Resources for Getting Started with Project-Based Learning
Edutopia's curated compilation of online resources for understanding and beginning to implement project-based learning.
Resources by Topic:
Just getting started with project-based learning (PBL)? Our curated list of resources for educators new to PBL should help you. Before you get started, be sure to check out Edutopia's PBL page, including information about the research behind effective PBL practices; also, visit our community group dedicated to PBL.
PBL Defined and Clarified
- An Introduction to Project-Based Learning (Edutopia, 2009)
View this video introduction to PBL to learn more about this hands-on approach to teaching where students address real-world tasks and create work that demonstrates core subject knowledge.
- Dispelling Misunderstandings about PBL (SmartBlog on Education, 2013)
Andrew Miller dispels myths about PBL and offers explanations to clear up these misunderstandings.
- Debunking Five Myths About Project-Based Learning (Edutopia, 2011)
John Lerner from the Buck Institute of Education (BIE) debunks some common misperceptions about PBL.
- Project Based Learning vs. Problem Based Learning vs. XBL (Buck Institute for Education, 2013)
Need help clarifying all the different XBLs out there? Larmer helps you understand various XBLs and includes a timely and clear exploration of the differences between Project-Based Learning and Problem-Based Learning.
- The Difference Between Doing Projects Versus Learning Through Projects (TeachThought, 2013)
Terry Heick explains how the process of PBL is different in implementation from traditional projects. Refer to the embedded graphics to confirm you are doing PBL and understand the differences between the two structures.
- What's the Difference Between Doing Projects and Project-Based Learning? (Fried Technology, 2012)
This blog, from Amy Mayer's Fried Technology, explains the difference between traditional projects and PBL and includes a handy chart to help teachers compare and contrast specific pieces to ensure they are truly doing PBL.
Fundamentals, Examples, and Terminology
- Brief Guide to Vocabulary for Project Based Learning (Fried Technology, 2013)
This useful reference, from Fried Technology, is a glossary to the key terms and concepts for PBL.
- Project Based Learning: Explained (Buck Institute for Education, 2012)
A great introduction to PBL, this animated video by Common Craft was created for BIE to serve as a primer to the essential elements of PBL and also includes a sample PBL project.
- Eight Essential Elements of Project Based Learning (Education World, 2012)
This article from Education World, originally published in the TCEA quarterly journal, goes over eight essential elements for PBL and highlights an implemented sample project, including the driving questions, significant content, voice and choice, and public audience for the project. This is a great article for a new teacher looking to examine a specific project example.
- High Tech High's Teacher's Guide to PBL (Innovation Unit, 2012)
This is a comprehensive guide for teachers on how to build out a PBL project, focused on the High Tech High model for PBL. The guide focuses on key tenants of PBL such as critique and exhibition and also includes sample projects to inspire you.
- Picturing the Possibilities - Project Based Learning (CESNW, 2006)
This introductory video to PBL includes sample projects and interviews with teachers and students.
- STEM MI Champions: Leading Project-Based Learning (STEM MI Champions, 2010)
This database of PBL projects from teachers in Michigan includes examples of elementary, middle and high school units and mini-units.
Tips from Teachers and Experts
- Getting Started with Project-Based Learning (Hint: Don’t Go Crazy) (Edutopia, 2012)
New to Project-Based Learning? Edutopia blogger Andrew Miller eases you into the approach with four suggestions to help you stay sane and begin mastering PBL.
- Planning for Project Learning in Your Classroom, School, or School District (Edutopia, 2010)
Kathy Baron has compiled a list of tips for getting started with PBL in 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 months, and 5 years.
- Start the Year with a Project…or Wait? (Buck Institute for Education, 2013)
Considering launching your school year with a project? This blog from BIE explores some ideas to consider, including ideas for building classroom culture before or during your first PBL project effort.
- 3 Tips When Your Content Standards Aren’t Screaming “PBL” (PBL Consulting, 2013)
Check out these great tips from a PBL teacher on how to design a project to hit the right content and when it is appropriate to do PBL.
- Response: The Best Advice On Doing Project-Based Learning (Education Week, 2013)
From Education Week, this blog includes tips from PBL expert Larry Ferlazzo on how to do PBL.
Bookmark this page to reference it for updates. Do you know of other useful resources, or are there other types of resources you'd like to see included on this page? Please share your feedback in the comments.