- active learning
- authentic experiences
- demonstration of mastery
- engaging students
- experiential learning
- minds-on, hands-on
- 21st century skills
Do we have time for project-based learning and its teaching in these days when teachers must teach the standards and students must pass standardized tests each year to meet the need for data to guide decisions about education covering districts, states, and the entire country? Based on some of the research, the question might instead be, as we prepare today’s students to live and learn in a very different society and economy, how can we not teach the standards and the processes of developing insight into projects of various types and solving the related problems through project-based learning?
There is much information about PBL on the web. Much of that information is very good. Examine and explore some sites with me…
The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s Edutopia lists project-based learning as one of its priority topics. Their site lists a summary of research activity that shows positive results of using PBL, including improved test scores. Stories are shared of students and teachers in both elementary and secondary schools and their effective project-based learning. (Be sure to watch the video of kindergarten students and their student-driven projects!) Specific ideas and resources are offered to help teachers who want to start using PBL in their teaching.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has begun a feature area--Your Learning Journey--on their web site. The first journey focuses on project-based learning. Annotated links to PBL web sites, one teacher’s experience, PBL articles from Leading & Learning (L&L) and the Journal for Research in Teacher Education (JRTE), and information about a new ISTE book (available November 2007)--Reinventing Project-Based Learning--provide excellent ideas and shared experiences. You can also access a blog about project-based learning or a wiki where educators will be able to share their experiences. This learning journey is well put together.
I have already mentioned in an earlier blog entry a useful checklist tool for PBL activities.
techLEARNING has posted a primer for beginning to work with PBL. The well-written primer covers these topics:
- Getting Started with Project-Based Learning
- Criteria for PBL
- Elements of a Great PBL Project
- How to Pick a Project
- Steps to Creating a PBL Project
- Advice to Teachers, Technology Coordinators, and Administrators
- PBL Information Online
A good comparison of project-based learning, problem-based learning, and inquiry-based learning is available at teacher tap. If you have time, explore the entire teacher tap web site. There’s LOTS of good information there!
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) provides some useful information about problem-based learning. ASCD has published information about this topic. In fact, they have print, videotape, and audiotape resources.
A search on YouTube brings up some interesting videos about project-based learning. What Are Your Kids Thinking? offers what might be some students’ thoughts in a teacher-directed classroom. In Picturing the Possibilities, we watch a mathematics teacher and her students involved in some PBL activities. The next two videos--My Kind of High School and Sophia – Student at Avalon--show students describing their projects.
And, on another note, thanks to Eric Curts of the Ohio Treasure Chest who mentioned this blog in his recent podcast as one of his favorite places to find treasures for his Treasure Chest!
Added note: In the second comment below, Laura's link to the sample chapters in the ASCD book did not come through fully. So, if you would like to follow the link, click here.