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The Effects of Project Based Learning on 21St Century Skills and No Child Left behind Accountability Standards

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044088/00001

Material Information

Title: The Effects of Project Based Learning on 21St Century Skills and No Child Left behind Accountability Standards
Physical Description: 1 online resource (120 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Holmes, Lisa Marie
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: 21st -- based -- behind -- century -- child -- learning -- left -- no -- project -- skills
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (CCD) thesis, Ed.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine ways Digital Biographies, a Project Based Learning Unit, developed 21st century skills while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. The main goal of this study was to inform professional practice by exploring ways to address two separate, seemingly opposing, demands of education in the 21st century: developing important skills students need to be successful in the workforce and addressing the heightened accountability standards of No Child Left Behind. Additional goals include: adding to the research literature examining Project Based Learning's effectiveness and to shed light on ways other teachers can enhance learning opportunities for special populations. The goal of action research is to develop a certain type of knowledge that focuses on professional practice. To achieve the primary goal of this study, a mixed-methods action research model was used to gather and analyze data from a total of 26 subjects as they participated in a PBL unit. The study group was comprised of 13 students categorized in two or more special populations. The comparison group was comprised of students not identified as belonging to any of the special populations groups. Standardized assessments, a teacher reflective journal, and rubric scores were analyzed to determine the ways PBL can support both the development of 21st century skills and NCLB accountability standards. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the interaction effect of the standardized assessments. The teacher reflective journal was transcribed and coded to reveal overarching themes. Rubric scores from the teacher researcher and from a validation group were also analyzed. As evidenced by varied data, Digital Biographies proved to support NCLB accountability standards by increasing student achievement in reading and the FCAT success probability rate. It showed promise in developing technology and 21st century skills such as learning and innovation skills and information and technology skills. Additionally, it demonstrated a positive result in terms of closing the technology achievement gap between underserved students and their peers, especially in the area of constructing and demonstrating knowledge. Recommendations for classroom implementation and future research are discussed.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lisa Marie Holmes.
Thesis: Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Ritzhaupt, Albert Dieter.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044088:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0044088/00001

Material Information

Title: The Effects of Project Based Learning on 21St Century Skills and No Child Left behind Accountability Standards
Physical Description: 1 online resource (120 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Holmes, Lisa Marie
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2012

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: 21st -- based -- behind -- century -- child -- learning -- left -- no -- project -- skills
Teaching and Learning -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Curriculum and Instruction (CCD) thesis, Ed.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation

Notes

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to determine ways Digital Biographies, a Project Based Learning Unit, developed 21st century skills while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. The main goal of this study was to inform professional practice by exploring ways to address two separate, seemingly opposing, demands of education in the 21st century: developing important skills students need to be successful in the workforce and addressing the heightened accountability standards of No Child Left Behind. Additional goals include: adding to the research literature examining Project Based Learning's effectiveness and to shed light on ways other teachers can enhance learning opportunities for special populations. The goal of action research is to develop a certain type of knowledge that focuses on professional practice. To achieve the primary goal of this study, a mixed-methods action research model was used to gather and analyze data from a total of 26 subjects as they participated in a PBL unit. The study group was comprised of 13 students categorized in two or more special populations. The comparison group was comprised of students not identified as belonging to any of the special populations groups. Standardized assessments, a teacher reflective journal, and rubric scores were analyzed to determine the ways PBL can support both the development of 21st century skills and NCLB accountability standards. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the interaction effect of the standardized assessments. The teacher reflective journal was transcribed and coded to reveal overarching themes. Rubric scores from the teacher researcher and from a validation group were also analyzed. As evidenced by varied data, Digital Biographies proved to support NCLB accountability standards by increasing student achievement in reading and the FCAT success probability rate. It showed promise in developing technology and 21st century skills such as learning and innovation skills and information and technology skills. Additionally, it demonstrated a positive result in terms of closing the technology achievement gap between underserved students and their peers, especially in the area of constructing and demonstrating knowledge. Recommendations for classroom implementation and future research are discussed.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Lisa Marie Holmes.
Thesis: Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Florida, 2012.
Local: Adviser: Ritzhaupt, Albert Dieter.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2012
System ID: UFE0044088:00001


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1 THE EFFECTS OF PROJECT BASED LEARNING ON 21 ST CENTURY SKILLS AND NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS By LISA MARIE HOLMES A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FU LFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012

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2 2012 Lisa Marie Holmes

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3 To my mother, Dolores Marie Sauberan, for instilling in me a persistent and resilient work ethic that has allowed me to ach ieve great things

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4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First I would like to thank Drs. Albert Ritzhaupt and Christopher Sessums for their time and talents as they mentored me through this process. Dr. Sessums pushed me further than I ever thought I could go and Dr. Rit zhaupt guided me to the finish line. I would also like to thank the other members of my committee, Drs. Kara Dawson, Swapna Kumar and Jeanne Repetto. Their thoughtful feedback and encouragement along the way was truly a blessing. I thank my husband, Ler oy Holmes, for this un relenting love and support as I proceeded through this process. Without his understanding and patience, this journey would have not have been possible. This dissertation would not have been possible without the camaraderie of my coh ort. We endured many trials and successes together and I am honored to call them friends. I would like to specifically acknowledge Douglas Brown and Dr. Mary Edwards for their support. Most of all, I would like to thank D r. Polly Werner Haldeman. The fri endship and affinity we shared along the way proved to be invaluable. Finally I would like to th ank my friends and colleagues. Lewis Rhodes, Olysha Magruder McRae, Judy Masuda and Matthew Lynch provided me help as sound ing boards, editors and cheerleaders I am eternally grateful for how they have enriched my life professionally and personally. I would like to also like to thank Buddy Kamman, Erica Gindle and Melissa Mc Ca llister for their assistance and words of encouragement.

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5 TABLE OF CONTENTS pa ge ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 8 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 9 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 13 Context ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 13 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 15 Project Based Learn ing ................................ ................................ ........................... 15 Driving Forces ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 17 Subjectivity Statement ................................ ................................ ............................ 19 Organization of the Study ................................ ................................ ....................... 21 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE ................................ ................................ .................... 23 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 23 Defining PBL ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 24 Benefits of PBL ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 25 Disadvantages of PBL ................................ ................................ ............................ 26 D efining 21 st Century Skills ................................ ................................ ..................... 26 Literature Search Strategies ................................ ................................ ................... 27 Characteristics of Sample Sizes ................................ ................................ ............. 28 Characteristics of Setting ................................ ................................ ........................ 28 Characteristics of Methods ................................ ................................ ..................... 28 Components of PBL ................................ ................................ ................................ 29 Student Centered ................................ ................................ ............................. 29 Real Life Issues ................................ ................................ ................................ 31 Creation of Artifacts ................................ ................................ .......................... 31 Major Findings ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 32 PBL and Student Achievement ................................ ................................ ......... 32 PBL and Elements of 21 st Century Skills ................................ .......................... 34 Core subjects ................................ ................................ ............................. 34 Collaboration ................................ ................................ .............................. 34 Technology integration ................................ ................................ ............... 35 Rationale for Current Study ................................ ................................ .................... 35 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 37

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6 3 DEVELOPMENT OF THE DIGITAL BIOGRAPHIES UNIT ................................ ..... 40 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 40 Demands ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 40 Inspiration for the Unit ................................ ................................ ............................. 43 Planning the Unit ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 46 Implementation of the Unit ................................ ................................ ...................... 47 Phase One ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 47 Phase Two ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 49 Phase Three ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 51 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 53 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY ................................ ................................ ............... 57 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 57 Action Research Model ................................ ................................ ........................... 57 Identification of the Study Group ................................ ................................ ............. 58 Data Sources ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 60 Quantitative Measures ................................ ................................ ..................... 60 The FAIR test ................................ ................................ ............................. 60 ST 2 L assessment. ................................ ................................ ...................... 61 Qualitative Measures ................................ ................................ ........................ 62 Student artifacts ................................ ................................ ......................... 62 Teacher journal ................................ ................................ .......................... 63 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 63 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 63 5 RESULTS ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 65 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 65 Sample ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 65 Data ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................ 66 Quantitative Data ................................ ................................ .............................. 66 FAIR test results ................................ ................................ ........................ 67 ST 2 L results ................................ ................................ ............................... 68 Qualitative Data ................................ ................................ ................................ 68 Student artifacts ................................ ................................ ......................... 68 Teacher reflective journal. ................................ ................................ .......... 70 Summary of Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ...................... 71 6 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS ................................ ................................ ....... 78 Summary of the Study ................................ ................................ ............................ 78 Summary of the Findings ................................ ................................ ........................ 80 Category 1: Student Reading A chievement ................................ ...................... 81 Category 2: Technology Literacy ................................ ................................ ...... 84 Category 3: 21 st Century Skills ................................ ................................ ......... 86

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7 Category 4: Unintended Effects ................................ ................................ ........ 89 Limitations ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 89 Recommendations ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 90 Recommendations for Future Research ................................ ........................... 90 Recommendations for Practitioners ................................ ................................ 92 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 94 APPENDIX A LESSON PLANS ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 96 B RUBRIC ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 101 C SAMPLE OF TRANSCRIPT OF TEACHER JOURNAL ................................ ........ 103 D CODING MEMO SAMPLE ................................ ................................ .................... 104 E ELKIRE (2007) RUBRIC ................................ ................................ ....................... 105 F COPY OF PROJECT REQUIREMENTS ................................ .............................. 1 06 G SCREEN SHOTS OF STUDENT PRESENTATIONS ................................ ........... 108 H SAMPLE OF RUBRIC COMPLETED BY VALIDATION GROUP ......................... 110 I SAMPLE PAGES FROM TEACHER JOURNAL ................................ ................... 111 LIST OF REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................. 113 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ .......................... 120

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8 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 PBL articles featured in literature review. ................................ ........................... 38 3 1 Bio graphies, authors and Lexile scores ................................ .............................. 54 3 2 Features of PBL ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 55 4 1 Final study group ................................ ................................ ................................ 73 4 2 Analysis of variance for FAIR test ................................ ................................ ....... 74 4 3 Analysis of variance for ST 2 L results ................................ ................................ .. 74 4 4 Teac her reflective journal themes ................................ ................................ ....... 75 A 1 Lesson plans ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 97 B 1 Rubric ................................ ................................ ................................ ............... 102

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9 LIST OF FIGURES Figur e page 3 1 Sample of KWL graphic organizer ................................ ................................ ...... 56 4 1 Overall FCAT success probability for study group and comparison group ......... 76 4 2 Overall scores for ST 2 L ................................ ................................ ....................... 76 4 3 Rubric scores ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 77 4 4 Screenshot of rubric data ................................ ................................ ................... 77 G 1 Screenshot from a Rosa Parks presentation ................................ .................... 108 G 3 Screenshot from a Helen Keller presentation ................................ ................... 109 G 4 Screenshot from an Anne Frank Video created as part of a presentation ........ 109

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10 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS FAIR Florida Assessments for Instruction in Reading FCAT Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test ISTE International Society for Technology in Education NCLB No Child Left Behind NMSA National Middle School Association PBL Project Based Learning SES Socio economic Status ST 2 L Student Tool for Technology Literacy TD I Targeted Diagnostic Inventory

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11 Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education THE EFFECTS OF PROJECT BASED LEARNING ON 21 ST CENTURY SKILLS AND NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS By Lisa Marie Holmes May 2012 Chair: Albert Ritzhaupt Major: Curriculum and Instruction The purpose of this study was to determine ways Digital Biographies, a Project Based Learnin g Unit, develop ed 21st c entury skills while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. The main goal of this study was to i nform pro fessional practice by exploring ways to address two separate, seemingly opposing demand s of education in the 21 st century : developing important skills students need to be successful in the workforce and addressing the heightened accountability standards of No Child Left Behind. Additional goals include : adding to the research literature examining Project Based L shed light on ways other teachers can enhance learning opportunities for special populations The goal of action research is to develop a certain type of knowledge that focuses on professional practice. To achieve the primar y goal of this study, a mixed methods action research model was used to gather and analyze data from a total of 26 subjects as they participated in a PBL unit The study group was comprised of 13 students categorized in two or more special po pulations. The comparison group was comprised of students no t identified as belonging to any of the special populations group s.

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12 Standardized assessments, a teacher reflective journal and rubric scores were analyzed to determine the ways PBL can support both the deve lopment of 21 st century skills and NCLB accountability standards. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the interaction effect of the standardized assessments. The teacher reflective journal was transcribed and coded to reveal overarching themes. Rubric scores from the teacher researcher and from a validation group were also analyzed. As evidenced by varied data, Digital Biographies proved to support NCLB accountability standards by increasing student achievement i n reading and the FCAT success probability rate. It showed promise in developing technology and 21 st century skills such as learning and innovation skills and information and technology skills. Additionally, it demonstrated a positive result in terms of closing the technology achievement gap between underserved students and their peers, especially in the area of constructing and demonstrating knowledge. Recommendations for classroom implementation and future research are discussed.

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13 CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUN D Context As an undergraduate at Slippery Rock University I studied environmental e ducation. In my early twenties I was very much an environmental ist and animal rights activist. I wanted to save the world and all the animals in it. I studied environme ntal e ducation because I thought teaching the next generation to be environmentally conscious and humane to animals was the solution to saving and changing the wor ld. Much of the philosophy of environmental e ducation is rooted in experiential education, lea ngrained in m e as a very young educator at Slippery Rock University. After gradua tion, I moved to Florida where e nvi ronmental e ducation was not a certification a rea like it was in Pennsylvania. I nstead I was certified to teach middle grades s cience. Shortly thereafter, I accepted a position teaching s cience at Howard Bishop Middle School in The Academy of Technology and Gifted Studies. I carried the philosophy of learning by doing into the classroom. As a teacher of the gifted, I was required to earn a gifted endorsement. This entailed taking five graduate level courses. As a result, I enrolled in The University of Florida. I earned my m aster Special Education with an emphasis in G ifted E ducation and eve ntually a s pecialist degree in Curriculum and I nstruction. While in graduate school, my passion grew for the constructivist learning philosophy deepened. Additionally, I learned about Project Based Learning (PBL) as a way to differentiate curriculum f or gifted learners. This teaching strategy resonated with me due to my exposure to experiential learning at Slippery Rock. I was able to easily incorporate PBL into my science curriculum.

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14 In 2001, The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed and with i t came higher accountability standards for students and teachers. Suddenly, all teachers were reading teachers. As a science teacher I had to modify my curriculum to ensure literacy strategies were present throughout. I was incredibly uncomfortable wit h this role for the first few years ; I felt ill prepared to teach reading. However, with more experience and training I grew more comfortable with this role and was able to find innovative ways to develop literacy strategies within the science curriculum. Teaching in a technology magnet, I was always required to use technology as a teaching tool. I n 2006, our school earned a grant that provided eight laptop carts. This unprecedented access to computers for my students allowed me to more fully integrate t echnology into the curriculum. This is when my passion for educational technology flourished. My students were able to learn by doing and the laptops were a vehicl e that allowed that to happen. I was ready for a change a fter 13 years of teaching 6 th grade gifted s cience ; but I did not want to leave the magnet or my teaching team. I ha d the opportunity to switch to social s tudies. I was able to apply all I learned about technology integration and experimental learning to develop my new curriculum. This wa s the origin of this study. Since there is not a stat e test for social studies, history teachers at the school site we re expected to provide additional support to language arts teachers in terms of developing literacy s kills. Considering all fact ors in my context lead me to my research question : In what ways does Digital Biographies a PBL unit, support the development of 21 st century skills of while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards?

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15 Introduction PBL is a model of instructio n that engages students in a sustained investigation that focuses on a cen tralized question or topic that result s in the creation of artifacts demonstrating essential skill and content acquisition (Bransford & Stein, 1993, Thomas, 2000, Blumenfeld et al 1991). Research indicates that it is valuable tool for learning, especially with underserved populations such as low social economic status (SES) students (Boaler, 2006, Geier et al 2008) and students with learning disabilities (Filippatou & Kaidi, 2010 ). Given the NCLB accountability standards and the focus on 21 st century skills, I was interested in exploring how PBL can support both the development of the skills assessed on standardized tests while ensuring 21 st century readiness of students that are categorized into two or more of the NCLB subgroups. These subgroups include minorities, free/reduced lunch status and students wit h disabilities. To do this I examine d how a technology infused PBL experience effects academic achievement of these students I also examine d how a technology infused PBL experience effects the development of 21 st century skills. I compare d the academic achievement and skill development of this group of students to a group of students that are not categorized into any of the N C LB subgroups, to determine if technology infused the NCLB subgroups. It is hoped that this project will shed light on ways teachers can enhance learning opportuniti es for underserved populations. Project Based Learning As a teacher of the gifted, I have used PBL in the past to enhance and enrich the curriculum to address the specific needs of advanced learners. This method has proven successful as a way to differentia te the curriculum. With the success I have

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16 experienced with PBL in the past, I wondered if I could tailor a PBL unit to address various accountability standards for students that represent two or more of the NCLB subgroups. T here are many ways to describe PBL. Moursund (2002) describes PBL as an instructional approach that is centered on the student as they generate products. Solomon (2003) says that are authentic, curriculum based, and oft (2000) states PBL is focused on complex tasks based on challenging questions that students answer through investigative activities that result in a product or presentation. The Buck Institute for Education describes t (The Buck Institute for approach to teaching in which students explore re al While there are many ways to describe PBL, there are characteristics of PBL that are commonly accepted as an integral part of the process. They in clude: a) Centered on a driving question (Grant, 2002; Blumenfeld et al 1991; Thomas, 2000). b) Creation of artifacts (Blumenfeld et al 1991; Grant, 2002; Bell, 2010 ). c) Develops essential skills and concepts d) Focus on real life topics (Moursund, 1999; Clark, 2006). e) Student driven with student freedom (Blumenfeld et al 1991; Thomas, 2000). No matter the actual definition is used to describe PBL, there is evidence that PBL works. Diffily (2002) tells us that PBL can be one of the most effective tools a teach er

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17 can utilize to impact learning. Research also demonstrates that PBL can increase academic achievement (Geier et al 2008; Strobel, J & van Barneveld, A, 2008; Gultekin, 2005; Her nandez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009 ; Kucharski, Rust & Ring, 2005). Driving Forces There are several forces that define my niche. First is the review of r esearch o n PBL published by Thomas (2000). Often cited as a foundational piece describing the research conducted on PBL prior to the year 2000, Thomas recommends several areas for further research. One area in which Thomas recommends further development is Thomas (2000) discusses how a majority of PBL research focuses on academic achievement an d understanding of concepts. While those are important areas on which to concentrate, Thomas called for an increase in the amount of research that looks at other ar e as where PBL can have an impact. These include development of collaboration and communicat ion skills and ability to problem solve. Thomas suggests multiple measures are needed to assess these areas such as observation, performance tasks and self reports of students. NCLB was signed into law. Th e law heightened ac countability standards ; it require d that all schools and districts demonstrate that all students progress toward proficiency through the use of standardized assessments (Eisenhart & Towne, 2003). One requirement of NCLB is that schools report standardized assessment results for ten subgroups to ensure no one subgroup is ignored (Eckes & Swando, 2009). The National Center for Fair and Open Testing tells us that t here are benefits to this act S ome groups however, state that a disadvantage ccountability standards is that schools and teachers feel pressure to

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18 Teaching to the test is a practice that some feel waters down the curriculum and fails to develop the higher order thinking skills of students. The year 2000 mark ed the turn of the 21 st c entury. With the dawn of the 21 st c entury came the need for 21 st c entury s kills. The Framework for the 21 st Century Learning offers a guideline for the skills students will need in order to be successful in the 21 st c entury workf orce The framework emphasizes core subjects, learning and innovation skills, information, media and technology skills as well as life and career skills (Partnership for 21 st Century Skills, 2011) Salpeter (2003) tells us that some argue that the acc ountability demands of NCLB and development of 21 st c entury s kills are an either/or choice. Previous International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) president Jan Van Dam states that many districts feel so overwhelmed with accountability demands th at they focus more on 20 th century skills while sacrificing 21 st century skills (Salpeter, 2003). The National Education Association states Standardized achievement assessments alone do not generate evidence of the skill sets that the business and educa tion communities believe (National Education Association, r ther research, matched with the accountability standards set for th by NCLB a s well as the professional responsibility I have to prepare my students for the 21 st century workforce defines my niche as a professional and a researcher. Salpeter (2003) quotes Jan Van Dam : agree that there is no need for an either/or approach, there is need for less fear and more creativity applied to the methods used to meet t

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19 proposed that PBL is one such creative method to meet the needs of NCLB, while developing 21 st century skills in unde rserved students. What I hope d to achieve through my research is to contribute to the research base that Thomas called for while determining if PBL is an effective instructional method to satisfy the demands of two somewhat opposing educational schools of th ought. To do this I conducted an action research project to examine the effect a PBL experience has on student achievement and development of 21 st c entury s kills of students in two or more subgroups. Subjectivity Statement I grew up in Buffalo, New York in t his city has influenced every aspect of my life. My values, traditions and ethics have strong roots in this blue collar city of har dy, light hearted individuals. I was the youngest of five, by twel ve years. For many reasons, my mother was a single parent for the majority of my life. These circumstances were one of the biggest influences on my young life. My mother accepted a full time job with the telephone company. M y mother worked for twenty fi ve years at this job without taking a single sick day. Twenty five years of perfect attendance. She modeled a work ethic that I have yet to see in any other individual. My mother taught me the value of working hard and the pride that could be gained fro life. mother was able to scratch to the lower m i ddle class by the mid 1970 s. Neighborhood public sch ools were not safe, so my mother enrolled me in Catholic school The K 12 Catholic school experience gave me a firm foundation with its rigorous curriculum but I was never anything more than an average student. The expectation of more was never

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20 set by my teachers who were mostly nuns. I was a compliant student who did just enough to get by and therefore largely flew under the radar at school and at home academically. I was never asked to challenge myself intellectually and w as basically content to be an average student I was bored throughout most of the day with the teacher centered curriculum and never thought of myself as a good student. I graduated high school somewhere in the middle of my class and starting taking classes at a local community college. For two semesters I earned mediocre grades and worked a part time job. My older brother happened to be attending a small two year private college in the area. With his encouragement, I transferred and entered the teacher preparation classes Attending a small school with a brother twelve years my senior proved to be influ ential as I developed into a life long learner. We developed a sibling rivalry and the competition fueled my desire to do well. Additionally, for the first time, I was ex posed to a different philosophy of teaching. The college I attended employed the Mastery Learning Teaching Technique. For the first time, I was viewed as an individual learner and allowed to progress at my own pace. The focus was on mastering the materia l, not just covering it. My strong work ethic, flexibility in the coursework and sibling rivalry caused a shift in my identity as a learner. For the first time in my life I was curriculum that was focused on my lea rning. As a junior, I transferred to Slippery Rock University and majored in environmental e ducation. With its roots in experiential learning, this program modeled a learner centered curriculum. I continued to thrive in this type of school environment. I g raduated, moved to Florida and started my teaching profession.

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21 When I began teaching, I was a cognit i vist not for any reason other than I was modeling the style I saw my teachers use as I was growing up. As I learned about differentiation and gained experience, I evolved into a constructionist I often think back to how a shift in teaching styles changed my attitude as a learner. My entire career, my goal has been to create an environment in my classroom that would be focused on the learner. That i s where my interest in PBL and this research comes in. The road to creating a constructivist classroom has not been an easy one. The NCLB accountability standards proved to be an obstacle to overcome. I felt the curriculum and instructional choices na rrowing as NCLB became a bigger and bigger part of my school culture. I will never forget my response the first time an administrator allow me to see that data driven decision making based on standardized assessments was going to become the driving force in my classroom. In order to keep with the demands of the 21 st century classroom and support my philosophy of teaching and learning, I was challenged to find a way to meld the two together. These are the circumstances that lead me to this research. Organization of the Study T his study is organized into six chapters. Each chapter provides important information that serves as the backd rop for this research. Chapter 2 presents a review of literature that synthesizes my understanding of the role PBL plays in student achievement, the development 21 st c entury Skills, collaboration and technology integration that will show the need for addi tional research in this area. Chapter 3 outlines the process that was utilized to develop the instructional PBL unit. Chapter 4 outlines the methodology and plans for data analysis Chapter 5

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22 provides the results. Chapter 6 discusses interpretation of th e data and the implications this interpretatio n has on professional practice.

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23 CHAPTER 2 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Introduction The literature review provides background research on PBL which was essential to inform the development of this study. A goal of thi s chapter was to define PBL and identify key components that comprise a PBL experience. Additionally, another goal of this chapter was to explore the status of PBL within the context of the 21 st century, specifically, on the development of 21 st century ski lls and supporting student achievement as outlined by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. In the new millennium, teachers are charged with balancing the scales between two somewhat conflicting goals in K 12 education. On one side of the scale is NCLB a nd heightened accountability standards that require students to demonstrate mastery of competency skills through a standardized assessment (Eisenhart & Towne, 2003). NCLB also requires that teachers use methods tha t are proved effective through scientifica lly based r e search (Eisenhart & Towne, 2003). One important st andard associated with NCLB is the concept Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). This is a measure of how well a school is progressing towards making annual progress toward the academic goals s et for all students (NCLB, 2002). A central part of AYP is examining and making decisions based on data reported on specific subgroups (Eckes & Swando, 2009). These subgroups include five ethnicity groups, economically disadvantaged, students who are limited E nglish proficient and students with disabilities (Florida Department of Education, 2002). On the other side of the scale is The Framework for 21 st Century Learning, which offers guidelines for how to prepare students with the skills they will need to be

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24 successful in the 21 st century Some would argue that these two ideas are opposing forces, an either/or choice (Salpeter, 2003). It d oes not have to be. Salpeter (2003) suggests that creative solutions are needed in order to meet the demands of both a reas. One creative solution is offered by Bob Pearlman (2006) who suggests that PBL is a way to marry the demands of developing 21 st c entury skills with the high stakes testing of NCLB This review examines the existing literature on PLB from the two pers pectives of NCLB accountability standards as well as the development of 21 st century s kills. This review analyzes research that measures the effectiveness of PBL on academic achievement in terms of mixed methods measures such as standardized tests, pre an d posttest, interviews and observations. Additionally, this review breaks down if and how PBL supports the development of 21 st c entury skills. Defining PBL The concept of Project Based Learning (PBL) is not a new one. This form of experiential learning has deep roots in the constructivist approaches of Dewey (1938), Piaget (1953) Vygotsky (1962) and Bandura (1977). While there is not one sole definition of PBL that exists, several authors and researchers focus on specific components that are inherent in PBL. First, PBL is student focused (Bell, 2010; Newell, prepackaged curriculum (Newell, 2003; Thomas, 2000). Secondly, PBL offers an in depth examination of complex re al life issues or topics (Moursund, 1999; Clark, 2006). created artifacts (Bell, 2010; Clark, 2006; Moursund, 1999). Each of these components and how they are addressed in the litera ture is provided in this review.

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25 002) research on PBL provides a more in depth look at common elements that are included in all forms of PBL that offers a deeper understanding of the processes involved in this type of instruction (pg.2): a) an int roduction to "set the stage" or anchor the activity; b) a task, guiding question or driving question; c) a process or investigation that results in the creation of one or more sharable artifacts; d) resources, such as subject matter experts, textbooks and hypert ext links; e) scaffolding, such as teacher conferences to help learners assess their progress, computer based questioning and project templates; f) collaborations, including teams, peer reviews and external content specialists; g) opportunities for reflection a nd transfer, such as classroom debriefing sessions, It is important to know what PBL is and what it is not. Project Based Learning and Problem Based Learning ( similar to Project Based Learning and shar ing the same acronym ) are two different approaches (T homas, 2000). According to the National Middle School Association (2008), P roject B ased L earning is student driven and the focus is on the creation of a final product. The process is unclear and the students make decisions through the inquiry process as to how to arrive at the final artifact. The NMSA tells us that in PBL, the focus is on the problem that is specified by the teacher. The focus is on the problem solving and the path students take to solve the problem may differ quite a bit and the final goal is unclear. Benefits of PBL There are several benefits to PBL The George Lucas Educational Foundation states that PBL engages students, reduces absences, improves cooperative learning skills and improves student achievement

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26 Other benefits of PBL include: Improves problem solving skills (Gallagher, Stepien & Rosenthal, 1992). Students have more ownership in the learning process (Boaler, 1997). Promotes higher levels of thinking (Mitchell, Foulger, Wetzel & Rathkey, 2008). Increases self esteem (Ku charski Rust & Ring, 2005; Thomas, 2000). Increases motivation (Grant, 2002). PBL accommodates a variety of learning styles (Solomon, 2003). Benefits of PBL are rather anecdotal. The purpose of this literature review is to find evidence of the benefits o f PBL based on empirical research. There is a focus on student achievement and factors that can contribute to student achievement. Disadvantages of PBL One must consider the disadvantages of PBL in addition to the benefits. The disadvantages include: L imits how much content can be covered in a perio d (Morsund, 1999). Access to technology (Lehman et al 2006). Issues with group dynamics (Lehman et al 2006, Grant 2002). Teachers uncomfortable with their role (Grant, 2002). Subjective assessments (Grant 2002). Defining 21 st Century Skills The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills outlines prepared a report entitled Learning for the 21 st Century This report calls for the development of 21 st century skill that students today will need for the 21 st centur profound gap between the knowledge and skills mo st students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need in a typical 21 st (p.5). The report goes further to desc ribe a plan for how schools can best prepare is four key elements that focus on student outcomes:

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27 C ORE S UBJECTS Students should demonstrate a certain level of maste ry on the identified core subjects. These core subjects include English, world languages, arts, math, economics, science, geography, history and government and c ivics. L EARNING AND I NNOVATION S KILLS This includes a focus on creative thinking, critical thinking/problem solving and communication and collaboration skills. I NFORMATION M EDIA AND T ECHNOLOGY S KILLS Accessing and evaluating information and media. L IFE AND C AREER S KILLS Sub skills of this overarching category include flexibility, self dir ection, interpersonal relationships, leadership, managing projects and producing results This review analyzes the literature to determine of PBL supports these four elements of student outcomes for the development of 21 st century skills. Literature Sea rch Strategies The literature review consisted of searches of Eric Digest, WilsonWeb, Academic Search Premier and JSTOR using a combination of key word searches of the following terms: Project Based Learning, student achievement, efficacy, learning gains, motivation and engagement. The search was limited by education level to K 12 settings. The time span covered for this literature review is from 2000 present. The year 2000 was chosen because that is the date of the Thomas (2000) Literature Review of PB L. The Thomas review suggests that PBL is a beneficial method of instruction in terms of student achievement but admits the research was limited at that time. Thomas called for more empirical research on PBL. This review looks at the research since Thom PBL through the lens of the 21 st c entury. This search resulted in the return of sixteen research studies as outlined in Table 2 1, from peer reviewed journals that addresse d student achievement or a factor that could contribute to student achievement such as self efficacy and motivation. Self

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28 efficacy is a predictor of student achievement (Fenci & Scheel, 2005). Dev (1997) states that increasing student motivation can lead to an increase in academic achievement. Included also are articles that discuss teacher acceptance and factors that effect teacher acceptance of PBL. Characteristics of Sample Sizes Sample sizes were categorized into three types Small sample size n=< 30, intermediate sample sizes n=>30<100, and large sample size n=>100. Of the sixteen studies analyzed, six have small sample sizes, five had an intermediate sized sample group and four had a large sample size. One report did not provide a sample size. The largest sample size represented is 1,921; the smallest sample size represented is five students. Characteristics of Setting All the studies were conducted in a K 12 setting, seven in an elementary setting, and six in a middle school setting and thre e in high school setting. Subject areas represented in the studies included eight science class settings, three history class settings, one multidisciplinary setting, one technology class, and three non specified settings. Characteristics of Methods A vari ety of methods were utilized in the sixteen research articles reviewed. Only one article relied solely on quantitative methods. The remaining articles used qualitative methods or mixed methods; nine articles use only qualitative methods and six used a mix ed methodology.

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29 Components of PBL As outlined previously, there are three main components constitute a PBL experience. PBL is student focused; it offers an in depth examination of a real life issue and requires students to produce artifacts. The following section outlines examples of how each component was addressed in reviewed literature. Student Centered Grant (2002) tells us that PBL is a method of instruction that is student centered. Part of the goal of PBL is to increase self directed learning while moving students from being novices to becoming experts in a given area (Baker & White, 2003; Grant & Branch, 2005). Providing students some choice during the PBL experience can tap into student interests and turn learning from a passive act to an active endeavor (Wurdinger, Harr, Hug & Bezon, 2007). Carr and Jitendra (2000), in their examination of how PBL impacts at risk high odel developed early 1990s to address how students navigate their way through information on the internet (Lamb, 1997). The eight steps include watching (exploring), wondering (questioning), webbing (searching), wiggling (evaluating), weaving (synthesizin g), wrapping (creating), waving (communicating) and wishing (reflecting) (Carr & Jitendra, 2000). By using this information inquiry model, the researchers placed the onus of processing pertinent information on the students, therefore maintaining the stud ent centered focus. Baker and White (2003) examined how PBL impacted student attitudes, achievement and student efficacy in middle school science classrooms. Students were placed in the role of researcher and asked to study how lichens can be a bio indicator in

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30 an ecosystem. Students were immersed in gathering, analyzing, organizing and reporting data about lichens density and diversity in their area. This shift from traditional teacher centered activities to students learning is at the essence of student centered learning. A learner centered classroom should allow student choices to ensure student success (Brown, 2003). Choices can be made by students on topics to study to the types of assignments they decide to do. Choices, even seemingly sma ll choices, can move a student towards being a more autonomous learner (American Psychological Association, 2012). Kucharski, Rust and Ring (2005) looked at a student centered PBL unit on ecology compared to more traditional methodology in terms of stude nt achievement and satisfaction. In this case, the entire unit was centered on a curriculum called Ecological, Futures and Global Education. Students were allowed to explore a topic within this curriculum. The students also had a choice of whether to stu dy the topic from the perspective of past, present or future. Grant and Branch (2005) provided students with two areas of choice. In a unit exploring human rights, students were given a choice of countries to study. They were also given the option of wh at kind of artifact they wanted to create, either digital or analog. Another way to create a learner centered is including content that is relevant to the knowledge and allows them to address information as it applies to their own community (Maker, 1986). Gultekin (2005) looked at the effects PBL had on learning outcomes. He developed a unit that was student centered by having the students explore

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31 environmental disasters in t heir homeland of Turkey. In another study, Filippatou and Kaldi (2010), the topic was sea animals due the study location Greece, where the proximity of the sea made this topic relevant to the learners in this case. Real Life Issues PBL learning activit ies should be anchored by the principle that students learn by f ocusing on a driving question, in the context of in a real life issue or scenario (Blumenfeld et al., 1991; Gultekin, 2005). Students become more engaged as manipulate their way through real world issues in real world settings (Thomas, 2000). The majority of real life issues represented in this review fall into one of two categories : environmental issues or societal issues. Environmental issues such as pollution (Baker & White, 2003), environ mental disasters (Gultekin, 2005), ecological concerns (Kucharski, Rust & Ring, 2005) and destruction of ecosystems and biomes (Mitchell, Foulger & Rathkey, 2009) are featured as real life problems addressed by students Societal issues are addressed as well. Homelessness (Carr & Jitendra, 2000), human rights (Grant & Branch, 2005) and divergent paths of people throughout history (Hernandez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009) are such societal issues featured by the research presented here. Creation of Artifacts Students demonstrate what they learned while participating in a PBL unit by creating artifacts ( Harel & Papert, 1991 ). Examples of artifacts utilized by researchers in this review include lab reports (Baker & White, 2003), multimedia presentations (Herna ndez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009; Carr & Jitendra, 2000), comic books (Toolin, 2004), web pages (Chan Lin, 2008) and museum like exhibits (Grant & Branch, 2005).

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32 Major Findings T his review suggests that there is evidence that PBL can support the two goals o f meeting the accountability standards of NCLB and developing 21 st century s kills. PBL meets the accountability standards of NCLB since there is evidence that PBL increases student achievement. Provided here is research that shows that PBL also supports factors that contribute to student achievement such as self efficacy and teacher acceptance. Evidence is also provided that demonstrates that PBL supports the development of 21 st century s kills. Core subjects are represented in the PBL research offered in this review. This is a key component to developing 21 st century s kills. This review also shows that PBL encourages collaboration; this too is an important component of developing 21 st century s kills. Additionally, to develop 21 st century s kills, tech nology should be integrated into core subjects. Findings presented here emphasizes that PBL supports technology integration. PBL and Student Achievement Hernandez group demonstrated greater knowledge gains after instruction than students in the contrasting group, thus providing reasons for optimism regarding concerns among traditional teaching method method of instruction to that of a more traditional methodology. The researchers compared the pretest and posttest scores of 746 students in the intervention group and 771 students in the comparison group. Their research revealed that on a knowledge test, there was a statistically significant difference between the scores of the two groups.

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33 These results are echoed in other research. Gultekin (2005) compared achievement test scores between a stud y group comprised of 38 students to a c ontrol group of 34 students. The researcher used a two sided t test to determine if there was a difference between the pretest and posttest scores of the two groups. The tests demonstrated that there was a signific ant correlation between academic success and participation in the PBL intervention. Other studies have demonstrated a correlation between PBL and student achievement. Moiduser & Betzer ( 2007 ) analyzed the pretest and posttest scores on a standardized sci ence and technology exam for both a study group and a control group. The experimental group was comprised of 38 students that demonstrated an increase of 84% between the pre assessment and post assessment while the control group was comprised of 68 studen ts increased 52%. Additional findings indicate that PBL does support academic achievement (Mitchell, Foulger, Wetzer & Rathkey, 2009; Baker & White, 2003; Panasan & Nuangchalerm, 2010; and Kucharski, Rust & Ring, 2005). Moreover, t he research indicates t hat PBL supports other factors that lead to student success. P BL makes learning enjoyable and creates a positive learning environment (Gultekin, 2005; Chan Lin, 2008). Filippatou & Kaldi (2010) state that motivation is increased through the use of PBL. Despite research that supports that PBL supports student achievement, due to high stakes testing, teachers do not want to take a risk on a n alternate teaching strategy (Colley, 2005). It is hoped that this research not only will inform my own practice bu t

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34 also enlighten other professional educators as they decide on best practices for improving student achievement. PBL and Elements of 21 st Century Skills C ore subjects Science was the core subject represented the most in this review of literature (Baker & White, 2003; Panasan & Nuangchalerm, 2010; Lee & Tsai, 2004; Toolin, 2004; Carr & Jitendra, 2000; Chan & Lin, 2008; Filippatou & Kaldi, 2010). This was true in the Thomas (2000) review. History is represented as a core subject in this review as well (Gu ltekin, 2005; Hernandez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009). Two major core subjects that are not represented in this review are m ath and English. These are the two subjects that are testing under the accountability standards of NCLB. This further suggests that pe rhaps the high stakes testing is a deterrent of utilizing PBL in the classroom Collaboration PBL can be done individually or in groups. This review highlights several research studies where the students were organized in groups (Wurding et al., 2007; Mit chell, Foulger, Wetzer & Rathkey, 2009; Baker & White, 2003; Lam, Cheng & Ma, 2009; Cheng et al., 2008; Hernandez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009; Moiduser & Betzer, 2007; Chan Lin, 2008). Chan Lin (2008) states that students were able to learn though the cooperat ive nature of the project and that the students took social responsibility f or the group. Hernandez Ramos and De La Paz (2009) states that students who worked in collaborative PBL groups learned more than their counterparts who received whole group instru ction. This evidence suggests that PBL supports the development of the 21 st c entury skill of collaboration. This trend also suggests that PBL in a group may be more effective than in an individual effort. Of the studies that organized students into

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35 group s, only one looked at how the grouping affected student achievement and efficacy. Cheng et al. (2008) looked at group efficacy in a PBL setting when students were organized in heterogeneous and homogeneous groups. This study found that when groups were hi ghly functioning, there was no difference in group efficacy between the two study groups. Technology integration The 21 st c entury is represented in the research though the integration of technology. Seven of the sixteen articles in this review contain som e aspect of technology (Lee & Tsai, 2004; Carr & Jitendra, 2000; Chan Lin, 2008; Hernandez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009; Baker & White, 2003; Grant and Branch, 2005; Moiduser & Betzer, 2007). This evidence suggests that PBL supports the development of Informati on and Communication Technology Literacies, a 21 st c entury skil l. Baker and White (2003) says s cience students that used technology based maps in a PBL experience had higher Science efficacy than the students that used paper based maps for the same activit y. Hernandez Ramos and De La Paz (2009) documents that students that used technology based PBL had greater learning gains then students that did not. Carr and Jitendra (2000) tell us that PBL that uses technology fosters independence in students. Ratio nale for Current Study PBL shows promise as an effective instructional model for meeting the accountability standards of NCLB while also developing the 21 st century s kills of students. Research demonstrates that it increases achievement, self efficacy, an d confidence in core subjects and develops technology and group skills. However, this research is somewhat fragmented.

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36 This review does provide limited evidence of increased student achievement through the use of PBL. The majority of the evidence inclu ded in this review is based on pre test and posttest scores. Three of the studies provide results of formal standardized assessment as evidence. Additional research that draws on results from standardized tests, such as state assessments or standardized e nd of the year exams, would deepen the understanding of the effects of PBL on student achievement in terms of NCLB. The majority of the studies offered in this review examine the impact PBL has on student achievement based on a relatively short experien ce. Most of the studies look at the impact of PBL over the course of a single unit or learning center covering only a couple of weeks. The research base would benefit from the addition of studies that look at the effects of PBL on student achievement whe n it is implemented in the long term, possibly over the entire course of a school year or semester. The core subject of s cience is represented in this review with minimal studies featuring h istory and other subjects. Future researchers should look at PBL in the context of a variety of core subjects as outlined by the 21 st Century Skills Framework. There is a gre at need for research involving m ath and English since those are the subjects that are tested under the NCLB accountability standards and there is little research on PBL in those areas. This research would deepen our understanding of how PBL can impact student achievement in the high stakes testing that is required by NCLB. The research presented in this review demonstrates that collaboration and cooperative learning is a hallmark of PBL. What is missing is research that highlights

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37 the role grouping play in PBL. Is it the nature of PBL that causes students to achieve or is it the cooperative learning aspects that lend itself to student achiev ement? A recommendation for future research is to look at student achievement as student participates in a group PBL experience as compared to a solo PBL experience. This research would too provide evidence of how PBL impacts the development of collabora tion skills. Conclusion Hill and Hannafin (2001) suggest that u sing PBL conflicts with NCLB accountability standards that values breadth of information over depth. However, t his review demonstrates evidence that it is possible to go deep into topics through PBL while still obtaining student achievement. This review also demonstrates that PBL supports the development of 21 st century s kills. Overall, the literature included in this review provides evidence that PBL is an appropriate approach for meeti ng the demands of NCLB while also developing the 21 st c entury s kills of students. However, additional research is needed to solidify this argument.

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38 Table 2 1 PBL articles featured in literature review. Study N Methods Examples Subject Grade Findings Baker & White (2003) n= 93 n= 99 Mixed Methods Pre/post test Self efficacy survey Science 8 th GIS (technology/PBL) group had a positive improvement in science efficacy and attitudes towards computers compared to those that used paper maps. Carr & Jite ndra (2000) n=9 Qualitative Interviews Case Studies Science 10 th PBL increased price, self growth, confidence, self esteem and responsibility. Chan Lin (2008) n= N/A Qualitative Interviews Field notes Science 5 th PBL created a positive learning environm ent. Cheng et al (2008) n=192 1 Mixed Methods Exam Grades Questioning N/A 6 th 8 th Group heterogeneity in PBL was not a determining factor in efficacy. Filippatou & Kaldi (2010) n=24 Mixed Methods Pre/post tests Case Study Science 4 th LD students gain ed benefits from PBL in terms of academic performance, motivation and group work. Grant & Branch (2005) n=5 Qualitative Case study Interviews Inventories Observation History 8 th PBL created artifacts demonstrated some individual abilities while other abil ities went untapped. Gultekin (2005) n=20 n=20 Mixed Methods Pre/post test Interview History 5 th PBL improves academic success, makes learning enjoyable and develops essential skills. Hernandez Ramos & De La Paz (2009) n=100 n= 70 Mixed Methods Pre/po st test Survey History 8 th PBL students showed greater gains in knowledge and enhanced historical thinking.

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39 Table 2 1. Continued Study N Methods Examples Subject Grade Findings Kucharski, Rust & Ring (2005) n = 461 Mixed Methods Terra Nova Scores Surv ey NA 1 st 6 th Some students showed higher achievement gains in PBL. Greater teacher and student satisfaction in PBL environment. Lam & Tsai (2009) n= 631 Qualitative Questionnaires Interview Multidiscip linary 6 th 7 th & 8 th Teacher motivation was a predic tor of student motivation in PBL. Lee & Tsai (2004) n= 156 Qualitative Assessment Scales Science 5th There was a difference in learning styles and learning transfer in PBL situations. Mioduser & Betzer (2008) n= 60 n=60 Mixed Methods Exams Survey Te ch High school PBL groups had a significant increase in achievement compared to non PBL group. Mitchell, Foulger & Rathkey (2009) n=1 classroo m Qualitative Field notes Interviews Observations Case Study Science 1 st Teacher was able to negotiate a project based learning situation while attending to the standards. Panasan & Nuangchalerm (2010) n=44 n=44 Quantitative Pre/Post Test Science 5 th PBL and Inquiry method had the same academic achievement results. Toolin (2004) n=6 Qualitative Observations Coll ection of Artifacts Science Middle and High School There are factors that predict a teachers adoption and acceptance of PBL Wurding et al (2007) n= 35 Qualitative Surveys Interviews NA Middle School Teacher acceptance influenced how students were engage d.

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40 CHAPTER 3 DEVELOPMENT OF THE D IGITAL BIOGRAPHIES U NIT Introduction As outlined in previous chapter, meeting the demands of developing a curriculum differentiated to meet the needs of gifted learners, while developing 21st century skills and meeting t he accountability standards of NCLB proved to be a felt difficulty in my professional practice. Traditionally, each demand was addressed separately. I had my daily lessons in my history class which were driven by the state standards. School wide, we ha d specific weekly lessons that content area teachers used to address literacy skills and NCLB accountability standards. Finally, there were specific activities and classes to develop 21st century and technology skills. I felt pulled in many different dir ections. I began to wonder if there was a way to address all demands simultaneously. Demands At the time of the study, I taught 6 th grade gifted world h istory. As a history teacher, I was responsible for teaching and assessing benchmarks and standards that are set forth by the State of Florida in The Sunshine State Standards. An overview of my course is described by Florida Department of Education, S IXTH G RADE : M/J W ORLD H ISTORY A DVANCED : The sixth grade social studies curriculum consists of the f oll owing content area strands: world history, geography, civics, and e conomics. The primary content for this classical civilizations of Africa, Asia, and Europe. Students will be expose d to the multiple dynamics of world history including economics, geography, politics, and religion/philosophy. Students will study methods of historical inquiry and primary and secondary historical documents. H ONORS /A DVANCED : C ourses offer scaffolded lea rning opportunities for students to develop the critical skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation in a more rigorous and reflective academic setting. Students are

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41 empowered to perform at higher levels as they engage in the following: analyzing histori cal documents and supplementary readings, working in the context of thematically categorized information, becoming proficient in note taking, participating in Socratic seminars/discussions, emphasizing free response and document based writing, contrasting opposing viewpoints, solving problems, etc. Students will develop and demonstrate their skills through participation in a capstone and/or extended research based paper/project (e.g., history fair, participatory citizenship project, mock congressional heari ng, projects for competitive evaluation, investment portfolio contests, or other teacher directed projects (Florida Department of Education, 2008). Like all teachers, I was also faced with the to ugh accountability standards of NCLB. All teachers at my scho ol site, regardless of content area, were required to collect, monitor One important standard associated with NCLB is the clear demonstration that the school is making Adequate Yearly Progress. Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) is a measure of how well a school is progressing towards making annual progress toward the academic goals set for all students in the state (NCLB, 2002). While I fo at my school site we concentrated on t he progress of students in three specific subgroups : minority, low socio economic status, and students with disabilities. For the purpose of this study these subgroups are identified as special populations The accountability standards of NCLB demand th at stu dents in each of these special populations make sufficient learning gains (Eckes & Swando, 2009). Students who are categorized into two or three of these special populations are of special concern. At the school level, d ata on these students are ca refully scrutinized and decisions are made based on this data. This data provides information for the school in terms of placement but also provides classroom teachers valuable information. Classroom teachers differentiate the curriculum for individual s tudents based on the information revealed by the data. The Florida Department of Education was selected by the United States Department of

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42 Education to participate in the Differentiated Accountability Model for school improvement (Bureau of School Improv ement, 2006) Under this model, school improvement plans are individualized for each school based on the specific needs and concern of the school In line with the goals of the Florida Differentiated Accountability Model, there are specific literacy goals that are set forth for our school based on benchmark and state standardized testing results and each teacher is required to incorporate lessons into their content area to reinforce the literacy goals (Bureau of School Improvement, 2006). The Florida Depar tment of Education has the mission of developing 21 st century s kills so that students can use technology to develop higher order thinking skills to make them competitive in a global community As a teacher it is my responsibility to prepare students for the 21 st century by developing these skills. The Framework for the 21 st Century Learning offers a guideline for the skills students will need in order to be successful in the 21 st c entury workforce The framework calls for the emphasis on 21 st c entury top ics and tools. These include the use of 21 st c entury content, context, technology tools as well as information, reasoning and productivity skills. This is magnified due to the fact that I teach in a technology magnet program that is built around using 21 st century technology to develop these skills by infusing them into the content area. The Maker Model calls for differentiation of curriculum to meet the needs of gifted learners. Maker (1986) calls for modification to learning environment, content, pr ocess and product in order to meet the needs of gifted learners. Since early in my career, I have successfully used PBL to differentiate in terms of environment, content, process

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43 and product to enhance and enrich the curriculum for gifted learners. This paired with of developing 21 st century skills with preparing students for high stakes testing, was the impetus of my study. I decided to carefully examine the ways a teach er created PBL unit could support the development of 21 st century skills of while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. Inspiration for the Unit Once I decided to use a PBL unit, the next step was to decide the direction the PBL unit wou ld take. I considered several incarnations of a PBL unit. I thought of developing a Web Quest that addressed standards on ancient religions ; an interdisciplinary team unit based on a novel about a young boy that climbs Mount Everest ; and a unit that utiliz ed historical fiction and literature circles. The final unit I developed called Digital Biographies was inspired by the combination of three different elements that merged into one. The first element that inspired this unit was a mini art project I work ed on, in conjunction with the technology teacher, each year during Black History Month. As part of the Black History Month festivities, students studied several influential African Americans and the contributions they made to society. In history class, we also studied the history of Mount Rushmore. As a culminating event, students used technology tools to create a Mount Rushmore like monument commemorating four of the influential African Americans we studied. While I enjoyed the creative part of this p roject and how it celebrated Black History Month, I always wanted to more fully develop this project. As a history teacher, I liked the idea of students exploring the concept of monuments how

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44 they can reflect what a society value but I was not sure how to best infuse this into my curriculum. Additionally, I was awarded a Foundation for Success grant. The Alachua County hese gra nts are awarded to teachers to implement creative programs to address an area of concern in their school with the (Alachua County Public Schools biographies to use as part of my gifted history curriculum. Biograp hies can provide a perspective that allows students to understand history by connecting intellectually with individuals from the past (Fertig, 2008). Kilgore (2001) says that biographies are especially important genre for gifted students since they ntly serve as role models for gifted students by illustrating how even prominent or successful people f influential women from history with the funds from this grant. With the assistance of the media specialists and the language arts teacher on my team, I selected a variety of texts that would be appropriate for a range of reading levels. The titles, aut hors and Lexile score for each book can be found in Table 3 1. When I first purchased these biographies, I did not have a clear vision of how to most effectively use them in my rporate them into a PBL unit. The final inspiration came from a workshop I attended in 2009 : World Heritage Sites: A Global Education Workshop. World Heritage Sites are specific places in the

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45 world selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as places that meet a certain criteria as special cultural or physical significance. To be considered, the site must have outstanding universal value and meet at least one of ten criteria. These criteria include: to re present a masterpiece of human creative genius; to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town planning or landscape desi gn; to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which ill ustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history; to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land use, or sea use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has be come vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance. to contain superlative natu ral phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance; to be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features; to be outstanding examples representing significant on going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communiti es of plants and animals; to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or con servation. That same school year, I used the World Heritage Sites and the criteria to enrich a lesson about the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I noted during this lesson that

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46 the students were fascinated by the selection process and the criteria tha t a site must meet to earn this designation. I knew at some point I wanted to more fully develop a important interchange of human values, over a span of time or wit hin a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town paired with the Mount Rushmore project seemed to go hand in hand. After pondering severa l different ideas, I decided to meld these three ideas together to form a PBL Unit entitled Digital Biographies This unit involved students reading a biography of an influential woman and then working with a small group to create a proposal and model for a monument to commemorate her accomplishments using criterion s imilar to that of the World Heritage Sites. Planning the Unit With my topic in place, the next step was to start planning the elements of the unit. To ensure I was including all the essenti al elements of a strong PBL unit, I referred to the features outlined by Grant (2002) as outlined by the previous chapter. The first step I took was to develop the driving question. The Buck Institute (2010) tells us that the driving question is the guide s the project for both the teacher and the students. After careful consideration, I was able to develop the driving question for the unit: How do we create a memorial to honor an influential woman from history? With the driving question in place, I was able to address the other features Grant (2002) outlines as important elements of a PBL unit and develop lesson plans. The key features of the unit I developed are outlined in Table 3 3. The lesson plans are provided in Appendix A.

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47 I utilized a rubric developed by Elkire (2007) to ensure the lessons I was creating addressed the development of 21 st century skills. A critical group of colleagues used the same rubric, as well as one developed by The Buck Institute to assess how well the lesson plans inc Appendix E. Implementation of the Unit As outlined in the lesson plans, the unit is divided into three main phases. The first phase was the introduction phase. This is where I introduced the biographies to the students. The second phase was an independent phase where students were responsible for reading their assigned biography and completing assignments. The final stage is where the students worked in small groups to plan their monument and presentation. Phase O ne Phase one served as the introduction to the unit. A whole class discussion behind rest of the unit. This discussion topic was appropriate si nce the timing of this History Month. After the whole class discussion, I organized the students into small scores to assign each student a biography that was appropriate for his or her Lexile range. At this time, I also identified the study group as well as the comparision group for this study. The study group was comprised of the students in my classes that were categorized in two or more of the special populations that were of special concern at my school site. The study group consisted of thirteen students. The comparison group was identified by

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48 randomly selecting thirteen students that were not categoriz ed into any of the special populations. Once arranged in their small groups, I introduced the biographies. I provided each group with a copy of the biography they were assigned to read. The first activities were designed to unlock previous knowledge. F irst, I had each group predict what each woman was famous for based solely on the cover of the book. Most of the groups had a general idea of what each woman did based on her name, title of the book and cover artwork. Additionally, I had each group read just the back jacket of the book to get a glimpse into what they were going to read about. Each group then completed a portion of a Know, Want to Know and Learned (KWL) graphic organizer. A KWL is a tool to use to unlock previous knowledge while having students question what they are about to read to increase engagement (Ogle, 2009). After reading the book jacket the students participated in a small group discussion to complete the K and W column of their graphic organizer. Figure 3 1 depicts a sample of a K and W column from a graphic organizer about Pocahontas. Some of the questions were crossed out at the end the unit to indicate the things the students learned from reading the biography. At the time, I noted that the background knowledge the stu dents possessed was very superficial. The K column in the sample in Figure 3 1 demonstrates that. A quote from my teacher journal also echoes this thought. March 3 Reflection Journal Entry All groups knew bits and pieces about all the biographies. No ted knowledge. There was very superficial knowledge. March 3 Reflection Journal Entry sparse. This confirms that the choices for the biographies were good ones and appropriate for the readers.

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49 Based on the my journal, I noted that while the background knowledge was superficial, many of the groups were able to develop open ended, thought provoking questions for the W column. Evidence of this can be found in m y teacher journal and also in student sample provided in Figure 3 1. March 3 Reflection Journal Entry What they wanted to know, about half of the questions were superficial and half were open ended thoughtful Evidence of student engagement is documented with the teacher journal and the KWL lists the groups created. We would later return to the KWL lists as a culminating activity to document how much they learned throughout the unit. Pha se Two Phase two of the unit involved the students independently reading their assigned biography. They had four weeks to complete the reading and complete a vocabulary assignment each week. The assignments, called Post it Note Vocab required students to use post it notes to identify new or challenging words while they are reading the biography. Later, they predicted the meaning of the words using context clues and eventually defined the word using a dictionary. Using context clues to predict word meanin g was area of weakness based on school literacy plan we were required to build in lessons to practice this skill. During the first week, I modeled the reading strategy for the students and had them engage in guided pract ice in their small groups. For the weeks that followed, students completed the assignment on their own and turned it in on the due date. I noted during the first week the assignment was due that there was a noticeable difference in the completion rates be tween the study group and the comparison group. As documented in my teacher journal, of the thirteen students that were in the study

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50 group, one student handed their assignment in on time, eight students handed in the assignment late while four never comple ted the assignment. This was not the case with the comparison group. With the comparison group, nine handed the assignment in on time, three handed the assignment in late and one did not hand it in at all. The low return rate of the special populations group concerned me so I pondered a possible solution for the following week. I did some brainstorming with three other teachers on my team to determine why the return rate was so low for the special population group. We also discussed possible solutions. Based on our discussion we were able to determine that the students were in fact reading their biographies. The other teachers noted they saw the students reading my teache r journal. March 8 Teacher Journal It was that during SSR time, several students pulled out their biography. They seem very motivated. Since they were motivated to read, I needed to motivate them to complete the assignment. The language arts teacher o n my team said that she did an illustrated vocabulary activity with her classes that was effective in motivating students to focus on the vocabulary words. The activity consisted of picking two vocabulary words and illustrating a forced association. She said the creative nature of this activity seemed to provide motivation for students. The following week, I told the students we were going to participate in this activity based on the vocabulary from their biographies. However, in order to be able to par ticipate, they needed to have their vocabulary assignment complete on the due date. Any students that did not complete the assignment had to work on this assignment while the other students participated in the activity.

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51 The following week the return rate on the vocabulary homework improved. From the study group, eleven students turned the assignment on time, one late and one not at all. The comparison group had ten students turn the assignment on time, one late and two not at all. The forced associatio n vocabulary activity involved students picking a word from their personal vocabulary list they completed and also picking a word from a an illustration included the wo rd raptor from the Carson biography and the word ailing from the Keller biography. The student created an illustration of an eagle on crutches to illustrate an ailing raptor The image the student created demonstrated that they had a grasp on the proper definition of both of the words. The final assignment was due during the fourth week. This was the final week blocked out for independent reading. Students created a timeline that consisted of at least ten important events from the biography. The creati on of this time lime provided evidence that the student had completed reading the biography assigned to them. Every student in both groups successfully completed a timeline and thus demonstrated they were ready to move on to the next phase of the unit. P hase T hree The next phase of the unit focused on the development of the monument. I used the Martin Luther King monument, which was under construction at the time of the study, to guide the initial instruction. During a whole class discussion we identifie d reasons why King was deserving of a monument. We also analyzed the rationale of the location of the monument. I outlined that this monument is located in The Line of Leadership which aligns this monument with the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln

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52 Memo ut that the monument resembled a mountain, with the piece containing the image of MLK carved out of it, the stone. At this point, I saw their interest piqued. They start ed asking me about the design rational behind other famous monuments. Several did not see the rationale behind this design. This proved to me they were really processing the i dea of design. Once I explained that the Washington Monument was an obelisk, an ancient symbol of power, they understood the design. The students were then reassembled into their small groups and I distributed the outline for the project. A copy of the assignment can be found in Appendix F. In the small groups, the students discussed their task. They started brainstorming and negotiating who was going to be responsible for what. Evidence from my teacher journal documents how different groups went abo ut deciding who was going to do what. April 5 Teacher Journal It is interesting to see how groups are delegating the work. One group with TG, SH and CC had an impasse pretty quickly. I had to intervene to help delegate who would do what. TS, LA and Z S Scissors to define roles. Interesting how they felt it was fair to do it that way. Other groups settled into their roles pretty quickly. I overheard some arguments where kids were saying what resources they have providing a justification for their role. The following three days the small groups worked in the computer lab to begin planning and researching for their monument and multimedia presentation. Screen shots of some of the multime dia presentations are provided in Figure 3 2. The following

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53 week the groups also had access to a cart of laptops to continue working on their project. After six total days of working in small groups in class and independently at home, the groups present ed their proposals to a committee comprised of students from other sections of the course. The committee used the criteria outlined on the assignment to determine which presentation best met the criteria. I assessed each group based on the rubric provid ed in Appendix B. A validation group made up of other teachers also evaluated the presentations using the same rubric. Conclusion While this instructional process was unfolding in my classroom, I was collecting and analyzing data to determine the ways D igital Biographies a PBL unit, supported the development of 21 st century skills of while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards? In the next chapter I outline how I collected and analyzed various sources of data.

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54 Table 3 1. Biographi es, authors and Lexile scores Title Author Lexile Score Up Close: Rachel Carson Ellen Levine 1060L Marie Curie Kathleen Krull 1050L The Double Life of Pocahontas Jean Fritz 910L Helen Keller George Sullivan 730L Michelle Obama Marlene Brill 940L Amelia Earhart Tonya Lee Stone 1000L

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55 Table 3 2 Features of PBL Features of PBL as outlined by Grant (2002) Digital Biographies A n introduction to "set the stage" or anchor the activity The anchor activity for this PBL unit was for the students to c reate a monument to commemorate a woman from history. A task, guiding question or driving question question. How do we create a memorial to honor an influential woman from history? A process or investigatio n that results in the creation of one or more sharable artifacts The artifact developed by students in this unit was a technology based persuasive presentation and a model of the proposed monument. R esources, such as subject matter experts, textbooks a nd hypertext links Biographies, websites and print encyclopedias S caffolding, such as teacher conferences to help learners assess their progress, computer based questioning and project templates Scaffolding was provided through the discussion of the vis ion, location and rational for the Martin Luther King Monument in Washington D.C. that was under construction at the time of this unit. C ollaborations, including teams, peer reviews and external content specialists Students were arranged into small group s to collaborate. They also engaged in a form of peer review by serving as a persuasive oral argument and model. O pportunities for reflection and transfer, such as classroom debriefing sessions The unit concluded wi th both small group and whole class discussions about what was learned through the process. The students referred back the KWL document they created at the beginning of the unit.

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56 Figure 3 1. Sample of KWL graphic organizer

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57 CHAPTER 4 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY Introduction T he main purpose of this study was to discover ways Digital Biographies enabled me to develop 21st c entury skills in my students while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. In this chapter I will discu ss how the purpose of this study was achieved. I will discuss the action research model that I use d to conduct my research. Additionally, I will discuss the selection of the study group. Finally, I will present data collection and analysis techniques that were employed during the course of this study. Action Research Model The purpose of all research is to generate new knowledge; however, McNiff and Whitehead (2006) tell us that action research (AR) seeks to develop a specific type of knowledge. AR, also r eferred to as teacher inquiry Yendol Hoppy 2009, pg. 6). Cochran Smith and Lytle (1993) echo and intentional in Dana and Y endel Hoppy (2009) describe the action research process in specific eir classroom. From these felt teachers have that might alleviate the felt difficulty. Based on these ideas the teacher then develops a plan for collecting and analyz ing multiple forms of data to shed light in

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58 extend their learning by writing about it. The final step is sharing their research with others. Through this systematic inves tigation, teachers are able to develop knowledge about how to improve teaching practices in order to improve student learning while also gaining a deeper understanding of educational situations and context (Feldman & Minstrell, 2000). AR is a form of resea by or with to or on recommend that the AR model be used to determine if what a practitioner is doing is hing different needs to be done. Based on the goals and definition of this research model, my role as a classroom teache r puts me in the position of an insider. My role as a classroom teacher also puts me in the role of a practitioner. Dick (1993) tell s us when a practitioner uses AR, it has (pg. 9). My primary goal as a classroom teacher is to influence learning and to implement strategies to best influence student l earning. McNiffe and Whitehead (2006) outline the two main purposes for teacher inquiry to contribute to new practice and to contribute to new theory. AR g ave me an approach to systematically investigate my teaching while also contributing to new practi ce and theory. The goals of AR and g oals I have as an educator made the AR model a logical choice to achieve the purpose that is outlined in this study. Identification of the Study Group In the 1920 s, Lewis Terman began a longitudinal study on gifted c hildren and published his findings in Genetics Studies of a Genius In his report he described gifted individuals as happier, healthier, more popular with their peers, capable of performing

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59 without much external support has undergone revisions since that time but the essence of the definition remains the same. Students, children, or youth who give evidence of h igh achievement capability in areas such as intellectual, creative, artistic, or leadership capacity, or in specific academic fields, and who need services and activities not ordinarily provided by the school in order to fully develop those capabilities (P ublic Law 103 382, Title XIV, 1988, p. 388). T hese descriptions do not consider twice exceptional student s or gifted students from special populations. Twice exceptional students are defined as having intellectual capabilities but also have a learning d isability (Beckley, 1998). The NAGC defines characteristics that can interfere with academic achievement, social/emotional growth, and optimal development of their p Examples of special populations include minorities, low socio economic status, attention deficient disorder rural, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Ma ny of these special populations of gifted students overlap with the NCLB subgroups. As described in the previous chapter, the subgroups that were of special concern at the site of this study were minorities, students with disabilities and low socio econom ic status. These subgroups are also identified as special populations. For the purposes of this study these groups are referred to as special populations Students that are categorized into two or more of these special populations are of even more conce rn at the school site since their data is essentially counted twice towards meeting

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60 categorized into two or more of the special populations. Data Sources To bet ter understand t he impact of Dig i tal Biographies, a PBL unit, had on 21 st c entury skills and achievement levels, I collected and analyzed both quantitative and qualitative data. Quantitative data included pre and post test scores on the following instruments: Florida Ass essment for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) and the S tudent T ool for Technology Learning (ST 2 L). I compare d the results of students that represent two or more of the NCLB special populations with those of students that are not categorized i nto any of the spe cial populations I also analyzed qualitative data which included student artifacts and a teacher journal. Quantitative Measures Two quantitative mea sures of student achievement were available as data sources in order to an swer my inquiry question (Dana and Yendol Hoppey, 2006). I wanted to know if a technology supported P BL experience would increase student scores on the following instruments: Florida Assessment for Instruction in Reading (FAIR) and the S tudent T ool for Technology Learning (ST 2 L). The FAIR test a set of assessments that was designed to guide reading instruction. This is not a summative test and it does not replace the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT). Instead FAIR is a tool used to predict future performance on the FCAT. According to the FAIR T echnical Manual (2009), the assessment system has two parts; The Broad Screen Monitoring Tool, which evaluates reading comprehension skills, and

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61 the Tar geted Diagnostic Inventory (TDI). The TDI is has two tasks, Maze Task and Word Analysis. Maze Task is a measure of how effici ently and effectively a student r ead and comprehends a text. The Word Analysis task is a measure of how well a student can use p honological (detecting sounds) orthographic (standard usage of words) and morphological (recognizing parts of words and their meanings) information to understand and identify words in a text. FAIR test results report how students perform on each task of the TDI as well as overall reading comprehension scores in the form of Lexile and Reading Comprehension scores. All assessments are used to calculate a Predictive validity for this tool was addressed through a series of linear and logistic regressions (Florida Department of Education, 2009) Item Response Theory (IRT) was used as a method of validation. IRT analysis was used to form a generate estimate of reliability that was at least .90 for each assessment. This generic reliability also provides a marginal estimate of internal consistency (Florida Department of Education, 2009) The F AIR was chosen since it provided data predicting the likelihood of a student performing at or above grade level. This assessm ent is given several times a school year providing short term data. ST 2 L assessment. NCLB has specific goals for technology literacy for all students. As outlined in the Enhancing Education through Technology Act of 2001, these goals include improving s tudent achievement through the use of technology, closing the digital divide, and to encourage effective technology integration into existing content area curriculum (United States Department of Education, 2001). H o hlfeld, Ritzhaupt and Barron (2010 ) st ate the ST 2

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62 skills in the areas that are outlined by the National Education Technology Standards and to meet the reporting requirements outlined in NCLB. Florida Innovates (2009 ) outlines that five specific indicators are assessed through the use of ST 2 L which include: Technology Operations, Constructing and Demonstrating Knowledge, Collaboration and Communication, Independent Learning and Digital Citizenship. Hohlfeld, Ritzha upt and Barron (2010) found the ST 2 L to be sound assessment for determining technology literacy. Internal consiste ncy was established using the K uder Richardson 20 (KR 20) of .95 for the entire tool. Construct validity was obtained by establishing a rela tionship between the pre survey score for the relationship between experience levels and correlations among the ST 2 L and pre survey scores. All measures were found to be significant. The validation of this instrument as a tool to determine technology lit eracy ma de it an appropriate choice for determining student technology skills for this research. Combined these two tools provide d data about literacy skills as well as the development of their skills in using technology. Qualitative Measures Student a rtifacts Meyers and Rust (2003) tells us that the link between teaching and student achievement can be made through the use of rubrics. A rubric (Appendix B) for the was created to assess the Lear ning and Innovation Skills and Technology as outlined by The Partnership for 21 st century s kills These skills include technology tools use, creative thinking, collaboration and communication skills. The analysis of the student artifacts with the use of t he teacher created rubric reveal ed the extent to which these skills were utilized and developed through this PBL activity.

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63 Teacher j ournal Cochran Smith and classroom live in which teachers re cord their observations, analyze their experiences A sample of the Data Analysis Quantitative data was analyzed by performing a re peated measures A nalysis of Variance (ANOVA) comparing pre and posttest scores for the FAIR test and the ST 2 L Assessment. The test provide d information about whether the difference between the pre and post assessments means is statistically significant hence providing evidence of if the PBL method of instruction made a significant difference in the student achievement in terms of literacy skills and technology skills. The teacher journal was coded using the Constant Comparison Method as outlined by Gl aser (1965) to reveal patterns and themes. The student artifacts were analyzed using a rubric and comparing the scores of the study group to the comparison Conclusion As a practitioner, my primary goal is to improve my practice to ensure student achievement and student learning. McNiffe (2002) tells us action research is a way to check if what you are doing is working. This form of self evaluation has help ed me improve my professional practice. Riding, Fowell and Levy (1995) state that through the method of action research there is not a distinction between teaching and researching therefore bringing practice and theory closer together. Through the process I have prese n ted here, I was able to determine if PBL is an effective method to

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64 improve my practice a s I develop the literacy skills and 21 st century skills. Chapter 5 provides an overview of my results.

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65 CHAPTER 5 RESULTS I ntroduction This chapter outlines the resul ts of an action research project that addressed the ways PBL can develop 21st c entury skills of underserved students while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards. The first section Sample outlines how the study group and comparison group w ere selected. The next section Data is broken down into two subsections. The first, entitled Quantitative Data includes FAIR Test Results and ST 2 L Technology Tool Results The second, Qualitative Data, includes a description of Student Artifacts and Tea cher Reflection Journal. Sample At the time of the study, there were a total of thirteen students that met the criteria for inclusion in the study group, as noted in Table 4 1. The targeted study group was defined as students enrolled in a 6 th grade soc ial s tudies class that were identified as being a member of two of three special populations that are of special conc ern at the school site. These special populations are: low socio economic students, students with disabilities and minorities. At the st udy school site these groups are of special concern since they are traditionally the groups that fail to meet the AYP goals that are set forth by NCLB. Low socio economic students were defined as students that have been identified as eligible for the Nati onal School Lunch Program (NSLP). This program provides nutritionally sound and free or reduced lunches to students in public schools (United States Department of Agriculture, 2011). Eligibility for this program is determined by federal income levels and f amily size and is an indicator for poverty (United States

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66 Department of Agriculture, 2008). One hundred percent o f the study group was eligible for the NSLP. Three students had reduced lunch status ; ten students had free lunch status. Of the thirteen stu dents, twelve of them were identified as African American and one was Caucasian. Students were identified as having a disability through special e ducation records. Of the thirteen students in the study group, two of them were identified as receiving serv ices for Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD); three students were identified as receiving services for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Florida Department of Education defines SLD as disorder in one or mor e of the basic learning processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest in significant difficulties affecting Educat that adversely affects a student's functioning and results in the need for specially The comparison group was selected through simple random sampling of thirteen students that were not categorized into any of the three special populations of special concern in terms of AYP. Data Quantitative Data Quantitative d ata for this study consisted of pretest and posttest FAIR results for both the study group and the comparison group. The FAIR test provided data on reading skills of the participants. Technology skills and 21 st century s kills were assessed using pretest and posttest ST 2 L results for bo th groups. A repeated

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67 measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed to determine the interaction FAIR t est r esults A repeated measures ANOVA was performed to determine the effect of the P BL learning experience had on reading skills of the study group. As displayed in Table 4 2, results revealed no statistically significant difference between the pretest score and the posttest scores for any of the categories assess with the FAIR test. T he test showed no significant difference between the pretest and posttest reading comprehension scores for the students identified in the study group, F (1,27) = .02, p = .89. The Maze Task also showed no statistically significant interaction effect, F (1,2 6) = .250, p = .621. The Word Analysis Task results demonstrated no significant interaction, F (1,27) = .020, p = .889. The repeated measures ANOVA also did not reveal a significantly significant change in Lexile scores for the study group, F (1,28)= .359 p = .554. The overall FCAT Success Probability Score was not significant, F (1,28) = 1.21, p = .280. Overall FCAT Success Probability data for the study group and the comparison group was analyzed. As shown in Figure 4 AT Success overall FCAT Success Probability remained the same. The study group did have an increase ; however, it is not considered statistically significant. A between group F (1,28) = 3.51, p = .071.

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68 ST 2 L r esults Both the study group and the comparison group was ad ministered this assessment prior to the PBL learning experience and again at the conclusion. Descriptive statistics for the mean scores on each of the indicators and overal l score are provided in Table 4 3. A repeated measures ANOVA revealed that there wa s not a significant interaction F (1, 28) = 1.01, p = .323, Collab oration and Communication mean F (1, 28) = .11, p = .7 35, Independent Learning mean F (1, 28) = .003, p = .958 o r Digital Citizenship mean F (1, 28) = .40, p = .531. The interaction effect the Knowledge Construction indicator was approaching significance F (1, 28) = 3.65, p = .066. The overall mean scores for the ST 2 L Technology Tool were approaching significance F ( 1, 28) = 4.02, p = .055. Overall scores of the ST 2 L for the study group was compared to those of the comparison group, shown in Figure 4 2. Both groups demonstrated an increase in overall scores. The study group rose from 75.40% on the pretest to 84.60 % on the posttest. The comparison group rose from 82.46% to 87.40%. The between group ANOVA demonstrated the difference was approaching significance F (1, 28) = 3.93, p = .071. Qualitative Data Qualitative data for this study is provided through analysis of student artifacts with the use of a teacher created rubric and a teacher reflection journal. Student a rtifacts A rubric following areas: Information skills, thinking and communication s ki lls creativity, t echnology tools

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69 and sources (Appendix B ). The 21 st Century Partnership (2011) outlines these as skills that support 21 st century student o utcomes. I evaluated each final product during the oral presentation each group gave to a committe e comprised of their peers from other classes. Two additional classroom teachers served as a validation group ; they viewed the oral presentations and evaluated each group using the same criteria. The rubric r epresents a rating system from excellent to u ns atisfactory. Each rating has a corresponding numerical representation. A total of 5 points is the equivalent of excellent, 4 points is the equivalent of very good, 3 corresponds to good, 2 is the equivalent of fair, while 1 is unsatisfactory. Prior to t he presentations, I met with the other classroom teachers to come to a consensus of what would earn groups points based on the description provided on the rubric. Once all the presentations were complete, I used a spreadsheet to record the total number o f points earned by each group in each of the areas represented on the rubric. A screenshot depicting the organization of the spreadsheet is provided in Figure 4 4. group and the comparison group is provided in Figure 4 3. r=.87, demonstrating a moderately strong correlation between the teacher researcher overall score and the validation grou p overall score. The mean score for all areas assessed with this rubric for the teacher researcher was 3.72, the validation group overall mean score was 3.57. The overall mean score based on the rubric data shows that both groups performed at a proficien t level in terms of demonstrating 21 st c entury skills in all areas

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70 except for sources creativity Teacher r eflective j ournal. Dewey (1933) heralded the value of reflection and considered it a form of problem solving. Schon (1983) work on reflection emphasizes the importance of stepping back from the action in order to make sense of it. Dana and Y endol Hoppey (2009) recommend One such strategy is a Teacher Reflective Journal. These journals provide a way for teachers to record observations, analyze experiences and to reflect on practices and what is happening in the classroom (Cochran Smith & Lytle, 1993). I maintained a j ournal throughout the process of the PBL experience. Several t imes throughout the day, I record ed my observations and thoughts of what occurred in my classroom as the students progressed I used a free writing method to prevent myself from over thinkin g or editing at the time of the journal entry. Throughout the course of the study, I recorded 46 handwritten pages of observations. This provided me a way to record a snap shot of what was happening and my thoughts about the occurrences. I also recorded my initial reflective thoughts on my observations. Sample pages of the original journal can be found in the Appendix E. At the conclusion of the project, the reflective journal was transcribed. A sample page of the Transcription Protocol is provided in Appendix C phrase that symbolically assigns a summative, salient, essence capturing and/or I used the Constant Comparison Method (Glaser, 1967 ) to ana lyze the transcripts. I began with

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71 an inductive analysis of the transcripts by applying a descriptive code to information that seems salient to me during the first reading. I reread and continu ed to analyze the data looking for similarities and differences which enabled me to combine and eliminate codes during each subsequent reading. By constantly comparing each data piece, I was able to develop several codes. These codes are outlined in Tabl e 4.4. I used coding memos (Appendix D ) to analyze and refine the codes until each code beca me saturated, hence developing themes (Glesne, 2006). Journal. The themes and subthem es that developed into themes are featured in Table 4 4. The coding revealed four major themes: Students Cooperating, Students Detracting, Technology as an Extensio n and Technology as a Distraction. The Students Cooperating theme is defined as instances where students are collaborating, acting as a team or providing leadership is observed and noted in the teacher journal. Students Detracting highlights instances when students detracted from the task at hand through a variety ways. Technology as an Exte nsion documents instances of when groups of students extended their use of technology by incorporating different forms of programs to enhance the basic presentation. Finally, Technology as a Distraction looks at how the software and other functions on the computers acted as a distraction for students during the PBL process. Summary of Data Analysis reading skills as they are measures on assessments required to meet the NC LB s scores did increase as a result of PBL however it was not enough of an increase to be considered statistically significant. Data analysis

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72 showed similar results for the ST 2 L assessment r esults. There were increases in scores for the study group but scores were not statistically significant. Results did approach significance for the overall ST 2 L Scores as well as the Knowledge Construction construct. Qualitative data analysis showed that students in both the study group and the comparison group performed at a proficient level for each of the 21 st century s kills that were asse ssed based on the teacher created rubric, with the exception of one area. That area was properly referencing and citing sources. The reflective journal demonstrated that collaboration and technology use of students could be both a blessing and a curse. Students working together in small groups can increase collaboration and cooperation while at the same time provide opportunities for students to distract each other from the task. Technology can be a distraction in terms of games, chats and searching images not related to the project. Technology can also provide a way for students to extend their project with productivity and presentation tools. Chapter 6 will discuss the impact these findings will have on my professional practice. It will also discuss implications for professional educators that look to use PBL.

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73 Table 4 1 Final study g roup Student Identifier Gender Free/Reduced Lunch Ethnicity Dis ability Student A M Reduced Caucasian SLD Student B F Free African American Student C F Free African American Student D F Free African American Student E M Reduced African American ASD Student F M Free African American ASD Student G F Free Afric an American Student H F Free African American Student I M Free African American ASD Student J M Free African American Student K F Free African American Student L F Reduced African American Student M F Free African American SLD

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74 Table 4 2. Analy sis of v ariance for FAIR test FAIR Test Underserved Population Comparison Group Interaction Effect Pre Post Pre Post F p value Word Analysis 69.28 75.64 72.13 79.60 .02 .889 Lexile Score 1004.00 1072.33 1135.66 1162.00 .35 .554 Reading Comprehension 53.00 59.73 64.21 69.57 .02 .890 Maze 65.71 76.71 73.42 81.92 .25 .621 FCAT Success Probability 81.73 84.33 96.00 96.00 1.21 .280 Table 4 3 Analysis of v ariance for ST 2 L r esults Assessment Underserved Population Comparison Group Interaction Effect S T 2 L Pre Post Pre Post F p value Tech Operations 79.13 86.60 90.73 95.13 1.01 .323 Knowledge Construction 68.26 79.80 76.26 80.73 3.65 .066 Collaboration and Communication 76.33 79.66 80.53 84.93 11 .735 Independent Learning 69.33 77.66 77.26 85.80 .00 3 .958 Digital Citizenship 86.53 90.60 91.20 93.53 .40 .531 Overall 75.40 84.60 82.46 87.40 4.027 .055

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75 Table 4 4. Teacher reflective journal t hemes Overarching Themes Codes and Sub codes Students Cooperating Leading Tutoring Leading Re directing Justifying Defining Roles Delegating Collaborating Negotiating Cooperating Students Detracting Interpersonal Distractions Crying Sabotaging Group Talking Name Calling Chatting Intrapersonal Dist ractions Avoiding work Gaming Technology as an Extension Productivity Google Earth Gmail Linking video Googling Presentation Wordle Glogster Gaggle Documents Mine Craft Tombstone Creator Sumo Pa int Technology as a Distraction Organization/Skills Lost Storage Lacking Skills Off Task Behaviors Searching Images Sumo Paint Chatting Gaming

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76 Figure 4 1 Overall FCAT success probability for study group and comparison g roup Figure 4 2 Overall s cores for ST 2 L

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77 Figure 4 3 Rubric s cores Figure 4 4. Screenshot of rubric data

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78 CHAPTER 6 DISCUSSION AND IMPLI CATIONS This final chapter reviews the purpose of this action r esearch study, reviews the findings disc usses the claims that can be made based on the data and presents conclusions. Limitations of the study are discussed Recommendations for future research are presented. Finally, I discuss the impact the results of this inquiry have on my own classroom pr actices and the implications it has for my future work. Summary of the Study The purpose of this research study was to examine PBL through the lens of the 21 st century. The turn of the century and legislation that was introduced shortly after have greatly impacted my classroom practices. The new century brought with it the need to develop 21 st century skills. The Framework for 21 st Century Learning describes these skills ( which include, critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity ) as ne cessary for students to be ready for the 21 st century workforce. In 2001, The No Child Left Behind Act was passed bringing with it heightened accountability standards for students, teachers and schools. An integral part of this legislation was the concep t of Adequate Yearly Progress. AYP outlines guidelines for the success of all students including students that represent specific traditionally underserved subgroups. These include students with disabilities, minorities and students with free or reduced lunch status. Dana and Yendol Hoppey (2009) tells us that teacher inquiry often times starts st century skills while addressing in my teaching practice. These two goals were being addressed as mutually exclusive of each other,

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79 which lead me to wonder what ways could both of these valuable goals be addressed effectively and efficiently. This felt difficulty and wondering led me to develop the research question that is addressed in this action research study: In what ways does Digital Biographies a PBL unit, support the development of 21 st century skills of while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards? In order to a nswer this question, I implemented a teacher inquiry study in my classroom that was specifically designed to develop reading comprehension skills and vocabulary development, encourage collaboration, communication and foster the use of technology based prod uctivity and presentation tools. Lesson pla ns are provided in Appendix A I specifically examined the impact Digital Biographies had on students that were group into two or more special populations as they compared to students that were not included in any of the identified special populations The first part of the study involved grouping students based on Lexile scores. Based on their reading level, groups of students were assigned biographies of influential women in history to read independently over a s ix week span. During this time, students completed assignments I designed focusing on reading comprehension and vocabulary development. At the end of the six week independent reading time, students reassembled into small groups with other students that read the same biography. This small group worked as a committee to design a proposal for a monument to commemorate this figures life events and impact on society, site location with rationale, a model of the monument and an explanation of the design process, as well as the use of at least one

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80 technology based presentation tool. These persuasive presentations were delivered to a panel of students from other class period s that use a criterion similar to the standards. Both quantitative and qualitative data was collected and analyzed to determine the ways PBL supported the development of 21 st cen tury skills and literacy skills. Quantitative data included an analysis of pre and post test scores of the study group (n =13 ) and the comparison group on two separate assessments. The FAIR test f the literacy accountability standards outlined by NCLB. Pre and post test results from the ST 2 L provided evidence of the development of 21 st century and technology skills. Qualitative data was collected through the use of a rubric (Appendix B) I create d to st century s kills. Inter rater reliability was established with the use of a validation group comprised of to capture my thinking as the process unfolded (Dana & Yendol Hoppey, 2009). I transcribed the journal and through the use of the Constant Comparison Method I was able to see themes emerge ( Glaser, 1965). Summary of the Findings Dana and Yendol Hoppey (20 09) states that findings in teacher inquiry can be revealed by reflecting on the learning that occurred and supporting the learning with data. I have chosen to illustrate my findings, hence my learning, by making claims based on data (Dana & Yendol Hoppey 2009). I was able to arrive at these claims through the analysis of the data and clarifying my thinking about my inquiry. Each of the

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81 claims address the original research question : In what ways does Digital Biographies a PBL unit, support the developm ent of 21 st century skills of while simultaneously supporting NCLB accountability standards? Category 1: Student R eading A chievement Claim 1. Students who participated in the Digital Biographies PBL unit demonstrated an increase in reading achievement. As outlined in Chapter 4, a repeated measures ANOVA was performed to both the Broad Screen Monitoring Tool and the Targeted Diagnostic Inventory portions of the FAIR as sessment. In every area assessed, Word Analysis, Lexile Score, Reading Comprehension and Maze, the special populations group demonstrated an increase in the mean score demonstrating an overall improvement in student performance. The overall FCAT Success Probability mean also increased for the special populations group from the pre assessment to the post assessment. This too reflects an improvement of student achievement. However, the increases were not considered to be statistically significant. A p va lue of .05 is generally considered to be statistically significant (Huck, 2004). With the significance level set at .05, the results for the varied tests were not considered to be statistically significant. The lack of significant gains could be attri buted to the time the study was conducted. The study was completed between the Winter and Spring Assessment Periods for the FAIR test cycle. This small window of time may have proved to be too short of a time period for significant gains to be establishe d. While the statistical tests indicate no statistical significance, the Florida Department of Education (2010) offers guiding questions when determining student

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82 progress from assessment period to assessment period. These guiding questions simply ask: D id the Reading Comprehension score increase? Did the Maze Score increase? Did the Word Analysis Score increase? Since these assessments have the (Florida Department of Education, 2010). Each of the overall means of these three assessments increased throughout this study. While statically significant increases were not noted, based on the measuring stick set out by the State of Florida, it can be determined that the spe cial populations group did indeed make progress in terms of reading achievement. The Reading Comprehension mean rose from 53.00 to 59.73. The Maze mean for the study group increased from 65.71 to 76.71. Similarly the Word Analysis means of the study gro up also increased from 69.28 to 75.64. The Lexile Framework for Reading (2011) explains that the Lexile score provides not a direct correlation between grade level and Lexile scores, typical scores for each grade level are reported. The Lexile Framework for Reading (2011) explains t he mid year inter quartile range for 6 th graders is 860L 920L. The special populations group midyear Lexile mean was 1004. Knutson (20 11) explains that based on this score, expected annual growth is 38 points. Throughout the course of this study, the mean Lexile score rose 68 points. The documented increase in the Lexile scores supports this claim. This claim is further supported by lit erature that cites that PBL can lead to increases in student achievement Gultekin (2005) and Kucharski, Rust and Ring

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83 (2005) states that PLB supports overall academic achievement and success in specific content areas. Claim 2. Students in the special populations group had an increase in FCAT Based on The Florida Center for Reading Research (2010) score coding, an FCAT Success Probability of 85% or higher codes the st udents in the green zone which indicates the student has an 85% or better probability of scoring a level 3 or higher on the FCAT. Students are coded as yellow if their success probability rate falls between 16 84% and red of the probability of success is less than 15%. The overall goal is to move students in the red and yellow zones into the green zone. Overall FCAT Success Probability rates for the study group increase from 81.73 to 84.33 during the study period. This increase moved the study group closer to the goal of same at 96.00, which is coded in the green zone. While the comparison group did demonstrate increases in means of the other assessments, those increas es did not translate to an increase in an increase of FCAT Success Probability. As a practitioner researcher I am charged with developing my own criteria to evaluate my practice (McNiff & Whitehead, 2006). Based on the data presented from the FAIR test, I can assert that PBL is a tool that can be used to increase student achievement in reading. This assertion is echoed by Boaler (1994) who tells us that students that participated in PBL activities achieved higher scores on content knowledge assessments those that did not. Several studies support the notion that PBL can increase student achievement (Geier et al 2008; Strobel, J & van Barneveld, A,

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84 2008; Gultekin, 2005; Her nandez Ramos & De La Paz, 2009 ; Kucharski, Rust & Ring, 2005). Chu Tse, Low a nd Chow (2011) specifically provide support for this claim by Category 2: Technology Literacy Claim 1 Students demonstrated an increase in technology literacy skills after parti cipating in the Digital Biographies PBL unit. In every area of the ST 2 L, there was an increase in the mean demonstrating an However, the change in the categories of Technology Operations, Collab oration and Communication, Independent Learning and Digital Citizenship was not considered to be statistically significant. The Knowledge Construction indicator and the overall scores for this instrument were approaching significance. The first indicato r approaching significance was Constructing and Demonstrating These include but are not limited to properly using tools found in word processing software, editing im ages, properly using web browser functions and conducting advanced searches and evaluating electronic sources. The improvement in this area could be due to the fact that of all the tasks assessed by the ST 2 L, the skills categorized in this indicator were most utilized by students throughout the project. While students were observed performing tasks representative of all indicator areas, the vast majority of observations, as documented in the teacher reflective journal, would fall into this category. The overall score for the ST2L was also approaching significance with a p value of .055. This indicates that PBL is an effective way to increase technology skills and

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85 literacy in students. This finding is similar to Seo, Templeton and Pellegrino (2008) that states that students that participated in PBL learning have a higher acquisition of multimedia knowledge than those that did not. Claim 2 The study group had a greater increase in Constructing and Demonstrating Knowledge compared to the comparision gr oup. I noted based on the data on this indicator, students in the study group comprised of special populations had a greater increase in performance in this area than the comparis on group. The study mean rose 4.47%. Literature support s this claim that students with lower achievement levels demonstrate a much higher increase in critical thinking, synthesizing, and evaluating as compared to their higher achieving peers as a result of PBL (Horan, Lavaro ni & Beldon, 1996). Claim 3. The technology achievement gap between the study group and the comparision group closed after the implementation of the Digital Biographies PBL unit. evement gaps occur when one group of students outperforms another group and the difference in Research tells us that a technology achievement gap exists between underserved students such as minorities, students in poverty and students with disabilities and their peers (Margolis, 2008). The data comparing the pretest scores of the ST 2 L demonstrated a gap between the special populations group and the comparis on group. The special populations group 82.46. The difference between these two scores for the pre assessment was 7.06. Both

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86 groups demonstrated an increase in their overall means from the pretest to the postt est. However, the y demonstrated more of an increase from the pretest to the posttest. gap between the o verall scores of the two groups, the data suggests the gap between the two groups was narrowed due to the PBL learning experience. Category 3: 21 st Century Skills Claim 1 Digital Biographies supported the development of the 21 st century skill of Learni ng and Innovation. The Partnership for 21 st C entury Skills (2011) describes specific student outcomes. The Learning and Innovation Skills inc Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and C reativity. Clear communicati on includes the ability to relay thoughts and ideas in a variety of mediums and media. Effective collaboration is described as the ability to work with others to achieve a common goal (The Partnership for 21 st Century Skills, 2011). The Partnership descr ibes creativ ity as the ability to think creativity and wor k creatively with others. Several pieces of data support the claim that PBL supports the development of these learning and innovation skills The teacher created rubric was designed to assess specif ic 21 st century skills. One area This indicator was demonstrate in depth understanding and insight into the topic Both the special populations group and the comparis on group demonstrated the ability to clearly communicate their ideas with the assistance of multimedia. On a five point scale, the special populations group

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87 indicator was 3.88. The comparison group omparis rubric. ST 2 L data helps to support this claim. Both groups demonstrated an increase in overall mean for the Collabora tion and Communication section of the instrument There was not a statistically significant increase between the pretest and posttest but an increase in the overall mean was recorded. The special populations group mean rose 3.33 points from pretest to post test; the comparis ean rose 4.40. Themes that emerged through the coding of the teacher journal provide evidence that PBL supports collaboration. Students cooperating is a theme that materialized through the analysis of the teacher journal transcript using the Constant Comparative Method (Glaser, 1965). T he saturation of codes that led me to develop the subthemes and overarching theme of student cooperating provides strong evidence to support this claim. g and Innovation Skills section of the Framework for 21 st Century Skills. The rubric was used to assess how the final products produced by the students demonstrated original thought and inventiveness. Both the special populations group and the comparison group demonstrated high levels of creative thought and inventiveness. This is the one area where the special populations group outperformed the comparison group during this study. The special populations group as 4.55.

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88 Claim 2. Students participating in the Digital Biographies unit demonstrated the development of Information and Communication Technology (ITC) Skills. In addition to Learning and Innovation Skil ls, The Framework for 21 st Century (2011) learner outcomes included the development of Information and Communication Technolo gy Skills, as shown in Figure 5 1. ICT Literacy is described as the ability to evaluate and communicate ICT skills. Observations as revealed by the teacher journal demonstrate that students were able to effectively access, manage and communi cate information. A theme that This theme documented instances of when students used technology to support productivity and the development of their presentat ion. Students were able to access a variety of technology tools, including search engines, online maps and cloud computing, to gather and organize background information. A variety of presentation tools were employed by the students to effectively create their final products. Students demonstrated the ability to merge different presentation tools into one presentation to make it more effective. How well students were able to use an extensive variety of technology and presentation tools was also assesse d using the rubric. This included assessing programs, software, graphi cs, video, links, sound, images Both the special populations group and the comparison group scored well in this area

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89 on the overall final products. The sp ecial populations group Category 4: Unintended E ffects The action research methodology of this study lends itself to validity questions (Feldman, 1994). One way to addres s the question of validity is to provide unintended effects of the study (Elliott, 1991). After reflecting on the data, I realized that there are some unintended effects of implementing PBL learning experiences. Claim 1. Technology was a distraction dur i ng the Digital Biographies PBL unit Through coding my teacher journal a theme that emerged was that technology can be a distraction to learning. While students did show growth in the area of technology skills and using technology tools, incidences of tec hnology being a distraction were also noted. The most noted area where technology was a distraction was with off task behaviors. This included using technology to chat and play games when instead of working. Using tools in an inappropriate manner also w as revealed as being disruptive. Claim 2 Collabor ation was a distraction during the Digital Biographies PBL unit. Much like the technology being a distraction, the collaborative nature of the project was a distraction at certain times. Again, the studen ts did demonstrate growth in the area of cooperation and collaboration but there are instances documented in the teacher reflective journal where the nature of the group detracted from the task at hand. This included power struggles within the group and so cializing with group members instead of working. Limitations A limitation of this study is the sample size. Small sample sizes can make it difficult to see significant statistical relationships to develop (Huck, 2004). This small

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90 sample size also makes it difficult to generalize the results to a larger population based on this study. T he trustworthiness of action research is often questioned compared to other research methodologies (Feldman, 1994). One reason for this is that action research is conduc ted in a single classroom thus the results are not able to be generalized on a larger scale. This study was conducted in a single classroom therefore the validity of the study could be challenged. Teacher inquiry is employed by classroom teachers to imp rove practice by reflecting on that practice (Dana & Yendol Hoppy, 2009). My overall goal for this study was to look for ways to improve my practice. Since I designed this PBL unit, I inherently believed that this type of learning experience could prove to be effective. In retrospect, a certain amount of bias was present since I believed and wanted PBL to have a could be as effective. Similarly, a limitation to this s tudy is self reported data. The teacher reflective journal and results of the rubric were self reported. Self reported data can add to bias through selective memory of the researcher. Recommendations The claims and limitations of this study leads to recom mendations for future research and classroom practice This section discusses those recommendations. Recommendations for Future Research This study demonstrates that PBL shows promise as a method for increasing rea ding achievement while simultaneously deve loping 21 st century skills of underserved students. While growth was documented in areas of reading achievement and the development of 21 st century skills, it was not considered to be statistically significant.

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91 As mentioned in the limitations section, th is lack of statistical significance could be due to the sm all sample size. Thomas (2000) recommended that research on PBL extend past individual classrooms to the implementation of PBL on a school, institutional or district level. aired with the limitation of the small sample size sets the stage for the recommendation for the replication of this study on a school or district level. Such research would address the limitation of the small sample size This also would address the limitation of the validity of action research in an individual classroom which would allow for results to be generalized to a larger population and increase the impact studies such as this could have on policy. This study was condu cted over a period of approxim ately six week. Data was collected from the winter assessment period to the spr ing assessment period. This could have contributed to the lack of statistically significant gains. Examining the effects of PBL over a longer pe riod of time that includes more assessment periods could add to the discussion Thomas (2000) called for further research that would compare PBL as a teaching method to other traditional methods. This study does not address this recommendation however; I comp arisons would be an asset to both researchers and practitioners. Additionally, Thomas (2000) called for research about the effects PBL has non subject matter knowledge like so cial skills and independent learning skills. This study does address these two areas however, additional research on this topic would add to the breadth and depth of our understanding.

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92 Most of the existing research on PBL focuses on a prepackaged curricu lum (Thomas, 2000). Individual classroom teachers who are eager to design and implement PBL in their classes have little formal education on the learning theory, best practices and instructional models that are involved with this methodology (Thomas, 2000 ). The body of knowledge on PBL would benefit from future longitudinal studies that examine the effects long term professional development would have on student achievement. Recommendations for Practitioners W hen I developed the lesson plans for this uni t, I f Blumenfeld et al. (1998) explains that in order for a PBL learning activity to remain on track they should The Ga lileo E ducational Network tells us the goal of both of types of questions is to increase critical thinking skills and to ground the lesson. Without well designed questions, due to the opened ended nature of PBL, projects can become derailed as students an d teacher find themselves exploring information that does not address the driving question (Barron et al. 1998). I recommend that practitioners employ a methodical approach to developing these questions, such as Understanding by Design (UbD) method. This methodology, also called backwards design starts with outlining specific learner outcomes and then work to develop curriculum to s upport those learner outcomes. Deliberate and reflective development of essential questions wi ll provide the scaffolding needed to guide the learner through the PBL experience. The collaborative nature of this PBL experience being a distraction proved to be an unintended effect. After reflecting, I think this issue could have been avoided. My re commendation is to provide students with specific guid elines for how to collaborate.

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93 One such method is to provide students with individualized accountability standards for the duration of the project (Barron et al 1998). This would allow each student t o understand what is expected of them at each phase of the project. I also recommend daily debriefings with the teacher where proper collaborative discussion skills are modeled and encouraged to help to alleviate the distraction. The jigsaw method could al so be utilized to provide students with distinct roles to avoid conflict (Brown, 1992). Thomas (2000) tells us evidence suggests that students exhibit difficulty with self directed learning and using technology effectively during PBL experiences. Technol ogy was a distraction during this study with instances of students not using it effectively and efficiently to complete the task. Looking back, I think the technology became a distraction when students were unsure of the next steps necessary in their rese arch. where students spend large amounts of time struggling with periods of being unproductive. I recommend using guided inquiry to provide a balance between student autonomy and structure to avoid such struggles (Kuhltau, Mariotes and Caspari, 2007). The FAIR data on the students proved to be a valuable tool in the development of the PBL unit. The deeper I dug into the data the more I understood the challenges and successes my s tudents were having with the content based reading material in my classroom. Traditionally reading teachers use diagnostic tools such as this to make curriculum decisions. However, based on my experience with this study, I recommend content area teachers becoming well versed in the standardized data pertaining to their

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94 reading comprehension skills along with phonological orthographic and morphological abilities to inform their practice as they develop any curriculum. This study looked at how PBL supported technology literacy by analyzing overall data from the ST 2 L assessment in the areas of tech nology operations, collaboration and communication, knowledge construction, independent learning and digital citizenship. The unit in this study was designed to address all areas assessed. However, for classroom teachers, I recommend designing and utilizi ng lessons that address specific areas that are assessed with this tool. For example, one PBL experience could focus on the content area while developing and assessing digital citizenship skills while another looks at technology operations. This allows f or a deeper understanding of the data that allows teachers to put students in learning situations that could work to more effectively develop their technology literacy skills. Conclusion My research revealed ways PBL shows promise as a way to help studen ts meet the challenge of developing 21 st century skills while meeting the demands of the NCLB accountability standards. Mean scores in all areas of assessed in terms of reading and 21 st century skills increased for the underserved population however, thes e increases were not statically significant. The underserved students demonstrated a level of proficiency of 21 st century skills based on the result of an assessment using a rubric. My research also provides examples of how the format of a PBL experience can prove to be a distraction to learners. This research informs my own personal professional practice as it indicates to me that PBL shows promise as an effective instructional method in the lens of the 21 st century. This research has further implicat ions for all classroom teachers in light of the

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95 fact that NCLB waivers are becoming a trend. The Center on Educational Policy (2012) tells us that NCLB waivers are being issued to states like Florida to ease the accountability demands at the federal level These waivers allow states to set their own academic standards (United States Department of Education, 2012). A key to these waivers is that they provide flexibility to states. Under the old plan, the interventions utilized to increase student achieve ment were not differentiated to meet the needs of the schools or the students at the schools (The Center on Educational Policy, 2012). The waivers provides the freedom to schools and districts to implement a variety of interventions, reduces the over reli ance of standardized tests and provide a well rounded curriculum to students. Existing literature and this research provides a strong argument that PBL can be an effective intervention to provide a well rounded education as we move into the era of NCLB wa ivers.

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96 APPENDIX A LESSON PLANS

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97 T a ble A 1. Lesson plans Title Digital Biographies Creator Lisa Marie Holmes Subject 6 th Grade Gifted Social Studies Project Description Students will be assigned one of eight biographies to read about various women fro m history. They will be placed in small groups with other students that are reading the same biography. The group will create a monument commemorating the individual and her accomplishments. There will be specific criteria that the monument must meet. S tudents will present their proposal for their monument to another group of students from other class periods which serves as a selection committee. The students from the other class periods will use the criteria to determine which presentation makes the b est argument for the creation of a monument. The creation. Students will infuse technology and multimedia into the presentation. Literacy strategies b ased on Standards SOC.6.SS.6.W.1.3 Interpret primary and secondary sources SOC.6.SS.6.W.1.6 -Describe how history transmits culture and heritage and provides models of huma n character. SOC.6.SS.6.G.1.4 Utilize tools geographers use to study the world. SOC.6.SS.6.W.1.1 Use timeline s to identify chronological order of historical events. LA.8.2.2.4 Identify and analyze the characteristics of a variety of types of text (e. g., reference works, reports, technical manuals, newspapers, magazines, biographies periodicals, procedures, instructions, practical/functional texts); LA.8.1.6.5 relate new vocab ulary to familiar words LA.8.1.7.1 use background knowledge of subject a nd related content areas Essential Questions: How is it similar to Black History Month? Who are some influential women from history? What did they do and why are they notable? How can various women from history be memorialized? What makes a good monument?

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98 Table A 1. Continued Title Digital Biographies Creator Lisa Marie Holmes Subject 6 th Grade Gifted Social Studies Literacy Skills Activating Prior Knowledge: A fter being assigned a biography, students will activate prior background knowledge by creating a KWL chart. The All Write Round Robin (Kagan Structure) will be used the K column of the chart. Once the K column of the chart has been completed, students wil l be provided with their copy of the biography. They will read the back cover of the biography and using the same All Write Round Robin Structure, they will collaboratively complete the W column of the chart. The L column of the chart will be completed a t the end. Vocabulary Development: As students are doing independent reading, I will provide Post It notes. Students will mark words (at least 5 each week) that they want to learn more about later. These words become the weekly to predict what they think each word means and then provide a definition of each word. Active Literacy: Students will summarize major events by sequencing key events as th ey read the biography. 21st Century Skills Information and Communication Skills: The ability to understand, manage and create effective oral, written and/or multimedia communication in a variety of forms and contexts. Students will demonstrate this skill by collaboratively creating an electronic product to use as part of their presentati on of their proposed monument. Thinking and Reasoning Skills Students uses multiple technology tools for gathering information in order to solve problems, mak e informed decisions and present and justify solutions. Students will use the internet to find credible sources for information that will become part of their presentation of their proposed monument.

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99 Table A 1. Continued Title Digital Biographie s Creator Lisa Marie Holmes Subject 6 th Grade Gifted Social Studies 21st Century Skills Creativity and Innovation Skills Demonstrating originality and inventiveness in work; developing, implementing and communicating new ideas to others. Students will demonstrate this skill through the model of the monument they designed and the use of technology/presentation tools. Grouping Students will be divided into 7 8 groups. Each group will be assigned a biography of a woman from history to read. Book t itles will be assigned by Lexile measure. Students will be assigned a title within their Lexile range. Students will be grouped together according to the title they read. This is the group they will work with collaboratively with for the final artifacts.

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100 Table A 1. Continued Title Digital Biographies Creator Lisa Marie Holmes Subject 6 th Grade Gifted Social Studies 21st Century Skills Process Phase 1 nts will of influential women from history to unlock previous knowledge. Students will then be introduced to the book titles and assembled into s mall groups. Students will create a KWL chart. Using All Write Round Robin Structure, students will create the K read the back cover. Using the All Write Round Robin Structure, students will complete the W column of Phase 2 Students will be given a copy of their biography to take home and read. They will have four weeks to complete their reading. Each week students will the weekly assignment using those words. Students will also sequence the major events in the text using a timeline. Phase 3 After four weeks of independent reading and weekly assi gnments, as a whole class discussion, students will be introduced to the project details with the Martin Luther King National Monument in Washington D. C. serving as a model. Students will explore http://www.mlkmemorial.org/ to learn about the mission/visi on, location of site and design of the monument. Students will work in collaborative groups to design a monument commemorating the woman they read about. They will present their plan to a selection committee that will have set criteria to evaluate the p resentation and plan. Key components of project Model of the monument Mission/Vision Statement Location description and rationale for the site Multimedia presentation Oral argument for the selection of this monument proposal

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101 APPENDIX B RUBRIC

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102 Table B 1. Rubric Excellent Very Good Good Fair Unsatisfactory Information Skills Accesses information efficiently and effectively with a high degree of success. Accesses information efficiently and effectively with a moderate degree of success. Accesses informatio n efficiently and effectively. Somewhat unfocused and unclear about how to effectively and efficiently locate needed information. Student struggles locating needed information. Thinking and Communication Demonstrates in depth understanding and insight int o the topic through careful analysis and reflection. Ideas are developed and expressed fully and clearly, using many appropriate examples, reasons, details, or explanations. Demonstrates a general understanding of the topic AND ideas are generally expresse d clearly through adequate use of examples, reasons, details, or explanations. Demonstrates a general understanding of the topic OR Ideas are generally expressed clearly through adequate use of examples, reasons, details, or explanations. Demonstrates some understanding of the topic, but with limited analysis and reflection. Ideas are not expressed clearly and examples, reasons, details, and explanations are lacking. Demonstrates little understanding of the topic. Ideas are not expressed clearly or supporte d. Creativity Product shows a large amount of original thought. Ideas are creative and inventive. Product shows some original thought. Work shows new ideas and insights. Product shows limited original thought. Product shows little original thought. Produc t shows no original thought. Technology Tools/Presentation Uses an extensive variety of technology and presentation tools (programs, software, graphics, video, links, sound, images). Uses a variety of technology and presentation tools (programs, software, graphics, video, links, sound, images). Limited use technology and presentation tools (programs, software, graphics, video, links, sound, images). Little evidence of use of technology and presentation tools. No use of technology. Sources Includes informa tion from numerous reputable/reliable/credible sources is used. Sources properly cited. Includes information from 3 5 credible sources. Sources are properly cited. Some sources are not credible or are not cited properly. Some sources are not credible AND sources are not properly cited. Sources are missing.

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103 APPENDIX C SAMPLE OF TRANSCRIPT OF TEACHER JOURNAL

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1 04 APPENDIX D CODING MEMO SAMPLE

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105 APPENDIX E ELKIRE (2007) RUBRIC

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106 APPENDIX F COPY OF PROJECT REQU IREMENTS Name _______________________________ __ Period _________________________________ Date ____________________________________ Biography Monument Project By now you should have finished the biography that was assigned to you. Your job now, along with your team, is to design a monument commemora ting this person. You will have to put careful thought into the design of monument, location and what your monument will say about the person you read about. There will be three key elements to your project. You and your group will work collaborativel y to bring all three elements together. However, each person will be the You will present your mon ument idea to a committee comprised of other 6 th grade Academy Students. This committee will only be allowed to give a grant to one group to build their monument. They will use specific criteria to determine which monument presentation should earn the gr ant. Be sure to refer to the criteria as you work on your monument design. The Criteria To represent a masterpiece of creativity. To exhibit an important sharing of human values as they were by the person. To be an outstanding example of a type of m onument. Location is thoughtful and makes sense. Creative model design and construction. Persuasive argument for the construction of the monument. Clear vision presented. Included explanation of the legacy this person leaves/left behind. Component Des cription Persuasive Argument/Proposal A persuasive argument explaining the vision of the monument. Explain who this person was, why they are important and how this monument commemorates their achievements. 1. Works with other tea m members to plan the flow of the presentation. 2. Provide information about this person that helps support the vision of the monument. 3. Takes the lead in writing the script and defining the vision.

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107 Design/Model of Monument A scale model of the monument wit h a description design elements. Provide a explanation of the location proposed and why your team picked that location. 1. Works with other team members to design and build a scale model out of everyday materials. 2. Provides information about location and de sign ideas. 3. Provide a rough sketch of the monument design. Multimedia Presentation A multimedia presentation that monument and the persuasive argument for why this monument should be chosen. 1. Takes the lead in the creation o f a multimedia presentation that proposal. 2. Locating information and graphics to include in multimedia presentation. 3. Save presentation in safe location. You will have three days in the computer lab to research, plan and start work ing on multimedia presentation. You will also have access to the laptops each day next week AFTER the FCAT Testing. Your last day of class time to collaborate, create and design in April 14. The project is due April 20 That is the day you will give your presentation You will have a short period of time to touch base with your team on April 19 to make sure all bases are covered. Please think about the MLK monument we discussed in class as a model of the type of monument you should be designing.

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108 APPENDIX G SCREEN SHOTS OF STUD ENT PRESENTATIONS Figure G 1. Screenshot from a Rosa Parks presentation Figure G 2. Screenshot from a Rosa Parks presentation

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109 Figure G 3. Screenshot from a Helen Keller presentation Figure G 4. Screenshot from a n Anne Frank Video created as part of a presentation

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110 APPENDIX H SAMPLE OF RUBRIC COM PLETED BY VALIDATION GROUP

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111 APPENDIX I SAMPLE PAGES FROM TE ACHER JOURNAL

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112

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113 LIST OF REFERENCES Ackermann, E. (2001), Piaget's Constructivism, Papert's Constructioni sm: What's the difference ? Retrieved April, 5, 2010, from http://learning.media.mit.edu/content/ publications/EA.Piaget%20_%20Papert.pdf Alachua County P ublic Schools Foundation (2009) Foundations for Success. Retrieved on Jan 30, 2011, from http:/www.acpsf.org/foundation4success.html Baker, T. R., & White, S. H. (2003). The effects of G.I.S. on s tudents' attitudes, self efficacy, and achievement in middle school science classrooms. Journal of Geography, 102 (6), 243 254. Bandura, A. (1977). Social Learning Theory New York: Prentice Hall. Bell, S. (2010). Project based learning for the 21st ce ntury: Skills for the future. Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 83 (2), 39 43. Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating project based learning: Sustain ing the doing, supporting the learning. Educational Psychologist, 26 (3), 369 398. Boaler, J. (2002). Learning from teaching: Exploring the relationship between reform curriculum and equity. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 33 (4), 239. Brans ford, J.D. & Stein, B.S. (1993). The IDEAL problem solver (2nd ed .). New York: Freeman. Brown, A. (1997) D esigning for learning: What are the essential features of an effective online course ? Australian Journal of Educational Technology Research 13 ( 2), 115 126. learning. Education 124 (1), 99 107. Buck Institute for Education. (2011). Project Base d Learning for the 21st Century Retrieved on Jan 20 2011, from http://www.bie.org The Bureau of School Improvement (2006). Differentiated Accountability Retrieved on December 20, 2010, from http://www.flbsi.org Bynum, W.F. and Porter, R. (eds) (20 05) Oxford Dictionary of Scientific Quotations Oxford University Press. 21:9. Cannings, T. (2003). Online professional development for teachers. Media & Methods, 39 (4), 14, 16.

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114 Carr, T., & Jitendra, A. K. (2000). Using hypermedia and multimedia to promot e project based learning of at risk high school students. Intervention in School and Clinic, 36 (1), 40 44. The Center on Educational Policy (2012). NCLB/ESEA Waiver Watch. Retrieved on February 10, 2012, from http://www.cep dc.org/page.cfm?FloatingPageID=21 The Center for Fair and Open Testing (n.d.). Fairtest Retrieved December 19, 2010 from http://www.fairtest.org/ ChanLin, L. (2008). Technolog y integration applied to project based learning in science. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 45 (1), 55 65. Chu, S; Tse, S., Low, E; & Chow, K. (2011). Collaborative inquiry project based learning: Effects on reading ability and interest s Library & Information Science Research, 33 (3), 236 243 Cheng, R. W., Shui fong Lam, & Chan, J. C. (2008). When high achievers and low achievers work in the same group: The roles of group heterogeneity and processes in project based learning. British J ournal of Educational Psychology, 78 (2), 205 221. Clark, A. (2006). Changing cla ssroom practice to include the p roject approach. Early Childhood Research & Practice, 8 (2), p. 37 46. Cochran Smith, M. & Lytle, S. (1993 ). Inside/Outside: Teacher research an d k nowledge New York: Teacher College Press. Colley, K. (2005). Project based science instruction; Teaching science for understanding. Radical Pedagogy, 7 (2). Dana, N.F. & Yendol Hoppy, D. (2009). researc h Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Dev, P. (1997). Intrinsic motivation and academ ic achievement: What does their roles imply for classroom teachers Remedial and Special Education 18 ( 1), p. 12 19. Dewey, J. (1938). Education and experience Ne w York: Simon and Schuster. Dick, B. (1993). You want to do an action research thesis? How to conduct and report action research. Chapel Hill, Qld.: Interchange. Dick, Bob (2005) Grounded theory: a thumbnail sketch. Retrieved April 5, 2011, from http://www.scu.edu.au/schools/gcm/ar/arp/grounded.html Florida Center for Instructional Technology (2010). Digital Educators Retrieved on December 21 2010 from http://etc.usf.edu/fde/

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115 Diffily, D. (2002). Project based learning: Meeting social studies standards and the needs of gift ed learners. Gifted Child Today, 25 (3), 40 3, 59. Eckes, S. & Swando, J. (2009) Special education s ubgroup s u nder NCLB: Issu es to consider. Teachers College Record, 111 (11), 2479 2504. Eisenhart, M., & Towne, L. (2003). Contestation and change in national policy on "scientifically based" education research. Educational Researcher, 32 (7), 31 38. Elliott, J. (1991). Action re search for educational change. Philadelphia, PA: Open University Press. Feldman, A., & Minstrel, J. (2000). Action Research as a research methodology for study of teaching and learning science. In Kelly, A.E. & Lesh, R.A. (Eds.), Handbook of Research D esign in Mathematics and Science Education (pp. 429 455). Fenci, H. & Scheel, K. (2005). Research and teaching: Engaging students An examination of the effects of teaching strategies on self efficacy and course in a physics course. Journal of College S cience Teaching 35 (1), p. 20 24. Fertig, G. (2008). Using biographies to help young learners understand the causes of historical change and continuity. The Social Studies, 99 (4), pg 147 54. Florida Center for Reading Research. (2010). Florida assessments for instruction in reading. Retrieved on January 20, 2012, from http://www.fcrr.org/FAIR/index.shtm Florida Department of Ed ucation. (2009). Florida assessments for reading i nstruction Technical Manual (2009 2010 Edition). Tallahassee, Florida. Filippatou, D. & Kaldi, S. (2010). The effectiveness of project based learning on pupils with learning difficulties regarding academic performance, group work and motivation International Journal of Special E ducation, 25 (1) p. 10 16. Gallagher, S.A., W.J. S tepien & H. Rosenthal. (1992). The effects of problem base d learning on problem solving. Gifted Child Quarterly 36 195 2 00. Geier, R., Blumenfeld, P.C., Marx, R.W., Krajcik, J.S., Fishman, B., Soloway, E ., & Clay Chambers, J. ( 2008). Standardized test outcomes for students engaged in inquiry based science curricula in the context of urban reform. J ournal of Research in Science Teaching, 45 (8), 922 939. The George Lucas Foundation (2011). W hat Works in Ed ucation. Retrieved on January 13, 2011, from http://www.edutopia.org Glaser, B. G. & Strauss, A. L. (1967 ). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research Chicago, Aldine Publishing Company.

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116 G lesne, C. (2006). Becoming qualitative researchers. New York, NY: Pearson. Grant, M. M. (2002). Getting a grip on project based learning: Theory, cases and recommendations. Meridian: A Middle School Comp uter Technologies Journal 5(1). Grant, M. M., & Branch, R. M. (2005). Project based learning in a middle school: Tracing abilities through the artifacts of learning. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 38(1), 65. Gltekin, M. (2005). The effect of project based learning on learning outco mes in the 5th grade social studies course in primary education. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 5 (2), 548 556. Harel, J. R., & Papert, S. (Eds.) (1991). Constructionism. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Hernandez Ramos, P., & De La Paz, S. (2009). Learn ing history in middle school by designing multimedia in a project based learning experience Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 42 (2), 151 173. Herr K. & Anderson, G.L. (2005). The action research d issertation: A guide for students and facu lty. Tho usand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Hill, J.R. & Hannafin, M. J. ( 2001). Teaching and learning in digital environments: The resurgen ce of resource based learning. Educational Technol ogy, Research & Development, 49 (3), 37 52. Hohlfeld, T., Ritzhaupt, A. & Barron, A. Development and validation of the student tool for technology literacy (ST 2 L). Journal of Resear ch on Technology in Education, 42 ( 4 ) 361 389. Horan, C., Lavaroni, C., & Beldon, P. (1996). Observations of the Tinker Tech Program students for critical thinking and social participation behaviors. Novato, CA: Buck Institute for Education. Kilgore, B. (2001). Biographies and autobiographies: Life models in the classroom. Understanding Our Gifted, 13 (3), 13 15. Kucharski, G. A., Rust, J. O., & Ring, T. R. (2005). Evaluation of the ecological, futures, and global (EFG) curriculum: A project based approach. Education, 125 (4), 652. Lamb, A. (1998). Surfing the Internet: Practical ideas from A to Z. Emporia, KS: Vision to A ction Publishing. Lam, S., Cheng, R. W., & Ma, W. Y. K. (2009). Teacher and student intrinsic motivation in project based learning. Instructional Science: An International Journal of the Learning Sciences, 37( 6), 565 578.

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117 Lee, C., & Tsai, F (2004). In ternet project based learning environment: The effects of thinking styles on learning transfer. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 20( 1), 31 39. Lehman, J.D, George, M., Buchanan, P. and Rush, M., 2006. Preparing Teachers to Use Problem centered, I nquiry based Science: Lessons from a Four Year Professional Development Project. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem based Learning 1 (1), 76 99. The Lexile Framework for Reading (2012). Lexile measures and grade levels. Retrieved on January 25, 201 2, from http://www.lexile.com/about lexile/grade equivalent/ Maker, J. C. (1985). Curriculum development for the gifted Rockville, MD: Aspen Systems Corporation. Maker, J.C & Nielso n, A.B. (1996). Curriculum development and teaching st rategies for gifted learners. (2nd ed.). Austin, TX: Pro Ed. Margolis, J. (2008). Stuck in the shallow end: Education, race and computing. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology. McNiff, J. & Whitehead, J. (2006). All you need to know about action research. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications. Mioduser, D., & Betzer, N. (2008). The contribution of project based learning to high achievers' acquisition of technological knowledge and skills International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 18 (1), 59 77. Mitchell, S., Foulger, T.S., We tzel, K. & Rathkey,C. (2009). The negotiated project approach: Project based learning without leaving standards behind Early Childhood E ducation Journal 36 339 346. Moursund, D. (1999). Project based learning using information technology Eugene, OR: International Society for Technology in Education. National Center for Educational Statistics (2011). Achievement gaps. Retrieved on F ebrueary 11, 2012, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/studies/gaps/ Newell, R. J. (2003). Passion for learning : How project based learning meets the needs of 21st century students L anham, Md.: Scarecrow Press. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, 20 U.S.C. § 6319 (2008). Panasan, M. & Nuangchalerm, P. (2010). Learning outcomes of project based and inquiry based learning activities Journal of Social Sciences, 6 (2), p. 252 255.

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119 Toolin, R. E. (2004). Striking a balance between innovation and standards: A study of teachers implementing project based approaches to teaching science. Journal of Science Edu cation and Technology, 13 (2), 179 187. Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978 ). Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press Wurding, S., Harr, J., Hugg, R. & Benson, J. (2007). A qualitative study using project based learning in a mainstream middl e school. Improving Schools, 10 (2), 150 161. Yetkiner, Z. E., Anderoglu, H., & Capraro, R. M. (2008). Research summary: Project based learning in middle grades mathematics. Retrieved July 6, 2010, from http://www.nmsa.org/Research/ResearchSummaries/ProjectBasedLearninginMath /tabid/1570/D efault.aspx

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120 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Lisa Marie Holmes obtained her Associate Degree at Villa Maria College in Buffalo, New York, her BS degree in environmental education from Slippery Rock University, her Ed.M in special education from the University of Flor ida and her Ed.S in curriculum and instruction from the University of Florida. She has worked in public school education at various technology based magnet programs She also serves as an instructor for teacher endorsement courses for her district.