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By David Hoffman - Posted Jan 1, 2017
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We start out 2017 with a focus on project-based learning (PBL), the authentic, engaging, all-encompassing approach to teaching and learning that has taken off so strongly in K–12 education recently.

The Tools for Learning feature and tools/resources compilation for this month, Victor Rivero’s Project-Based Learning: Engagement, Authenticity, and Collaboration on a Mission (page 5), gives evidence that PBL has come of age and that there’s plenty out there that you can tap into. Victor sees good PBL projects in the following light: “Taking on a common task with others—collaborating in an authentic engagement type of situation—is not merely busywork. It’s either practice for real work, or real work itself.” Give the piece a read, and dig into the resources he lists.

Carolyn Foote, meanwhile, uses this month’s Idea Watch column to promote the idea that PBL can be effectively fostered through school libraries’ use of design and space, as well as, of course, librarians’ collaboration with teachers and students. It’s that collaborative, “idea-mongering” environment that she has in mind. To create it, she says, requires flexible, easily modified spaces in the library. That’s clear in this statement: “For example, our own brainstorming lab where the environmental science teacher conducted class for her project was once a computer lab with stationary tables and fixed computers. We remade the space to inspire teachers and students to use the library for creative and collaborative work.” Find out more in School Libraries, Librarians, and Project-Based Learning (page 12).

And our look at project-based learning is rounded out with straight-up coverage of two PBL-related products in the Reviews section: Expeditions, from Google (page 15), and Educurious, from Educurious Partners (page 16). Each can involve students and teachers in real-world projects and real-world problems.

David Hoffman, editor

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