Top 8 PBL News Stories


July 25 - 29, 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:

The Students and Parents of Project-Based Learning
Getting Smart
A great podcast recorded at BIE’s PBL World event in June with student keynote speakers Leona and Briana Das, plus their parents, who tell of their support for PBL and explain how it prepares their children for their future. Also featured are BIE National Faculty members Abby Schneiderjohn and Kevin Armstrong of Katherine Smith School in San Jose, CA.

Presentations and portfolios take the place of tests for some students
The Hechinger Report
Several states are exploring the use of performance assessments – including projects and portfolio defenses – to determine readiness for high school graduation as alternatives to traditional tests, which often come with validity concerns. This approach is proving more meaningful for students and teachers, but the article raises issues of scoring, time, and cost.

The Bar Has Been Raised and the Rules Have Changed: A Project-Based World
Education Week
Tom Vander Ark describes the new economy and argues for the equitable distribution of quality education that includes problem-solving, collaboration and project management skills – taught via PBL.

Place-Based Learning in Middle School: Putting Scientific Principles to Work in your Community
National Science Teachers of America
This post explains how to use another PBL – Place-Based Learning – to create engaging local inquiry projects for students, often partnering with outside organizations.

Balancing Approaches for PBL Success
New Tech Network
Another good post by teacher/blogger Andrew Larson, offering classroom-tested advice for PBL teachers, including “use the best tools available” which might mean traditional ones such as direct instruction. I also like his message that “you are indispensible” in guiding students’ thinking and work during a project.

How to Become and Remain a Transformational Teacher
A thoughtful piece with recommendations that hold true for PBL teaching, such as sharing best practices, observing other teachers, changing up routines to do projects.

This school district tops the nation for teacher planning time
The Washington Post
The need for planning and collaboration time has always been on top of my list of what PBL teachers need. The Montgomery County, Maryland school district is providing elementary teachers with seven hours a week – but less for secondary teachers, unfortunately. Let’s hope for more, in more places!

As Project-Based Learning Gains in Popularity, Experts Offer Caution
Education Week
Jackie Zubrzycki reports on a webinar I presented on July 20 with two BIE National Faculty members, Andre Daughty and Eric Wycoff, on the need for Gold Standard PBL.


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