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Leo Tolstoy
October 02, 2002

Article Reading Log: 1

Content Acquisition in Problem Based Learning: Depth versus Breadth . . .

What do I Know?
In a traditional setting learning does not help students to retain the knowledge acquired for a long time and no higher order thinking is involved, and hence find difficulty in applying real-life situations. Problem Based Learning(P.B.L.) is not only applicable in professional educational fields like Medicine, but also in school system especially in high schools, in many subjects areas. Pressure to cover the contents is the main hurdle for the teachers to experiment the still developing P.B.L. in schools. P.B.L. will not permit to the acquisition of every knowledge and skills necessary to prepare students for the standardized tests. And also P.B.L. is not apt for low functioning students who lack organization, motivation, and many other basic skills. P.B.L. is somewhat interdisciplinary and involved metacognitive skills.
What do I Need to Know?
How can I use P.B.L. effectively to low functioning students, and what measures are needed to apply this method in an inclusion classroom where students function at very different levels?
As a mathematics teacher, my concern is the balance of traditional teaching and P.B.L., depth and breadth of the contents for effective teaching. When P.B.L. becomes time consuming, how do I cover the topics in time and prepare my students for standardized tests since that is what counts for the future of the students? The question depth or breadth is still unresolved.
What do I need to Do?
Problems are carefully structured in such a way students will encounter worthy bodies of knowledge. Study the contents to be taught in an analytical approach, and prepare the questions to help the students understand the problems which reveal the concepts and applications.
How to create an ill structured problem to initiate learning which suits the curriculum, and above all the role of a teacher in the P.B.L. approach. Create an environment where students take control of the learning process where higher order thinking is needed for solution as it is the avenue to factual learning.
Research(Library and websites) to facilitate the students understand the problems clearly and guide them to find solutions by themselves, and correct them to be in track, if needed, because students can never be 100% sure to have made the right decisions.
Assess and evaluate the effectiveness of P.B.L. and modify and re-modify the strategies as a metacognitive coach for an excellent result and effective teaching.

Article Reading Log 2




LeoBa Media, New York





Leo Tolstoy
October 09, 2002

Article Reading Log: 2

Problem Based Learning: An instructional Model and its Constructivist Framework

What do I Know?
How it is learned is as important as what is learned. In many cases, goal of the learner initiates learning. Group learning and problem based learning(P.B.L.) take the learner to a higher level where many dispositions are involved in the learning process. Every learning activity should have a purpose and clear to the learner.
What do I Need to know?
How effectively P.B.L. is using in other schools, especially in high school mathematics (Math A, Math B, Sequential math.) Facilitator's role at certain time during the period of P.B.L.. Problem generation which effectively use key mathematical concepts, methods and applications of the curriculum and how they help the students to apply in standardized tests.
What do I need to Do?
My objective is not to dictate or attempt to proceduralize the thinking but to challenge the learner's critical thinking. And try to be a consultant or a coach, should not tell the students what to do or how to think. As an educator, I should devote more time to make sure many information resources and instructional materials are available to all my students. As part of this, I am using MidiMax and Avid technology to create math. lessons in D.V.D.'s for my high school students.
Through projects and other assignments doing outside the classroom my students can score upto 15% of the total grade which is dictated in our school policy and hence I encourage every student to take active part very actively in the projects and P.B.L..
For assignment assessments I prepare many rubrics which modify regularly.

Arting Reading Log 3




LeoBa Media, New York





Leo Tolstoy
October 23, 2002

Article Reading Log: 3

Problem Based Learning for Traditional and Interdisciplinary Classrooms

What do I Know?
As information collected, gaps and conflicts within the data are noted. Teachers do not tell the students what they should ask for, what they should think about the data, or how to resolve conflicts within the information.
When dealing with ill structured problem in problem based learning(P.B.L.). Teachers should not control the contents during the students classroom discussion. P.B.L. combines metacognitive and higher order thinking skills, self motivated learning with rigorous and meaningful content.
What do I Need to Know?
Research, collecting data and analyzing them are very critical in P.B.L. since overlooking the slightest detail can be disastrous. When the problems have no clear, right or wrong solutions, unlike most "classroom problems," what criteria are to be addressed for assessment.
How do we quantify the qualities is another issue. Since P.B.L. is continue to develop and grow, and have not much validity in state standardized tests, how often we should relay on it.
As present policies do not provide much time for P.B.L., most teachers focus on traditional methods to cover the vast curriculum in time.
When interdisciplinary aspect is concerned, what are the other teacher's suggestions and opinions are to be honored is another issue.
What do I need to Do?
Encourage each student to use problem logs, which is a journal-type record for the development of the problem. Specific assignment planned for the log help educators keep track of student's thinking. As the date gathering, sharing, and analysis develop, the teacher begins to ask the class to build strategy options that seem feasible to them.
To test the validity of problem-based curriculum in improving problem solving, students should be given a pre test and post test problem solving activity, before and after the P.B.L..

Article Reading Log 4




LeoBa Media, New York





Leo Tolstoy
November 13, 2002

Article Reading Log: 4

Problem-Based Learning as Classroom Solution

What do I Know?
Problem-based learning(P.B.L.) has many characteristics. It begins with an ill-structured problem, connects with the students' world which create more enthusiasm. When solving the 'real world problems' students will be able to organize the subject matter around the problem.
In the self-directed learning process, each student have accountability and keep their log for self assessment, and develop many social and metacognitive skills. Students work like professional problem solvers and involve in higher order thinking.
Through P.B.L. we get to know our students better and know if they understand. In the end students demonstrate what they have learned through a product or a performance.
What do I Need to Know?
Possibilities of P.B.L. with teenagers are still unanswered.
One of the questions in my previous class was,
"Maria has $5.05 in quarters and dimes. The number of quarters exceeds twice the number of dimes by 1. Find the number she has of each kind."
I noticed a very serious thinking was going on as it was a real world problem. But we cannot use this sort of questions all the time before teaching many basic concepts of math. Here, in many different ways we can find its solution. But certain performance standards are to be met in the Regents examination when solving questions like this.
A student may be capable of solving this problem even without knowing how to solve linear equations, and verbal sentences. Where is the State Performance Standards?
What do I need to Do?
Facilitating the problem-solving process requires honing teachers' skills in asking questions and probing students' responses.
Through P.B.L. students develop many skills including motivation which is the key to success. And success builds upon success.

Artcle Reading Log 5




LeoBa Media, New York





Leo Tolstoy
November 20, 2002

Article Reading Log: 5

Problem Based Learning for Traditional and Interdisciplinary classrooms

What do I Know?
The instructional approach extensively used in the medical education throughout the world is problem-based learning(P.B.L.). Here problem initiates learning and its solution is the ultimate goal. Subject matter is organized around the problem rather than the disciplines.
Most learning occurs within the small groups rather than class room lectures and each student assume a major responsibility for their own instruction and learning. In other words it is a self-directed learning process involves many cognitive skills and higher order thinking, and facing the real world problems create more enthusiasm and motivation.
Elaboration provides redundancy in the memory structure which reduces forgetting and abets retrieval. Traditional programs are boring, irrelevant, and anxiety-provoking and seek to reproduce the factual information. But problem-solving proficiency and clinical competency are higher in problem-based learning(P.B.L.) programs.
What do I Need to Know?
How should problem-based learning(P.B.L.) be incorporated into the curriculum? Evaluation of the P.B.L. is an issue. How should students and faculties be prepared to function effectively in a P.B.L.) program?
And more over how effectively it can be used in high school mathematics without sacrificing the standardized tests like Regents examinations and ACT?
The difference between the traditional, factual learning and the P.B.L. is vast than the students in high schools and medical schools.
What do I need to Do?
In P.B.L. most of the time, students do not appropriately use the knowledge which they have learned. And hence instructors should create conditions that optimize retrieval and appropriate use of the knowledge.
Problems are selected and sequenced to ensure to activate the prior knowledge of the students to understand the new experience/information.
Select the context in which information is learned resembles the context in which it will later be applied.