edutopia Project-based learning (PBL) demands excellent assessment practices to ensure that all learners are supported in the learning process. With good assessment practices, PBL can create a culture of excellence for all students and ensure deeper learning for all. We’ve compiled some of the best resources from Edutopia and the web to support your use of assessment in PBL, including information about strategies, advice on how to address the demands of standardized tests, and summaries of the research. PBL Assessment Foundations 10 Tips for Assessing Project-Based Learning (Edutopia, 2011) This comprehensive guide from Edutopia goes over many best practices for assessment, including authentic products, good feedback, formative assessment, and digital tools. Back to Top PBL and Formative Assessment Practices PBL Pilot: Formative Assessment in PBL (Edutopia, 2015) In another blog post from Matt Weyers, find great tips on using formative assessment within the PBL process to drive student learning.
edutopia Discover Benefits of Community and Business Partnerships How Can High-Poverty Schools Engage Families and the Community?: Learn about the benefits when high-poverty schools engage with community partners for support, resources, and guidance. (Edutopia, 2016) What Community Engagement in Education Looks Like . . . and Can Do: Find how how business and community involvement can make a difference for students and schools. Back to Top Explore Specific Tips and Strategies for Schools Just Ask: Strategies for Building Community Partnerships: Figure out how to build a resource pool from the wide range of expertise within your community. Back to Top Build Partnerships to Support Project-Based Learning Establishing Real-World Connections in Projects (Keys to PBL Series Part 1): Watch a video that explains how to tap community resources to extend your projects beyond the classroom walls. See Successful Partnerships in Action Fostering Career Readiness Creating Opportunities for Service Learning
edutopia School 21 infuses the arts into a project-based learning model, emphasizing personalized learning and redrafting multiple revisions in the process of iteration. This London-based public school teaches students from Reception through Year 11 (approximately pre-K to 11th grade), and will ultimately serve through Year 13. At the secondary level (Years 7 through 11), each PBL unit is co-taught by a core academic subject teacher and an arts teacher. School 21 believes that integrating the arts and PBL is a natural fit. "I would argue that the arts is project-based learning," says Emily Crowhurst, a music teacher. "In every music lesson, whether it's a project lesson or what you might deem a typical lesson, there are project-based learning techniques going on naturally in the way that students are constantly critiquing and rehearsing what they're creating; and they're always working towards an end project that will have an authentic audience." When Planning Your Project, Ask for Feedback 1. 2.
edutopia Project-based learning (PBL) naturally lends itself to differentiated instruction. By design, it is student-centered, student-driven, and gives space for teachers to meet the needs of students in a variety of ways. PBL can allow for effective differentiation in assessment as well as daily management and instruction. PBL experts will tell you this, but I often hear teachers ask for real examples, specifics to help them contextualize what it "looks like" in the classroom. We all need to try out specific ideas and strategies to get our brains working in a different context. 1. We all know that heterogeneous grouping works, but sometimes homogenous grouping can be an effective way to differentiate in a project. 2. Reflection is an essential component of PBL. 3. This is probably one of my favorites. 4. Another essential component of PBL is student voice and choice, both in terms of what students produce and how they use their time. 5. 6.
Service Learning: Growing Action From the Roots of Passion In 2007, my co-teacher and I noticed that students felt increasingly like the world was "happening to them," as if they had no ability to affect positive change. This, coupled with the question "When am I going to use this?" led to the inspiration which has become the Fifth-Grade Environmental Project. Our goal was to create an educational model in which students' passions are the driving force, empowering them as global citizens. While we have limited time to cover required curriculum, we are committed to finding ways of embedding curriculum in "real-life" applications within the project. While the project's topic changes each year, the roots (or required elements) are the same, and the work evolves based on student passions, allowing each individual to find and contribute his or her gift to the whole, and reaffirming our belief that together we are smarter. Ignite the Passion Community Partners Key to making this a meaningful experience is finding and engaging with community partners.
edutopia When looking at how engaged students are in playing games, it makes sense to capture some of the ideas that game designers use to engage the player. This idea of applying gaming mechanics to non-game situations is known as gamification. What defines a game is having a goal or objective. Providing a Playful Context In addition to adding to the fun of the activity, having a story can provide context for student learning. To get started, try including a paragraph with each assignment that tells a little story. Expand this idea to creating a theme or story for an entire unit. In a PE class, adapt the story from popular video games to give your students tasks that they must complete. Reimagining the Objective Get students involved in the story. Many math games are really just playsheets where the content is the same as what would be found on a worksheet, but fun graphics and a story take place around the math problem. The Role-Playing Student
edutopia Times of flux should signal the A-OK for some experimentation in schools. My own school, for instance, is encouraging more PBL. In my room, we've got my advocacy unit on superheroes. Meanwhile, a fundraiser is launching in a sixth-grade room, a seventh-grade science class is doing a national parks tie-in to the upcoming Rose Bowl Parade theme, and a living museum is underway in some history teachers' rooms. The other big PBL experiment is one that will hopefully create a universal academic experience for many students. As a result, I now have approximately 500 students from every subject area ready to begin moving through this unit. Individualized Pacing through a PBL Unit How do I individualize each student's learning process and pacing? I began thinking, therefore, about how gamification could potentially solve this challenge. I did my research and settled on a company called Rezzly (previously known as 3DGameLabs). How to Prep for a Gamified PBL Unit 1. 2. 3. 4.
My PBL Failure: 4 Tips for Planning Successful PBL I went into my second PBL unit with the intention of making it something that my students would find more interesting than our first project. Not that our first was uninteresting, but this time I wanted to focus on a topic that would really drive their interest. Our first project, filmmaking, had kept them interested. The subject of their films, recycling, hadn't been the driving force for them. The Project There were multiple "fails" with this project, but the biggest was interest. When I introduced the guiding question, "Who Am I, Really? I made three big mistakes that impacted the success of my project: I failed to consult my district calendar, and the project was broken up by vacation and testing.I didn't give myself sufficient planning and collaboration time, which affected the thoroughness of my plans and reflection.I didn't consult my students when choosing a topic and guiding question. Ultimately, I decided to scrap the project. Planning Your PBL 1. 2. 3. 4. Putting It All Together
edutopia You know the hardest thing about teaching with project-based learning? Explaining it to someone. It seems to me that whenever I asked someone the definition of PBL, the description was always so complicated that my eyes would begin to glaze over immediately. So to help you in your own musings, I've devised an elevator speech to help you clearly see what's it all about. PBL: The Elevator Speech An elevator speech is a brief, one- or two-sentence response you could give someone in the amount of time it takes to go from the first floor to the second floor in an apartment building. So the elevator opens up, a guy walks in and out of the blue asks you, "What the heck is project-based learning anyway?" You respond accordingly: "PBL is the act of learning through identifying a real-world problem and developing its solution. "That's it?" "Well, no," you reply. After all, if we just look at that definition, it doesn't state certain trends in PBL. A More Elaborate Response
A Project-Based Learning Spectrum: 25 Questions To Guide Your PBL Planning A Project-Based Learning Spectrum: 25 Questions To Guide Your PBL Planning by Terry Heick I’ve been talking with a friend recently about project-based learning, which is leading to a TeachThought Project-Based Learning framework hopefully sometime next week. (Or whenever I finally get this TeachThought podcast off the ground–maybe Tuesday? Ish?) In the meantime–and in pursuit–I’ve been thinking of the kinds of questions I consider when planning a project–or planning a unit when students plan a project on their own. I’ve more or less organized them into a kind of spectrum, from the simplest questions to consider, to the most complex. What role is the learner assuming? A Project-Based Learning Spectrum: 25 Questions To Guide Your PBL Planning; image attribution wikimedia commons (the spectrum to the right)
edutopia What does the effective implementation of project-based learning (PBL) look like within a school or across an entire system? There's no one right answer, according to superintendents and school leaders who have started down this path. Some leaders want to see wall-to-wall PBL, with students learning mainly through projects in every subject. Others set a more realistic goal, hoping to see students taking part in projects at least a few times during the school year. Whether the goal is for projects to happen occasionally or every day, in one building or across an entire school system, lasting results require thoughtful leadership. "Why PBL?" Before launching a major PBL initiative, school leaders need to consider a variety of factors, ranging from staff readiness for change to parent support for student-centered learning. Leaders can expand this conversation by asking: What would a successful implementation of PBL accomplish for students, teachers, and the broader community? Be Strategic
edutopia Editor's Note: Matt Weyers and co-author Jen Dole, teachers at Byron Middle School in Byron, Minnesota, present the seventh installment in a year-long series documenting their experience of launching a PBL pilot program. Project-based learning is a complex teaching method that, in our experience, requires a clear and established workflow to seamlessly accommodate the needs of teachers, parents, and students. Throughout this school year, we have found several apps, add-ons, and programs that have helped us best manage our workflow. Students in our classes have individual iPads to use during the school day (they stay at school). Favorite Tool #1: Google Apps The Google Apps suite is an invaluable tool in our classroom. Favorite Tool #1.1: Doctopus (Google Apps-Related) Doctopus is a Google Sheets add-on, produced by New Visions Cloud Labs, that allows us to quickly and efficiently share teacher-created Google Apps templates (Docs, Sheets, or Slides) with our students.