I have very little in the form of assessments at this current stage in the project but I feel the assessments I do have, provide a meaningful tool to guide teachers, but more importantly, students. My initial pre-assessment isn’t necessarily authentic, but it provides the teacher with valuable information about where to go with the instructional portions of the project, while providing students with an outline for what they are expected to learn through the experience. By ending with the same assessment both teacher and students gain a clear picture of the knowledge gained in relation to entrepreneurship.
With group projects such as this, that allow students some freedom in the direction they take, a teachers time is often consumed with answer questions and “putting out fires.” This creates a problem when it comes to monitoring the progress of each group. The exit card I’ve designed provides students with a tool to measure their progress and address questions or concerns. The teacher can also use this to ensure the group is on track and they can address the questions or concerns they may not have been available to address during class. To instill a small sense of ownership, some blank rows are left to add to the checklist as students find tasks that may have been left out.
Finally, the Business Plan and Presentation Rubric is a tool with relevance to the students. It provides a clear model of what an exceptional finished product must contain. Prior to beginning the business plan, groups will receive the rubric and it will be discussed orally with the entire class. If possible, the teacher will provide examples of products demonstrating various ends of the rubric. Throughout the development of the business plan and presentation students may consult the rubric to reflect on the quality of their work and make the necessary adjustments.
To get students more actively involved in the assessment process, after they’ve had a chance to develop their plan and presentation, I would ask students to develop a peer feedback scale about effective elements of a business plan presentation. Students would then use this as a peer evaluation/feedback tool to practice their presentation before presenting to the investors and bank.
I’ve decided to go with a project based on entrepreneurship. This past school year, my district’s 4th graders completed a field test for the next generation of assessments. The test was quite heavy with questions relating to entrepreneurship. To help hit some of those standards, the 4th grade Social Studies teacher completed a unit on entrepreneurship with a culminating “meaning light” project asking the students to create a poster for a business. Coming away from the unit, I’m guessing the students took away very little about what it means to be an entrepreneur and what exactly and entrepreneur is. In an effort to create a meaningful, and lasting learning experience I went with a project about entrepreneurship.
As I’ve completed these first stages of the project I was surprised to find that the state of Ohio actually has a set of standards in relation to entrepreneurship, the K-12 Entrepreneurship Standards. This speaks to the importance the state is placing on teaching entrepreneurship. I’m also surprised at the number of standards a teacher can cover not just in Social Studies but within ELA, Math, and Technology.
I’ve decided to use Wix to create my project site. I used Wix previously for EDTECH 554. I like the professional look of the templates with a large degree of freedom in the layout and look of individual pages within the site.
My thoughts are scattered as I begin to make sense of PBL, but as I begin to delve into the idea of Project Based Learning, I wonder why this isn’t pushed more? In many aspects students see teachers and school as boring and irrelevant. Why would a student want to sit and listen to a teacher lecture when they can watch more interesting videos, play games and read about the same content at home or even on their cell phone. With all this knowledge available at the touch of a button or even at the sound of a voice the role of teachers is beginning to shift. If we want to stay relevant and prepare students for the 21st Century PBL seems to be the way to go. As teachers we have to move beyond surface level instruction and provide students with opportunities to dig deeper. The article 8 Essentials for Project-Based Learning by Larmer and Mergendoller, was my first experience with PBL, and I have to say it excites me to start a new school year. I am anxious to develop new projects and share these concepts with my colleagues.
In addition, I found it interesting how much the 8 essential elements for PBL coincide with John Keller’s ARCS Theory of Motivational Design. Each of the 8 essential elements fits somewhere within Keller’s breakdown of Attention, Relevance, Confidence, and Success. These ideas are important to me because I strive to engage each of my students. Too often teacher’s write students off because they are disinterested or unmotivated. This to me is failing to do my job.