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Why We Love Project Based Learning (And You Should, Too!) Project Based Learning?

Why We Love Project Based Learning (And You Should, Too!)

“We’ve been doing that for years!” We can hear you say. Science projects, musical performances, etc. We give our kids a goal and then they do it. So what’s the big deal? Edutopia. Edutopia. As an "Instructional Innovator" in my district, I was asked to implement project-based learning in my classroom.


As a new teacher, currently in my second year of teaching fifth grade, I was nervous and excited at this prospect. The Project Thinking about the purpose of PBL, which is to have students gain deep knowledge through exploration of real-world problems, I developed a project for my class that focused on a problem I had observed the previous year: waste in my classroom.

Our trashcan and recycling bin overflowed daily, with no distinction between the two. Students routinely threw away half-used pieces of paper, perfectly good pencils, and food they didn’t want. So with this idea in mind, I developed a PBL unit that explored waste, the effect of waste on our community and planet, and the different ways that we, as a class, could reduce waste in our classroom. I next posed our inquiry question to my class: "How can we reduce waste in our classroom? " The Process The Outcome. Project Rubric. An Interesting Chart on The Difference Between Projects and Project Based Learning. Project based learning is “ an instructional approach built upon authentic learning activities that engage student interest and motivation.

An Interesting Chart on The Difference Between Projects and Project Based Learning

These activities are designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflect the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom.” taken from PBL Online. Projects and activities are the keys to a better understanding of PBL. They are no longer tasks that students need to finish after a traditionally-taught unit but rather a set of learning experiences and tasks that guide students in inquiry toward answering a central question, solving a problem, or meeting a challenge.

Research has clearly proved that projects that are well-designed and based on students experiences improve students motivation to learn, help them see how school connects to the outside world by making learning relevant and meaningful, and promote greater civic participation and global awareness. Watch this video to learn more about PBL. A Great Project Based Learning Checklist for Teachers. I am an avid fan of project based learning approach and I have written profusely on it here in Educational Technology and Mobile Learning .

A Great Project Based Learning Checklist for Teachers

The last thing I published on PBL was a chart featuring the differences between projects and project based learning. Today I am sharing with you PBL Essential Elements Checklist that I came across in this article written in Spanish. Before you have a look at the checklist let me just refresh your memory with this little definition : CELL at UIndy » PBL Resources. General OverviewBuck Institute for Education This organization provides valuable tools and resources to educators to advance project-based learning.

CELL at UIndy » PBL Resources

12 Timeless Project-Based Learning Resources. 12 Timeless Project-Based Learning Resources by Shannon Dauphin Project-based learning is becoming increasingly popular as teachers look for a way to make lessons stick in the minds of their students.

12 Timeless Project-Based Learning Resources

Project Based Learning Resources. (image from Project Based Learning (PBL) is a great way to teach students content, 21st century skills, and engage them in something fun and educational.

Project Based Learning Resources

I spoke more about PBL in an earlier blog ( and we had some great reader comments (Tech&Learning, May 2009, page 14). Today I'd like to give some tips and ideas on how to get started with PBL in your classroom. First of all, PBL can be used in any classroom, in any subject, at any grade level. Projects can be one class period, or take weeks to complete. PBL does take planning. Six Steps for Planning a Successful Project. Use these guiding principles to pull together projects with the time and resources you have.

Six Steps for Planning a Successful Project

Sure, King Middle School has some amazing projects, but the Portland school has been refining its expeditionary learning projects for nearly two decades. David Grant, who guides the school's technology integration and curriculum development, has put together a six-step rubric for designing a project. He says Fading Footprints, which became a model for King and Expeditionary Learning Schools, doesn't take an entire school, or even a team of twelve, to plan and carry out; one or two teachers can tailor this one to fit their time and resources. The Fading Footsteps project is a twelve-week interdisciplinary ecology unit centered around the guiding question: How does diversity strengthen an ecosystem? Using this project as an example, see how King Middle School creates an action plan around each step. Step 5: Coordinate calendars.

How they do it: Fading Footprints was a twelve-week unit. Challenge Based Learning - Welcome to Challenge Based Learning! Research-Supported PBL Practices. At one New Tech Network high school, strategies backed by research make project-based learning effective and engaging for teachers and students.

Research-Supported PBL Practices

At Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, several research-based practices interact to promote successful inquiry-based learning: Manor New Tech is part of the New Tech Network, a nonprofit that works with schools and districts around the country providing services and support to help reform learning through project-based learning (PBL). Since opening its doors in fall 2007, the school has achieved several notable accomplishments: It has graduated two classes with an average annual graduation rate of 98 percent.

All 39 students in the first senior class graduated, and 95 percent of the 74 students in the class of 2011 graduated. Project-Based Learning Research Review. Studies have proven that when implemented well, project-based learning (PBL) can increase retention of content and improve students' attitudes towards learning, among other benefits.

Project-Based Learning Research Review

Edutopia's PBL research review explores the vast body of research on the topic and helps make sense of the results. In this series of five articles, learn how researchers define project-based learning, review some of the possible learning outcomes, get our recommendations of evidence-based components for successful PBL, learn about best practices across disciplines, find tips for avoiding pitfalls when implementing PBL programs, and dig in to a comprehensive annotated bibliography with links to all the studies and reports cited in these pages. Schools That Work: Middle school science students work on a project with their teacher (left), and a boy identifies the parts of a fish before painting it to make a Japanese-style gyotaku print (right). Learn more about this school. ePals Global Community. Project Based Learning.


Project, Problem, and Passion-Based Learning (PBL) Resources. PBL Units. Project-Based Learning: Success Start to Finish. Internet Catalogue. Challenge Based Learning - Home Page. Stimulating Creativity. Edmodo PBL. Dear Colleagues, We are working on a guide for teachers using Edmodo and would like to include some voices of teachers actively using Edmodo.

If you have a tip to share or an anecdote that might inspire others, will you please follow this link and take a minute or two to provide us with 100 words or less about how you are using Edmodo? Selected tips/ideas will be chosen for publication with credit. Please respond no later than Jan 15, 2014. Thank you for your valued time in lending your voice to this exciting project! Best, Raphael Raphael, PhD. & Ginger Carlson, MA, co-authors Thank you for your valued time in lending your voice to this exciting project! Edutopia PBL PD Guide.