What is Personalized, Project-Based Learning?

This article by Tom Vander Ark on an Education Week blog highlights how schools across the country are implementing personalized, project-based learning and addressing the challenges that often accompany said methods.

” Project-based learning is a great way to engage students, to encourage collaboration and creativity, and to promote authentic work and assessment. But it’s hard to: set a high bar for high quality project deliverables; assess projects objectively especially when they’re all different; help students with low level skills engage in challenging projects; mitigate the free rider problem of loafing team members; provide enough but not too much formative feedback and support; avoid big knowledge gaps resulting from a string of projects.”

A new generation of schools are blending the best of personalized learning and project-based learning to address these challenges. They value deeper learning and development of success skills (growth mindset and social emotional learning) and track competency in all outcome areas. They use a variety of grouping and scheduling strategies to offer a rich and varied learning experience. They provide customized supports to build individualized skill fluency to allow students with learning gaps to fully engage in challenging projects.

While Fairview Schools are not on that list, the district is, and has been, implementing project-based learning. The district’s framework for student success, The Fairview Advantage, outlines nine elements for challenging the mind and instilling the joy of learning and responsible citizenship. Fairview Park City Schools provide students with a broad spectrum of learning experiences that prepare them for the future.

An example from Summit Public Schools

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