song: Technology can bring about change in education. New chorus: Project
Based Learning. We may have all had experiences with Project Based Learning
but perhaps by another name or no name at all. We simply discovered that it
works. Challenge 2000 emphasized Project Based Learning (PBL) as a model for
classroom activity that shifts away from the classroom practices of short,
isolated, teacher-centered lessons and instead emphasizes learning activities
that are long-term, interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrated with
real world issues and practices.
It is this last statement in particular that warrants exploration – real world. There is already some confusion between PROJECT Based Learning and PROBLEM Based Learning. For a good explanation of the differences try http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/PBLGuide/PBL&PBL.htm When all is said and done, one of the people responsible for 'developing' Project Based Learning, Joe Oakey, a founder of AutoDesk Foundation, chimes in with his take on this issue of difference at http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/PBLGuide/Oakey_comments.htm
Back to the real world: One thing tech people may notice is that many of teacher created “PBLs” are only projects, i.e., creating a travel brochure or an iMovie. They may fit the criteria and use technology well, but these projects do not have the spirit of real world PBLs. Technology can make learning relevant by establishing connections to life outside the classroom, addressing real world concerns, and developing real world skills. Teachers can find many of these projects via the internet where they join with others on well established, curriculum based PBLs.
Below is information that may formalize the main ideas for you:
http://www.bie.org/index.php If you are not sure about definitions, reasons to participate, staff development ideas, this is the mother lode of PBL information. Highly recommended if you can only do one.
Even the federal government understands why PBLs are so important. How technology supports PBL, some examples of student response to PBL in 4th and 5th grade work a reform-oriented model of constructivist learning.
Some examples of PBLs:
http://www.emptybowls.net/ a classic example of a teacher created PBL, now international
http://www.iearn.org/ project lists, tips and tricks in joining, subject categories
http://www.project-approach.com/ projects categorized from preK->grade 6, with theory, instruction and planning details
http://pblmm.k12.ca.us/ examples, emphasis is on multimedia PBLs, good starting place
http://www.togetherworks.net/i-poly/ The only high school in the nation with integrated project based curriculum
http://drake.marin.k12.ca.us/academics/pbl/pblfs.htm Nationally recognized Drake HS uses PBL as major component throughout the school, lots of good resources here
http://virtualschoolhouse.visionlink.org/projects.htm The projects illustrated here represent a variety of communities, grade levels, and types of classes from across the country.
https://www.mis4.udel.edu/Pbl/ PBL Clearinghouse. Create an account to use this University of Delaware database of projects. It is a collection of problems and articles to assist educators in using problem-based learning. The problems and articles are peer reviewed by PBL experts in the disciplinary content areas. Teaching notes and supplemental materials accompany each problem, providing insights and strategies that are innovative and classroom-tested. Access is limited to educators who register but is free. I signed in, no hassles and found good material.
http://www.udel.edu/pbl/ - Webliography with examples, definitions, articles
http://www.edcoe.k12.ca.us/tech/pbl.html Great webliography of materials and PBL examples
http://www.kwkd.net/ Information on the 9th Annual PBL Conference, April 30-May 2, 2003.
http://www.idecorp.com/pbl_of_month.htm A collection of PBL ideas with rubrics from Nancy Sulla's Innovative Designs for Education.
and let’s not forget this terrific site for all kinds of PBL information and ideas
http://www.gsn.org/pr/index.html The Global SchoolNet Foundation. The mission of the Global Schoolhouse is to provide a living curriculum that made the world a laboratory and promoted the quest for lifelong learning.
http://www.gsn.org/pbl/harnessing.html This guide will help you to understand collaborative, project-based learning on the Internet. We use the term NetPBL (Networked, Project-Based Learning) to describe this kind of learning. These resources will help you introduce your students to powerful educational experiences grounded in student-centered, project-based learning well-supported in the literature. Whether you're just starting out or ready for advanced levels, this guide will help you.