The year has come to an end. My first real project-based-learning course with a single large project is nearly over. Two classes, two quad copters, same process throughout the year, two different results; I have summer vacation to figure out how to duplicate the successes and avoid the failures. The biggest success and the biggest failure are actually two sides of the same issue, success vs failure.
The project of research, choose, build and fly a quadcopter has created two completely different classes. One can see success even though we have failed a number of times and are still trying to reach the goal. The other has given up. I am not sure when the one class coalesced into a unit and the other class fell apart, but it happened this spring. It could be that one class if full of “glass half full” kids and the other is overwhelmed by the ‘glass half empty” kids. It could be that the unending rain in Texas made one class lose interest. But what kept the other interested? It could be that one quad copter is easier to work with than the other and success was attained soon enough to get them through the challenges. Classes always have different natures, the trick is to find the things that will work for all students and try to adapt fast enough for the others.
We ran out of time to do so much. Having a weather dependent project is a problem. Two months to learn to fly the quad copter was not enough when the two months turned into 3 days with repairs in between. The obstacle courses each class built may stay unused. My enthusiastic class is proposing to meet after graduation practice to run the course to complete the task. Purchasing technology based equipment in a 19th century system caused additional frustrating delays. Even now, I am buying replacement parts with my money to have things ready by Thursday for graduation.
I will say I am proud of both classes for going through this process with me. I know we all learned a lot and eventually all of my seniors will see the value in the project. They have learned to research, to trouble shoot, to keep trying (some are more tenacious than others), to repair, circuitry, team work, photography and so much more. Next year I will have two classes of different kids, a project and a goal. I hope that summer brings some insight!