George Lucas Educational Foundation

An Introduction to Project-Based Learning

In this hands-on approach to teaching, students create schoolwork that demonstrates core subject knowledge. Read a short introductory article or watch an in-depth video.
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You are welcome to embed this video, download it for personal use, or use it in a presentation for a conference, class, workshop, or free online course, so long as a prominent credit or link back to Edutopia is included. If you'd like more detailed information about Edutopia's allowed usages, please see the Licenses section of our Terms of Use.

Credits

Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Ken Ellis

Coordinating Producer:

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

Editor:

  • Karen Sutherland

Associate Producers:

  • Stacey Bloom
  • Leigh Iacobucci
  • Miwa Yokoyama

Production Assistant:

  • Doug Keely

Camera Crew:

  • Rob Weller
  • Michael Curtiss

Narrator:

  • Kris Welch

Original Music:

  • Ed Bogas
  • © 2009
  • The George Lucas Educational Foundation
  • All rights reserved.

Comments (30) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Maestra Maccari's picture

Hello! I have just joined the forum and I am already enjoying it! My Spanish Elementary students are very excited with a new project that will enable them to communicate with children of the same age in Argentina in Spanish. I am currently looking for a website that will enable us to write emails without having to disclose personal information. On both sides of the world (Argentina and US) parents are concerned about giving away their email addresses. If anybody knows how to safely implement this project please let me know. Thank you in advance and happy teaching!

Brenda's picture
Brenda
6&7 science teacher

Just came across this now as I am trying to learn how to use PBL in my class. Did you ever receive responses to this post? I am also in NJ (Bergen county) and would love to hear about professional dev opportunities.
Brenda

Angela- Spanish's picture
Angela- Spanish
Spanish teacher K-6th grade, Arizona

Sounds a great idea, please share ideas and details. I was thinking to implement communication of the students with Spain. I am new in PBL and wonder how to use in a learning new language class.

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

[quote] I am new in PBL and wonder how to use in a learning new language class.[/quote]

Glad you enjoyed the video! Here's a blog about using PBL to teach World Languages that may be of some help: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/world-language-project-based-learning-educa...

You can also find lots more information about PBL from our PBL page: http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning

The Buck Institute for Education is also a great PBL resource: http://www.bie.org

Best of luck!
Amy

Shelly Mittrick's picture

One of the ideas that I have been considering that is stated in this video is "You have to give up the idea of curriculum or a t least the idea that you have to learn something on a given day."I think the idea that you learn something when you need it is an important idea. Critical thinking, communication and collaboration are such important aspects of education that need to be cultivated in the classroom. Increases engagement is definitely the goal for me in my classroom and I think project based learning is the key.

Kimberly Livaudais's picture

My district is implementing PBL. I have looked at it several times over the years, but have a hard time trying to fit it in. As a HS English teacher, I have an American Lit emphasis, with ACT practice in reading/grammar/timed writing and vocab, grammar, and persuasive writing. Oh, and pre and post tests, common assessments, and test-taking skills. On the 4x4 schedule, I am trying to fit it all in. Most of the PBL projects I see for HS English are the same kinds of projects I do within a unit where students do research and write a paper, do a Prezi, or make a wiki. Either it's stuff I already do, or it's a project that includes part of my curriculum, but not all, and still takes weeks of time. Can anyone give me a new way to look at implementing PBL with the time and curriculum constraints? Thanks.

Kimberly Livaudais's picture

So how does this work when your district still requires you to have a common pacing guide, common assessment of curriculum objectives, and common exam?

Sheldon S | The Knowledge Roundtable's picture
Sheldon S | The Knowledge Roundtable
Enthusiastic teacher, writer, and learner

Find authentic connections between the required curricular content and related real-world issues. Ideally, students work towards unit objectives out of a felt-need to gain the knowledge necessary trying to solve the problem at hand. There is more preparation and up-front effort on the part of teachers, but the increase in student engagement makes it worth it! Students are learning in an environment that reflects the ways they will be asked to use knowledge in the real world. Since exams and grades are still very much a part of reality for most teachers and students, PBL can help make content more memorable while also giving opportunities for more authentic assessments.

Gaetan Pappalardo's picture
Gaetan Pappalardo
Teacher, Author, Guitar––Word.

Kimberly,

That's tough, but I guess you can concentrate on the "how" your kids are learning the material. Start small. Something manageable.

Gaetan

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