Thursday, October 25, 2012

Expeditionary Learning Challenges

In this interview with project-based learning teacher David Grant, he describes the challenges and struggles of creating a framework for PBL. Kids engage in real world problems that are complex, work with real professionals, and make products that are meaningful. Some components to the framework are having between six to seven adults to help guide the projects and modifying it to meet student needs.

To make PBL work and to have a PBL school, there needs to be a gradual shift and change within the school that includes staff summer institutes for planning, schedule changes and flexibility to meet the needs of projects, staff created practices that are used throughout the school, end of the year reflection systems for teachers and students, and support systems for teachers to plan and collaborate.

Some other critical components that need to be in place are student designed rubrics, on-to-one laptop access, staff and student critique sessions for refinement . Provided below is the link to this video and a reflection about its impact


This case gives us some insight into what are necessary frameworks for sustaining a successful PBL school environment. The case also shares what potential challenges there are and how to make this framework successful.

The interview is significant because David Grant offers institutionally based parameters that need top be met to make PBL successful. For example, schedules need to be flexible for project needs, student need to be a part of the rubric creation process, and a summer institute for planning and implementation is necessary. I also appreciate how he identifies that projects need to be created by teachers prior to the project launch and students need to see what is being asked of them.

More than any other piece of information shared here is the teacher created project. I often ask my students to make a product without having made it myself first. Students need a model and something to work towards. This is a difficult process for me personally because of both time and skills. I'm great at writing and reading, but anything that requires "making something" is a challenge.

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