Why Is PBL
TEACHING ABOUT PBL
Materials and resources for organizing projects.
In this section, you will find materials and resources for teaching about project-based learning, whether you are conducting a two- or three-hour session or class or can spend a day or two on the topic. We believe you will find much here from which you can build a set of experiences tailored to class participants for the purpose of exploring PBL.
This PowerPoint presentation introduces PBL, based on research and case studies, and discusses why the method should be used, what it is, and how to begin, touching on the process of questioning, planning, scheduling, monitoring, assessing, and evaluating. The presentation then asks for group participation, and activities to be done in small groups are suggested on the final slides. Active links are provided for Web sites.
The PowerPoint presentation, available online, consists of seventeen slides. If you have Microsoft PowerPoint capability on your computer, you can download the PowerPoint file and show it as a PowerPoint presentation in your classroom; you can also make changes, insert your own course information, and use it as you would any PowerPoint presentation. In addition, each slide in the downloaded and online versions contains Speaker Notes you can use as lecture notes when you show the presentation.
If you do not have Microsoft PowerPoint, you can download PowerPoint Viewer®, which will allow you to share this presentation with an audience but will not allow you to edit it in any way.
You can use the HTML version online during class time if you have a computer and a presentation system with Internet access; use it as you would any lecture presentation material. Alternatively, download the PowerPoint file to your hard drive or CD-ROM for use on your laptop or a classroom computer; open and run the PowerPoint file just as you would any other PowerPoint presentation.
1. PREPARE PARTICIPANTS FOR CRITICAL VIEWING
Before watching a set of videos that demonstrate PBL at work, use these ideas to organize discussions:
2. READ ARTICLES AND WATCH VIDEOS
Share the following articles and videos with class participants:
Guide participants in these follow-up activities:
3. PBL EXPERTS
Ask participants, "What do the experts have to say about the effectiveness of PBL activities?" Then, engage in these activities:
4. CRITERIA FOR GOOD PROJECTS
Ask participants, "What makes a project a good one?" and then follow these steps:
5. SYLVIA CHARD'S PROJECT APPROACH
In the "What Is PBL About?" section of this teaching module, the work of education researcher Sylvia Chard is cited. Chard, who defines project learning as "an in-depth investigation of a real-world topic worthy of children's attention and effort," has developed Project Approach, a Web site that explores project learning and suggests good practices. Introduce participants to Chard's work by following these steps:
6. IDENTIFYING AND ASKING GOOD QUESTIONS
The importance of helping students identify and ask good questions is explored in the "What Is PBL About?" section of this teaching module.
From Now On, a Web site published by educational-technology champion Jamie McKenzie, offers a wide array of ideas for good teaching and learning. Key to many of them is a good question -- how to recognize one, how to develop one for students, and how to help students develop their own. To guarantee effective PBL, it is essential that the starting point is a good question. To explore this idea with the class, follow these steps:
7. EXAMPLES OF ONLINE COLLABORATION IN PROJECTS AMONG SCHOOLS
For a number of years, education scholar Judi Harris and her graduate students studied how teachers were using the Internet. The International Society for Technology in Education published the results in Virtual Architecture, a book written by Harris, who has also maintained a Web site by that name that highlights key findings and provides links to a variety of project examples.
8. MORE EXAMPLES FROM GLEF OF PBL IN SCHOOLS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
Here are more ideas for using the wealth of resources on Edutopia.org in your class:
9. EFFECTIVE RUBRICS FOR PBL
Ask participants: "How will you evaluate student projects?" Being able to evaluate the effectiveness of projects in terms of student learning is key to their success, as well as to whether the time and energy put into developing projects is worthwhile. A number of sites on the Web provide links to rubrics sites. (For example, see Kathy Schrock's Guide for Educators, on DiscoverySchool.com.) To familiarize participants with rubrics, follow these steps:
10. PROJECT TEMPLATE: DEVELOP A PROJECT
Ask participants: "What ideas do you have for a project?" This activity can be divided into a number of sections. For example, before actually creating a project, participants might share their own project ideas:
Participants might then be asked to brainstorm effective questions. Have them
When participants are ready to develop their own projects, have them review Sylvia Chard'sproject design materials. Participants can then begin to plan their projects and fill in the project template. This template should be used as a planning tool, providing formative evaluation as the project progresses. Part of the "Evaluating the Experience" step will be to suggest what might be done differently in the future to make the project more effective.
Edutopia: Success Stories for Learning in the Digital Age
Beyond Technology: Questioning, Research, and the Information Literate School, First Edition
The Project Approach, Book One
Learning by Heart, First Edition
SAMPLE SESSION SCHEDULES
The sample schedule provides ideas for one- and two-day sessions. Depending on your resources, videos can be viewed online or on DVD, CD-ROM, or VHS. (GLEF offers a premade Project-Based Learning DVD featuring eight documentaries, or you can browse and build your own.) Ideally, participants should have online access to Internet resources, particularly for the afternoon and second-day sessions.
Join Edutopia.org's PBL Community
The George Lucas Educational Foundation publishes a free PBL e-newsletter to highlight new stories that shine the light on the good things happening in classrooms and communities across the country. Subscribe now to Project-Based Learning or all three e-newsletters. (The George Lucas Educational Foundation does not sell or otherwise distribute to third parties any personal information about our newsletter subscribers.)
Download a PDF of an archival issue of a GLEF print newsletter issue featuring examples of PBL.
GLEF also produces books, CD-ROMs, and other materials that can be purchased on Edutopia.org.