PBL Research Summary: Studies Validate Project-Based Learning | Edutopia.

Despite being a bit dated (Edutopia, 2001), this article provides ample information about the effectiveness of project based learning (PBL).  The purpose of this article was to give a brief overview of various research projects, which studied schools that implemented lessons and activities that were more student centered, meaning that the students took more charge of their learning and funneled it into a purposeful project.  Of course the teacher in this role, was not as active in lecturing, but rather directs the students with a goal, or give them the tools to create their own goals.

In all the cases of PBL in this article, the students showed gains in their academic progress.  In many cases, the research projects were done in schools that had suffered through low results in standardized testing, and they all not only showed great gains, many of them were performing at higher levels than the standard level of other schools in their district.  Some of the data also showed that there was a decrease in absentees.

As I read through these accounts, of course I am inspired toward using PBL.  However, the thought is a little intimidating, because I think of how it requires a big idea.  Wrapping my head around something of such magnitude is a little overwhelming, but I am confident that I have the creative juices to tie in many standards and criteria into a project.  However, because I am not sure how well students will buy into the idea, I am always hesitant about taking on a project that goes more than 1-2 weeks.

For the EDTECH 542 course I will be required to layout a project that can be implemented for my students.  Likely, I will team up with other students, who are teachers in other subject areas.  This type of project is intended to be across subject areas, what we call in IB “Horizontal Planning”.  However, I do see myself very involved in setting the project goals and standards for multimedia use.  I can see either a project requiring students to make a commercial or do a role play in video.  This will require students not only to work with video, but also use video editing software.  At the same time they will develop concepts of effective communication and marketing.

Reference: 

PBL Research Summary: Studies Validate Project-Based Learning | Edutopia. (2001).Edutopia. Retrieved June 13, 2012, from http://www.edutopia.org/project-based-learning-research
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