This video is about Project-Based Learning.
This is me in the 8th grade. I was a combination of shy and nerdy. My whole goal was to remain invisible.
I had one friend, this kid named Matt. We were two nerds in a pod. And, fortunately for me, he had perfect attendance year after year. Until, one day he was sick. I stood in the cafeteria, looking out at the sea of students, someone would invite me over. But it didn’t happen. I hid in boy’s restroom for the next 24 minutes.
I was invisible.
But not to Mrs. Smoot and Mr. Darrow. They knew me. They knew I cared about social justice and baseball and history, so they invited me to do a History Day project.
Although it was fun, it was also terrifying.
I had to plan the entire project and track my own progress.
I had to figure out what questions to ask and where to find the answers.
I had to narrow down my topic to something I cared about—in this case, Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball.
I wrote letters to newscasters and made phone calls to former players.
I remember picking up the phone, my hands trembling, as I read aloud my pre-recorded script and waited for the stranger to respond.
I eventually worked on a slide presentation.
The most nerve-wracking moment occurred when I sat in a radio studio recording my script.
When I listened to my voice for the first time, I hated it.
At one point, I threw my hands up in the air. “I’m not doing this,” I said.
But Mrs. Smoot looked me in the eyes and said:
I ended up sharing it with my class and then in the district competition, state competition and eventually in Washington D.C.
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, Mrs. Smoot was why I became an educator. That project helped me grow into a creative thinker and problem-solver. And that experience is why I ultimately embraced project-based learning.
Project-based learning is different from traditional classroom projects
Learning through projects culminating projects
Student choice in design vs. following a set of instructions
Student inquiry vs. Pre-planned questions
Self and peer assessment vs Teacher assessment
Student ownership of process vs. Teacher ownership of process
The Buck Institute identifies the following seven project design elements:
1. Challenging Problem or Question
2. Sustained Inquiry
4. Student Voice & Choice
6. Critique & Revision
7. Public Product
Note that project-based learning can work in tandem with other pedagogical models, like inquiry-based learning, design thinking, and problem-based learning.
But the key idea remains that students are learning through projects and as a result they engage in deeper learning.
Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M., & Palincsar, A. (1991). Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning. Educational Psychologist, 26(3–4), 369–398. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.1991.9653139
Martinez, F., Herrero, L. C., & de Pablo, S. (2011). Project-Based Learning and Rubrics in the Teaching of Power Supplies and Photovoltaic Electricity. IEEE Transactions on Education, 54(1), 87–96. https://doi.org/10.1109/TE.2010.2044506
Ulrich, C. (2016). John Dewey and the project-based learning: landmarks for nowadays Romanian education, VI(1B). Retrieved from http://academiapedagogilor.ro/images/9.pdf
What is PBL? Buck Institute for Education. Retrieved 2017-12-03