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.

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
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Kids Who Code Code-a-thon Our latest project based learning has focused on planning and preparing for hosting our own unique Hour of Code event. On Friday, December 12th our class co-hosted the Code-a-thon with Kindergarten class at Oak Lake Community School. After over the last few weeks, my Grade 2s were very excited to lead their coding activities and share their coding expertise. I was incredibly proud of my students as I watched them teach other (younger and older) students and community members about coding. ...
Padma S
Project Based Learning Project based learning- Creating a culture of inquiry Project based learning allows the students to create a culture of inquiry by making them curious. They start testing theories, sharing discoveries and move towards innovative solutions. When the students are encouraged to ask know-how and know-why questions, they are indulged with intellectual thirst. Reflecting critically on ideas, actions and outcomes will lend a way for constructive restructuring. It is a teacher's job to give them opportunities to maintain and develop analytic skills. I ...
Jennifer Apy
Project Based Learning Nurture Creativity with Computer Programming As kids, we embrace imaginative play, we ask questions, paint colorful pictures, and build elaborate things with our blocks, but somewhere along the way our capacity for creative thinking diminishes. It’s not because we lack the “creative gene”, we just haven’t reinforced it or, as researcher George Land concludes from his longitudinal study on creativity and divergent thinking, we have "unlearned it". There are many aspects of computer programming that can nurture creativity. And if reinforced...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Kids Who Code: Exploring and Evaluating Coding Tools The project is well underway in our classroom! Our class has been exploring coding for the last couple of weeks. We've learned that coding is "giving computers instructions/directions" and students have had the chance to try out a variety of coding tools. My students have learned a lot (and so have I!) Here is what we've been up to: Exploration Time: Students have used different devices to explore a variety of coding tools including Lightbot, Hopscotch, Kodable, Code Monkey, ScratchJr., Tynker...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning The Pigeon Meets Flat Matt Once you get the PBL train rolling, it's hard to stop and sometimes... projects collide! My class has been working on the since earlier this spring and they are doing a great job of planning, writing, illustrating and publishing their own books. When we were invited to join the "" project, we enthusiastically accepted. Eventually the two projects collided and The Pigeon met Flat Matt. Here's the details: Matt, also known as "Flat Matt", was sent to us by a 1st Class (six and seven year olds) at ...
Devon Caldwell
Project Based Learning Kids Who Code Code-a-thon Meets Project-Based Learning! My teaching partner and friend, , and I have worked together for a number of years on a variety of learning projects. For the past few years, our collaborations have focused on service-based projects where we have strived to make a difference, both locally and globally. A great deal of rich, real-life learning has taken place, and it has been inspiring to guide our students as they have become change agents in their homes and communities. From selling cookies and iced tea to , to planning and ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning 'It's the Economy Stupid...' 'It's the economy stupid' is a variation on what was said by Bill Clinton in running for the 1992 election against George W Bush. What Clinton focused on was an obvious issue: without economic growth there would be no prosperity and not much could happen. I was thinking about this and the response to my last post when I was in Buenos Aires a couple of weeks ago at an educational conference. Great people and huge enthusiasm for change. Yet the country struggles in the light of a global economy ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Progress Slippage... Looking out at education 2014 to 2015 one cannot help but feel that the global context is getting rather worse. Governments around the world are still wrestling with budget difficulties caused by the 2008 collapse. And now new economic gloom is descending in Europe and the Far East. Meanwhile renewed war and instability in the Middle East, the Ebola outbreak and armed conflict in Ukraine all paint a picture of things spinning out of control. Of course the world has been at such cross roads ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning Progress with the Pigeon Project If you haven’t yet checked out the Pigeon Project, read about our latest learning adventures and hop over to my classroom blog to see some wonderful student-authored books that my class has recently published! (If you’re up for a romantic story, read . Or perhaps you need a reminder about manners? Try reading . If you love the farm or just enjoy the Pigeon’s hilarious antics, read “. Maybe just read them all if you have time; my students are happy to share their books with you!) Here's our ...
Padma S
Project Based Learning Decide the theme and design for change The teachers and the students can project their views and identify the real issues and concerns in the community and bring a change for a better world.Diverse issues can be jotted down and the ideas can be implemented with systematic strategies. I have taken an issue for 3 months as a project and thereby planned 4 issues per year. I have devised strategies to implement the same through brainstorming session and by informed choices of the students. So, active participation and motivation was ...
Champa Rathnayake
Project Based Learning Project Based Learning and Multiple Intelligences Project based learning situations allow students to choose their own topics and create learning activities based on their interests and capabilities. ,"the extent to which students possess different kinds of minds and therefore learn,remember,perform and understand in different ways." According to his MI theory,we are all able to know the world through language, logical-mathematical analysis,spatial representation,musical thinking,the use of the body to solve problems or to make things,an ...
Minnia Feng
Project Based Learning I really didn't know that... Learning math could actually be fun! MSEN Community, have you heard about Jumpido? I was amazed when I first saw the video introducing this really cool app. To many of us growing up, math existed in the form of ink on a page, dull numbers that didn't mean much as they lived in a separate world within the textbook. Now with technology, we can make math come to life through platforms such as Xbox Kinect, which tracks movement and allows students to solve math problems through motion! Using ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning The Pigeon Project: Our Journey to Authoring Pigeon Books I am excited to start a new school year, especially since I know I have a great group of students and parents to work with! For the first time, I am looping up to Grade 2 with my Grade 1 class from last year. I think it is going to be great and I can't wait to see what incredible things we will do together this year! In the whirlwind that occurs during the end of the school year, our class started an incredible writing project. We were so busy that we didn't really even have the chance to share,...
Jennifer Apy
Project Based Learning Computer Programming Helps Develop Math Skills If you are looking for a project-based way to support math learning in the classroom, try computer programming. Several teachers have described to me how they are using Tynker (a creative computing platform) to support math – by easily creating fun math simulations, or creating real-world connections and structured collaboration with math concepts. If kids are creating games with computer programming, they are using and observing math skills in a fun way! Math is a critical skill for kids to ...
Champa Rathnayake
Project Based Learning Observations on gender differences while engage in PBL Although the day was so busy with students and usual obstacles and challenges in daily routine at school ,I feel really wonderful at the end of the day.Because i have succeeded with my "tricks" to attract more girls to ICT integrated learning activities! Usually boys lead project activities in the field (outside classroom) and integrate with ICT tools.When the project was started boys initiated with ideas,plans,activities-girls just nodding heads agree or pretend to agree.Activities were assigned...
Minnia Feng
Project Based Learning Recruiting NOW: Microsoft Global Enterprise Challenge Teachers are increasingly turning to project-based learning to engage students and to bring together all the important 21st century skills they’ll need in higher education and post-school life. At their best, these projects not only teach real-life skills, they also teach collaboration and maybe even connect students to peers in other schools. So when the UK’s Broadclyst Community Primary School (a Microsoft Mentor School) brought its idea for a Global Enterprise Challenge to the Global Forum’s ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Project based learning from the master See this! ...
Project Based Learning Robótica desde temprana edad El objetivo es incluir la robótica en el aula, y aprender conceptos iniciales de programación de forma lúdica y práctica. La experiencia se desarrolla en talleres en horario extracurricular con sesiones de 40 estudiantes de 4 a 7 años de edad que asisten a la escuela publica al sur de la capital salvadoreña. CONTENIDOS: Organización Espacial: Direccionalidad y Lateralidad. A modo de juego debemos de llevar al bee bot por el camino correcto para llegar donde se le indica, programando el robot ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Something Interesting to Teach Body language! This is excellent so have a look and have a think! How could you use this in a lesson.... ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Design an app One of the problems in school is that scenarios - even PBL scenarios -- are not authentic. So business classes can end up making banal products that sell to family and friends based on sympathy rather than actual use. What to do? Well you could start here and learn how to make a real product - an app in this case. See: Yes maybe it sounds crazy. But why not? A lot of new businesses start with a crazy idea and a lot of conviction. Could students do this too? Why not try! ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning What about an envelope? We all know what an envelope is - something that (mostly) contains paper. But what about a container form ideas at school? Where do we find such an envelope for that? Too often ideas for students appear that show little overall connection. This can be true for PBL as much as anything else, so it all seems as someone wrote about history, 'just one damn thing after another.' So I would like to recommend an idea. A book no less. A short one and a significant one: Jean Francois Rischard: 20 Global ...
Saba Adnan
Project Based Learning Projects Based Assessment What is the best way or ways for assessment of project based learning? Is it possible to conduct project based assessment on prior learning ( non PBL)? How can each individual be given a score on their individual knowledge building when the final product is a group effort? ...
Chris Gerry
Project Based Learning Back to the Future: It's all about skills An article by two academics (Frey and Osborne) late last year looks at the number of jobs that are currently under threat from computerisation. By that they mean either robots or computer algorithms. After a lengthy analysis their conclusion is nearly half (47 per cent) of jobs could be replaced (or are being replaced) today and this figure is only likely to go higher in future years as computing power increases. You can read the whole piece here: Straws in the wind maybe but last week the well ...
Leah Obach
Project Based Learning One Hour, No Power Challenge My Grade 1s have been working on reducing our classroom energy consumption as part of the . One part of is the One Hour, No Power challenge. The task was to go without power in our classroom for an hour or try to accumulate multiple hours without power. Student Goal Setting: Students chose to aim for accumulating 10 hours without power. For this challenge, the description stated "One hour of no power is defined as one classroom not using power for one hour. That is to say, if you have two ...
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!...
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...