ONL PBL group work has given me so much more than I could imagine or hope to give back in return, even though that was my original motivation for joining — sharing my experience as a teacher and instructional design student with my PBL group. I’d have to say that the most salient learning for me has been in the power of the high functioning collaborative work group. One aspect of the high functioning group that will stay with me is the way that group members can and do support each other in learning; in our group this went to the next level where somehow we also had the intellectual freedom to determine our investigative work. If we wanted to pursue a question within a topic on our own… we were free to do this. If we preferred to explore as part of a group, others willingly collaborated.
The photo below expresses this experience for me because as a high introvert, I need to pull back and consider my thoughts alone before I can easily express them to others, especially in a group setting. I loved being able to cut my own vegetables (so to speak) and bring them to the PBL group feast of exploration. It was the experience working with our co-facilitators Annika, Grant, Gregor and Thashmee, and group members Anya, Jo, Katarina, Saad and Stefan that made the twice a week group meeting such a joyful connection. rich learning experience and also provided the flexibility and freedom to make the FiSH document not only viable but highly valuable.
Enhanced Learning and Technology – Learning through ONL and using different tools for each Topic helped me become even more comfortable trying out new tools and deciding if they’re something that I think my students could benefit from… in most cases, I’d say absolutely based on my experience with them. What I loved about exploring technology this way (within the PBL group and usually almost all fairly novice) is that we went from what first seemed like embarrassing blunders to a point where we could openly shout out ” I made a mistake… help! ” and laugh about it after.
Because I teach adult and K-12 language learners, I’m sensitive to affective filters and how these affect student learning. To put it simply when the affective filter is high students may experience feelings of stress, anxiety and self-consciousness which might impede success in learning. When the filter is low students are more comfortable taking risks and making mistakes; they experience empowerment to interact more with others, often leading to increased language acquisition. I’m aware that in this PBL group I was more comfortable trying out new things and making mistakes than I have ever been in a group setting before.
ONL has and will continue to influence my practice in a particularly significant way: usually my approach is to try out new technology and learning experiences in isolation — in other words, try to foresee any glitches and potential kinks and work everything out in advance so that I’m (mostly!) certain all will go smoothly in the learning setting. As one might imagine, this is intensive and even tiring at times. It’s also a defense mechanism that I use to guard against feeling vulnerable when I’m teaching — not wanting to make mistakes and risk embarrassment. What I’ve learned in the ONL experience is that the mistake-making and wading through the unknowns and glitches together made for the most memorable learning. Who knew?! And… what a delightful discovery I’ve made here in ONL with this great group of people.
I’m taking away lots from ONL PBL Group Work and hope that other also learned a bit from me as well. My wish is that the path with and through this ONL PBL experience leads me back to this fine group of people once more.