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Jul 21 / camilleteaches

Project Based Learning

I’m trying to figure out how I can incorporate more Project Based Learning into my grade one, French Immersion program. In this post, I would like to share an inspirational video that truly shows the value of Project Based Learning. I believe that Project Based Learning provides an excellent environment for student-centered learning. Below the video is more information about Project Based Learning. Please feel free to leave a comment!

Project-based Learning at High Tech High from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.

What is PBL?

Project Based Learning is an instructional strategy that enables students to learn meaningful content and practice skills needed for 21st century success:

• Organized around an open-ended driving question or challenge.
• Creates a need to know essential content and skills.
• Requires inquiry to learn and/or create something new.
• Results in a publicly presented product or performance.
• Allows some degree of student voice and choice.
• Requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of communication.

In short, PBL is a systematic teaching method that engages students in learning knowledge and skills through an extended inquiry process structured around complex, authentic questions and carefully designed products and tasks.

What is the role of the teacher?

By beginning with the end in mind, the teacher is able to provide clear-cut expectations to the students. Through the personalization of the learning, the teacher can create a collaborative environment where s/he can engage students in dialogue and pitch new information. The teacher creates an environment where rigorous learning takes place.

What is the role of the student?

In PBL, students work in teams, generally 2-4 members. The role of the student is to ask good questions, to reflect throughout the process, to consider multiple perspectives in the work they are doing. Students are expected to ask how things are connected and to take big picture views of the work they are doing.

Purpose of the task

PBL projects are based around a single Driving Question. Teachers must be comfortable with not answering the question. The main purpose for using essential questions is to stimulate students to ponder ideas and issues that are intrinsically complex, and to understand that the search for knowledge is ongoing and does not end when a unit or course is over.

Type of task

A successful PBL project is introduced before the content. Students are asked to create a product and this, in turn, creates a need to know. PBL is a continuum. Students still read textbooks, etc… and some teaching activities (i.e. teaching algorithms) may not be best suited for PBL.

Level of Interaction

Strong relationships between students and teachers are formed through PBL. The level of interaction is very high between students and teachers. Teachers report few behaviour problems when using this teaching approach.

Use of technology

Yes! PBL projects utilize technology to a great extent. PBL projects, of course, could be implemented without the use of technology as well.

Tools required

• A physical environment that will facilitate project work.
• Establish a culture that stresses student self-management and self-direction.
• The Driving Question is Paramount.
• Planning, planning, planning!

Subject areas, examples

PBL can be utilized across the curriculum. Here is an example:


Buck Institute for Education

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