What is Global Project-Based Learning?
In this module, you will learn the key components of project-based learning (PBL) as a teaching method, drawing on OneBench’s model for Global Project-Based Learning with research and resources from PBL Works (formerly known as The Buck Institute of Education), a leader in developing and sharing PBL best practices. This module will lay the groundwork for you to conduct engaging projects that align with content standards and curriculum, address real world challenges, and engage students with people outside of their classroom.
In global project-based learning, students are involved in individual and collaborative work to explore real-world problems. Students participate in projects and practice an interdisciplinary array of skills from math, language arts, geography, science and technology.
Through global project-based learning, youth acquire skills in critical thinking and cross-cultural awareness while connecting their learning to real world issues. This approach has many benefits for students, including:
“Essential Project Design Elements” of Gold Standard PBL
In project based learning, academic content and skills are covered as students explore issues and challenges, leading to a final product as an authentic display of their learning. PBLWorks describes Seven Essential Project Design Elements for in-depth, meaningful project-based learning:
Credit: PBL Works – Buck Institute of Education
Project Based Teaching Practices: In addition to the recently enhanced model of PBL called “Gold Standard PBL,” PBLWorks has created Project Based Teaching Practices. The Project Based Teaching Practices expand on what it means to implement PBL well, beyond designing the project.
Key Components of Global PBL
Within a global project, students enhance critical thinking skills, apply learning to real problems, take action in local communities, and develop both cross-cultural awareness and global citizenship.
Global Projects through OneBench are:
Since each classroom and school environment is different, global projects can look different in each participating classroom as teachers adapt them to their students’ needs and available resources. In order to effectively collaborate across various educational systems, global projects are initiated and designed by teachers and students in the network to relate to local issues while meeting their own curriculum needs.
A key to success in a global project is building effective relationships with educators around the world. Most educational systems do not emphasize or even encourage collaborative curriculum project work – even within the same school. Therefore, it is extremely important to establish relationships among teachers to share the difficult task of collaborating on projects across diverse educational systems, time zones and schedules, cultural differences, linguistic obstacles, and in the absence of in-person communications.
Global projects create an authentic audience for students because they involve collaborating with students in another country; this audience plays a key role in student motivation. Just as teachers must build relationships with partner teachers in the planning process, teachers must also plan how students will communicate and engage to build collaborative relationships with their peers around the world.
Global projects involve a collaborative final product or exhibition of the learning that has taken place as part of the project work. These might include electronic or print publications, websites, reports, campaigns, presentations and many other examples that demonstrate what youth have learned from the project.
Teachers around the world engage their students in different ways through global project-based learning. Some teachers use projects throughout the year as a primary way to organize their curriculum while others will use PBL occasionally. In OneBench, global projects vary in length, depth, and scope to meet diverse classroom needs.
Projects vs. Project-Based Learning
Projects can take many different shapes, sizes and scopes. In many traditional class projects, teachers cover academic content through lectures, readings, and class exercises and then students are assigned a project to show what they learned. For example, students may be asked to create a poster, presentation, or report as a group or individually to show their learning. Students then present their final projects in class and are tested on the content at the end of the unit.
In project-based learning, projects drive the everyday teaching and learning activities. Students take ownership of their projects from the beginning and help direct the process and determine outcomes. Class assignments, group work, lectures, readings, and other instructional activities help students answer project-related questions and develop their final display of learning. In global project-based learning, students work with their peers around the world on the research, planning, development, and presentation of their project work.
Project Snapshot: Finding Solutions to Hunger
In this module, you identified the skills that students gain through participation in global projects-reviewed PBLWorks; “Essential Project Design Elements” for project-based learning, and learned some of the main components that characterize collaborative projects. The additional articles and links included in the resources section will help expand your understanding of PBL and conducting projects with global peers.
The next module will guide you through several steps in developing a collaborative project plan. As you brainstorm your project idea and connect with other educators to develop your plan, keep the key components of global PBL in mind. While teachers with advanced experience in project-based learning will incorporate many or all of the “Essential Project Design Elements” into their class projects, we advise teachers who are new to global PBL to start small and to slowly introduce new components and activities to students.
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