Customized Technology Staff Development:
Teaching Teachers to Use Technology through Student Projects
Collaboration between Foothill College Center for Innovation and the San Francisco 49ers Academy, Ravenswood School District, East Palo
Linda K. Taber Ullah, M.Ed
Teacher in Residence
Foothill College Center for Innovation, Los Altos Hills, CA
OTHER EDUCATOR INFORMATION
Learning is a continuum. Ongoing assessment drives curriculum. Because the Foothill College LINC class at the San Francisco 49ers Academy is part of the Academy's after school club program grades will be based on attendance and successful project completion. Project based learning supported by multimedia is new to both the teachers and the students. The students do not seem to be previously exposed to independent research and have needed more specific direction and assistance that originally thought. Consequently the project plan has been adjusted week by week to meet the learning needs of the students. Each week adjustments have been made to make the project more doable by this group of students. Some instructor observations after the first two weeks of the first group of students/teachers to take this course are:
1. There appears to be a need for a one day 1/2 unit project based learning course for the Academy's teachers to help them create the projects they will do in their classrooms.
2. There appears to be a need to train student assistants at each grade level. This needs to be further explored.
The prevailing educational assessment model is the bell shaped curve.
A better model is to look at learning as a spiral continuum. Each learner begins somewhere on the continuum. Within a class every learner is potentially at a different level on that continuum. The broad goal, then, is to move each learner at least to the next level. Meanwhile the curriculum spirals and concepts and ideas will be retaught from a different perspective and at a different level many times during the learning process. In the formative assessment model throughout the learning process there are multiple opportunities for both instructor and students to assess learning and project design. Each checkpoint offers an opportunity to adjust the learning process to better meet the learners needs and to create an improved final product.
There are some basic formative assessment tools.. These include journals, teacher walk-arounds, organizers, checklists and rubrics, and peer review. For the purpose of this project organizers, checklists and rubrics, teacher walk-arounds and peer review will be used.
The PBL model being used and modeled changes the role of the teacher from the "sage on the stage" to one of co-learner and guide.
The student section of this project plan contains a WebQuest that will lead the students through the project steps. The student site will be updated weekly to reflect project progress. This section will organize the project, step by step, for the students. Storyboards, checklists, graphic organizers, and rubrics will be give to students in paper copies as needed. Organizers will be used to assess student progress and to give help and direction to each project group.
Formative assessment is a reflective process. Gayle Britt's "Is My Project Good" model ( in the peer review organizer near the bottom of Week 2 in the Ullah/Britt/Simkins online PBL course) will be used for peer review. Additionally Edys Quellmalz's (SRI, International) "Questions for Student Reflection" will be used at the end of the projects to help students reflect upon this project in order to improve future projects. In Week 4 student groups will review their own projects and decide how to improve them. In Week 5 groups will pair up and review each others projects in order to improve both groups projects
The PBL Checklist and a checklist based on the ED's Oasis Rubric developed by Connected University's Terrie Gray Ph.D. will be used by the instructor and with the teacher to assess each class in order to improve the project plan for subsequent classes.
The instructor and teacher will continually walk around the lab observing student learning and helping students improve their research, note taking and projects. The instructor and teacher will informally discuss observations in order to improve student projects and to assist the teacher in understanding project management.
Checklists and Rubrics
The Challenge 2000 Multimedia Project Rubric will be used to evaluate other student projects. This will help students understand the project expectations.
The "Is My Project Good" Checklist will be used to help students assess their own projects and do a peer review of another groups project.
The Seven Dimensions of Project Based Learning Checklist and the ED's Oasis Checklist will be used by the Instructor and the teachers to help them assess each of the six classes and improve the project design for preceding groups.
Foothill College requires grades for all students. This course has been specially organized for sixth through eighth grade students and their teachers. Attending each class and contributing toward the final project will be the primary criteria for a grade. This will be assessed through empirical observation, and the successful completion of the final project. Because this is one of many after school clubs that extend the school day at the San Francisco 49ers Academy there is no required content to be learned. The project will be considered successful if all student groups collaboratively create at least a basic PowerPoint presentation according to project directions, based upon Internet research on a topic of their choice. Furthermore, the project will be considered successful it the teachers create a entry level PBL project that they will do with their students.