PBLWorks news on a cell phone

Here are some articles, blog posts, research studies, and other resources I’ve recently run across that connect to Project Based Learning. 

Project-based learning boosts student engagement, understanding
The Hechinger Report
A promising report on the second year of  successful PBL use at a middle school in Westford, MA. Early results include better attendance, fewer tardies, and not as many “trips to the nurse’s office for vague symptoms.” And, students in the PBL program “performed just as well as their peers on the state math test… in English language arts, they did even better than their peers, growing more over the course of the year than students in the school’s traditional classrooms.”

Texarkana Arkansas School District Project-Based Student Expo
Office of Innovation for Education
Lots of great examples of projects in this article about an annual event in one of PBLWorks’ partner districts.

Wait, I Can Use Direct Instruction in PBL?
Mike Kaechele’s Blog
Another good one full of practical advice from a member of our National Faculty, with 11 ways to provide instruction during a project.

Revisiting the effects of project-based learning on students’ academic achievement: A meta-analysis investigating moderators
Educational Research Review
I’ll have to leave it to researchers to judge the quality of this 20-year meta-analysis, but its finding is strikingly positive: PBL “has a medium to large positive effect on students' academic achievement compared with traditional instruction.”

Student Ownership is a Gradual Release
PBL Path
Our National Faculty member Erin Sanchez, writing about Place Based Learning, talks about how she scaffolds students in a wide range of ways they can have ownership over their work in a project.

Adopt an Animal: A PBL Unit
Pacific Northern Academy
Third-grade teacher Sheryll Orbase tells the story of a project whose driving question was "How can we, as life scientists, persuade the community to adopt an Alaskan animal?" Also: several super-cute videos the kids created.

8 Things Every School Must Do To Prepare For The 4th Industrial Revolution
A view from the business world, with a few new angles, on how the education system must change in a PBL direction.

A tipping point in the high school-to-college system
New Haven Register
In the wake of the recent college admissions bribery scandal comes this op-ed piece arguing for a portfolio-based admissions system—which would include evidence from a student’s PBL work.

When students learn by making projects, how do you gauge their progress?
The Washington Post
This article describes an interesting, innovative effort to assess problem-solving skills, creativity, persistence, and other success skills in “maker spaces” in two middle schools.

Project-Based Learning: Student Choice, Engagement, and Authenticity
Education Week
Two teachers share what sounds like a powerful 7th grade project, focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in which students became change agents.

19 Powerful apps for project-based learning
A nice collection of apps, for teachers to plan projects and for students to collaborate and create content in projects.

What Happens When Students Don’t Finish Projects? (Hint: It’s Not as Bad as it Seems)
John Spencer
After noting that “creative types often abandon projects” and his own “epic fails,” John gives some helpful advice for reflecting on the situation, and what a teacher’s options are.

La Crosse Design Institute hosts open house of student projects
Here’s a local TV news story from La Crosse, Wisconsin, about a great PBL middle school I just visited last month for a video shoot.

John Larmer, Editor in Chief
John is editor in chief at PBLWorks, where he has helped create professional development workshops and PBL curriculum materials. He writes for and edits the PBL Blog, and is the co-author of several books on PBL.