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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Project-Based Learning: A Parent Primer

Learn the benefits of project-based learning and how you can help make it successful at your children's school.
By Kathy Baron

Pirate Loot: Casco Bay High School students listen intently as they get a lesson on business from Portland Pirates executive Ryan Delaney.

Credit: Michael Warren

Parent involvement in education is one of the pillars of student success in school. Numerous studies show a strong link between reading to young children at home and holding high expectations for them and their academic achievement. These are some of the tenets of Baby College, a program for new and expectant parents living within the boundaries of Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone.

Parents are also critical to the success of technology-infused project-based learning at schools such as King and Casco Bay. The schools seek out qualified parents as experts for projects and expeditions, they rely on parents to make sure the laptops are well cared for, and they expect parents to attend all the culminating events where students present their final products.

Families also benefit from the Maine Learning Technology Initiative. One of former governor Angus King's reasons for supporting the initiative was to level the playing field by providing computers and Internet access to students from low-income families.

As you can see from the resources below, parent involvement is written into the laptop and project-based learning programs in Maine.

Resources from Edutopia

Edutopia Core Concept: Project-Based Learning
An Introduction to Project-Based Learning (3-minute video)
Community: Project-Based Learning Group
Real World Issues Motivate Students
Project-Based Learning: More Model Schools with Solutions

More Free Resources, Downloads, and Links

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