Monday, June 11, 2018

Project-Based Learning

What exactly is Project-Based Learning aka PBL?  The Buck Institute for Education defines PBL as
"students work on a project over an extended period of time--from a week up to a semester--that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question". Dr. Sylvia Chard, a professor at the University of Albert and founder of Project Approach, states "one of the major advantages of project work is that it makes school more like real life.  It's an in-depth investigation of a real-world topic worthy of children's attention and effort".  So, if the purpose of PBL connects the real world to school, what are some other benefits of why teachers should do it?  The answers are as follows:

  • Promotes personal and social responsibility
  • Planning, critical thinking, reasoning, creativity, and collaboration are presented
  • Harnesses communication skills (interpersonal and presentation needs)
  • Enables visualizing and decision making
  • Stimulates cross-cultural understanding
  • Allows for students to assess how and when to use technology and to choose the most appropriate tool for the task.
If you are considering creating or using an already-made PBL for your classroom, consider Edutopia's four rules for authenticity.

  1. The project meets a real need in the world beyond that classroom, or the products that students create are used by real people.
  2. The project focuses on a problem, issue or topic that is relevant to students' lives or on a problem/issue that is being faced by adults.
  3. The project sets up a scenario or simulation that is realistic, even if it is fictitious.
  4. The project involves tools, tasks, or processes used by adults in real settings and by professionals in the workplace.
If you are interested in learning more about PBL, here are some resources to get you started.
PBL Project Search
PBL University
A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Projects
PBL History


Felicia Wilson
Las Vegas