Project-Based Learning as Professional Development September 4 - 11, 2007


Join the Adult Literacy Professional Development List to explore and share innovative practices in Project-Based Learning (PBL) as Professional Development. Guest participant Heide Spruck Wrigley will share her experiences with successful professional development models focused on PBL. A team of teachers who have facilitated student-projects in their classes will actively participate, share their professional development experiences, and offer practical advice on implementing projects. We hope you will join us and share your work.

Discussion topics include:

  • Essential elements of project-based learning
  • Why bother? Exploring the value added of project-based learning in ESOL and ABE
  • Examples of successful professional development models focused on project-based learning
  • Myths and realities: Is project-based learning time well-spent?
  • Does PBL work? Evidence from research and practice
  • Assessments in project-based learning and student performance
  • How to get started in project-based learning

This discussion introduces the list's Topic-of-the-Month: Keys to Communities of Practice.

Guest Biography

Heide Spruck Wrigley has been involved in all aspects of adult literacy, including family literacy, workplace literacy, adult ESL, EL civic and transition to higher education. Her work focuses on the intersection of policy, research, professional development, and classroom practice. She is currently a (non-resident) fellow with the Migration Policy Institute, a non-partisan Think Tank in Washington, D.C. and is finishing up a research and materials development project for Youth-at-Risk outside of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Her staff development work around project-based learning includes a 3 year consultancy with Project IDEA, a Texas state wide Master Teacher project focused on PBL and a five year ongoing professional development project with teachers in Socorro, Texas. Her PBL work includes an emphasis on putting low and high end technology in the hands of learners (tape recorders, PowerPoint, digital cameras, video cameras) and creating learner showcases for the demonstration of these projects to a wider community of parents, teachers, and learners.

Heide has been key in a number of U.S. national research studies focused on ESL literacy, but she has also been involved with ABE programs, youth literacy programs and with the Adult Literacy Media Alliance (TV 411). Her international work includes evaluations of teacher training programs in Poland and in Egypt, staff development in China, and presentations in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and in the UK. When she's home, Heide lives in Mesilla, a small town in Southern New Mexico, an hour from the US Mexico border.

Preparation for Discussion

Project-Based Learning and Professional Development Practical Ideas Research to Practice
a. ; d. c. ; f. ; e. ; i. a. ; b. ; g. ; h.

  1. Research in Action: Teachers, Projects, and Technology
    -- Project-Based Learning and Professional Development
  2. Knowledge in Action: The Promise of Project-Based Learning
    Focus on Basics, v.2 Issue D
    -- From Research to Practice
  3. Border Program Develops Model for State
    Socorro Independent School District implements three-year demonstration project
    -- Examples of lesson plans and projects from Socorro, TX
  4. From Low-Tech to High-Tech: Promising Practices in Integrating new Media into Adult Literacy and ESL
    -- Examples of Projects that Integrate Technology
  5. Teachers Writing about Their Experience with PBL
  6. Less Teaching and More Learning: Turning from traditional methods to project-based instruction, the author found that her students learned more
    -- Susan Gaer's article and the terrific website for both interactive computer-based learning and student web projects
  7. Problem-based or Project-Based: Is there a big difference and what's appropriate for my class?
  8. Project-Based Learning
    -- A Compendium of Ideas and Reports on the Adult Literacy Education Wiki
  9. From Life Skills to Projects: Anatomy of a Project in a Class for Displaced Workers
    -- A powerpoint with photos of PBL examples


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