Having redesigned this unit, I believe it would be very successful. Students would enjoy and benefit from fewer lectures and more hands-on constructive learning. The biggest challenge would be the amount of time the redesigned lesson would take. The original lesson is scheduled for nine days. As I have rewritten it, it would probably take at least fifteen days. Project Lead the Way is a national curriculum with a standardized, cumulative test at the end of the year. The curriculum is very thorough and provides the concepts, key terms, essential questions and objectives that are required to be successful on the end of year exam. If I implemented this kind of strategy for each lesson, we would not cover all of the necessary material in a school year.
One of the ways I could implement some of these changes without sacrificing content would be to invert or flip the classroom. If the demonstrations and lectures were provided for students to watch as homework, I would have more time in class to provide the scaffolding and discussion described to support the 21st Century Learning and Universal Design for Learning principles. This would also support those principles by providing students with recordings they could pause and re-watch. My current practices do not always support student learning to the fullest because we have to rush through some of the content, which does not accommodate students who write slower or need more time to process.
I learned a lot about instructional development throughout this class. I found that I am already applying many of the 21st Century Learning and Universal Design for Learning principles, but that I also need to continue being aware of student learning differences and obstacles to learning. Looking back at past final project reflections, there is a theme throughout: content comes first. This particular project was easy in that regard since I was using content that I currently teach. The content is the basis of everything for this lesson and helped me determine what to keep, what to cut, and where I could provide more opportunities for my students to learn, apply and internalize the material.
This will affect my future instructional development as I continue teaching this class. There is so much content, but I feel that as long as I focus on the content and apply the principles we have discussed throughout this term, my students will benefit from increased motivation and higher achievement. Next year, I hope that I can implement the changes described in this lesson plan along with a flipped classroom so that less class time is focused on lecture, and students have more support during the application phases. I will also apply the principles we have learned in the other four classes I teach especially the gradual release of responsibility framework, which will help incorporate 21st Century Learning and Universal Design for Learning.