Top 9 PBL News Stories


August 16-19, 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:

Students in Deeper Learning Network High Schools Significantly More Likely to Enroll in College, AIR Study Finds
American Institute for Research
This study of schools that use PBL (among other practices and structures to support students), funded by the Hewlett Foundation, builds on a 2014 report by AIR that found “students in high schools that focused on deeper learning scored higher on standardized tests, had higher rates of graduation within four years of entering high school, were more likely to enroll in four-year and selective colleges, and had higher levels of collaboration, self-efficacy and academic engagement.”

It’s a Project-Based World and a PBL Movement
Getting Smart Podcast
Another excellent podcast recorded at BIE’s PBL World event in June, featuring Ashanti Branch of the Ever Forward Club, Gia Truong of Envision Education, and Bob Lenz of BIE talking about how PBL transform the lives of students.

Curriculum Conversations: 7 Do’s and Don’ts
While it doesn’t mention PBL explicitly, this post by Dr. Jennifer Davis Bowman offers very helpful, classroom-tested advice for PBL teachers about including students in decisions about curriculum and instruction – which connects to
“Student Voice and Choice,” one of Gold Standard PBL’s Essential Project Design Elements.

When the Value of High School is Exaggerated
The Atlantic
This report on research by the Brookings Institution finds that taking AP courses has “very little impact” on students’ grades in college (calculus was one exception). Instead, the authors argue, students would be better prepared for college if high schools “focus less on specific content and more on critical thinking and reasoning” and “bring more creativity and innovation to instruction” – sounds like PBL to me!

VR, PBL, and OERs: Four High Hopes for Learning with Edtech in the New School Year
Along with using virtual reality, coding, and curated open education resources to empower and engage students, Kerry Gallagher recommends real-world PBL as opposed to “simulated scenarios.”

UKEdMag: Project Based Learning by @MrMcKavanaghRE
UK EdChat
In this post from the United Kingdom, teacher Sam McKavanagh describes how Ron Berger’s book An Ethic of Excellence (one of our faves too) inspired him to try PBL this year. His Year 7 classes are nearing the end of completing an ambitious project in which they design and build models for a place of worship and propose a budget and location for it. Sounds like a good topic for today’s issues around the role of religion in society.

Creating the conditions for engagement: Project Based Learning and related instructional approaches in schools across the USA and Sweden
Winston Churchill Memorial Trust
Another international PBL news item, this one from West London, UK teacher Thomas Stephens, who attended BIE’s PBL World, reporting on his observations of several schools using PBL in the U.S. and Sweden. He focused on leadership and culture, curriculum structures, and pedagogy.

How We Make a Difference in Kindergarten
Sharon Davis’ Blog
We ran across this from-the-trenches blog this week, which features a teacher’s projects in which her kinders make a real-world impact, addressing issues such as hunger and waste. Great pix of student work too.

River Eves 4th Grade Students Create On-Campus Habitat
Roswell Patch
I couldn’t leave this one out: a nice story written by 5th grader Olivia Vo from Roswell, Georgia about a STEM project she did last year, in which students created wildlife habitats. She says, “We learned lots of cool things!”

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