Project Based Learning (PBL) has interested me for a while now. I’ve tried implementing different projects with my classes with varying degrees of success. I was encouraged to take a look at the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) and so today I spent 30 minutes checking out what they have to offer. Here is what I gleaned from my visit.
1) These guys are passionate about PBL. It’s a nice website and easy to navigate with plenty of stuff to look at (I only saw a small fraction in my 30 minutes).
2) There are plenty of great resources out there. BIE has a load of resources which are sorted according to subject/content, making it easy to find something relevant. One of my biggest issues with PBL is the time needed to generate engaging projects; by finding ready-made projects (that can be adapted if necessary) it saves me a lot of time that I don’t really have!
3) PBL needs structure. I really liked their article “8 essentials for Project-Based Learning” where they stress the importance of engagement through appropriate content and the right driving question, critical thinking through inquiry and investigation, as well as feedback through the use of rubrics. From my experience with PBL if one of these areas is weak (or non-existent!) the whole experience can fall apart.
PBL can be a really positive learning experience for students and something I would like to more of. BIE is definitely worth the visit if you’re interested in finding out more about PBL or looking for projects (note: they are American and so the content may need to be adjusted for your syllabus).