Blogs on Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning


Get tips and advice for teaching core subject matter with meaningful activities that examine complex, real-world issues.

Suzie BossNovember 4, 2013

Melissa Alvarez, 15, spent her summer imagining how to transform an eyesore of a vacant lot in her hometown of Philadelphia. Thanks to her vision -- plus some useful advice from architects and a graphic designer -- the gritty urban space is about to be turned into an outdoor canvas where everyone from muralists to taggers will be welcome to express themselves through art.

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Suzie BossOctober 28, 2013

Visit schools where project-based learning (PBL) is taking hold and you are almost certain to see teachers collaborating. They may be meeting face-to-face to plan projects, using critical-friend protocols to improve projects, looking at student work together, or even teaming up virtually with project partners in other time zones.

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Bob LenzOctober 8, 2013

More than 20 years of teaching and leading schools that rely on project-based learning (PBL), I have heard many untruths stated as "PBL gospel." These fallacies survive as myths that get in the way of opportunities for students to learn and prepare for the world outside of school. To counter these logical fallacies, I have created a list of the most common fallacies and provided arguments for debunking each.

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John LarmerOctober 7, 2013

"I thought the project was going well . . . but by the end, I felt that the work my students produced was not as good as I imagined it would be. I was a little embarrassed and almost wanted to dial back the audience's expectations on the night of the presentations!"

This is a common concern of teachers who are new to project-based learning. Things can appear to be going smoothly -- students have been engaged by the project, they've been learning content and skills, they've been busy and meeting deadlines -- but their thinking is not as in-depth and their final products not as polished as they should be. If this is your experience, it's time to ask yourself some questions:

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Andrew MillerOctober 4, 2013

Authenticity -- we know it works! There is research to support the value of authentic reading and writing. When students are engaged in real-world problems, scenarios and challenges, they find relevance in the work and become engaged in learning important skills and content. In addition, while students may or may not do stuff for Mr. Miller, they are more likely to engage when there is a real-world audience looking at their work, giving them feedback, and helping them improve. This is just one critical part of project-based learning. However, maybe you aren't ready for fully authentic projects. Where are some good places to start taking the authenticity up a notch in your classroom?

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Suzie BossSeptember 20, 2013

On Earth Day 2013, teens with a passion for the environment gathered in Costa Rica with 500 peers from around the world. The Global Student Leaders Summit, organized by EF Educational Tours, featured such inspiring speakers as former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore and environmental activist Severn Cullis-Suzuki.

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Maurice EliasSeptember 19, 2013

As the new school year starts, there is value in asking all of our middle and high school students (at least) to think about something most will have heard of, but not thought about very deeply. Why? Because ultimately, education is about looking more deeply at the world around us, asking the critical questions, not simply accepting what is being presented, and creating new knowledge.

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John LarmerSeptember 17, 2013

When a teacher, school or district tells parents, "We're going to do project-based learning," the response may vary. You're lucky if some say, "Great news! Students need to be taught differently these days!" But a more typical response might be:

  1. What's project-based learning?
  2. That's not how I was taught. Why do we need PBL if (a) our school is already doing well, or (b) what we really need is a better literacy/math program to raise test scores?
  3. Isn't that just a trendy new thing that doesn't really work?
  4. How is this going to affect my child (and me)?
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Suzie BossSeptember 12, 2013

Getting ready for the new school year can feel like preparing for a race. Anticipation of that opening bell gets hearts beating faster for students, teachers, and parents alike. Alarm clocks that have been quiet all summer are now screaming for attention. Between shopping for back-to-school supplies, navigating new schedules, setting up your classroom, and packing lunches, there's little time to think about where you're heading in such a hurry.

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Suzie BossAugust 21, 2013

The following is an excerpt from PBL for 21st Century Success: Teaching Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Communication, and Creativity, published this summer by the Buck Institute for Education. Principal author Suzie Boss is a member of the BIE National Faculty and a regular blogger for Edutopia.

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