Project Based Learning (PBL) is a teaching method that, when implemented successfully, can prepare our students for a world we can’t yet imagine. With PBL, we can teach our students the 21st century skills they’ll need for the jobs of the future. PBL focuses teaching and learning around engaging, real-world contexts and problems. Tying content to real-world issues makes the rationale for learning transparant to students, and set them up to draw connections between what they’re doing in school to what they’ll need to do in life and career later on.
The goal of this course is to show participants that PBL is possible with any group of students, in any setting, under any conditions, and to teach participants how to plan and implement PBL with their unique group of students. After dispelling some common myths about PBL and building a case for PBL and 21st century learning, the course walks participants through each step of the PBL planning process, from brainstorming an authentic project idea to planning a culminating product that showcases what students know. It’ll also cover how to ground a project in standards, to how to differentiate for different learners, how to assess students throughout a PBL project, and how to build a culture of inquiry that makes the work of PBL possible. The course wraps up by showing participants how to convince various stakeholders of the many benefits that PBL can provide to every student, and suggesting strategies for implementing PBL at a school- or district-wide level.
This course’s final project asks participants to write their own PBL project plan to bring back to their own setting. Participants will be prompted to complete certain steps of the planning process throughout the course, which will culminate in the writing of a project plan for implementing their project idea.
Justify the importance of PBL and 21st century skills, particularly in relation to issues of equity and the future of jobs.
Modify PBL to work for any student, in any setting, and over any period of time, and give examples of how to start small with PBL and cultivate a culture of inquiry.
Generate ideas for authentic projects, public products, and driving questions that are grounded in both standards and 21st century skills.
Plan backwards from standards and learning goals to design authentic assessments and student-driven inquiry.
Determine whether your own PBL project meets the standard of “Gold Standard PBL” by judging it against the Eight Essential Elements of PBL.