Top 7 PBL News Stories

Oct. 24-28, 2016



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:

5 Professional Learning Practices for PBL
Getting Smart
Dr. Katie Martin of UC San Diego gives some spot-on advice about how best to support teachers in learning how to successfully implement PBL. She includes some ideas that align with BIE’s: being sure teachers understand the vision for PBL at their school; providing them with opportunities to experience PBL as a learner; giving them access to high-quality examples of projects.

How Are You Helping Your Students Become Global Citizens?
Author and BIE National Faculty member Suzie Boss offers helpful guidance for doing more than “one-shot events and content-light programs,” with information about new materials available for a course on global citizenship that includes PBL, an upcoming global education conference, and the “Great Global Project Exchange.”

5 Ways to Avoid Project Based Learning Fluff
Cooper on Curriculum Blog
Inquiry-based learning advocate Ross Cooper explains how to make PBL more rigorous (aligned with BIE’s dessert vs. main course framework): focus on the right standards; don’t make it just a “fun activity” for students to regurgitate what’s already been learned in a new format; teach for deeper understandings; set up checkpoints; and “watch the time” so projects don’t drag on too long. Sounds like battle-tested wisdom!

Project-based learning: The ‘Why’
In this post from the United Kingdom, primary school teacher Dylan McCarthy makes a persuasive case for why PBL should be “part of everyday school life”: it improves retention of knowledge, builds collaboration skills, and teaches “manners, resilience, inquisitiveness, proactivity and critical thinking.”

Why A School’s Master Schedule Is A Powerful Enabler of Change
KQED Mind/Shift
The story of how Luella High School near Atlanta, Georgia instituted a “rotation model” schedule that includes time for work on projects. I love this quote about the reality of instructional change: “There are days when even the teachers most committed to inquiry-based teaching are going to want to lecture. And that’s the equivalent of sneaking out for a cigarette.”

Why every class should be cross-curricular
eSchool News
Kimberly Greene, Ed.D., who teaches online for Brandman University’s School of Education, reminds us that “life isn’t about disconnected silos of information” and reinforces the need for authentic learning (and, I’d add, multi-subject projects).

The perfect match: Creating effective teams in the classroom
Another one from the U.K., which doesn’t mention PBL explicitly, but recommends what we advise about forming student teams for projects: mix students heterogeneously, with careful attention to who can add to each other’s strengths and support each other’s needs.


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