Top 8 PBL News Stories

August 1 - 5, 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:

Collaboration vs. Group Work
New Tech Network
Lots of practical tips for teachers for handling one of the most common challenges of PBL: managing effective student teamwork. Riley Johnson discusses scaffolding for collaboration skills, how to go beyond typical team contracts, using tech tools in addition to Google Apps for Education, and moving from “divide and conquer” to true collaboration on team tasks.

Why Do So Many Schools Want to Implement Project-Based Learning, But So Few Actually Do?
The opinion piece by Alejo Rivera raises a good question and gives thoughtful answers - and helpful solutions.

Design Thinking and the Deskless Classroom
Some cutting-edge ideas here for your back-to-school thinking from Tracy Evans about how she took the leap into a new design for her classroom space, with help from her early-elementary students. Reminds me of Steven Levy of EL Education, who had his students actually build their own classroom furniture!

How Classroom Design Affects Student Engagement
Here's another one on classroom design, about a study done at the college level showing that “active learning classrooms have a positive impact on student engagement.”

New study: Students use technology everywhere but school
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A report on a new study by AdvancED explains that the problem is not access, it's pedagogy; not enough teachers are asking students to use tech tools for collaboration, problem-solving, or even information-gathering. AdvancED's chief innovation officer nails it: “What we see in many classrooms across the country is that kids are still doing exactly what I did when I went to school and I'm 57. We still see worksheet work.”

Project-Based and Place-Based Learning in New Tech Schools
Getting Smart
I love the project described here that combines high school world history and literature. Students at Bonsall High School in California partnered with the nonprofit ECOLIFE to design stoves for the Batwa people of Uganda. Students also read the novels Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.

Educators Weigh Learning Value of Pokémon Go
Education Week
Pokemon Go… and Global Success Skills?
A timely two-fer about a major summer-of-2016 event (I even downloaded the app myself to see what my son and daughter were doing wandering around the neighborhood). The second post is by BIE's former National Faculty member John McCarthy, who provides lots of links to resources for teachers. Now let's see some Pokemon Go projects based on these ideas!


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