My plunge into project-based learning (PBL) started with a slow climb up the high-dive ladder. How was project-based learning different from the projects my students have always completed in my classes? My students have performed plays, created book trailers, built models, engaged in all types of creative responses to literature. How was project-based learning radically different from what we’ve always done?
The slow climb started over two years ago when I kept reading tweets and blog posts from fellow teachers touting the blessings and benefits of project-based learning. I decided I needed to know more and began looking for resources online. My research led me to Edutopia’s overview of project-based learning. It was the first website I explored and bookmarked when PBL initially piqued my interest. The site provides a nice overview with several videos and some helpful research. It’s a good place to start.
The Edutopia site provides links to several more resources including the Buck Institute for Education (an organization focused on project-based learning), PBL University (I considered this, but never took a class), and High Tech High (I hoped to visit them this year). Of these, I used the Buck Institute resources the most. The BIE site has some great resources and tools and I even worked my way through a few of their webinars.
Here are several of the articles and posts I found helpful as I researched and read in preparation for trying PBL:
- Getting a Grip on Project-Based Learning: Theory, Cases, and Recommendations (2002) by Michael M. Grant
- PBL : A Great Teaching Method for the 21st Century Classroom (2011) by Med Kharbach
- Project Based Learning: Two Days at St. Gregory with Suzie Boss (2011) by Jonathan E. Martin
- PBL Online (2005) by The Buck Institute for Education and Boise State University Department of Educational Technology
- Seven Essentials for Project-Based Learning (2010) by John Larmer and John R. Mergendoller, ASCD
- Why I Love Project-based Learning (2012) by Shelley Wright
- Making a PBL Cake (2012) by Mike Kaechele
- PBL World: Driving Questions and PBL World: Authentic Audience (2012) by Hadley Ferguson
- 411 on PBL (2012) by Bo Adams and Jill Gough
- Contemplating pbl vs. PBL (2012) by Bo Adams
- Rethinking Grading In A 21st Century Project-Based Learning Environment (2012) by Terry Heick
- Venturing into Project-Based Learning (2012) by Jenny Luca
- What’s the Difference Between “Doing Projects” and “Project Based Learning”? (2012) by Amy Mayer
In addition to reading I also made an effort to connect with other teachers who already had experience designing project-based learning. Specifically, I connected with Bo Adams, Hadley Ferguson, Jill Gough, and Mike Kaechele. Most of my interaction with these folks was online via Twitter or through their blogs, but I also sat down and talked with several of them as well. I met up with Bo and Jill last summer at the Martin Institute Conference and Mike and I connected at Educon in January right as I was leaping from the board into the pool of PBL. Mike was kind enough to sit down with me, listen to my plans, and offer some really helpful last-minute feedback and suggestions.
I’m sure there are many other great resources that I never found or haven’t included, and I’d appreciate your sharing more resources in the comments below. I know of a couple of books I should probably have read as well, but I had already identified two books to work through as part of my professional goal. I didn’t feel I had time to add any others.
What do you think about all of this? Which resources do you find most helpful? What do you think is missing from all of this?