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January 11, 2019
Top PBL News Stories

by John Larmer
Editor in Chief

Here are some articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources I’ve recently run across that relate to Project Based Learning.

New School Models in the U.S.: 10 Things We Have Learned
Education Week
I loved this list, compiled by David Jackson of the Innovation Unit in the U.K. and based on observations of our fellow travelers in the Deeper Learning Network, including High Tech High, Big Picture Learning, and EL Education. A sample: “Engagement precedes content learning,” “Relationships, relationships, relationships,” and “Peer-to-peer support is a multiplier.”

Making Time for Project-Based Learning
John Spencer
The author shares seven excellent strategies for maximizing time for PBL such as, “Less Teacher Talk,” “Focus on Quality Over Quantity,” “Use Structures,” and “Assess as You Go.”

What 100 School Visits Taught Us This Year
Getting Smart
Tom Vander Ark and Emily Liebtag report on (with a podcast) 10 lessons they learned about what makes a good school, most of them PBL-oriented, such as the importance of school culture, knowing students well, and making student work public.

Inside the Project-Based Program That’s Turning Refugees Into High School Grads
I missed this one back in May 2018; it describes a successful PBL-using program for English language learners in danger of aging-out of traditional high school, being piloted at Iroquois High School in Louisville, Kentucky.

Preparing Learners in the Age of Automation: Project-Based Learning as a Pedagogical Approach
The Teacher and the Admin
I haven’t seen many stories like this, and it’s a great one. It tells how a school district made the transition to PBL, as told by an administrator and a P.E. teacher, Ken Wojehowski, who was appointed as the PBL specialist in the Suffern Central School District in New York.

10 Ways Educators Can Take Action in Pursuit of Equity
Cult of Pedagogy
Blogger Jennifer Gonzalez reports on her conversation with author, professor, and educational equity advocate Pedro Noguera.

Scaling PBL for Deeper Learning Impact Report
Buck Institute for Education
This site reports on one of our projects, supported by the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, to implement PBL in school districts in Hawai’i and New Hampshire. It includes a showcase of student projects and an overview of the research design.

White House Outlines Five-Year STEM Push
U.S. News and World Report
This one caught my attention because the plan “urges educators to make STEM ‘more meaningful and inspiring’ through things like project-based learning” and other strategies “that push students to identify and solve problems using knowledge from various disciplines.”

Here’s Why (and How) Tech Companies Should Engage Students Much Earlier
An interesting take on education from the business community; the author describes his positive experience with a high school program that connects students with the real world. I loved hearing this: “Working with one of the seven 3DE schools in Georgia, Atlanta’s Frederick Douglass Academy, solidified my belief in what the future of education is: project-based learning.”

Profile of a technologically literate graduate
Educator, blogger, and Buck National Faculty member Jorge Valenzuela offers helpful guidance for connecting computer science, Ed Tech, and STEAM programs.

Shifting Projects to PBL
Ginger Lewman
Very practical advice here about a common issue in PBL—how teachers can move from “doing projects” to true Project Based Learning.

Collaborating on Project Based Learning
Blogger, instructional coach, and Buck National Faculty member Andrew Miller explains how Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) can be leveraged to support a PBL implementation effort.

Promoting Productive Problem Finding
Students at the Center Hub
Here’s a persuasive argument for more emphasis on teaching students how to develop and define an idea for study: “Problem finding can be a rigorous, purposeful, and intensive process as part of the continuum of project-based learning.”

The PBL power tool that matters most: The question.
Totally agree with the premise of this post, which offers 5 tips for teachers: “asking important questions, when done well, deepens critical thinking, relevance and learning. Invite student voice and curiosity into the curriculum, and student motivation and agency naturally increase as well.”


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