EDTech 542: PBL Course Reflection

After completing this course I now have a greater understanding of Project Based Learning versus just assigning a project. In a project based learning model the instructor acts more like a coach and the students are finding their path through the content through discovery. The process of creating a PBL approach to instruction involves a lot more planning on the part of the teacher than a traditional model of instruction. As the teacher needs to anticipate the various paths that their students may travel and how to coach them in the direction that will be most meaningful given the driving question and the learning objectives. I feel that the most challenging part of PBL was creating a broad enough driving question. Getting that aspect of the PBL model is an area I still feel I need more practice with in the future.

When I first signed up for this course I thought it would be more of creating projects that infused technology into the classroom. I hadn’t realized the main goal of the course would surround an overarching learning theory that was this scripted in it’s process for development. I learned the correct process for creating a PBL experience for my students. I’ve also gained a toolkit of resources of where to go to create additional PBL experiences for my students in the future.

I plan on implement the elementary version of the PBL created next week through the completion of the academic year. As I transition into my new position for the fall, I will implement the Middle School/High School timelines for that position in September. I will continue to reflect and make modifications along the way as various elements of the Digital Footprint project are tried out. In the new position I have acquired for the fall the philosophy of the school is project based learning infused with a classical education model. As a result, I believe that I will be looking back at the toolkit of resources frequently to develop curricular units in the future.

Creating a Positive Digital Footprint Project


EDTech 542: PBL Reflection & Perfect

It feels odd reflecting upon my project that I have created as a 5th grade unit at this point.  I have recently accepted a different position where I’ll be teaching computer science for grades 6-9 to start.  In reflecting upon the overall project given this new development it changes my perspective quite a bit when I think about actual implementation.


As far as who will be involved in the process, I envision having numerous discussion regarding the creation of a digital portfolio with my new principal and the president/chairman of the board for the new charter school in which I will be working next year.  After several conversations over the past few weeks, they currently do not have a portfolio process in place.  I plan on adapting this project to be done with students in grades 6-12. This would be a fluid ongoing assessment/showcase of students growth throughout their educational careers as it pertains to meeting various standards that include the NETs, CSTA, as well as, core content standards.  I foresee the initial vision being formulated by myself and the administration then filtering the digital portfolio for a positive digital footprint into other contents as well.


Given my new position in a charter school that is in its infancy.  The beginning of the process will be to establish a scope and sequence of which I foresee the Positive Digital Footprint project will be introduced during the 6th grade year.  We will begin with the creation of artifacts that have digital reflections upon the learning as it pertains to the NETs and CSTA.  In addition, students will create the word cloud as one of the next phases as a visual way to represent who they are.  Students will complete the 6th grade portion of the matrix to organize their artifacts.  These artifacts can be created in any content area as well as in enrichment activities provided during the regular term or during the summer enrichment camps offered.  Student will begin to create their Positive Digit.  al Footprint by beginning the digital portfolio process.  Students will create a homepage explaining the purpose of their digital portfolio and a brief introduction to who they are.  They will add their word cloud to their home page.  They will then add a page to their Google site for their 6th grade year and upload any artifacts along with digital reflections they possess.  Their design team will review and provide feedback on their site for revision.  At this point, students will be assessed and given feedback from the course instructor that they can use for further revisions.  Student sites will be shared with the computer science teacher.  Depending upon the result of further conversations, I envision it may be shared other classroom teachers, with parents, the principal, and president of the board for the charter school.


In year two, students may be assigned to a new design team.  They will review their 6th grade page with attached artifacts and reflections.  Students may want to make revisions and adjustments to this page in order to improve its content.  In addition, they will revise their homepage to include any additional new interests and their current grade levels.  As 7th grade students they will have completed the digital footprint graphic that will be the header of their 7th grade page that will be added to their digital portfolio.  Students will upload new artifacts that have been outline in their artifact matrix along with relevant reflections pertaining to their learning process.  As in the prior year, the student design team will review each others portfolios and provide feedback for improvement prior to final submission to the instructor.  The students will again be assessed and given feedback from the course instructor than they can use for further revisions.


The 8th grade and subsequent years of will follow the same process of artifact showcase, reflection, peer feedback, revision, and submission.  As students approach the time of applying for college, further discussion will take place as to students sharing these as part of their college application process.  At the present point, the school is only 6-8, however, a grade will be added each year until the charter school is 6-12.  Given the fact that I’ll be creating the curricula for the department and the overall mission of the school, I feel that this environment will provide more flexibility for the PBL model of education.

As a result of all of this, I am finding that I need to go back and make some revisions to the timeline of my initial project.  In addition, the matrix needs adjustments as well.  I believe that I may want to add additional information about digital citizenship into the mix as well.

EdTech 542 – Week 5 Digital Reflection

Throughout this week the focus has been on creating an essential driving question and sub-questions.  I began my process using the BIE Driving Question Tubric 2.0 create my essential question for the Digital Footprint unit.  I reviewed the reading material while I continued to wordsmith my essential question.  However I kept focusing on the outcome more that the broad overarching goal.  After attending the webinar offered by Dr. Kerry Rice, I had a better understanding of the essentials of the driving question.  From the portions of my driving questions that were too detail oriented I generated several subquestions that student will explore to get them towards the end result.  The questions and subquestions have been added to the project overview on the PBL site for the Digital Footprint unit.

The next phase was to take a look at various visual planning tools.  Of those tools presented as options there were only two that I have not used before.  I chose to use Padlet to create my visual mapping for my project.  I am using this tool to organize ideas and resources around the sub-questions developed.

ED Tech 542 – PBL Reflective Journal Week 3

As I explore the materials presented for review this week I am reflecting upon what makes a great PBL unit.  I am thinking that students creating a positive digital footprint through showcasing their best work in their digital portfolio lends well to the PBL model.  I would like students to learn about how to be safe using the internet while creating a positive digital footprint for themselves that can be used to log their growth over time.


  • Students will need to be able to select their best products from the elementary experiences and reflect upon their learning process.
  • Students will need to know some basic HTML code to be able to embed some of their digital artifacts, creating headings, and edit artifacts so they appear in a way they want.
  • Students will need to know some basic of web design theory – consistency, ease of use, and color design.
  • Students will know how to edit a website template, embed Google Apps as artifacts, add files such as Scratch animation, adjust image sizes in html code, showcase their best work aligned with the NETs standards for learning from all content areas.


At the present time my students are learning how to type, create a variety or Google Apps artifacts such as: Docs, Spreadsheets, Drawings, and Presentations, using digital tools to learn in a safe way such as: code.org, khanacademy.com,  use video tutorials and step-by-step directions to create student products, create source citations,


Some students are ready to create their digital portfolios and can manage themselves in the learning process.  While other students are not independent enough in the learning process to make adequate progress at such a large scale assignment.  There are a small number of students that have good foundation for a good project of this nature while the majority have been conditioned through scripted programs that have not developed their critical thinking skills and collaborative work skills enough to work self directed in a coach model of instruction.


My students are working towards operating as a learning community.  In our classroom I have instituted a help desk that opens after students first review the assignment directions and ask two classmates for assistance.  There are other times when I appoint a student tech expert to assist other students with their questions.  Typically this is a student that has shown mastery at a specific skill and is ahead in their own learning process.


As far as next skills that would most benefit students in completing this project that solely depends upon the individual student in my class.  As a whole group, however, would have a discussion about digital citizenship and what it means to be a digital citizen.  As a sub-category we would talk about digital footprints as the electronic cookie crumbs you leave behind when you use electronic devices.  The next step would be having students exposed to what a website looks like from a developer’s standpoint.  Explore some basic HTML code using codeacademy.org course 1.  Then using Google Sites digital portfolio template begin to customize their web-site to add artifacts and digital reflections to their web-site.

542 – Project Search Discussion Post


When reviewing the materials on the sites provided what I found is that there is very little where computer science is the focus of the project.  Although all project have a technology component embedded into them this is not the main focus of the skills or pathway of the learning process.  As a computer science teacher, this makes designing a PBL a bit more challenging as I don’t have a good model within my content and grade level to base my own project off of.


I did locate a finished project on YouTube that was not a unit plan that looked appealing on digital citizenship.  In addition to this, I located a kindergarten unit on journaling and interviewing family members. I must say that the project seemed really interesting, however, I would love to see a blog where the teacher talks about what worked well and what problems she faced.  As the project involves a lot of reliance upon parent involvement and work outside of the classroom at that level.  The district in which I work does not give homework to students at this level.  In addition, I know that homework completion is a major challenge at the elementary level within the school district in which I am employed.  As a “specialists” I am not able to give homework.  There seems to be a major connection in the projects I reviewed on student accountability.  Another problem I face as a “specialists,” is not being able to hold students accountable for absences, work completion, or acquisition of skills.  As I plan and think of what project to embark upon all of these components are looming in the back of my mind.  Instead of conducting this project with kindergarten students, I can see it working better with 3rd grade students as a blogging assignment.  I see this working better with this grade level for several reasons: First, they have better typing skills to produce a paragraph of text in a reasonable amount of time.  Second, they have better computer navigation skills to be able to follow bookmarks, e-mail files to themselves, and edit photos.  Instead of an oral presentation, I can see students creating a video log of the differences between people of the past and those of today then this could be added to their blog about their experience.


Another project I found was geared toward older students, grades 3-5 to create a business where they created a movie, apply for jobs on the movie, assign team roles, apply for loans, and sell tickets to their movie premiere.  I can see students really having fun and getting into a project like this.  Personally, I would like to see the topic for the movie refined a bit so that it wasn’t so broad and was more guided to align with possibly their social studies or science content.  Give the instructional time I have with students I foresee a project of this size taking the entire school year, unless I could get the grade level classroom teachers on board with collaborating so that some work would be done with them and the actual video production and editing would be done in ICT.

Garden Ridge Elementary Fourth-Grade Digital Citizenship PBL. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWiF4deb_gM


Hall, J. (2009, January 1). Teach21 Project Based Learning Family Ties Kindergarten. Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://wveis.k12.wv.us/teach21/public/project/Guide_print.cfm?upid=3502&tsele1=4&tsele2=100


Merging Technology and Entrepreneurship. (n.d.). Retrieved January 31, 2015, from http://www.bizworld.org/Bizmovie-Entrepreneurship