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by John Larmer
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October 7, 2016
Top 7 PBL News Stories

by John Larmer
Editor in Chief

Oct. 3-7, 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:

The Power of the Adolescent Brain: Strategies for Teaching Middle and High School Students
In this new book from ASCD, author Thomas Armstrong explains eight ways to integrate recent research on the brain with our educational practices. They sound a lot like PBL, and include: opportunities to choose; peer learning connections; affective learning; metacognitive strategies; and real-world experiences.

Could Rubric-Based Grading Be the Assessment of the Future?
KQED Mind/Shift
This is a year-old post (Oct. 2015) that I just ran across on Twitter, but it’s worth sharing again now, because it could add to the push for colleges to adopt PBL. Katrina Schwartz reported that “a consortium of 59 universities and community colleges in nine states is working to develop a rubric-based assessment system that would allow them to measure… crucial skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and quantitative analysis) necessary for success in the real world.” Hope to see a new report on the results soon!

Teachers as Architect
Smart Brief
A very thoughtful reflection by Jim Dillon on the design of classrooms and what it tells us about our traditional views of the purpose of education. Lots of insights on the father of PBL, John Dewey, e.g.: “Dewey's vision of education meant that people determine their own lives (i.e. write their unique life stories rather than follow a script handed to them). People who were "educated' would naturally change the world, and seek new frontiers rather than stay locked into the world as it is” and “Dewey's vision of education can be distilled into two key outcomes for students: agency and community.”

Embracing the Hard Parts: 8 Video Resources for Authentic Learning Design
Next Generation Learning Challenges
This is part two in an excellent series (part one is here) by guest blogger Grace Belfiore on David Perkins’ “Whole Game Project-Based Learning.” She explains its seven principles, which include “make the game worth playing” and “play the whole game, which means engaging in authentic, holistic activities of real working, playing, and creating. “ The post has some nifty graphics and links to video resources, PBL schools, and resources and blogs, including BIE's.

Thinking Like a Nanoscientist
Partnership for 21st Century Learning
I just heard about this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry for work in nanoscience, and then saw this piece by Lisa Del Muro, a teacher at Wheeling High School, in Illinois. To meet the needs of her students, who ranged from “preparatory to advanced placement,” she turned to PBL so they could “think like scientists.” Some cool projects: students analyzed (and tried out) Paleo-Indian stone tool-making techniques using electron microscopes, and researched seed germination rates after prairie fires.

Effectiveness of Entrepreneurship-Project Based Learning Model to Improve Creativity Using Holistic Perspective (The Four P’s)
Pujiriyanto, Samsi Haryanto, Mulyoto, Dewi Rochsantiningsih – Selebas Moret University, Indonesia
More evidence that it’s a PBL world. This research study of an Indonesian university’s course in entrepreneurship has some very useful findings I haven’t seen much on before: the PBL model “improves creativity more effectively compared to a conventional model.” College instructors and professors, take note!

Music Videos & Project Based Learning
Teacher Matthew Farber describes how his middle school students used the app to create music videos with a particular audience in mind – and he maps the project onto BIE’s Gold Standard PBL Project Design Elements.


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