Top 6 PBL News Stories

June 5-9, 2017

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

Here’s what we liked this week:

Does Your Teaching Have the 4 Categories of High-Quality PBL?
Getting Smart
This post describes the emerging language of a new framework for high-quality PBL, a national and international effort being facilitated by BIE. You are invited to offer feedback on it at

The Future of the Gig Economy
Management consultant and author John Hagel talks about how the future of work in developed economies will be about gigs – basically a series of projects, often for different employers. (PBL is a great way to prepare students for it.)

How media literacy can help students discern fake news
PBS News Hour
This article includes an interview with a 3rd grade teacher and students and while it’s not about a PBL project, per se, it made me envision ideas for projects (probably at the high school level) where students create their own “fake news” stories and test their effects.

Most Students Are Not Naturally Interested in STEM, Teachers Say
Education Week Teacher
This didn’t strike me as news—most kids are not naturally interested in history or literature or other subjects in school either. But it reminds me of our argument for PBL: students have to be “lured to learning” by an engaging project, starting with an entry event. After experiencing some great projects, they are much more likely to be interested in learning the associated subjects.

Rethinking the Metaphors We Teach By
Education Week Teacher
Not directly about PBL, but it connects. Instead of using terms like “cover” the material, or “go over” a homework assignment, the author proposes teachers use language that reflects a more constructivist view of how people actually learn, such as “build on” and the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy: synthesizing, representing, explaining, applying, and modeling.

High schoolers create catapult to help student play dodgeball
Here’s a heart-warming story from a school in Hutto, Texas, one of BIE’s partner school districts. A student in a wheelchair wanted to play dodgeball, so his classmates did a project where they designed and built a catapult controlled by his eye movements on a computer screen. Watch out, opposing players, this device sounds dangerously effective!


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