Top 10 PBL News Stories

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

What the Standards Movement Got Wrong
Education Week
This article takes a fair look at the standards-based education movement, which began with the worthy goal of ensuring equitable, high expectations for all students. It went wrong, Jenny Froehle argues, with No Child Left Behind’s punitive test-based accountability approach. Her thoughtful suggestion for a new approach aligns with PBL: focus on the most important ideas in a discipline, communicating those ideas to others, and solving problems.

States will soon be free to transform standardized testing, but most won’t
The Hechinger Report
Up to seven states can be allowed under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act to create “alternative assessment systems” that use performance-based (i.e., PBL-friendly) measures—but barriers such as cost will mean only a few states will apply.

The Art of Reflection
Here’s a nice post from Beth Holland about how portfolios of student work can be used to leverage reflection, one of PBL’s essential elements.

The 5 Habits of Extreme Learners
Education Week
Milton Chen’s conclusion resonates: “We must empower students to take control of their own learning.“ He reports on a study he conducted of people who loved to learn, and found they share traits that align with PBL.

Project SLUSD
San Leandro Unified School District
One of BIE’s partner districts, which is near Oakland, CA is documenting online, with blogs and other information, the story of how it is “transforming K-12 teaching and learning” with PBL.

Hate Math Worksheets? These Schools are Building Tiny Houses Instead.
Very cool: Some high schools in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky “model themselves after Silicon Valley startups” and have reinvented their career/tech programs to turn students into entrepreneurs.

Golden Age for Team Players
Harvard Gazette
This article makes the case for the importance of social skills, not just technical STEM skills in today’s economy, which increasingly features “team-based, project-based approaches” to work.

Make to Learn: Invention Through Emulation
Springer Open
This paper describes an initiative by the Make to Learn coalition featuring “invention kits” (students build motors, etc.) that teach scientific principles and are grounded in PBL. It includes a fascinating (to me as former a history teacher, anyway) connection to 19th-century education, when apprentices copied models, which “played a crucial role in the process of invention and innovation.”

A Project-Based Learning Activity That Can Work in Any Classroom
A.J. Juliani Blog
I like how this teacher documents his journey from “doing projects” to true PBL, then gives a very detailed explanation of how he guides students in producing high-quality, authentic PSAs.

Personalized Learning Through Project-Based Music
National Association for Music Education
A secondary music teacher in Milwaukee, Wisconsin provides helpful guidance and lots of examples of PBL projects in a music course.


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