Project-Based Learning: What Teachers Can Do
How teachers can implement, advocate, and support project-based learning.
Get the basics.
Check out The Project Approach created by University of Alberta Professor Sylvia Chard, an expert on learning through projects. The Buck Institute for Education offers an extensive introduction to project-based learning, including research and training manuals for middle and high school teachers.
Become familiar with successful projects.
The Multimedia Project has a number of examples of projects on its Web site. iEARN, The JASON Project, Journey North, Space Day, and ThinkQuest are projects that incorporate use of the Internet and have proved their worth.
Join projects already under way.
Many projects are conducted through the Web with students from throughout the world. A good place to start is the Global SchoolNet's Project Registry.
Learn to develop "driving questions."
"Driving questions" are those that ensure that students consider complex concepts and principles while working on projects. University of Michigan Professor Joe Krajcik offers a list of characteristics of project-based science questions.
The Association for Constructivist Teaching. Open to anyone in the field of education, the Association for Constructivist Teaching is dedicated to fostering teacher development based on student problem solving that encourages investigation and invention. This professional educational organization holds an annual conference and publishes a magazine on constructivism three times a year.
Engaging Children's Minds: The Project Approach. This book by Professors Sylvia Chard and Lilian Katz, first published in 1989 and revised in 2000, provides an introduction to the project approach to learning.
High Plains Regional Technology in Education Consortium. The consortium's Web site has a list of project-based learning resources and classroom ideas, including checklists for written reports, multimedia projects, oral presentations, and science projects.
Integrating Computer Technology Into the Classroom. Authors Gary Morrison and Deborah Lowther advocate a technology-rich, project approach to teaching and learning. Their book outlines ways teachers can go beyond just the computer for drill and practice exercises.
Investigation Station. This Web site, hosted by The Center for Highly Interactive Computing in Education at the University of Michigan, provides teachers and students with ideas, tools, and resources for inquiry-based science projects.
National School Reform Faculty (NSRF). The NSRF is a network of over 15,000 teachers and principals who meet regularly to evaluate and critique student and teacher work with the goal of improving learning for all students. Project-based work is sometimes part of the discussion of student work.
Virtual Architecture. University of Texas Professor Judi Harris created a Web site that is rich in ideas on how to mine the Internet for projects. She offers a framework for designing and implementing curriculum-based telecomputing projects.
WebQuest. Created by San Diego State University Professor Bernie Dodge, this Web site offers teachers and students examples and explanations on using, selecting, and analyzing information found on the Web for teaching any subject at any grade level. WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented approach that supports thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.