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September 24, 2013

Project-based learning has been shown through research to be effective, and common sense tells us it’s something kids of all ages can enjoy. But what does it really look like? Watch this video to find out.

You’ll see many of the core tenets of project-based learning – a project that has relevance, is student-driven, addresses real-life problems, and offers hands-on learning opportunities. The youth in this video are responding to a real community challenge by becoming part of the solution.

The video serves as an introduction to the Project-Based Learning course. Get a glimpse of how the steps of project-based learning play out, then continue learning by completing the course.  

September 24, 2013

Because project-based learning is such a different method than what many of us are used to, it requires staff to wear a new hat: a facilitator’s hat. Facilitation is different from directing or leading and it allows for learning to be more student-centered.

Staff may need practice and support in this new role, though. Use this checklist from the Project-Based Learning Coaching Module to help staff feel at ease in the role of facilitator and to find ideas for getting project-based learning going with students.  

September 24, 2013

While staff are taking a step back and handing over the reins to youth when it comes to project-based learning, all projects should still be well thought-out and planned. A project is much more likely to lead to learning gains and be more fun if it is well-planned from the very beginning.

Not sure where to start? Use the Project-Based Learning Project Planner from the Y4Y Design Studio to help you get going. This tool guides you through all of the items that you need to think about to ensure a successful project.  

September 24, 2013

One of the greatest assets of the project-based learning approach is its contribution to building 21st century skills in youth – such as collaboration, time management, and public speaking. The best way to develop these skills is with an intentional focus, which demands that staff be aware of what 21st century skills are and deliberately plan programming to incorporate those skills.

If you’d like to set your staff up for success with 21st century skills, try this Training Starter for a staff development session. The Training Starter provides a framework for a training session and allows you to build out the rest with your own examples, activities, and timing.

Download the Training Starter as a Word document and fill in your ideas to make a ready-to-go training plan!  

August 20, 2013

All programs strive to provide youth with hands-on learning that is memorable, meaningful, and authentic. Hands-on learning is also a component that is central to any well-planned project. That’s why project-based learning (including civic learning and engagement projects) is an excellent opportunity for programs.

When building a project, staff can ensure hands-on learning and provide youth with real-life experiences in their community by applying the approach of active investigation. As active investigators, students learn more about community issues from a firsthand perspective instead of just learning about them from facts and figures. Active investigation can mean charting the locations of garbage receptacles to discover gaps that might be leading to a litter problem. It can involve attending a city council meeting and asking a well-planned question about the proposed plans for new, safer lighting near the community center. Students can also think on a national or a global scale and actively investigate issues by connecting virtually with students and adults in another location.

There are many forms of active investigation that can fit your project and your students; check out these examples and see what might work for your next civic learning and engagement project.