The following resource page was created by Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen for PBL Teacher Workshops:

What is PBL?

Project-Based Learning is an educational approach that falls under the umbrella of inquiry learning and is described in many different ways. Here are some references:

1) Reinventing Project-Based Learning: Your Field Guide to Real World Projects in the Digital Age by Susie Boss and Jane Krauss (ISTE, 2007)
  • Projects form the centerpiece of the curriculum - they are not an add-on or extra at the end of a "real" unit.
  • Students engage in real-world activities and practice the strategies of authentic disciplines.
  • Students work collaboratively to solve problems that matter to them.
  • Technology is integrated as a tool for discovery, collaboration, and communication, taking learners places they couldn't otherwise go and helping teachers achieve essential learning goals in new ways.

2) The Buck Institute Project-based learning:
  • focuses on the central concepts and principles of a discipline
  • involves students in problem-solving investigations and other meaningful tasks
  • allows students to work autonomously to construct their own knowledge, and
  • culminates in realistic products

3) Powerful Learning: What we know about teaching for understanding by Linda Darling-Hammond (Jossey-Bass, 2008)WindCar.jpeg

PBL involves completing tasks that typically result in a realistic product, event, or presentation to an audience.
They are:
  • central to the curriculum
  • organized around driving questions that lead students to encounter central concepts or principles of a discipline
  • focused on a constructive investigation that involves inquiry and knowledge building
  • student-driven, in that students are responsible for making choices and for designing and managing their work
  • authentic, by posing problems that occur in the real world and that people care about

4) George Lucas Educational Foundation (Edutopia) Project-based learning:
  • is curriculum fueled and standards based
  • asks a question or poses a problem that each student can answer
  • asks students to investigate issues and topics addressing real-world problems while integrating subjects across the curriculum
  • is a method that fosters abstract, intellectual tasks to explore complex issues.



Tony Vincent shares some great ways to integrate hand-held technologies into your PBL units:

Project Based Learning in Hand from Tony Vincent on Vimeo.