Project-Based Learning

Introduction - Why Project-Based Learning - Curriculum Standards

Frame an Essential Question - Planning the Project - Higher Order Thinking - Assessment - Exemplary PBL Units - Technology Resources - Characteristics of Well-Designed Projects

Apple Learning Exchange Project Based Learning

Click here to go to a terrific site that walks you thru creating a project and gives examples

Thorough Guidelines and criteria for "WHAT" is project-based-learning


Project learning, also known as project-based learning, is a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.
Because project learning is filled with active and engaged learning, it inspires students to obtain a deeper knowledge of the subjects they're studying. Research also indicates that students are more likely to retain the knowledge gained through this approach far more readily than through traditional textbook-centered learning. In addition, students develop confidence and self-direction as they move through both team-based and independent work.

Why Project Based Learning

Students of today enter an increasingly globalized world in which technology plays a vital role. They must be good communicators, as well as great collaborators. The new work environment requires responsibility and self-management, as well as interpersonal and project-management skills that demand teamwork and leadership.

No matter how sophisticated the tools we put in classrooms, the curriculum designed to educate students to meet the new standards is sorely inadequate to help them after they leave school. In short, learning -- and schooling -- must be totally transformed.
"Today's graduates need to be critical thinkers, problem solvers, and effective communicators who are proficient in both core subjects and new, twenty-first-century content and skills," according to "Results that Matter: 21st Century Skills and High School Reform," a report issued in March by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.
These include learning and thinking skills, information- and communications-technology literacy skills, and life skills.

In traditional classrooms, students typically work on simple assignments that emphasize short-term content memorization; they work alone, write for the teacher alone, and rarely make presentations. But don't confuse PBL with simply doing activities injected into traditional education to enliven things as a culminating event for a learning unit. Real PBL, by contrast, is deep, complex, rigorous, and integrated. Its fundamentals are fourfold:
  1. Create teams of three or more students to work on an in-depth project for three to eight weeks.
  2. Introduce a complex entry question that establishes a student's need to know, and scaffold the project with activities and new information that deepens the work.
  3. Calendar the project through plans, drafts, timely benchmarks, and finally the team's presentation to an outside panel of experts drawn from parents and the community.
  4. Provide timely assessments and/or feedback on the projects for content, oral and written communication, teamwork, critical thinking, and other important skills.

PBL teachers (at a school in California) build their instruction around eight Learning Outcomes -- content standards, collaboration, critical thinking, oral communication, written communication, career preparation, citizenship and ethics, and technology literacy -- which they embed in all projects, assessments, and grade reports. Instructors start each unit by throwing students into a real-world or realistic project that engages interest and generates a list of things they need to know. Projects are designed to tackle complex problems requiring critical thinking.
The school's strategy is simple:
To learn collaboration, work in teams.
To learn critical thinking, take on complex problems.
To learn oral communication, present.
To learn written communication, write.
To learn technology, use technology.
To develop citizenship, take on civic and global issues.
To learn about careers, do internships.
To learn content, research and do all of the above.