Top 10 PBL News Stories

Dec. 1, 2017

Here are some articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources I’ve recently run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

U.S. ranks No. 13 in new collaborative problem-solving test
The Hechinger Report
A new version of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) tested collaborative problem-solving skills among 15-year-olds in more than 50 countries and regions around the world in 2015. U.S. students scored better compared to other nations than they did on traditional tests of math and reading. (Not saying PBL was a contributing factor yet, but it could be in the future, as it spreads.)

PBL’s and Constructive Feedback
#learnbps Blog
Here’s a great story from one of BIE’s partner districts in Bismarck, North Dakota that emphasizes the importance of constructive peer feedback for students – and for teachers too when sharing their project designs with colleagues. I like the elementary school project examples and the connection to fostering a growth mindset.

Project Management for Education
Getting Smart
Tom Vander Ark gives an overview of Bernie Trilling and Walter Ginevri’s new book Project Management for Education, developed and published by the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation. Very helpful advice for how PBL teachers can learn from project management practices in the business world—and a cool format, with one side of the book for educators, and when you flip it over, the other side is for project managers.

Using the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals
Secondary science teacher Jodie Deinhammer explains how she and her students get ideas for projects with a real-world impact.

6 Ways Exploring Digital Storytelling Fosters Authentic Learning
Global Digital Citizen
Digital storytelling is an increasingly common type of PBL project; this post offers excellent arguments for it, with lots of tech tools.

U.S. History Scope & Sequence (with projects)
Mike Kaechele
One of BIE’s National Faculty shares five of his projects for high school U.S. History/Government in a Google Doc clearly laid out with content standards, driving question, final product and audience, and other details. (Nice idea, thanks Mike!)

What If We Taught Them Communication and Collaboration? Alumni from a Project- Based High School Reflect
New Tech Network
This post features quotes and stories from graduates of a high school that uses PBL extensively, describing how PBL helped prepare them for college and the workplace.  Among other benefits, they mention the use of know/need to know lists, asking clarifying questions, developing problem statements, and project management skills.

Does problem-based learning enhance deep learning?
YouTube Webinar
Diana Dolmans of Maastricht University in the Netherlands will be presenting this webinar on Dec. 5 (at 7am Pacific Time). She is a member of PAN-PBL: Association of Problem-Based Learning and Active Learning Methodologies, which is hosting what looks to be a good conference February 16-19, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (BIE’s Bob Lenz and John Mergendoller are both presenting sessions there.)

Redefining Student Success
This report by the International Association for K-12 Online Learning calls on state policymakers and stakeholders to “collaborate to identify the knowledge and skills students will need to succeed in college, career and civic life” and makes the case for teaching 21st century success skills. It includes examples of these efforts in various states, and recommends “better learning environments connected to communities and to the real world.”

FAQ: “My kids’ presentations are just blah. What can I do?”
LifePractice Learning
Very helpful, practical advice for handling an all-too-common issue in PBL: poor-quality speaking and presentation skills (which we’ve also had blog posts about here and here).


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