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October 14, 2016
Top 8 PBL News Stories

by John Larmer
Editor in Chief

Oct. 10-14, 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:

Reflections on Personalized and Project-Based Learning
Education Elements
I missed this one when it appeared in August, but it’s worth sharing now. Mike Wolking reports on a workshop he facilitated with Loudon County Public Schools in Virginia and staff from BIE about the connections between two of the hottest trends in education – and likely 21st century mainstays – PL and PBL. I appreciate how he points out that personalized learning does not just mean individualized worksheets on a computer; instead he explains how PBL brings personalization via access, relevance, and ownership.

Math Students From High-Performing Countries Memorize Less, PISA Shows
Education Week
A new report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which administers the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test every three years to 15-year olds around the world, lends support to the case for teaching math via real-world problems and PBL. The headline sums up the key finding, and the report says “students are less likely to use memorization strategies if they have positive attitudes, are motivated and interested in problem-solving and math.”

A teacher at The Monarch School in Houston, Texas (which serves K-12 special needs students) describes how its PBL program has been bolstered by a focus on Science/Technology/Engineering/Art/Math projects and the use of a makerspace with plenty of tools and materials for students. Three keys to its success: collaboration among teachers, community partners to provide real-world problems and needs for students to address, and empowering students.

Response: Metacognition Helps Students 'Understand Their Gaps & How To Close Them'
Education Week Teacher
Blogger Larry Ferlazzo has posted an excellent four-part series on “metacognition in the classroom” with contributions from various educators and academics. Included in this batch is a piece I wrote about metacognition in PBL.

How Lobsters Are Keeping Students in School
The Atlantic
Lobster fishing has long been a part of the economy in the rural community of Deer Island, Maine, but for a lot of its students high school was just a boring, irrelevant “holding tank” until they could join the fishing workforce. To turn around its dropout and discipline problems, Deer Isle-Stonington High School in 2010 created a successful marine studies career pathway featuring real-world experiences and PBL.

Brookwood Middle School students use new technology to enhance museum exhibits
ABC 33/40 News
A report from Tuscaloosa County, Alabama on a very cool project in which 6th graders partnered with four University of Alabama museums to create bluetooth-enabled links to information about the exhibits that visitors can read on smartphones.

Beyond Project-based Learning
Connected Educators
In this guest post from Partnership for 21st Century Learning, Melissa Rasberry points to hopeful signs that “PBL is not a pipe dream” but also reflects on why it has "a long way to go” in the vast majority of schools.

Global Hero’s Journey
Here’s an interesting project about the “Hero’s Journey” in literature and film, in which students create their own scripts and movies. The teacher reports on the project’s progress, posts student work, promotes community involvement and invites global collaboration.


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