PBLWorks and ISTE Partner to Offer New Course for Teachers

PBLWorks, the leading provider of professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning (PBL), has partnered with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to create a new self-paced ISTE U course, “Leading Project-Based Learning with Technology” to help teachers build their capacity to implement Gold Standard PBL with technology tools.

The course is for teachers and instructional staff who are familiar with technology and are looking for an entry point into PBL, or those who are interested in learning more about both PBL and technology integration. It challenges participants to respond to the driving question, “How can I maximize the benefits of Project-Based Learning by effectively integrating digital tools?”

“Leading Project-Based Learning with Technology” is a 5-hour, self-paced course. It costs $49 for ISTE members and $65 for non-members.…Read More

Interactive Online Tool that Gives Teachers a Shortcut to Creating Quality Project Based Learning Units

PBLWorks, the leader in professional development for high-quality Project Based Learning (PBL), has created a first-of-its kind PBL Project Designer to help teachers plan standards-based PBL units for students. Teachers can build PBL projects from scratch or easily adapt one of 72 Gold Standard PBL units for their students and context.

The Project Designer walks teachers through each step of designing a project, providing tips for creating or adapting projects, instructional ideas, links to project resources, and modifications for online learning. Once complete, projects can be downloaded, printed, and immediately implemented with students.

“Project Based Learning is an incredible way to engage students and promote deeper learning and we want to provide as much support as we can to help teachers do it well, whether they are teaching in classrooms or remotely,” said PBLWorks CEO Bob Lenz. “The PBL Project Designer is a great resource for teachers – whether they’re experienced in PBL or just starting out – to help them confidently plan their next PBL unit.”…Read More

5 tools to help with project-based learning

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.

Related content: Defining high-quality project-based learning…Read More

Bam! 5 tools for project-based learning

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…Read More

Defining high-quality project-based learning

A growing number of educators around the world believe that project-based learning (PBL) is an important instructional approach that allows students to master academic skills and content knowledge, develop skills necessary for future success, and build the personal agency needed to tackle life’s and the world’s challenges.

Many districts are either already using PBL or are on the verge of using this approach in classrooms. Educators can find a wealth of resources on how to plan for and get started with PBL, but until recently, there were far fewer resources on what the outcome of high-quality student experiences ought to look like. As we move toward more student-centered approaches, we needed a framework that is just that—centered on the students.

Therefore, a new Framework for High-Quality Project-Based Learning (HQPBL) was developed to help teachers better prepare young people to contribute in the innovation economy. The Framework was developed by more than 100 educators from around the world who already use PBL.…Read More

6 questions (and answers!) to ask before moving to PBL

Don’t jump into project-based learning (PBL) too quickly. But at some point you’ve got to just jump. Does that sound like conflicting advice? Let me explain.

Some teachers jump on the PBL bandwagon—and these days it’s a loud, expanding bandwagon—because they’ve read persuasive articles, seen cool videos, heard inspiring presentations, or been swept up by enthusiastic colleagues. To these folks I’d say, don’t try PBL until you’ve done a bit more reading, gotten some training, or planned your jump with colleagues.

Pulling off a successful project is not easy for most teachers new to the methodology, except for a few “naturals,” so launching your first one without proper preparation is risky. A project that fails epically might permanently scare off teachers and scar students, who would remember that time they wasted two weeks floundering in class, when their group let them down and they worked late putting together that embarrassing presentation or building that stupid diorama, but what did they really learn?…Read More

Putting the SEL into PBL

In project-based learning (PBL), teachers present students with a real-world problem and challenge them to solve the problem through research and inquiry, often collaborating with each another and producing a final product that encompasses everything they have learned. The project relates back to the standards and learning objectives teachers are covering, but in a more tangible way. Often, PBL will naturally integrate objectives from a variety of subjects within the same project.

The Buck Institute for Education outlines seven essential components for project-based learning:

  1. a strong student activator
  2. a driving question
  3. opportunities for student voice and choice
  4. 21st-century skills
  5. time for inquiry and innovation
  6. feedback and revision
  7. a publicly presented final product.

Learn more about these seven essentials here.…Read More

3 strategies to keep students engaged in STEM

STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) is more than just an acronym or a collection of letters. Rather, it is an instructional movement that embodies cross-curricular concepts from four fundamental disciplines, as well as a research-based strategy that addresses the future needs of a technology-driven work force and sustaining a global economy. The importance of STEM is further validated by its prominence in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

One of the most effective instructional approaches toward the implementation of STEM in grade-level courses is through project-based learning (PBL). In this approach, instruction occurs through student-centered investigations focused on a specific topic driven by a set of objectives, culminating in a broadly-defined product or technique. Projects foster an environment of discussion, creativity, problem-solving, inquiry, modeling, and testing, and are applicable to students in all grade levels and subjects, but particularly within the STEM arena.

Implementing PBL in the classroom…Read More

How we developed a personalized PBL model for STEM

How can schools and districts prepare students for college and careers in STEM? Is it by asking them to passively read a textbook or listen to a teacher lecture? Or is it by challenging them to actively engage in projects that attempt to solve real-world problems?

In Harmony Public Schools in Texas, we want students to become active learners, problem solvers, and STEM advocates. We want to increase their knowledge, skills, and interest in STEM, and balance student-centered teaching with state and national standards. To do this, we developed a personalized project based learning (PBL) model called STEM Students on the Stage (SOS)™.

STEM SOS, which was developed with a $30 million Race to the Top grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education, is a rigorous, interdisciplinary, standards-focused method of STEM education that encourages students to develop and share their STEM knowledge and investigations. We now incorporate this personalized PBL model into all of our STEM courses.…Read More