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by John Larmer
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September 14, 2018
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.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tools for Teamwork: Asset Mapping and Team Processing Handbook
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The premier example of a PBL-using U.S. college offers valuable resources in this paper, saying “Our research shows these tools can improve equitable and effective teamwork by overcoming stereotypes, building student confidence, and minimizing task assignment bias.”

Education, State Policy, and the Future of Work
Getting Smart
A review of a new report from the XQ Institute (of the Super School Project) titled High School & the Future of Work: A Guide for State Policymakers, with guidance for providing students with “learning experiences that are more competency-based, more project-based, and more attached to the real world. It focuses on providing strategies for how they can do so equitably.”

New Questions for Youth in Our Divisive Times
Education Week
Author and long-time advocate for progressive education Kathleen Cushman invites students to answer questions for a new book about what a "good education" should include “in this era of deep divisions and how can teachers support their students' growing sense of agency.”

Going Beyond School: Connecting School and Community in Project Based Learning
Association for Middle Level Education
Great tips here for involving parents and community members in projects, as critiquers, project partners and mentors, and as readers and literature circle participants.

Solving the Challenges of Co-Teaching Relationships
MiddleWeb
This is not about PBL per se, but since interdisciplinary projects can involve team-teaching, you’ll find lots of practical advice here from author Elizabeth Stein.

7 Steps to Improving Student Attendance
Education Elements
This is not your typical list of bureaucratic measures—more progressive ideas are offered, and I was glad to see Step 4 on this list: “Make Learning Authentic and Engaging” with PBL.

5 Ideal Traits of a PBL Teacher
Michael Kaechele’s blog
A member of our National Faculty offers these “predictors of an easier transition to PBL, not requirements”: student-centered, flexible, passionate, self-efficacious, and collaborative.

Spirit of Innovation Challenge
Conrad Foundation
Here’s a cool-sounding STEM competition that gives “students between the ages of 13-18 the chance to become entrepreneurs and apply innovation, science and technology to solve problems with global impact.”

Five Structures for Helping Students Learn Project Management
John Spencer
A very useful blog post, with an animated video and podcast.

Teens Are Protesting In-Class Presentations
The Atlantic
I don’t buy the argument that students with anxiety should be exempt from making presentations, but this article makes good points about the need to adequately support them. We’ve made the point before (here and here) that PBL teachers should teach students how to make good presentations and create a supportive classroom culture, and I trust that in an engaging project students will want to share their work publicly (which need not always be in a formal oral presentation, btw.)

Unbroken: An Immersive Curriculum
Louis Zamperini Foundation
This sounds like a wonderful ELA/history PBL unit, created by Heather Fuller, a world geography teacher at Granbury High School in Texas, based on a novel and film about U.S. Olympic runner, WWII bombardier and POW Louis Zamperini.

 

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