globe of the worldMarch 1, 2019

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

Preparing Students for a Project-Based World
PBLWorks Executive Director Bob Lenz argues that PBL is a better way to create “schools of the future” than building all-new “cutting edge” schools based mainly on shiny technology.

How to Assess Group Projects: It's About Content and Teamwork
Education Week
This article explains how the PISA test measures collaboration skills, and how two school districts (both of which are PBLWorks partners) are using PBL to build and assess students’ collaboration skills.

How to Make Group Projects Not Suck
Here are 5 rules for designing and assigning group project work, such as, “Let students assign the roles“ and “Make all progress visible.”

The Impacts of Project-Based Learning at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Association of American Colleges and Universities
Some very cool-sounding projects described here, including many that take place in other countries—plus a summary of survey results of the college’s alumni showing the benefits of WPI’s PBL program, which were especially strong for women graduates.

New School Formula: Harder Problems and Fewer Answers
Tom Vander Ark makes the case for PBL: “Agency and collaboration are the opposite dispositions of routine and compliance--the foundational principles of the schools we inherited. If we take these 21st-century priorities seriously, they require a different learner experience.”

My Students (of Color) Aren’t Ready for PBL – 5 Examples of Implicit Bias
Culturally Responsive
San Francisco middle school principal Joe Truss tells how his school is “trying to bring PBL to the hood” and calls out racial bias “disguised as resistance and critique” of efforts to transform his students’ learning experiences.

Project-Based Learning and employer engagement in University Technical Colleges offer lessons for schools
The Edge Foundation
This report from the U.K. highlights that PBL “appears to enhance (students) academic learning in subjects like English or history as well as technical subjects” and it contains excellent, practical advice that K-12 PBL teachers would find helpful for doing projects with local employers in the community.

Designing the Future: A Process for Developing Career-Ready Performance Tasks
America Achieves Educator Network
This resource provides guidance on how to design real-world performance tasks—with several great examples that look like PBL to me!

Make Learning Interactive and Student-Led
Education Week
A teacher tells the story of a Black History Month museum project, with a nice list of takeaways about the benefits of PBL and encouragement for other teachers to try it, even though “your first project may not go as smoothly as you want or imagine.”

Good Practice (employer-linked curriculum projects)
This is a great resource from the U.K. with hundreds (!) of case studies about “employer-linked curriculum projects” that would give K-12 teachers lots of ideas for PBL units.

Educators should embrace project-based instruction for well-rounded graduates
The New Times, Rwanda
More evidence that PBL is spreading around the world; the author calls for PBL that focuses on local community issues.

What Project-Based Learning Looks Like in an Elementary Classroom
This post features nicely detailed explanations of a half dozen PBL projects from K-5 teachers, such as “We Bought a Zoo,” “Mouse Library,” “The Great Spinner Debate,” and “Geometry Shoe.”

Eating, Shopping, and Project-Based Learning: A View From Memphis’ Mall-Based Crosstown High
A honest report on the challenges and successes in the first year of a new, innovative, PBL-focused high school.


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.