Resources for Project-Based Learning

Last month we released Projects for all our education wikis. Our intention was to give you a better tool for group work, but, as many of you have pointed out, they’re also great for project-based learning.

Project-based learning, or PBL, grew out of early 20th century education reform, like the works of John Dewey. It generally involves directed, open-ended questions, real-life problem solving, and presentation to an authentic audience. And, of course, it’s a great way for students to build collaboration and 21st-century skills while mastering content.

We’re really looking forward to hearing how you use PBL and the Projects feature in your classrooms. We’re so excited, in fact, that we rounded up a few resources from around the web to help you out:

  • The Buck Institute for Education is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to 21st-century learning skills, with a focus on PBL. Their site is full of useful resources, research, and teaching materials.
  • The George Lucas Educational Foundations’ Edutopia site has videos and real-life examples around PBL.
  • PBL-Online is an online laboratory for developing and sharing PBL resources and project ideas.
  • This article from Scholastic discusses “The Power of Project-Based Learning.”
  • You can also find more PBL Web sites and lesson plans at LearningReviews.

In The Child and the Curriculum, John Dewey observed that, “The logically formulated material of a science or branch of learning, of a study, is no substitute for the having of individual experiences.” We can’t wait to hear what those experiences look like in your classrooms.

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31 Comments

  1. Posted September 14, 2011 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    I’ve used wikispaces often to host PBL-style projects: see these examples in particle physics(for high school, and, for middle school:) water quality monitoring, and astroimaging. Wikis are the ideal “blank slate” of the new web, where educators can bring together various technologies and communities to set the stage for student collaborative activity. (I’ve expanded on this point in the context of global STEM education to the Education Project in Bahrain here.)

  2. Philip Kovacs
    Posted September 17, 2011 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    I just started our wiki to work with 57 math teachers creating and implementing PBL…nice to find this on my first day browsing around…

  3. Karin Deol
    Posted September 23, 2011 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I teach English at a community college and would like to start using this site for collaborative writing projects. Does anyone have suggestions?

  4. sermal
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Karin Deol-
    I’m in high school and my English teacher has us either read a couple chapters and blog our answers to questions on this site, or work with another to figure out an answer. Maybe this technique could be used for you also… give each other opinions etc. Although I don’t know if this will help you much since I am in high school and you teach at a community college. Something along those lines. Hope I helped!

  5. rob barco
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    Iam a university subject coordinator, and also work for a RTO and Iam very muh interested in VET learning and project development

  6. Mary Callins
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Would like to collaborate with Secondary and Post-Secondary Business Education Teachers

  7. Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    I am in the process of creating a Wiki for collaboration across my school district. Imagine the possibilities if others from across the state or nation collaborated with us! Visit and email any suggestions or comments. This is a grade k – 5 effort!

  8. Posted October 9, 2011 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed this Wiki. I think the PBL is a great way to engaged students in learning. I think many students need to be more familiar with Open-ended questioning, as well as higher level thinking. PBL is a great resource for students. I think collaboration between teachers to focus and introduce new ideas would be ideal. There are a million different way to connect with students, and I find this to be incredibly useful. Thanks for posting this and will be checking in for new comments.

  9. zoe N (5M)
    Posted October 11, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    I love using wiki. you can do anything Yes i agree Raeanne and I’m only in Y5 at bearwood primary school :)

  10. Posted October 29, 2011 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    I am using wikispaces with a teacher educatioin cohort. >120 persons working in project groups of 2 or three persons. It works very well!

  11. Posted October 29, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I use Wiki to manage my PBL projects as well as my classes. All are ongoing projects that collect data every year: https://thedirksenplace.wikispaces.com/Water+Quality+Project that uses bioassessment to determine the health of what was once one of the most contaminated watersheds in the U.S.; https://thedirksenplace.wikispaces.com/Englewood+Springs+Botanical+Area , that measures water parameters in conjunction with the U.S.F.S. on the same watershed in a Designated Botanical Area; and http://bridgingclassroomsandcultures.bosco-uganda.wikispaces.net/Plants+of+the+Gulu+Region+Project , that is an ethnobotany project with schools in N. Uganda who are served by BOSCO, Uganda.

  12. Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    We used the wikispace to coordinate a 6 month collaboration between area math teachers. The outcome was a year long project-based learning mathematics course for High School. The purpose was to provide students in New York State with a course that was not repetitive in nature (more of the same), but that gave real-world application to the concepts needed to succeed in college/university. We used the wiki to collaborate, share resources and comment on each other’s work. Since we traveled a long ways to meet in person, this technology allowed us to continue to share our struggles and successes between meetings.

    Please feel free to preview our work.:)

    Sincerely, Hilary Reilly

  13. Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I am not sure if the website will be shown for the above comment…the link to the Project Based Learning Math Consortium is: http://questariiimath.pbworks.com/w/page/24070312/FrontPage

    Thank you.:)

    Hilary Reilly

  14. Posted October 30, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been using wiki since 2009 in my Educational Technology class, it serves as our education blog portal. My students are collaborating in designing unit plans for their future classrooms and students. They are sharing the unit plans with PBL activities. You can check it out and learn from the different unit plans my students created.

  15. Posted October 31, 2011 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    I am still adding to my web page of teaching resources for a problem solving project based learning approach to Design and Techology in STEM education.

    I hope people find of use to them in school

  16. Posted October 31, 2011 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    On the Guerilla Educators blog (http://www.guerillaeducators.typepad.com/), there are about 100 of my short videos that demonstrate real students across all grade levels conducting real Projects in, and out of, real classrooms. We are a global repository of information about Project Based Teaching/Learning and Best Practices.

  17. Posted October 31, 2011 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    I work for AEA 267 (an educational agency in Iowa), and we used wikispaces for PBL with middle school students from many of our districts. The project is called AEA 267′s National Day on Writing. Students were teamed up with other students across AEA 267 to create a website in support of or against a controversial topic. Over the course of 6 months, they communicated only via technology to gather research, write editorials (and had them published), and complete many additional writing projects. Teams 12 and 15 did especially nice jobs!

  18. Mary
    Posted October 31, 2011 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I have used student created wikispaces as one part of many pieces within a video conferencing project my students complete through CILC’s KC3 program. We use it as a resource site for the connecting classroom to view the conference format, background information from my students’ research and any teacher directions/handouts that may be needed for the conference. http://kc3.cilc.org/
    http://8th-if-george-washington-spoke-french.wikispaces.com/

  19. Posted November 1, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    This video demonstrates a wide range of positive academic, civic/leadership benefits for students who participate in water monitoring Service Learning projects. The video is a compilation of Service Learning projects in 3rd and 4th grades at Harrity Elementary an inner city school in Philadelphia and at GreenWoods a Philly public charter school. Take a look at …
    http://guerillaeducators.typepad.com/ge/2011/05/cwmn.html

  20. Posted November 1, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    I have set-up vivacritique.com, as a PBL site for High School visual arts students engaged on the IB Diploma course at Yokohama International School. Students post audio-visual presentations of their projects. Their peers in different schools in different countries, (so far Japan, Singapore and Korea), post written critical feedback. Students also create their own wikis, which serve as their personal digital portfolio, which are also linked to the website. The site also serves as a resource in itself, that students can add to. Please have a look..and share with your HS art students..

  21. Posted November 1, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    I am a retired teacher who was part of a the whole school reform movement. We wrote a $250,000 grant to be trained by Co-Nect, a whole school reform company approved by the US Department of Education , I personally won Grand Prize in competition with teachers from 200 schools in the US and Canada for a project called “An Investigation of Heroism through the Holocaust and the Underground Railroad.” This is significant because the project was written before 9/11 and won that year. My team and I won first prize for a project created my last year of teaching and awarded the year after I retired. It is an amazing project on the Iditerod. Ironically, the student who helped me enter this project continued to help me when he was not in my class any longer, even after I retired because to enter the contest I needed the completed student work. He is now my partner in my Assisting Authors Online company 10 years later.

    If anyone needs help or would like to know more about these projects and how to develop them, please contact me. You can read about them at The Knowledge Loom ( Department of Education’s website at Brown University on Best Practices in Education. http://knowledgeloom.org/practice_story.jsp?t=1&bpid=1182&storyid=1243&aspect=1&location=3&parentid=1163&bpinterid=1163&spotlightid=1163. I am a firm believer that project based learning works.

  22. Rhonda
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    PBL is de rigeur in best practices in preschool or other quality early care and education programs. The children choose the topic (emergent curriculum) and based on their interests, teachers create curriculum in art, math, science, manipulatives, dramatic play etc around the topic. This continues until the children tire of it or start to branch off into a related theme.

  23. Sheryl
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    I am a sixth grade science teacher who had been frustrated getting the kids to bring in current science news to share and discuss. I set up my own wikispace with a page per student. Each child posts a link to an article and writes a summarizing paragraph and a reflection paragraph about his/her article. They then read each other’s links and reflections and post questions and comments on each other’s discussion pages. It’s eliminated a pile of paperwork for me and facilitated high level discussions among the kids.

  24. Posted November 2, 2011 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    Dear Colleagues,
    This is a great newsletter posting to inspire further PBL wikispaces and collaborations;
    Thank you all…
    I have created 2 very fun and engaging wikispaces and am going non-stop on several more in-progress… Everyone is invited to use them and adapt them for your classroom use:
    I would love to collaborate further K-12…
    http://hsgeometryadventure.wikispaces.com
    http://artsandeducationadventure.wikispaces.com

    And I will be contacting several of you who have also posted information about your wikispaces…

    Thank you all… this is a wonderful opportunity for teachers helping teachers…

  25. Posted November 2, 2011 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    It`s great to find a new resource of PBL. I believe this is one of the best way to educate kids (and not only!).I have used the PBL method with my son and he was a merit and honor roll student since the first grade (he is in the 6th grade now).You can see more at http://www.aviation-for-kids.com/ .

  26. Posted November 2, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    it is very good if you can post some research work on geographical infomation in my account mostly computer techniques in geography. God bless.

  27. Posted November 4, 2011 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    I’m new in Wiki space,but I use it primary as a resource for my students(1s year as learners of English)
    I uplaod files,music,videos that are part of the topics in our English textbook.
    They really enjoy the page.

  28. Posted November 4, 2011 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    Best Practices; 2nd Grade Inquiry Based Science
    This video documents best practices in inquiry based science at MaST Community Charter School in Philadelphia. These second grade students see themselves as scientists and are already adept at applying higher level thinking skills to the scientific process. The students are fully engaged and the learning is fun. Take a look, at:
    http://guerillaeducators.typepad.com/ge/2010/07/best-practices-2nd-grade-inquiry-based-science.html

  29. Posted November 7, 2011 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    i have use PBL in mathematics and has worked so well. It is indeed a a great tool of the 21st Century especially for us in Africa where hard copy books are scarce.

  30. Posted November 10, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    This video is a Project Based Service Learning compilation of 5 world class projects conducted by students across a variety of grade levels at 4 public schools in Philadelphia. The thread running through the projects in this film is that they are all centered around various aspects of green, sustainable themes and activities. You will witness in about 10 compelling minutes, projects which have taken over 200 hours to complete, from planning through to reporting out/celebration. Take a look at …

    http://guerillaeducators.typepad.com/ge/2008/07/service-learnin.html

    These projects, in total, authentically delineate many of the 12 Hallmarks of Effective Teaching and Learning and demonstrate some of the reasons that PBSL is the most effective pedagogical strategy for ALL students to achieve at rigorous levels.

  31. Posted November 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Me encantan las wikis y su versatilidad, el proyecto es bastante completo. Vamos a animar a los alumnos a ampliar esas listas de modismos, puede ser divertido.

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