Autodesk Foundation deserves credit for bringing Project-Based Learning (PBL)
to the attention of educators across the country during the 1990s.
Founded by Joe Oakey, former Commissioner of Education in Vermont
and Micronesia and former manager of Autodesk, Inc.’s Education
Department, the Foundation spread the word nationally about Project-Based
Learning from 1992 until its close in 2000. The Foundation supported
schools and practitioners through the Tinkertech network, and the
Project-Based Learning Network, and through the annual Kids Who
Know and Do conference.
While project-based learning rests on many antecedent practices,
much of the practice in the 1990’s broke new ground by establishing
real-world context, adult connections, student exhibitions and worldwide
publication via the WWW, and authentic assessment.
had the pleasure of leading the Foundation after Joe retired in
1996. Working with a great team that included Elizabeth Share, Judy
Morgan, Sanna Randolph, Laurette Rogers, Ross Kleinberg, Eric Skjei,
Dan Trimble, and Dana Erickson, our small band served as the network
organizer for PBL in the 1990s. Fortunately others have now taken
up the torch, including the George
Lucas Educational Foundation and the Buck
Institute of Education.
are PBL resources to help you in your efforts to create great learning
opportunities for kids.
PBL Trainers, Training Institutes, and PD Services Organizations
PBL Handbooks and Guides
Update from Israel, by Sherman Rosenfeld
- New Book by James
Enriched Learning Projects: A Practical Pathway to 21st Century
Skills and Foreword by Bob Pearlman
Tools, Technologies, and Best Practices for PBL",
by Dan Page, THE Journal, March 2006
Pearlman on Project-Based Learning: Text of video interview
by the George Lucas Educational Foundation.
Schools I Like
you can visit to see PBL in action
- Project-Based Learning on
- Great Student Work
- PBL Information on the Net
- Best PBL Video—October Sky
Work (PW) in Singapore
Dennis Selness, PBL Colleague and Friend
Autodesk Foundation Website (Internet Archive)
Schools I Like
PBL curriculum and student
work at Schools I Like such as Sir Francis Drake High School,
Brookside Elementary School, San Jose Middle School, Mendocino,
the North Coast Rural Challenge Network, and Napa New Technology
you can visit to see PBL in action
schools host School-Based Institutes (SBIs), where visitors can
learn about and see PBL in action. In the current year 2002, unfortunately,
only Napa New Technology High School has scheduled an SBI.
New Technology High School Tours
“RIGOR and RELEVANCE At New Technology High School”
Learning on the Net
is PBL? Definition from the Autodesk Foundation
Sites -- National and International
and Students as Project Organizers and Developers
Eight years after the
World Wide Web was born and thousands of great student projects
created and exhibited, can anyone see this great student work, or
see it in a coherent and organized fashion? Unfortunately too few
schools and organizations have captured this work on the WWW and
made it available to their own publics and to the wider national
and international publics. The Great Student
Work web page is my attempt to share with you some of the best
student work that you can see on the web. With your help this can
be continually updated.
am the moderator of a national email group of PBL leaders and practitioners.
To join, fill in the box above or send a blank email to PBLnetfirstname.lastname@example.org or go to the web site at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PBLnet/.
PBL Information on the Net
The George Lucas Education
Foundation (GLEF) has done a great job of telling the story
of Project-Based Learning through stories, video
and audio clips, and resources. Click on Project-Based
Updated March, 2012
The Buck Institute of
Education's Project Search is
now (2012) the best source on the web for project exemplars. It
includes projects from numerous PBL sources including ConnectEd,
Envision Schools, Expeditionary Learning, High Tech High, West Virginia
DOE, and others.
Project Libraries Page -- Links to online project libraries
from the best PBL sources.
Schools Project Exchange
Tech High Project Library
of Knowledge (2013) -- PBL Pioneers David Thornburg, Norma Thornburg,
and Sara Armstrong have produced a terrific set of video-based inquiry
starters across the curriculum, what some of us call video entry
documents for project-based learning.
Best PBL Video
provides Project-Based Learning (PBL) instruction, structure, and
ongoing support for math teachers in southeastern Indiana. See also
the Math Matters
and Research Archive
-- The best current compilation of PBL research is provided on the
Buck Institute of Education web site. (December,
Summers, E. J., &
Dickinson, G. (2012). A
longitudinal investigation of project based instruction and student
achievement in high school social studies. The Interdisciplinary
Journal of Problem-based Learning, 6(1), 82-103.
Dickinson, G., &
Summers, E. J. (2010). (Re)Anchored
video centered engagement: The transferability of preservice training
to practice. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher
for the Moment, Or the Millennium?, By Jo Boaler, March 31, 1999. Stanford
Professors Jo Boaler’s math studies in England are an example of
the new research on PBL.
2000 Multimedia Project. The final
evaluation of this award-winning project yielded a significant
finding when PBL students were tested on authentic projects in comparison
to a control group.
A REVIEW OF RESEARCH ON PROJECT-BASED
LEARNING (PDF) By John W. Thomas, Ph. D, March, 2000
review examines research related to a teaching and learning model
popularly referred to as "Project-Based Learning" (PBL).
All of the research on Project-Based Learning has taken place in
the past ten years and most of it in just the last few years. Since
there is not a large body of PBL research, the review is inclusive
rather than selective.
review covers eight topics:
- A definition of Project-Based
- Underpinnings of PBL
research and practice,
- Evaluative research:
research on the effectiveness of PBL,
- The role of student
characteristics in PBL,
- Implementation research:
challenges associated with enacting PBL,
- Intervention research:
research on improving the effectiveness of PBL,
- Conclusions, and
- Future directions
for PBL research.