This is all new to me. How can I become familiar with the concepts and vocabulary I've been hearing?
Competency and Project Based Education, like anything new, takes a little getting used to. The first step is gaining understanding of the language you'll be hearing with regard to education at MST.
Terms for Understanding Competency and Project Based Education
Academic Competencies: Academic competencies are explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives drawn from established college- and career-readiness standards and course content.
Blended Learning: Blended learning combines the use of online resources and technology tools with team-learning activities and traditional teacher-directed instruction. The hallmarks of blended learning are personalization, student agency, authentic audiences, connectivity, and creativity (Tucker, Wycoff, & Green, 2017).
Cognitive Rigor: Cognitive rigor encompasses the complexity of the content, the cognitive engagement with that content, and the scope of the planned learning activity (Hess et al., 2009).
Competency/Proficiency: The terms competency and proficiency are often used interchangeably. As defined by Achieve, Inc., competencies include explicit, measurable, transferable learning objectives that empower students. Competencies fall under two broad categories: academic and personal/soft skills.
Competency-Based Education (CBE): Competency-based education is a school- or districtwide structure that replaces the traditional structure to create a system that is designed for students to be successful (as compared to sorted) and leads to continuous improvement.
Depth of Knowledge (DOK): Norman Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels (Webb, 2002) describe the depth of content understanding and scope of a learning activity, which manifests in the skills required to complete a task from inception to finale (e.g., planning, researching, drawing conclusions).
Differentiation: Differentiation choices (content, processes/thinking, or products) are designed by the teacher, based on the learning needs of a whole class or small groups of students. Teachers can differentiate by adjusting the curriculum materials, teaching strategies, and classroom environment to meet the needs of students.
Performance Assessment/Performance Task: Performance assessments can be used for a variety of purposes—instructional/formative and evaluative/summative. Performance tasks are generally defined as multistep assignments with clear criteria, expectations, and processes that measure how well a student transfers knowledge and applies complex skills to create or refine an original product. They are assessments that may be completed individually or with others (Hess, 2018).
Project-Based Learning (PBL): Project-based learning is designed to make learning more meaningful and relevant to students. Projects require that students go beyond the textbook to study complex topics based on real-world issues (e.g., examining water quality in their communities or the history of their town). Project-based classwork is generally more demanding than traditional book-based instruction, where students may just memorize facts presented in a single source.
Student-Centered Learning (SCL): Student-centered learning involves shifting the traditional role of teacher and student so that students are more engaged and more responsible for their own learning.