Project Based Learning in a Career and Technical Education Classroom

Today’s Contributor: Melaine Hartman is a CTE teacher and campus Innovation Connector at Paredes Middle School.

This year I am teaching two new high school credit CTE (Career and Technical Education) classes at the middle school level.  I signed up for the Project Based Learning (PBL) Leadership Pathway this year and I have already completed the Transformative Technology Leadership Pathway.  

The first project I created was a Video Game Design lesson for my Principles of Art, Audio/Video Technology, and Communications class. I want students to concentrate on feedback and I want them to play the games they each created and then practice giving constructive feedback.  Students are given the opportunity to fix their games and implement peer suggestions if they think it would make their games better.  Students really like the lesson.  They need reminders to make sure their feedback is constructive and professional.  Professionalism is important because students can get caught up in being frustrated with their games and sometimes speak to each other how they would speak to their friends on the internet.  The students are all excited about sharing their games with each other and seemed to really find the PBL project to be fun.  I will definitely use the lesson again in the future.  

The second PBL lesson I did was with my Digital Art and Animation class.  This class we created “old school” video games in groups in Adobe Animate.  Students are allowed to pick their own groups, select the “old school” video games, select sounds, and make animations together as a group. This is a huge project, they spend 10 weeks completing it.  At the end of the project I focus on students giving meaningful feedback.  Students give feedback for their own work, they give group feedback, and then they watch four other groups’ animations and give them feedback.  Some students are in different classes than the classes I gave feedback to during the fall semester so I gave them a constructive feedback lesson on how to be nice and helpful and professional.  My students learned how to give good, constructive feedback.  They all give groups suggestions to improve their projects and give them positive affirmations about their hard work they completed.  I find students want to work harder and submit better quality work when they know that their peers are going to see it and evaluate it.  My students enjoy giving positive, friendly, and constructive feedback and it is a great lesson that the students enjoy and learn from completing.  These skills will enable them to secure competitive jobs in the future. 

PBL is a great way to incorporate real world job skills into my CTE classroom.

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