George Lucas Educational Foundation

Schools That Work| Case Study

Casco Bay High School And King Middle School

Grades 6-8 | Portland, ME

Project-Based Learning in Maine

Two schools in Maine are transforming the learning process with technology-infused projects that benefit the community and promote high academic achievement.
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What This School Is Achieving


Casco Bay was the first new high school in Portland in 150 years when it opened in 2005. The timing was serendipitous. When Casco Bay opened, it received a grant to purchase used laptops that had been returned by middle schools, such as Helen King Middle School, a few miles away.

Casco Bay benefited from more than King Middle School's hand-me-down computers. The high school was designed around a variation on project-based learning that King helped pioneer. It's called expeditionary learning, and it builds on the collaborative, interdisciplinary approach of project learning, then extends the effort out of the classroom into the community. 

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Margo Wixsom's picture

This Maine issue was very inspiring - and kudos to that state for making technology a priority. It proves that INVESTING in education pays off - a moral tale for legislators and states that are cutting education budgets. It would be nice to have the Bay Area gurus at Edutopia highlight some of the local Bay Area schools that have been doing this type of project-based learning for many years - especially in Silicon Valley where technology has always been in the forefront for decades. You don't have to go all the way to Maine to find great project-based learning examples. Palo Alto Photography students won first place in 2 categories in the California Student Media Festival (the oldest media festival in the country) in 2010 - check out their website for great student examples in every category at: Edutopia should feature groups like the CSMF for project-based learning examples that are online and accessible for teachers and students.
You can see examples of project-based learning at my webpage that is designed to share an overview of projects to share with other teachers and showcase student work in project galleries:

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