Online Professional Development for Project Based Learning: Pathways to Systematic Improvement
This paper describes efforts to increase the prevalence, rigor and relevance of Project Based Learning in US schools and internationally. Under a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education (FIPSE), US Department of Education, the Buck Institute for Education and partners are offering: 1) an online staff development resource, 2) modules for use in teacher training institutions, 3) a re-usable online 3- credit course, and 4) a way to share projects, collaborate on research, and advance understanding of effective use of projects in the classroom. The PBL-Online web site will offer a multi-pathway, interactive, video rich website designed to prepare pre-service and practicing teachers to implement academically rigorous, standards-focused Project Based Learning (PBL). The online materials are based on the BIE Project Based Learning Handbook that provides teachers with in-depth, systematic instruction in the planning, implementation and assessment of standards-focused PBL. Our work with the Handbook was recently highlighted as a key resource for proponents of small school reform in an evaluation of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation National School District and Network Grants Program conducted by the American Institutes for Research with SRI International on page 65 of the report (http://smallhs.sri.com). Making this Handbook available online and offering online instruction in its use will support wider use and study of this promising but often either underutilized or misunderstood approach.
Jason Ravit, John Mergendoller, Thom Markham, Carolyn Thorsen, Kerry Rice, Chareen Snelson, and Sherawn Reberry. "Online Professional Development for Project Based Learning: Pathways to Systematic Improvement" Proceedings of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology Conference (2004).
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/chareen_snelson/34