A question mark in a puzzle represents the search for tools for project-based learning.

Bam! 5 tools for project-based learning

Tools for project-based learning can augment impactful lessons that help students develop key life skills

Educators know project-based learning (PBL) isn’t simply another teaching strategy. Project-based learning gives students deeper learning experiences, and as they apply their knowledge, they develop soft skills such as critical thinking and team work–skills they’ll carry through to college and the workforce.

But it’s often a great undertaking to locate and vet resources and tools for project-based learning, and educators don’t have an abundance of time.

Read more: Defining high-quality project-based learning

Below, we’ve gathered a handful of “add-on” tools for project-based learning. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we hope these resources help as you search for PBL examples and strategies.

1. Educurious: In each Educurious course, students are challenged with problems to solve that pique their curiosity. Students are learning detectives, working independently or collaboratively with their peers. Teachers provide scaffolding and guidance as students investigate the problem and propose solutions.

2. Metaverse: The time it takes to design effective augmented reality learning activities may cause teachers to hesitate, but Metaverse makes the process more accessible with its scene-centered platform. Create digital scavenger hunts by adding location blocks or item collection commands to the experiences. Promote gamification and movement by designing digital “breakouts” for teams of students, or let students collaborate to create their own. Challenge students to work in teams to solve a riddle or puzzle, or bring the magic of virtual reality to the classroom by incorporating a 360-degree video scene. Empower students to create “choose your own adventure”-style stories or presentations to share with the Metaverse community, or create a professional development experience that will have teachers thinking like kids again.

3. PBL Project Idea Cards: This free online library from PBLWorks offers more than 60 downloadable Project Idea Cards to support teachers in implementing high-quality PBL. The library will be growing, with new cards to be released throughout the year. The Project Idea Cards are downloadable, standards-based project ideas addressing a range of grade levels and subjects. Each project card lists a driving question, a project description, the standards the project addresses, the anticipated outcomes, and reflection questions to help teachers bring the project to life in their own contexts.

Read more: 3 lessons on innovating in PBL

4. mindSpark Learning: mindSpark Learning is partnering with DroneBlocks to give educators additional block coding resources when they rent a drone kit from The Drone Project. DroneBlocks, which offers drone technology apps, curriculum, and professional development, will offer its programming expertise to The Drone Project.

5. Pixton Comics: Pixton Comics uses Click-n-Drag Comics, a patented technology that gives anyone the power to create comics on the web. From fully posable characters to dynamic panels, props, and speech bubbles, every aspect of a comic can be controlled in an intuitive click-n-drag motion. The site has user options for students and educators, and teachers can use the tool as an add-on for any number of project-based challenges.

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Laura Ascione

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