Project Based Learning

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Chris Gerry

Chris Gerry was a high school principal in the UK in six schools over an 18 year period. He built three schools directly which were noted for their innovative use of space and integrating technology including one to one laptop use. He currently runs The Skills Lab, an international education consultancy.
Project Based Learning

Bring learning to life with project based learning

Elaine thinks the best way for her students to learn is to let them apply their thinking to a real world problem or challenge.

“It’s more authentic because the things they’re investigating are tangible and current. They’re in the news or online and not just the stuff of school textbooks or a teacher’s imagination. I’ve seen a huge improvement in things like problem solving, research and collaboration.

“Because the real world experiences are tailored to the interests or learning styles of my students it becomes a fun challenge, not just another piece of school work.”

Planning for Project-Based Learning can be done in these five simple steps and is essential to personalized learning approaches:

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Craft the driving question
  • Plan the assessment
  • Map the project
  • Manage the process

Get started!

Latest posts
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning New thoughts on... assessment. Just to summarise: assessment in PBL does not have to be simply or even mostly undertaken by the teacher. There are other routes: External assessment: setting a real life task and having someone from the world of work come and listen to the students talk about their work is always a good idea. The only proviso is that the external person needs a good communicative personality that students can respond to. Peer assessment: this is an increasingly popular avenue in all areas as it allows ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning A Strong Start to the Track Your Trash project! Our latest focuses on tracking our garbage and finding ways to reduce the amount of trash we create in our classroom. We are learning about measurement right now, so measuring the amount of trash fit well with our current math goals. Our class is good at using a balance scale for comparative measurement, but we had to learn to use a different scale to measure the amount of garbage in our classroom garbage cans. I purchased a new bathroom scale to try, but our garbage was too light to ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Our Latest Project: The Classroom Energy Diet Challenge Our latest project work has a little different twist than our usual project based learning format. If you are a teacher using PBL or considering PBL, keep in mind that a challenge or contest can be a great way to incorporate a project into your teaching! We have been participating in the , which is a contest for K-12 students that encourages energy awareness and energy-saving actions. There are key components that I like to include in our projects and this challenge includes a number of those ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Project Based Learning Webinar Highlights I was pleased to be a presenter for the webinar on Project Based Learning. The evening presentation which I was part of was not recorded, however you can view the similar morning presentation . Project based learning has become an important part of my approach to teaching and learning. I really enjoyed hearing from the other presenters, and , and it was nice to share what I've learned and experienced with PBL. Some of the key ideas which resonated with me were: The best projects are the "...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning A Topic We Should Pay Attention To Most readers outside of the UK will not have heard of Fahma Mohamed a 17 year old school girl from Bristol in England. In February she led a campaign to stop female genital mutilation and quickly attracted a 250,000 petition in the UK plus the support of Pakistani school girl Malala Yousafzai and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon. Within a month of launching her campaign Fahma had also met with Michael Gove the Secretary of State for Education for England. He promised to write to all schools ...
Narine Isakhanyan
Project Based Learning Small project presentation We want to present a small project, which our children presented at the lesson. Anna Sumanskaya is our English teacher (school 1329, Moscow). Please, find bellow her post: "I agree that project work is really important, inspiring and motivating. I also think, it is essential to apply the knowledge acquired during the lessons in order to perform some practical tasks. That is why I always try to think of the assignments that would be both interesting and useful. For example, having learnt the ...
Suzie Boss
Project Based Learning Find Your Starting Place for PBL If one of your goals for this school year is to give project-based learning a try, now’s the time for a check-in. Have you introduced at least one in-depth inquiry project yet? If so, what have you—and your students—learned from the experience? If not, you may find that spring offers an ideal time to remodel a traditional unit of study into a project that puts students in the driver’s seat of their own learning. Recently, I listened to a team of three grade-one teachers reflect on their first ...
Michael Gorman
Project Based Learning Promoting Student Engagement and Learning Incorporating the 8 Elements of PBL It is wonderful to join this professional learning community. As a National Faculty member of BIE (BUCK Institute) I wanted to share a posting on Project Based Learning's eight essential elements. As you know PBL is an amazing process that allows students to engage in authentic work while allowing students to discover connections between content and real world applications. PBL is made up of these Eight Elements as identified by researchers and educational experts at BIE (BUCK Institute)… a ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning More on Character Skills The Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in the UK is very active on the issue of character and its teaching. See here: Personally I think the word 'character' is a bit confusing and also a bit old fashioned. I prefer 'non cognitive skills' reflecting our growing understanding of the psychology of skills development. But there is confusion too about what skills are and which ones are important. Talking to one group in China this week the following 'skills' were mentioned: creativity...
Jackie Baptist
Project Based Learning Students in India Need to Create a Real Working Product Bijal Damiani of India walks us through her project, Creative Capitalists, Let's Make World a Better Place. ...
Jackie Baptist
Project Based Learning Helping Raise Awareness in Your Classroom EJ Song of Korea explains how she's helping and inspiring students to connect through her project, Tagging, Hugging, Creating to SAVE the Human Rights. ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning At Last! A School Takes Character Seriously I have been talking for quite a while about the importance of non cognitive skills in schools driving academic and social success. Mostly people just refer to such programmes using the term 'Character'. And here is an example of a school that is actually doing something: They are copying a programme run by KIPP schools in the USA. Is this a breakthrough perhaps? Could you do something similar? Let us know!...
Sor Carmen María Parada Gámez (Hermana Carmelita)
Project Based Learning Habilidades y competencias del siglo XXI en la robótica La robótica educativa favorece el desarrollo de las habilidades y competencias del siglo XXI en los estudiantes. Presento algunas competencias a lograr en los estudiantes a través de los talleres de robótica educativa. Muestra autoconfianza, autosuperación, iniciativa y espíritu emprendedor. Participa de manera activa y colaborativa en equipos de trabajo. Asume responsabilidades Muestra su apertura poniendo al servicio sus destrezas y habilidades de comunicación con empatía Establece ...
Ernani Fernandez
Project Based Learning What Makes Accounting Exciting? For almost 11 years of teaching, I observed that most of my 4th year high school students find business and accounting lessons in our Business Technology class difficult. It is because most of the activities require computation and analysis which they find confusing and not interesting. So what I did, I designed a project based learning in business technology that motivated my students to learn and acquire business and accounting skills. This project has different activities to accomplish in 1 ...
Mirian Cartagena
Project Based Learning Notas sobre el aprendizaje basado en proyectos El tema de la vida práctica, es un centro de interés el cual genera cambios en la forma de enseñar, los cuales crean conexiones entre la educación y lo cotidiano. El aprendizaje basado en proyectos ABP es una forma de hacer estas conexiones, partiendo de las necesidades educativas y problemas reales de la sociedad fortaleciendo un compromiso con la misma. Además los prepara para una futura profesión desarrollándose capacidades, conocimientos, valores y habilidades como: planificación del ...
Cheryl Douglas
Project Based Learning Human Impact on the Environment It is often the unexpected outcomes that are the most exciting aspect of project based learning. Last year I ran a collaborative project between 12 schools in conjunction with the Environmental Education department of the City of Cape Town and have been lucky enough to be been selected to present this project, Human Impact on the Environment, at the World Forum in Barcelona next week. Schools partnered up to research aspects of Human Impact on the Environment and then made a short video on their...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Reflecting on Another Successful Project Although reflection is an ongoing part of the project based learning model in our classroom, I want to take time at the end of this special to think about the learning and teaching involved. Some reflections from my perspective: I loved the enthusiasm! Students and teachers alike got really excited about our Olympics project. The interesting sports, inspiring athletes and accessible live coverage were a few things that seemed to really grab our attention and “hook us” on this project! Not to...
Sor Carmen María Parada Gámez (Hermana Carmelita)
Project Based Learning 11 motivos para usar Mapas Cognitivos en el proceso enseñanza – aprendizaje Porque: 1.- Ayudan a enfocar lo que es importante porque resaltan conceptos y vocabulario que son claves y las relaciones entre éstos, proporcionando así herramientas para el desarrollo del pensamiento crítico y creativo (BROMLEY, IRWIN DE VITIS, MODLO, 1995). 2.- Ayudan a integrar el conocimiento previo con uno nuevo. 3.- Motivan el desarrollo conceptual. 4.- Enriquecen la lectura, la escritura y el pensamiento. 5.- Promueven el aprendizaje cooperativo y colaborativo. Según Vigotsky (1962)...
Sor Carmen María Parada Gámez (Hermana Carmelita)
Project Based Learning MÉTODO OCHO La creatividad, la colaboración y el pensamiento crítico y reflexivo, son la base de solución de problemas reales y actuales. Presento ocho pasos para la solución de problemas en la enseñanza de la robótica educativa. Todos los proyectos deben estar fundamentados por una teoría, ley o principio. Observación (antecedentes, recolección de datos) Investigación (Duda, pregunta, problema, hipótesis) Diseño/Construcción (Experimentos) Programación/Edición Prueba: Ensayo / Error (Resultados) ...
Sor Carmen María Parada Gámez (Hermana Carmelita)
Project Based Learning Andamiaje Educativo y Robotica pedagogica El andamiaje Educativo se basa en la visión constructivista de Vygotsky con su concepto zona de desarrollo próximo (ZDP) que trata de la distancia de lo que el niño puede resolver por sí solo, y lo que podría realizar con ayuda o guía de un adulto o persona más capacitada, de esta manera se encontraría su nivel de desarrollo potencial. Este concepto es llevado a la educación mediante la interacción maestro-estudiante, la teoría del andamiaje es la metáfora utilizada por primera vez por Bruner y ...
Anna Kravchuk
Project Based Learning Video project My students learn Spanish as a second foreign language. So they have Spanish lessons just once or twice a week and can’t spend a lot of time studying this language. But I really want my students to learn. So at the lessons we pay close attention to grammar when we do different exercises. No doubt it is very important to write papers and compositions, take tests but as a teacher I try to make it clear to the students that learning foreign languages is not just grammar. At my lessons I try to ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning How Do We Trust Our Judgement? Learning is tricky and mostly hidden. So how do we know that students are learning? It’s a tricky problem and the truth is we don’t know very well. One issue is that we are influenced by our emotions when we make judgements. See here for a video about emotional intelligence: in which Marc Brackett makes the point that our emotional state influences how we judge and grade student papers. Of course everyone claims they are rational and would never do this. But tests show the opposite. Which ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Knowledge Building with PBL As a perk of the Expert Educator program, I have spent a couple of conference calls learning with colleagues from around the world. One primary focus has been the , which outline important features of effective learning activities. Examining these rubrics has pushed me to try new things in my classroom and one area I've focused on is knowledge building. According to the rubric, knowledge building is all about students forming new understandings (NOT "regurgitating" information). Since our ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning More on Intelligent Machines Eric Beynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee have just written a book that is attracting a lot of attention. It is called: The Second Machine Age: Work Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies. They chart a familiar territory with regards to the impact of Moore’s Law – the doubling of computing capacity and halving of price roughly every eighteen months. This has been going on for forty years and shows little sign of slowing down. They make two interesting points about this. ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Robotic Inspiration! Watch this: ...
Pim Staals
Project Based Learning Project based learning: The best way to manage to differences between each student! As a teacher, your main task is to prepare student for their future. More and more teachers start becoming more convinced that they need to integrate 21st century skills in their education. A nice development. The next step is that teachers need to be convinced that project based learning can be an effective means to achieve the goals. Lack of time, dare and expertise can’t be an excuse but it must be taken into account by the school director. The greatest advantage of project-based learning is ...
Narine Isakhanyan
Project Based Learning Simple of international project We want to present one of the international project "tale King Lir's Children". Alex Shcherbacheva is our english teacher (school 1329, Moscow), she shared for us a brief history of how our joint projects with schools from other countries. Bellow her post: "My big adventure began with a meeting. During one of my adventures around the world I met an enthusiastic Irish teacher, Anne McErlane, who works with the International Pushkin Trust. She suggested working together, so that our pupils could ...
Jaana Hekkanen
Project Based Learning Project of Good Habits and Better Mood At Metsonkangas Comprehensive School we use almost daily project learning methods. I think project learning gives students an opportunity to learn to be creative, critical, self-imposed and also they learn group working skills and get a chance to use different technologies, devices and software. That's why I and my students often use computers, tablets, mobile phones and digital cameras to document our projects. However, I also think that project learning also gives students an opportunity to co...
Eman Yousef
Project Based Learning Gifts for good achievements Imagine that you and your team work on a project . This project was one of the successful one for example blog or wiki ,but you didn't get any certificates or gifts. What is the feeling here? Sure. They are fell sad and disappointment . So , it is important to motivate you students with great smiles , congratulated words , certificates and gifts to encourage them to go on to create another better works....
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Designing Postcards for Our Olympians My Grade 1 students have continued to work with Mrs. Caldwell’s Oak Lake Kindergarten class to learn about the Olympics. Many students have done research at home with their families and made guest blog posts sharing their findings. We have also done some research and posts together as a class. Students worked in small groups to build knowledge of the and recorded their new understandings using . While we were on a Skype call discussing our project with the Kindergartens, students had the neat ...
Donna Adams Román
Project Based Learning What's the Most Valuable Trait in Learning? If I was to choose one single quality that helps people the most, not only with success in school but also with happiness throughout life, it would be internal motivation. Internal motivation is what drives passion. It drives the quest for knowledge, it drives interest and it drives repeat exposure to something…which in turn creates expertise. Some adults never possess that in their lifetime, and I think it has a lot to do with how we structure our teaching…therefore our learning. I have a niece...
Sri Ramakrishnan
Project Based Learning Project Based Learning with Tynker Adriene Guiriba is a third-grade teacher at Walter Hays Elementary School in Palo Alto. Some time ago her students were learning about the Baylands, one of the largest tracts of undisturbed marshland remaining in the San Francisco Bay. Guiriba is an ardent believer in Project-Based Learning (PBL) and she usually has her students explore topics in the form of posters, dioramas, and presentations. “PBL ensures that kids are engaged, drive their own learning, collaborate, and connect and apply a ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Olympics Project: The Momentum Continues As I explained in my , my students and their families have really taken ownership of our Olympics project and they have been working on research at home. More students have come to school with information to create their own blog posts! (You can view the latest student posts .) I am looking forward to helping students share their learning and their enthusiasm for this project is really motivating for me! In addition to all the great homework going on, we have also been working on research at ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning What If We Did it Differently? Last week there was a curious spat in the British press. The head of the government's school inspection service claimed he was 'spitting blood' over reports from the government (subsequently denied) that they were questioning the value of an school inspection system. The spat soon blew away and people were left with a sense of dark political deeds being done but none the wiser as to what it was really all about. But such ruminations did give rise to some debate about what would the school world ...
mªdolores martinez morte
Project Based Learning Project with Surface In our school we are excited because Surface devices have come; we have proposed to use as a tool with which develop the school project, which is based in the world of the Humanities (stories, narratives, ...). These devices are simple to handle because when students discover the desktop, the interface is familiar and, therefore, quickly get used to working with Windows8. In this way, students can work with applications such as Word, PowerPoint, ... record videos on a book reading, etc. In ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Bett 2014: Project Based Learning in Action I went to the Bett show last week. ‘What did you think?’ my colleague asked when I was back. ‘Well, it’s big.’ I replied. In fact the ExCeL convention centre offers 100,000 square metres of exhibition space and lecture spaces. Outside this vast arena you are greeted with a large number of people hanging around talking or smoking or just waiting for friends and colleagues. Inside the electronic registration is pretty zippy and then you are off walking through a vast interior street full of ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Olympics Project is Taking Off! Our Olympics project is off to a strong start! The morning after our , I had planned a “normal” morning of mini-lessons, Daily 5 English Language Arts, guided reading groups and student conferencing. As we gathered at the carpet for our first mini-lesson, one of my students announced that he “had to get something” and quickly returned with a note paper full of information about the Olympics. The student explained that he had talked to his Dad about the Olympics and found out lots of facts for...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning How flipped classroom encourages critical thinking in English, at JianPing High School in China JianPing High School is one of the best high schools in China. It is a public high school in the Pudong area of Shanghai. 2,000 students and 145 teachers are part of the school. JianPing implements different innovative ideas. For example, high school students, not teachers, decide on the level of classes that they enroll in. Students have the ability to “experience the job of their choice” and spend several days throughout the year in companies and organizations to get a sense for what their ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Inspiration! Most of you will know the work of Sir Ken Robinson on creativity and education. But some of you may not. So if you don’t and want to be inspired watch here: This video has had nearly 6 million hits on YouTube and is probably his most popular. Full of wisdom and humour to inspire us. Also see here for later views: We need more inspiration. ...
Kelly  Walsh
Project Based Learning Want more time for Project Based Learning in the Classroom? Flip it! The Flipped Classroom goes hand-in-hand with Project Based Learning. When you move some learning content delivery out of the classroom, you free up class time for whatever types of Active Learning you like your students to engage in. Project Based Learning is a powerful form of Active Learning. Teachers and other education thought leaders have shared their thinking about, and resources that focus on, the powerful potential of the flipped classroom and PBL in numerous articles and web tools....