Top 6 PBL News Stories

Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, 2017


Each Friday we post a list of articles, blog posts, and other resources we’ve run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

Here’s what we liked this week:

Saving Democracy: What Schools Can Do
Education Week
Timely advice from Ron Berger of EL Education, who says students should not just learn about democracy in school but practice it, by being “engaged in civic and civil debate, decision-making and contribution within a democratic community.” He calls for civic action projects that contribute to the community, and shares three excellent videos of such projects in high school and sixth grade.

10 Leaders on Quality PBL: Doing it Well at Scale
Getting Smart Podcast
Tom Vander Ark recorded conversations with 10 attendees (including me) at a recent gathering of representatives of PBL-focused organizations. He asked us to reflect on the benefits of PBL and the challenges of making high-quality PBL use more widespread.

5 Non-Negotiables of Project-Based Learning Professional Development
Education Week
Ross Cooper offers PBL advice I like, such as: offer teachers several entry points for creating projects; ask them to start small; projects can still be authentic without going outside the classroom walls; and (love this one) “intentionally move away from PowerPoints.”

Bring Project Management Into the School Transformation Conversation
Partnership for 21st Century Learning
In cooperation with the Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, P21 has created this detailed, thoughtful toolkit for project managers, to guide them in engaging with communities and educators to create schools that prepare students for college and tomorrow’s careers—using PBL, of course. Educators can get a lot from reading the document too.

Why Other People Wreck Brainstorms (And How To Stop Them)
Fast Company
Here’s one from the business world that might rock the world of a lot of teachers who thought they knew how to teach students to brainstorm (as they might do during a project). It turns out that the reason brainstorming often “devolves into groupthink” has to do with how our brains work. The first idea thrown out (usually by the “biggest extrovert or narcissist”) actually contaminates everything that follows. The author goes on to suggest a better process for generating ideas.

Skills of Adults with Autism Drive Career Opportunities
The article by a psychologist explains research on adults on the autism spectrum that has relevance for teachers of younger people with autism—and PBL. Instead of thinking that people with autism who “often show intense interest in subjects like science, technology, and art” are deficient, teachers can leverage those interests to engage them (in projects!).


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