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Gold Standard PBL: Essential Project Design Elements

Gold Standard PBL: Essential Project Design Elements
Adapted from Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning: A Proven Approach to Rigorous Classroom Instruction, by John Larmer, John Mergendoller, Suzie Boss (ASCD 2015). This post is also available as a downloadable article. It’s encouraging that Project Based Learning is becoming popular, but popularity can bring problems. Here at the Buck Institute for Education, we’re concerned that the recent upsurge of interest in PBL will lead to wide variation in the quality of project design and classroom implementation. If done well, PBL yields great results. But if PBL is not done well, two problems are likely to arise. To help teachers do PBL well, we created a comprehensive, research-based model for PBL – a “gold standard” to help teachers, schools, and organizations to measure, calibrate, and improve their practice. Student Learning Goals Student learning of academic content and skill development are at the center of any well-designed project.

http://bie.org/blog/gold_standard_pbl_essential_project_design_elements

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Gold Standard PBL: Project Based Teaching Practices Adapted from Setting the Standard for Project Based Learning: A Proven Approach to Rigorous Classroom Instruction, by John Larmer, John Mergendoller, Suzie Boss (ASCD 2015). This post is also available as a downloadable article. Teachers who make Project Based Learning a regular part of their teaching enjoy their new role, although for some it might take time to adjust from traditional practice. It’s fun to get creative when designing a project, instead of just using “off the shelf” curriculum materials. Most teachers like working collaboratively with their colleagues when planning and implementing projects, and interacting with other adults from the community or the wider world.

How Ordinary Citizens Transformed the Education Agenda The ultimate measure of success in education is not whether or not children attend school, but whether they learn. And creating a system in which learning is valued requires finding out what children are learning and building broad awareness about it. It was these two principles that inspired the organization Pratham in India to mobilize and train volunteers to conduct household surveys of children’s learning. Since 2005, Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER, which means “impact,” for short), has provided estimates of reading and math abilities—the fundamental building blocks for more advanced skills—for children aged six to sixteen in every rural district, aggregated for every state and for India as a whole. What’s more, Pratham’s pathbreaking efforts have inspired similar assessment efforts in nine other countries across the developing world.

Challenge-Based Learning As described in the paper, challenge-based learning includes these attributes: Multiple points of entry and varied and multiple possible solutionsAuthentic connection with multiple disciplinesFocus on the development of 21st century skillsLeverages 24/7 access to up to date technology tools and resources, allowing students to do the work.Use of Web 2.0 tools for organizing, collaborating, and sharing[1]A focus on universal challenges with local solutionsRequirement that students do something rather than just learn about somethingDocumentation of the experience from challenge to solution. These attributes are intended to ensure that challenge-based learning engages learners, provides them with valuable skills, spans the divide between formal and informal learning and embraces a student's digital life.

Twenty Ideas for Engaging Projects The start of the school year offers an ideal time to introduce students to project-based learning. By starting with engaging projects, you'll grab their interest while establishing a solid foundation of important skills, such as knowing how to conduct research, engage experts, and collaborate with peers. In honor of Edutopia's 20th anniversary, here are 20 project ideas to get learning off to a good start. 1. Project-Based Learning Research Review: Evidence-Based Components of Success What boosts PBL from a fun and engaging exercise to a rigorous and powerful real-world learning experience? Researchers have identified four key components that are critical to teaching successfully with PBL (Barron & Darling-Hammond, 2008; Ertmer & Simons, 2005; Mergendoller & Thomas, 2005; Hung, 2008). All of these play a role in the curriculum-design process. Schools That Work: Every student at Maine's King Middle School is issued a laptop to support the school-wide project-based learning (left). Students work together on cross-curricular projects in every class (right).

Project-Based Learning Workshop Activities Now that you've established the basics of PBL, you're ready for part two. On this page, you will find a wide range of activities that will get workshop participants thinking and talking about PBL. 1. Prepare Participants for Critical Viewing of Case Study Videos Before watching a set of videos that demonstrate PBL at work, ask participants, "What questions do you have about good PBL projects that might be answered by looking carefully at a video of students working on a project?"

Can Project-Based Learning Close Gaps in Science Education? Putting kids to work on meaningful projects can transform classrooms into beehives of inquiry and discovery, but relatively few rigorous studies have examined how well this teaching method actually works. An encouraging new report describes preliminary, first-year outcomes from a study of 3,000 middle school students that shows kids can, in fact, learn more in science classrooms that adopt a well-designed, project-focused curriculum. When researchers analyzed test scores from those classrooms by students’ gender and ethnicity, there were no differences in learning performance. That’s a preliminary indication that high-quality project-based curricula might be able to help narrow the science education achievement gap in children from low-income backgrounds or other groups that are underrepresented in STEM fields. How well the benefits hold up or grow in the second year of implementation remains to be seen.

Project-Based Learning Research Review Editor's Note: This article was originally written by Vanessa Vega, with subsequent updates made by the Edutopia staff. 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. 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. What is Project-Based Learning? Learning Outcomes

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