Project learning can inspire the best of high-performance teamwork, or it can be devolve into unfocused chaos. How can we support each other to keep our eye on the prize? Share your project ideas, questions, and implementation experiences.

Conditions that support project learning

Jane Krauss Teacher, curriculum and program developer, author, PBL facilitator, techie

Some essential conditions need to be in place for pbl practices to really take hold and so kids can accomplish marvelous things.

I've been doing some pbl program planning recently and I need your advice. We all know PBL works best when certain conditions are in place. What would you say those essential conditions are? I know teacher characteristics, intentions and methods are key, but outside the teachers and students, what else? I'm starting a list and I wonder if you might add to it. Additionally, sometimes the removal of barriers is important, too.

Essential Conditions for PBL strong implementation

* A school culture that tolerates, even encourages, the sometimes messy chaos of student-directed learning.
* Access to any technologies that support the teaching and learning enterprise
* A system of accountability that causes a teacher to demonstrate --and parents and administrators to understand-- that rigorous learning aims are met though the PBL.
* ?

Remove barriers

* Reconsider when and where learning takes place. Structure some flexibility (oxymoron!) into the school program so spaces and time are less of a limiting factor.
* ?
I appreciate your help!

Comments (34)

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7th & 8th Interrelated Sped (Language Arts) from rural Kansas

Supporting PBL & Sped

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I think from a sped perspective, the rubrics are important because a student with a LD in reading or writing CAN ACHIEVE, with the correct modifications and accomodations of the rubric. I personally like to include the aspects of Multiple Intelligences just because I have seen how giftedness in some non-academic areas can bring alive a true knowledge and understanding of the question asked, as long as the final project does not HAVE to be a written 3-page report. An understanding of the fact that a pop-up book, mural/collage or rap song can also show knowledge and true learning is necessary for this process. That makes rubrics vital!

Adonna, I am continually

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Adonna,
I am continually amazed at how uneducated many principals and vice-principals are in the area of PBL. Once they step out of the classroom and into administration, they lose their cutting edge.
Keep up the good fight! Kids learn best by doing!!!!!

Teacher, curriculum and program developer, author, PBL facilitator, techie

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[quote]I personally like to include the aspects of Multiple Intelligences just because I have seen how giftedness in some non-academic areas can bring alive a true knowledge and understanding of the question asked, [/quote]
True what you say about rubrics, they are roadmaps for kids! I love your statement about giftedness-- if only more teachers looked for and nurtured the capabilities kids do have... and assigned and assessed accordingly. You're not only smart, you're kind. -Jane

AFL

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Assessment for learning skills are critical for students to move forward and to take control of their projects. Once they know how to get the 'A', they can work on 'what' they want to get an 'A' in.

We find that making sure we meet with small groups helps us make sure that students are staying on track and it gives us time to support them and a place where classmates can give feedback and help learning move forward and or deeper.

We are also finding that asking students to make mindmaps of their learning journeys helps to both assess student progress and keep students accountable for the time they are using in class.

Teacher, curriculum and program developer, author, PBL facilitator, techie

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[quote]
We find that making sure we meet with small groups helps us make sure that students are staying on track and it gives us time to support them and a place where classmates can give feedback and help learning move forward and or deeper.[/quote]
Brilliant point! How do you schedule these? As needed, at milestones?

[quote]We are also finding that asking students to make mindmaps of their learning journeys helps to both assess student progress and keep students accountable for the time they are using in class.[/quote]
Can you supply any samples of their mind maps? I think this is a great idea and I'd love to see them!

Emeritus Faculty in the School of Engineering / University of Connecticut

A Few Thoughts

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In looking over all the postings, I have two suggestions:

(1) Don't miss the opportunities to involve the families - as long as you insure the family is not taking over. Involving the families helps them connect with their child's education and with the school. It also opens the possibility that some experience will help a family member become engaged with future PBL efforts. And it offloads possible time / resource constraints.

(2) Make sure the assessment starts with group self-assessment and documentation thereof. This is important experience for career success capabilities, improves the motivation for PBL engagement and overall learning, and provides a starting point / focus for teacher assessment.

Neither of these are suggested alternatives to the other good suggestions.

Charter School Consultant

Wisconsin PBL Network Essential Components

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We have identified the essential components that are necessary to have success in PBL schools.

They include a positive learning culture, academic supports, a significant student role, and a teacher in an advisory role.

These can be found at wipblnetwork.org.

10th grade Social Studies

Collaboration

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I'm figuring out PBL this year. There's lots that's been successful, and a lot of mistakes I've made and am learning from. The more collaborative and supportive the environment is, for teachers, the quicker PBL will become effective and creative in the classroom. Teachers need space, and community, to learn how to be effective facilitators.

CEO Enterthegroup.com

I would add that implementing

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I would add that implementing successful PBL requires teaching students the proper methodology. What many people overlook is that students must learn how to run a project before they can actually do so. This can be done by following a project management curriculum and using the appropriate technology. Enterthegroup.com integrates sharing and social networking technology with project management tools like checklists, project outlines, task management and lessons learned documents. This serves to provide them with structure and the right tools to get the work done.

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