Over the last two days I have been involved in professional development at school on project-based learning (PBL). I have done PBL training before when I did the Intel Teach Essentials Online Master Trainer Course a few years ago. That experience for me was one of the most valuable in my entire career thus far. In that course, I learned to program units of work for PBL in a way that transformed my teaching completely. Whilst the PBL I designed did not get successfully implemented, I still maintain that it was an extremely valuable course.
Throughout the last few days as I went through the PBL inservice at school, unlike other colleagues, I was not working on a particular unit of work but was observing and planning, designing and developing a Moodle course on PBL that uses technology. It was great to hear the ideas my colleagues came up with and the fantastic progress they made as well as the two days continued to shape their ideas into products.
Each step of the process and each element of the PBL plan and resources sparked in me many ideas about how Moodle and Mahara could be utilise for the purpose of supporting the management and development of the project. Below are some of the aspects of the PBL and how they might translate into Moodle, Mahara and other online technology:
ENTRY DOCUMENT – The entry document need not be an actual document such as a letter but could be a stimulus such as a video embedded within a Moodle page that has text but focuses on the video element. You could also use a podcast as a stimulus and with audio files so easily embedded within Moodle now.
TEAM CONTRACT – The team contract could be designed as a document template or form in Google Drive and accessed by students there to discuss and fill in with details needed. Students could share it with their teacher but they could also download a copy of the document and submit it as an assignment or into a database set up with groups in Moodle. It would also be a great idea to maybe instead set up a template in Mahara with a team contract and get students to complete the portfolio page with their details and write a statement of agreement in the comments section before submitting to a group or sharing with their teacher. This contract is then readily accessible at all stages throughout the PBL and added to a collection of pages developed throughout the project.
RUBRICS – The rubric for the PBL task could be produced in the wonderful new assignment rubric creator in Moodle. I love the rubric grading tool inbuilt into the Moodle assignment!! It is one of the best plugins in Moodle ever! It is easy to use and flexible. Other tools that could be utilised from online include; RubiStar, iRubric and teAchnology.
PROJECT BRIEFCASE – The database in Moodle!! I love the database activity in Moodle and I’m constantly trying to use it in different ways and come up with new templates/presets to explore how it might be used. The database is the prefect way to provide students with a project briefcase of resources throughout their PBL journey. You could also create a briefcase in Mahara if you wanted to in a portfolio page shared with the class. I would probably go with the database in Moodle as most of the learning is probably best kept in Moodle and the process, product planning and mapping etc could be in Mahara.
PROJECT PLANNING AND MAPPING – Mahara :) Mahara :) Mahara :) I’m a big fan of what tools are provided in Mahara and the simplicity of them as well. They are user-friendly and easy to set up and use. With the use of the Mahara journal, plans and notes sections, students could keep very detailed records of their project and planning. They can also produce periodic portfolio pages to summarise their progress and show work samples of where they are up to. I think that the integration on Mahara and Moodle in PBL is a great asset to all involved.
I have all but finished the course in Moodle that I have been working on during the last two days but it certainly won’t end here. I will continue to work on further resources for supporting the intentional integration of technology into PBL.