Authenticity to Self: Engaging Students' Identities in Project Based Learning

While most schooling forces students to conform to social norms, Project Based Learning can provide opportunities for students to build from their own lived experiences and cultural vantage points.When I stepped onstage at the first PBL World conference in 2012, I was nervous. Not normal speaking-in-front-of-a-crowd nervous—nervous because I was about to (playfully) criticize the organization that had invited me to give a keynote.  I spent my 45 minutes arguing that the PBLWorks should alter their core belief system: their Gold Standard Project Design Elements (the commandments!) of Project Based Learning. What was the change I was proposing? Adding a ninth Element: Keep It Real.