Critical Thinking– Problem-Based Learning

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PART I: INTRODUCTION

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PART II: CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

What is critical thinking?  Critical thinking is a hot topic in the 21st century learning, but it is not a new idea at all.  Researchers have been working on this topic for more than 2500 years!  Here is an interesting video to tell you about critical thinking– Critical Thinking Explained.

Have you thought about that?  You are thinking critically and solving problems every day!

PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING

Have you heard about the “Pampered Child Syndrome”?  Any of you get the idea what that means?  Due to this syndrome, more and more children lose the abilities to solve the problems they encountered in their daily life.  As educators, we need to help children cultivate the critical thinking ability.  One way to help children strengthen their critical thinking ability is to adopt the problem-based learning strategy in your classroom.  All roads lead to Rome.  There are always several ways for us to solve a problem.  Problem-based learning will challenge your students to solve real-world problems with what they have learned and even research more about the topic.  You see a lot of problem-based learning in architecture education, business education and medical education.

CHALLENGE:

I have already given you a few skewers and some clay before class.  Work with your neighbors to accomplish this task.  There is only one rule– to use the 3 bamboo skewers and clay to create a structure that balances by only ONE point of ONE skewer on ONE of your fingertip for at least ONE minute.

This is only a simple problem-solving activity to help you think more creatively and critically.  Now I am going to give you some more definitions and standards about critical thinking and problem-based learning.

THE NETS STANDARD FOR PROBLEM SOLVING

Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:

  1. identify and define authentic problems and significant questions for investigation.
  2. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project.
  3. collect and analyze data to identify solutions and/or make informed decisions.
  4. use multiple processes and diverse perspectives to explore alternative solutions.

In one of the textbooks about technology integration I used before, the authors defined problem solving ability this way.

“Students apply critical and creative thinking skills to prior knowledge during the problem solving process. The end result of problem solving is typically some kind of a decision: choosing a solution and then evaluating it.” (p 155)

“Problem-based learning (PBL) is a teaching approach that combines critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and inquiry as students explore real-world problems. It is based on unstructured, complex, and authentic problems that are often presented as part of a project.” (p 156)

If you type the words into the word cloud software, you will get a wordle like this.

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In the following video, you will see how a teacher conduct problem-based learning in her classroom.

Hope what we have done and talked about today help you better understand critical thinking and problem-based learning.  The project we are going to do for the critical thinking unit is called the Learning Adventure Project.  Here is the rubric. 

Here are some examples.

Adventures Down Under– An exploration of Australia

Purposeful Poetry

Go Green in 2014

Dream Vacation

WHAT YOU COULD DO:

  • Keep working on your 20% project– think about the following questions:
    • Do you use social media/network to learn about your projects from other professionals?  If you do, describe how that works in the process. If you don’t , go find one on Twitter or FB or someone’s blog to gain some understanding about your project.
    • What is the benefit for the users/learners after they use/participate/learn with your design project/product?  What do you expect them to learn from you?

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:

  • Work on your Reflection 6 (DUE on NOV. 18)

WHAT YOU MUST DO:

  • Read the rubric for the Learning Adventure Project (LAP).
  • Take a look at the examples of LAP.  Make sure that you at least check one example.
  • Comment on your partner’s reflection 5 (everyone needs to have at least two comments– that means a dialogue).
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Last Day of Class~

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Today is our last day in EDIT 2000…but we will still be very busy!

PART I: SHARE YOUR WORK

We will spend the first half of the class to see each other’s work.  Please pull out the page where you put everything together for others to see. Some of you use your blog, others use About.Me maybe?  We will just walk around the classroom to see what everyone has done so far.

PART II: SELF EVALUATION

Remember we did a student information sheet in the very beginning of this semester and you told me how comfortable you were with using technology in learning?  I want to see how this class help you!  Please fill out THIS FORM to tell me how comfortable you are with using technology in learning after this semester.

PART III: TWITTER

Some of you mentioned that you enrolled in this class because you heard people talk about it…so if we ask you to use one tweet to describe EDIT 2000 to others, what will you say?  Let’s do the last tweet about EDIT 2000!

PART IV: GROUP PICTURE  and FARE WELL

I know this is a hard semester to all of you in EDIT 2000.  With so many projects and less time, I feel like I am a mean teacher who always pushes you to do hard work! I know some projects are still in the testing stage and made it rough to you.  Thanks for trying new things with me, thanks for walking out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself…

I also know I ask a lot, like dressing up for presentation, share your ideas with others, draw or take pictures by your self…because I believe that a person is not merely learning knowledge and skill in the classroom.  When you are in a classroom with a teacher and other students, you are learning from all of them as well.  There are so many things that textbooks won’t and can’t teach you…so I have to make those things obvious to you…I have to push you to learn those proper attitude and characteristics.  So thank you all for understanding that.  I hope you learn more than using technology in this class and I wish you all a brilliant future no matter wherever you will end up with.  Enjoy but be responsible to your life, explore the world, and make impacts on others!

I “wrote” some words for each of you and you need to use technology to read it.  Go to THIS PAGE and scan the QR Code under your name… then you will see it!  Another thing is…I want to take a picture with all of you before we say goodbye!

PART V: COLLEGE OF EDUCATION EVALUATION

We always need to know how we do in the process of helping you learn something new.  If I didn’t do it well, please let me know.  If there is something you think I am doing well, please also let me know.  Thanks!

The College of Education will not send the result to me until late summer, so whatever you say in the evaluation WILL NOT influence your grade.  Please don’t worry about it.  Please click the following image that will lead you to the page.  You just need to log in with your UGA MyID.

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20% Design Project Showcase

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Today is the 20% Design Project Showcase.  Please find a table where you can present your end product.  Some of your end products will be digital.  Make sure that you pull the website, digital poster, PPT…on the screen and every external link and video works for the presentation. Some of you might have real objects to show to the audience.  Please make sure that you have enough space to demonstrate your end product.  We will separate the whole class into two groups.  So everyone has the chance to see other people’s work.

Due to the diversities of the project, we don’t have a set rubric to evaluate everyone’s work.  However, each of you need to vote for the top three design. Please remember to cast your vote!

THURSDAY!!

It will be our last class on Thursday.  You will take a look at each other’s works done in EDIT 2000 this semester and do a final self-evaluation.

We usually end the class with a potluck.  If you want to bring your famous recipe (of course make it for everyone to taste), you are welcomed to bring the food!  We had cookies, brownies, meatballs, dessert from other countries before…Come and celebrate the end of the semester!

 

LEARNING ADVENTURE PROJECT PRESENTATION

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PART I: LEARNING ADVENTURE PROJECT PRESENTATION

Today is another presentation day for the learning adventure project.

Just remember to present in a way to help your audience understand what your project is about.

PART II: COLLEGE OF EDUCATION EVALUATION

We always need to know how we do in the process of helping you learn something new.  If I didn’t do it well, please let me know.  If there is something you think I am doing well, please also let me know.  Thanks!

The College of Education will not send the result to me until late summer, so whatever you say in the evaluation WILL NOT influence your grade.  Please don’t worry about it.  Please click the following image that will lead you to the page.  You just need to log in with your UGA MyID.

Screen shot 2013-12-02 at 8.44.41 AM

 

FOR TUESDAY (April 22):

COULD 

Keep tweeting!

SHOULD

  • Finalize everything you have done in EDIT 2000.  Create links to your blogs, videos, websites on your About.Me Page. Make it a professional page to introduce your portfolio for the final day of the class.  The one who creates the best portfolio will win a prize!

MUST

  • Prepare for the 20% Design Project Showcase
  • Comment on your partner’s reflection 5, 6 and  7 (everyone needs to have at least two comments– that means a dialogue.  The other class will also work on this. Their reflection 5 and 7 were due before last week.  Their reflection 6 is due on the same day.)
  • Post the last Documentation for your 20% Design Project— An Official Introduction and Conclusion
    Answer the questions:
    ** What is the topic?
    ** Why is this topic important TO YOU?
    ** What is your end product?  Give a short description of it.  Provide images of your end product, links to the end product, etc.
    ** What have you learned by designing this project?

Learning Adventure Project Presentation

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You are going to present your Learning Adventure Project today.  Here is the scenario:

We are coming to a orientation where you, as a learner, are trying to find some interesting topics that you can learn it online on your own.  Following the instructions on the website will help you learn about the idea.  So, remember, no one has seen your website before today.  How are you going to introduce this topic to a group of people who might be interested in learning about this topic with you?  You have 10 minutes to recruit your learners.  Make sure that you talked about concept and make it clear enough to your audience.

Audience:  Please give detailed and critical feedback to each group.  Give them the grade and then give them some praises and suggestions!

FOR THURSDAY (April 17):

COULD 

  • Keep tweeting!
  • Prepare for the 20% Design Project Showcase
  • Finalize everything you have done in EDIT 2000.  Create links to your blogs, videos, websites on your About.Me Page. Make it a professional page to introduce your portfolio for the final day of the class.  The one who creates the best portfolio will win a prize!

SHOULD 

  • Work on the last Documentation for your 20% Design Project— An Official Introduction and Conclusion
    Answer the questions:
    ** What is the topic?
    ** Why is this topic important TO YOU?
    ** What is your end product?  Give a short description of it.  Provide images of your end product, links to the end product, etc.
    ** What have you learned by designing this project?

MUST

  • Work on your Reflection 6 (DUE on April 17)
  • Comment on your partner’s reflection 5, 6 and  7 (everyone needs to have at least two comments– that means a dialogue.  The other class will also work on this. Their reflection 5 and 7 were due before last week.  Their reflection 6 is due on the same day.)

Learning Adventure Project Workday

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Please keep working on your learning adventure project and check with me if you have any question.  You are going to present the project next Tuesday and Thursday.

What You Need to Do to Turn in the Learning Adventure Project:

  1. Post on your blog
  2. The url/link to your learning adventure project website
  3. Answer the questions:
  • Describe the experience of constructing a website.
  • How do you see this kind of learning adventure project help others learn?
  • How do you use technology to help you design this project?  (use search engine? how to be selective? use social network?)
  • How is this collaboration experience?  (Do you think this experience is different or as what you experience in other classes?  How do you communicate with your teammates in and out of class?)

COULD 

  • Keep tweeting!

SHOULD 

  • Work on your Reflection 6 (DUE on April 17)

MUST

  • Work on the 20% Design Project– the guiding questions for your next documentation (DUE April 15):
    • Do you use social media/network to learn about your projects from other professionals?  If you do, describe how that works in the process. If you don’t , go find one on Twitter or FB or someone’s blog to gain some understanding about your project.
    • What is the benefit for the users/learners after they use/participate/learn with your design project/product?  What do you expect them to learn from you?
  • Comment on your partner’s reflection 5 and 7 (everyone needs to have at least two comments– that means a dialogue.  The other class will also work on this.)
  • Get ready for the LA Project Presentation

Learning Adventure Project Workday

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LEARNING ADVENTURE PROJECT RUBRIC

Here is the learning adventure project rubric.

One way I will suggest to all of you for this design is— Don’t follow the order of the rubric.  Think about the idea of BACKWARD DESIGN. We do it all the time.  Think about cooking.  Do you go buy everything and start to think about what you want to cook?  No!  You have the recipe in mind first and then go buy what you need to cook.  You have the products in your mind first.  So try to think about what you want your students to learn first!  And then think about how you are going to make learning happen!!

LEARNING ADVENTURE PROJECT EXAMPLES

Here are some examples.  I’ve changed the elements of the rubric for you all, because we don’t have that much time due to the snow days.  So you are doing a smaller-scaled project.

A very creative author introduction video example. 

Adventures Down Under– An exploration of Australia

Purposeful Poetry

Go Green in 2014

Dream Vacation

What Makes A Healthy Student?

Here are some resources for you to think about your project.

Resources:

  1. Tubric– If you want to use one of the Tubric to help you and your teammates to make your ideas into a good essential question, feel free to grab one.  But please return it to me before you go!
  2. Assessment Tool– This website is about assessment.  How can you assess your students?  If you do have trouble in thinking about something interesting to work on, start thinking about what kind of assessment you want to have for your learners.  Then maybe that will help you think about some good essential questions.
  3. Project-based Learning Database by BIE– You can search for projects.  This website is completely about PBL.  They have more hundreds of projects.  If you can’t come up with a good essential question, maybe you will find one from these projects.  Then you can design your own content.
  4. 20 Ideas for Engaging Projects–  Here are 20 ideas for PBL.  Maybe you can find a good one here.

Now, I want you to find your partners to work on thinking about the essential question(s) for your learning adventure project.

Then complete this form to let me know the questions.

I will strongly recommend that you and your partners use Google Doc or Dropbox to share your work.  In that case, you don’t need to meet each other but still can get discussion or work going on. 

How to Build a Google Site?

First of all, you need a Google account.  Please register one if you don’t.  Everyone in the team needs to have one, because ALL OF YOU need to have the access to edit the site.  Otherwise, it will become one person’s responsibility.

After you create or log in with your Google account, please go to GOOGLE SITE.  You will see an orange square on your left-hand side showing “CREATE”.  Click that tab and it will lead you to the next page.   On that page, you will see many different templates.  PLEASE CHOOSE THE BLANK TEMPLATE.  All the other templates will show in fixed frames and style that you need to know programming to change everything.  That will be very time-consuming and troublesome.

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Also, on that page, you need to give your website a name.  When you type the name, you will see that Google is putting that name as the url below.  In that case, make sure that you get the url first.  Most of the time, people will have hard time to find a usable url.  Once your url is decided, you can come back to give your website a proper name for this LA project.

Below the url column, you will see the choice of “select a theme.  Click that tab and you will see the choices of the themes.  Find one that fits your topic and reader friendly.  And then type the matching word at the bottom of the page.  Once you are done with every choice on this page, go back to the top and click “CREATE SITE”.  It will lead you to the website home page.

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On the top right, you will see a tab with a pencil image, that means “edit”.  You can edit the page by clicking that tab.  After you click that tab, there will be a tool bar just like every word processing software.  you can type the content, change the font, font size, color, insert link, insert image or video…etc.  But remember that every time you change something, you need to click “SAVE”.   That will lead you back to the page.  If you need to edit, click the pencil image again.

The other image is a page image with a cross, that means “add new page”.  When you need to create a new page for different components in the rubric, you need to click that tab.

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After a new page pops up, you need to name the page.  Stay with the choice of “WEBPAGE”.  Also, stay with the choice of “Put Page at the Top Level”.  In that case, all you pages will be of the equal level.  You will need to change to put the new page under a certain page when you want to have a sub-page.  DON”T WORRY ABOUT THE ORDER OF THE PAGE on your left-hand side.  We will change the order of all the pages at the end of the design.

Name your pages CREATIVELY.  It DOES NOT need to follow the word I use in the rubric.  Make this LA project interesting, creative, motivating to your target learners!

Another important thing is that the creator of the site needs to share the right to edit the site with your partners.  EVERYONE IS THE AUTHOR OF THE SITE.  When you are on any page, there is a BLUE TAB on your top right said “SHARE”.  Click that, and you will get the link of the site, you can change the access to the site.  At the bottom of this page, you will see “INVITE PEOPLE”.  When you type their email address you can change their right from “can view” to “is owner”.  Then he/ she will have the same right as you.

How to Construct a Weebly Site?

I made this instructional video for you to learn how to construct a Weebly site.

 

COULD 

  • Work on your Reflection 6 (DUE on April 17)

SHOULD 

  • Work on the 20% Design Project– the guiding questions for your next documentation (DUE April 15):
    • Do you use social media/network to learn about your projects from other professionals?  If you do, describe how that works in the process. If you don’t , go find one on Twitter or FB or someone’s blog to gain some understanding about your project.
    • What is the benefit for the users/learners after they use/participate/learn with your design project/product?  What do you expect them to learn from you?

MUST

  • Expanding Your Learning Circle Project” page (Due TODAY).
  • Comment on your partner’s reflection 5 (everyone needs to have at least two comments– that means a dialogue.  The other class will also work on this.)
  • You will get bonus points if you do go back to comment on your partner’s blog posts (1-4).