Proposal Research Question and Justification
Area of Interest: Project Based Learning
Project Based Learning (PBL) stems from the “paradigm of student-centred learning” (Sambeka et al. 2017). Piaget says that students are inherently scientists who try “to understand the world through meaningful learning as an activity of constructing ideas” (Doppelt 2003). PBL gives students back the freedom to be their naturally inquisitive selves (Doppelt 2003). In PBL students engage in curriculum-based projects in which the product and/or outcome are not provided. The goal is for students to take control of their own learning and for teachers to “guide and advise” (Sambeka et al. 2017) the learning process, rather than lead and instruct. This “transfer of responsibility” occurs through guidance of the teacher who slowly increases the “degrees of freedom for learning” (Doppelt 2003). Many researchers rave about the benefits of PBL; Sambeka, Nahadi and Sriyati state that in PBL students’ “learning is inherently valuable because it's connected to something real and involves adult skills such as collaboration and reflection” (2017).
During the 2016/17 school year, my multi-grade 8 to 12 art class completed a PBL project over a four month period. The assignment was to build a functioning bicycle camper. The students were given a list of required bicycle camper features, a $200 budget that they were responsible for tracking, and access to a variety of tools. After reviewing some bicycle camper examples, and learning tool safety the students were set free to build their campers in teams. In addition to myself, I had two parent volunteers with building experience to help guide the students and ensure safety.
Sambeka et al. says that “one of the key elements of 21st century learning is learning and innovation skills” (2017), just as is identified in the Core Competencies of BC’s renewed curriculum: Communication, Thinking, Personal and Social. PBL is one of many learning strategies that students and teachers can utilized to achieve such skills.
Research Problem: Assessment of Project Based Learning
Traditional assessments such as testing, is not an effective way to evaluate PBL. Sambeka et al. states that in order to assess any PBL activities “teachers have to implement an authentic assessment…because project learning is authentic learning” (2017). Sambeka et al. defines authentic assessment as “a form of assessment in which students are asked to perform real-world tasks that demonstrate meaningful application of essential knowledge and skills” (2017).
It is comprehensive in that it assesses both the input and output as well as the process of learning (Sambeka et al. 2017).
The purpose of this study is to develop a PBL opportunity for my students which encompasses an authentic assessment. To do this I plan on reflecting on the bicycle camper project and researching current literature.
How does teacher reflection of assessment affect the development of PBL?
Doppelt, Y. (2003). Implementation and assessment of project-based learning in a flexible environment. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 13(3), 255-272. doi:10.1023/A:1026125427344
Sambeka, Y., Nahadi, & Sriyati, S. (05/30/2017). AIP conference proceedings: Implementation of authentic assessment in the project based learning to improve student’s concept mastering American Institute of Physics. doi:10.1063/1.4983980