., and it makes it very easy to identify it as a primary model used within many innovative schools and programs. Project-based and problem-based learning is also general model used to define the place-based educational programs examined in Week Three. The instructor guidance for this week provides an overview of instructional contexts, and the role problem-based contexts (in addition to creation contexts and real/simulation contexts) in establishing meaning and purpose to the learning of important outcomes such as 21st century skills. This material also provides a summary of some specific ways in which common classroom technology can be used to help define and support such contexts.
PB2L learning experiences can provide very concrete contexts for learning and applying worthwhile skills, such as those defined in the 21st century skills framework. To get a better understanding of exactly what is meant by project-based learning, read the material presented on the Edutopia website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. about Project-Based Learning. This website includes basic information about PB2L as well as research results and examples of PB2L in action (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Another fantastic resource that deals primarily with Problem-Based Learning is the Savery (2006) article. Not only does this article provide definitions and concepts related to Problem-Based learning, it also provides a great comparison between the two types of learning within PB2L. You can also find practical resources for creating Problem-Based learning at this website (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site..
The following information will assist you in thinking about and creating Problem-Based Learning curriculum:
- Use of real world problems – problems are relevant and contextual. It is in the process of struggling with actual problems that students learn content and critical thinking skills.
- Reliance on problems to drive the curriculum – the problems do not test skills; they assist in development of the skills themselves.
- The problems are truly ill-structured – there is not meant to be one solution, and as new information is gathered in a reiterative process, perception of the problem, and thus the solution, changes.
- PBL is learner-centered – learners are progressively given more responsibility for their education and become increasingly independent of the teacher for their education.
- PBL produces independent, life-long learners – students continue to learn on their own in life and in their careers.Problem-Based Learning (n.d.)
Discussion Response Expectations
- Instructional context
- Problem-based and Project-based learning
In the only discussion post for the week, you will analyze two schools or programs showcased by your peers and answer specific questions about the decisions made in the design and implementation, and the cultural influences that likely affected these decisions. Your analysis comes from a reciprocal sharing of the web-based assignment completed last week. As such, a timely posting of the link to the website you created is pertinent in providing as many opportunities to explore each other’s resources in order to conduct a meaningful analysis.
In the “A Case for Problem-Based Learning” written assignment for Week Five, you will revisit the poor instruction observed in the Jeff Bliss video from Week Three. You will apply your knowledge of culturally relevant and creative instructional strategies developed earlier in the course to describe and plan a culturally relevant, project- or problem-based learning (PB2L) experience that uses technology to create a more culturally relevant lesson to be presented in your subject matter of choice.
The most important reason you are designing an experience that emphasizes a project- or problem-based model is that such an approach helps define a context that provides meaning and purpose for all the skills to be learned. And context represents all those factors in an instructional environment that provide meaning for the students’ experiences, including the information they receive. These are the factors that influence and define what, when, where, how, why, and with whom individual learners learn from instruction.
A number of educational researchers and instructional designers have studied different types of contexts within specific learning environments over the years (e.g. Jonassen, Peck, & Wilson, 1999), and these different types of contexts can be characterized into three broad categories: creation, problem-based, and real (or simulation). Within these broad categories, subcategories of context types reside and, in many cases, overlap into multiple categories. The figure blow represents this relationship:Figure 1: Instructional Context Categories and Types
Table 1 presents descriptions of each context category or type. Table 1: Descriptions of Context Categories or Types
Context Category or Type
This type of context provides opportunities for learners to create something.
These context types allow learners to make decisions in the development and/or subsequent operation of a real or simulated environment or situation. Simulations often try to replicate real-world environments.
Modeling contexts enable users to develop models to explain or demonstrate complex ideas, procedures, concepts, or processes.
Situation explorations and cases don’t allow the learners to control parameters of the environment, but they can freely explore within a simulated or real environment or situation. These types of contexts are often “problem solving” in nature.
Story contexts present stories (fiction or non-fiction), and story elements such as characters, plot, setting, and conflict might be used as “anchors” or themes to help facilitate specific, discrete outcomes. Non-fiction story elements, such as collected and tabulated data, reflect elements of cases that are often used to help facilitate the learning of specific outcomes as well.
In this context type, research problems (problems associated with a specific content domain) are presented to the learners, and they must use computer-based resources to help solve the problems.
Reference exploration contexts encourage learners to freely explore and access reference-type information.
In a treasure hunt, learners are given a topic or concept, and they are directed to locate interesting information related to the topic.
In a scavenger hunt, learners are given a list of interesting questions to answer.
This type of context usually engages learners in competition, cooperation, puzzles, or strategies, often for the sake of entertainment. Other contexts may employ this context because of the motivational advantages of games.
This type of context encourages learners to construct and communicate fiction and nonfiction stories. This context types is presented separately from “creation” contexts simply because the act of storytelling falls somewhere in-between creation and communication.
This context type is directly related to creation and storytelling. Plays, songs, and movies reflect some of the ways in which learners can create and perform material designed to tell stories and/or express perspectives.
“Big-Picture” Concept Mapping
This context type encourages the learners to create conceptual “Big Pictures” that represent the scope of particular content domains.
Discussions & Questioning
Discussion contexts are simply environments in which a moderator presents or facilitates the articulation of topics to be discussed by the learners.
A moderator can also direct questioning strategies specifically designed to challenge and uncover depth. Playing Devil’s Advocate, answering questions with questions, the Socratic method of questioning, and redirecting questions to different learners represent various strategies that can be employed.
What is important to consider about these different types of instructional contexts is that some, like problem-based learning, naturally support the implementation of many, if not all, culturally relevant strategies:
- Maximizing academic success through relevant instructional experiences
- Addressing cultural competence through reinforcing students’ cultural integrity
- Involving students in the construction of knowledge
- Building on students’ interests and linguistic resources
- Accessing home and community resources
- Understanding students’ cultural knowledge
- Using interactive and constructivist teaching strategies
- Examining the curriculum from multiple perspectives
- Promoting critical consciousness through opportunities to challenge predominant elements of the students’ social norms
Keep this in mind as you design a solution to the real problem observed in the video of Jeff Bliss and Ms. Phung. Solving this design problem supports your newly learned practice of analyzing characteristics of effective meaningful learning contexts and instructional strategies as they apply to working with diverse students, families, and communities. It also provides you with practice in formulating effective, culturally relevant instructional strategies appropriate for the design and implementation of instruction for a diverse population. Both these skills will be needed to successfully complete next week’s Final Project.
21 Foundation (2009, November 25). David Perkins Interview (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://vimeo.com/7828561
Edutopia (n.d.). Project-based learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning
Edutopia Staff (n.d.). How does project-based learning work? (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-guide-implementation
Jonassen, D., Peck, K. & Wilson, B. (1999). Learning with technology: A constructivist perspective. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, Inc.
Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.) Framework for 21st century learning (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework
Problem based learning. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://ldt.stanford.edu/~jeepark/jeepark+portfolio/PBL/skipintro.htm
Savery, J. R. (2006). Overview of problem-based learning: Definitions and distinctions (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-Based Learning, 1(1), 9-20. Retrieved from http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1002&context=ijpbl
Wardle, F, (2013). Human relationships and learning in the multicultural environment. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.