Top 6 PBL News Stories

May 23 – 27, 2016


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

Here’s what we liked this week:

It’s a Project-Based World
Getting Smart
An announcement of a year-long thought leadership campaign – with which BIE is involved – to promote the idea that students need to be prepared via PBL for the “gig economy” where many of them will find work in the future. The campaign includes podcast interviews, publications, infographics and speaking engagements, and they invite the submission of guest blogs on the topic.

Teaming, CCSS, and Project-Based Learning
Literacy in Learning Exchange
A detailed look at Williston Central School in Vermont, where teachers plan interdisciplinary projects for their middle schoolers that still meet district curriculum expectations, align with a required math program, and prepare students well for district-wide common assessments. Included is a nifty graphic of their master schedule, plus information on teacher planning time, standards assessment, grading and reporting.

Senior Profile: How PBL Made Bio-Medical Engineering a Reality
New Tech Network
Nice post from a student at Sioux Falls New Tech High School, in South Dakota, who explains several projects she took part in and how they prepared her for a career as a scientist. I like the details on how to work well in teams, and the importance of staying open-minded.

How “Design Thinking” Can Change Education
Education Week
An interview with Tim Brown, CEO of the design firm IDEO, who compares today’s education system to a “machine” designed long ago (which reminds me of the film Most Likely to Succeed, see my review here). He talks about the importance of building empathy, the first step in design thinking, and suggests educators try to understand students’ “lives, frustrations, and aspirations” – and that parents shadow students so they can better understand the pressures on teachers.

Invest in hands-on-learning and watch the digital-savvy talent pool grow
Huffpost Education
The vice president of Cisco Services calls for PBL and describes how the corporation is “investing in our own future” by hosting a hackathon event for middle school students, in partnership with Bullis Charter School in Los Altos, CA.

Gifted Project-Based Learning Series: A Mission to Mars
The Grayson
A close look at an ambitious eight-week project with a lot of voice and choice for 3rd graders. They built a life-size simulation of a space station, a Meccano data-collection robot and other devices using littleBits, GoPro, and iPads, a hydroponic garden (with consultation from experts). They even used mindfulness techniques to lower the “astronauts” heart rates, and went through a three-week “astronaut training program” in the gym!


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