Popular Pedagogy: Project-Based Learning

Recently there has been a buzz around both flipped instruction (where students are exposed to material at home via online content before practicing in class) as well as project based learning (PBL). I experimented with flipped instruction last year using Edmodo as a launch point for online content I linked to my class. I felt so-so about the experience but chalked it up to being 8 months pregnant and a fist time flipper. However, I’ve never really given PBL a fair shake. But I’ve recently seen more articles and resources out there on project based learning. I wanted to share them here and see if anyone else has advice for teachers who might be considering making the switch to PBL.

  1. “The Flip: The End of a Love Affair” by Shelly Wright – This teacher describes why and how she shifted her instruction from the flipped model to project based learning. It is a quick read but also a well thought out argument in favor of using projects to engage students in authentic learning.
  2. “For Authentic Learning, Start With Real Problems” by Suzie Boss – This is a condensed explanation of what project based learning is as well as some resources for making it work in various types of classrooms.
  3. Project Based Learning at Edutopia – A clearinghouse of examples and tips for teachers looking to try out project based learning.

What is your experience with PBL? Please share links, stories or potential help for others (OK, so help for me) if you have a moment.

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One thought on “Popular Pedagogy: Project-Based Learning

  1. jeffandwendy says:

    The charter school in Baltimore we are a part of is a project based learning school. (The full charter description is project based, Reggio Emila inspired, arts integrated approach.) It is definitely not easy but we love it. I can think of lots of awesome examples: our first grade class put on a restaurant one year, our second graders turned their classroom into a rain forest, or our fourth graders created cartoons describing how things travel. For a simple example, when my first grader was studying measurement for homework he needed to draw an acurate floor plan of his bed room. The project required him to measure all his furniture and his room and then draw the whole things out on graph paper. At the end of the week each child presented his/her diagram to the class Our son loved it. It excited and engaged him in practicing something typically mundane.

    (Disclaimer: It is difficult for me to picture project based learning outside of Reggio Emila inspiritation. Reggio Emila seeks to drive education through the children’s existing interests because “kids speak a thousand languages.” Since our school practices both my take on PBL might be a little different.)

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