Speaker 1: OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network.
Melinda Holt: Hello everyone. I'm Melinda Holt, and I'm a PS2 technology integrator with the Outreach and Technical Assistance Network. I'd like to welcome you all for joining this OTAN tech TALK, 100% online instruction doesn't mean no PBL. Barry Bakin from LAUSD who is also an OTAN subject matter expert will be your presenter for this OTT. Barry take it away.
Barry Bakin: Thank you for the introduction, Melinda. As Melinda noted, my name is Barry Bakin, and this is 100% online instruction doesn't mean no PBL, no project based learning. I'll be talking about ways that instructors in the Division of Adult and Career Education of the Los Angeles Unified School District have transitioned project based learning techniques to the 100% online instructional environment. But first a few words about myself. I have been using technology and instruction since I started classroom teaching more than 30 years ago, going back to overhead projectors and LCD panels that sat on top of them.
Both teaching and learning have come a long way since then with teachers providing instruction remotely and almost all adult students having internet access and high powered computers in their pockets. For myself, I am now with the Division of Adult and Career Education of the Los Angeles Unified school District Calls and Instructional Technology Teacher Advisor or ITTA. These are out of the classroom positions at each of our adult schools. ITAA is focused on promoting the integration of technology into instruction as opposed to the technical implementation. There are other classified personnel who help you when your computer doesn't communicate with your printer anymore or computer isn't connecting to the network at all.
ITTAs work with teachers and directly with students to demonstrate educational software and teaching techniques in all of the program areas, ESL, academic, and career and technical education. I am also very proud to have been associated with OTAN for many years and still present OTAN online workshops, and hope that there will be face to face workshops to present once again. I have also been a proponent of what is often called project based learning for most of my career. Learn by doing just always made sense to me and became a very early part of instructional time in all of my classes.
I was an ESL teacher. So the first part of this talk refers to ESL projects exclusively. Early projects included class newsletters and other very simple projects using very basic word processing software done either in a computer lab or on one or two classroom computers. Here's a screenshot of the title page of a sampler of projects for ESL students that is almost 20 years old. You can see that there's a title at the top, ESL beginning high. Below that, there's a photo of students sitting at their desks using laptop computers. And underneath the photo there's a list of project titles.
Some of the titles are about me stories, my usual schedule, monthly expenses, and family tree. These projects date back to a time when ESL classes did not regularly come equipped with computers or laptops. If there was computer access for ESL students at a school, classes would most likely have to go to a computer lab at specified times during the week or even every other week, depending on how many classes there were at a particular site. When at the lab, activities were likely software based using early versions of Rosetta Stone for example.
The year before at my particular site, a complete computer lab was available and I was assigned to teach a four hour beginning ESL class in the lab based on my already demonstrated interest in integrating computers into instruction. The lab room was a standard lab room with full desktop computers on tables in a long narrow space and it's typical in such configurations very little room on the tables for students to spread out books and papers. The reason I mention this was that even I with higher than average experience in integrating technology into instruction couldn't hold the student's attention and interest when only using computers to access ESL software for four straight hours.
Students were bored. I needed other types of activities. That's when I started using projects to provide alternative computer based activities. The first projects were simple writing exercises related to the language goals and grammar competencies of a beginning class, and about me paragraph, a description of what students did every day to practice simple present tense. And writing sentences about what students were doing in photos to practice present continuous tense were successful early projects.
In this sample of the project titled my usual schedule, a student has written two paragraphs about his daily activities, what he does during the day and what time he does them. Later projects were more complex, creating postcards describing imaginary vacations to practice past tense structures, or creating family trees to describe relationships in a student family. The projects also developed basic skills and other common office productivity software.
This slide is a student created project monthly expenses. It's a pie chart displaying the results of an Excel spreadsheet created by a student to show her monthly expenses as a percentage of her monthly income. Some of the included categories are clothing at 34% of her monthly income, entertainment at 15%, housing at 10%, and savings at 20%. Projects like these serve the dual purpose of building and practicing language skills, as well as providing introduction to basic computer literacy.
That was my own experience with projects, but of course, projects are an important part of other programs. What are CTE courses if not one project after another? Students building engines, repairing actual cars, creating databases and access, styling hair, and doing manicures, and practicing lifesaving treatments on other students role playing injuries. CTE teachers were especially impacted by the cancellation of in-person classes. Programs that lead to state or federal licenses were themselves placed in jeopardy because the hands on component was such an important part of completing a course.
The following projects are samples of how teachers from many programs have responded in the past semester and implemented project based learning in their newly reconfigured 100% online courses. The first example is from an ESL teacher, Mr Josh Eik. He has his students complete PowerPoint slide shows in teams demonstrating their research on a topic. In this excerpt from a longer presentation, you can see four student created slides on the topic of fire prevention at home.
The first slide has the title of the presentation and the names of the four students on the team. The second slide states, "It's important that you have a fire extinguisher in your kitchen," and has a picture of a man spraying a fire extinguisher. The third slide warns people not to leave towels or paper near the stove and has a graphic showing what not to do with the internationally recognized red slash across it. And the second graphic showing a clean stove area with a green check mark indicating that it is the approved and safe way to maintain the area around the stove.
The forth slide has an image of a low hanging curtain over a stove in flames. The caption reads, if your stove is near the windows, it's necessary that you move the curtain while cooking. The original slide show has 10 slides with similar tips on fire prevention. Obviously this exact same project can be done in the traditional classroom, but what would be the difference in an online course? For one, it may take more time to demonstrate the required techniques for creating the basic slideshow. Students would have to be able to collaborate on the project. How would you manage that? Would this be a better project to manage using Google Slides instead?
How would you demonstrate the use of either option? Would you give students time during a regularly scheduled Zoom class to work on their research and projects in a Zoom breakout room or whatever option is available in the online software your school uses? Or encourage them to work collaboratively on their own. Every teacher has to look into what will work best for their class. Speaking of Google Slides, here's an example of just that. Teacher Maria Leon of East Los Angeles Skill Center had her students create a Google slideshow about their Thanksgiving vacations and what they were thankful for.
Here are three slides out of the many created by her students. Each student created slide has the class name, the teacher's name, the student's name, and the date at the top. In the center of the page, the title my Thanksgiving vacation is centered. , Below that the students have written one or two paragraphs about activities they did with their families such as I slept well every day, on Thanksgiving day I went to my husband's uncle's house and we celebrated together. We cooked a lot of delicious food. At the bottom of each page, , students inserted images with words like grateful thankful, and blessed.
Some of the slides have an additional image of food or a plump turkey with the words Thanksgiving day. It appears from the uniformity of the formats over several slides that the students work from a common slide template so they didn't have to be too preoccupied with difficult slide creation techniques. They could focus on the text and selecting and inserting the images that were meaningful to them. The next project is also an ESL project, but it could be a project for a basic math class. In the screenshot, the project is titled week 14 project plan, a special dinner. Below the title there's an image of a person with a notepad and pen at a table who appears to be thinking about something.
The instructions below the picture state that students are simply to visit a store website or use an actual weekly ad that was mailed to a home and plan a special dinner for someone in the family but within a specified budget, in this case $30. This particular project was presented to students via the learning management system our division uses. Completed projects are turned in using the built in features of the LMS. Here's a sample student response. The student has typed four sentences describing the dinner for his wife. He writes I will cook shrimp ceviche and jelly, and that he will buy ingredients form Vallarta. Of course, from is spelled incorrectly because it's the first draft.
The ingredients are listed by name and price. For example, one package of shrimp, $8.05. Other ingredients include lemons, cilantro, and onion, and jelly. The total cost is $12.52. This brings us to our family success initiative classes. The family success initiative program, FSI supports student success by teaching parents the skills they need to help their children be successful in school, but also to become leaders within their school communities. It is a combination of ESL and parenting with a very strong project based learning commitment.
In fact, the core structure calls for a different weekly project. To this end, the model course has 18 suggested projects developed by the course writers for teacher implementation. This next slide displays just a few of them. Each project listing includes the title and the first few instructions for completing the project that the student would view upon clicking the link. For example, the project for week 1 is titled upload a photo of your family. That is also the first instruction. The second instruction is click in the comment box below, then click on the File icon. The next instruction is select a photo you want to upload.
The project for week 2 is uploading a video of the student's child introducing the rest of the family. The project for week 3 is creating a schedule of a child's weekly routine. The fourth project is uploading a video of a child introducing their favorite person at school. All of the projects for the other 14 weeks continue in that vein. Some notable other projects include cooking together in which the parent and child make a healthy snack. My family tree in which parents create a family tree with the child upload pictures of strategies you used to distress with your child in which parents demonstrate how they implemented the strategies for lowering stress they learned during the week's lesson.
Teachers report that these projects are a very important part of the progress that is made during the course. Let's look at a career and Technical education class that is loaded with projects for students to complete. This is the IET pre cosmetology course at East Los Angeles Skills Center. IET is integrated education and training. These courses are CTE training courses with English and math literacy instruction within one course. Typically, an ESL or adult basic education teacher is paired with a CTE teacher to team teach the same course. Here are the projects for the first week.
The general topic is manicuring. The first project is identify hazards in your home and choose a safe workplace area. Students are to examine their own home for hazards, identify a work area with a table, two chairs, and a lamp and submit photos of the work area. The second project is to upload eight labeled photographs of all of the supplies to be used during a manicure, including a complete first aid kit, disinfection products, and various other critical items. The third project is to upload another nine photographs of critical tools, materials, and equipment.
Other projects during the course involve uploading student made videos of themselves preparing their work areas and performing other steps of a safe manicure. Here are some of the actual photos submitted by students of their work areas and materials. These 10 thumbnail photos are just a small selection of photos of actual student work areas with materials clearly labeled according to the instructions for each project. Some of the photos include the plastic hands that students purchase to practice manicure techniques with.
The final project type I want to share with you today that is becoming very popular in online instruction is using Jamboard. Jamboard is a cloud based Google app that gives students an opportunity to work collaboratively on visual products. Students would have to have a Google account in order to do so, but many schools do have those. So hopefully it won't be an issue for your school. Jamboard easily allows students to add text and images, and therefore is a fairly efficient way for students to display the results of research or any other group activity.
In our final slide, we see a completed student project by students in Josh Ike's class once again. For this project, students were to do research on health services and programs provided by local agency. The Jamboard displays the names of several County of Los Angeles agencies and departments that provide mental health services to County residents. A graphic explaining common mental illnesses and a chart showing data about mental health and employment. Because Jamboard is cloud based, it works well for online collaboration as students can work on projects synchronously and asynchronously.
Are these the only programs and courses in which teachers are using project based learning in a completely online context? Of course not. I am confident that if you start looking you will find examples in every program type that can be your inspiration. I am also confident that just as teachers have found that project based learning has benefits for students in face-to-face learning environments, teachers in 100% online environments will find that the benefits of incorporating project-based learning into their instruction will far exceed the efforts required to begin implementing it with students in their online courses.
Thank you for listening. I hope that you have resolved to start project-based learning in your courses with your own students if you haven't already done so. It's a worthwhile project of your own. This brings us to the conclusion of today's presentation.