Yesterday was the inaugural TeachMeetNJ. The event was organized by Jason Bedell and Mike Ritzius. I was pleased to be able to offer the space in the building I work at (CMSCE, Rutgers). I was equally pleased that the wireless held up all day.
Since I was helping Shelly Krause with registration in the morning and making sure all the rooms were set up correctly, I actually only got to one session during the day (and moderated another as well). I do, however, want to share with you the story the students from the TEAM Academy in Newark, NJ shared with us.
Kristen Sigler is the Technology Teacher (5th-8th grade) at the TEAM Academy, a KIPP Charter School in Newark, NJ. She has designed her program using the Project Based Learning (PBL) approach. Her Google Site, Play, Design, Share, lists the options that the students have developed on their own for their course of study.
If you are not that familiar with PBL, take a look at the video the students from the TEAM Academy created.
The three students that facilitated the session were amazing. Using https://sites.google.com/site/teachmeetnj2018iclass/ to guide us through the session, students had us work collaboratively to brainstorm ideas on possible projects. They then introduced the group to Prezi. They articulated how they designed their PBLs and what they learned from the experience. They really worked the room making sure those that needed help received it all while chatting with the participants.
On the class Google Site, Ms. Sigler lists the skills the students have acquired through these PBLs:
- Utilize Microsoft Office
- Locate and learn how to use web based applications.
- Collaborate through web 2.0 applications.
- Research reliable websites and cite them using MLA format.
- Research and apply the best practices for building a positive digital footprint.
Most of what the students chatted about with us was how self directed they had become. Osamu spoke about how she went to office hours with Ms. Sigler because she wanted to, and now she is a tech teacher in the building. All the students made a point of discussing where you can go when you don’t know how to do something. They talked about Youtube as a valuable resource for them. “The resources are endless”, said one of the students referring to the wealth of information available to them on the web.
These students and their teacher really did a fantastic job yesterday. I truly appreciated their enthusiasm and knowledge. Their presentation at #TMNJ11 was a success!