Project-based Learning

Schools across the country are moving to Project-based Learning using the model developed by the Bucks Institute for Education (BIE). During the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 school years Norton Gusky worked with the Central Catholic High School and the Mars Area School District Middle School (MASD). The Central Catholic project involved high school teachers part of an iPad initiative. At Mars Norton worked with an inter-disciplinary team of middle school teachers. Eighth grade MASD students shared their virtual exhibits for their in-depth investigation of the American Revolution with a panel of Board members, Heinz History Center volunteers, and Norton Gusky. The six collaborative teams developed web sites, used Prezi to conduct their virtual tours, and produced marketing materials to advertise their exhibits. The students declared their enthusiasm for the project, especially the ability to make choices, use technology to create products, and to work collaboratively. Other projects included a Greek political campaign, a Holocaust Survivor Research project, restaurant entrepreneurs and a DNA project as a Crime Scene Investigation.

According to BIE:

In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. While allowing for some degree of student “voice and choice,” rigorous projects are carefully planned, managed, and assessed to help students learn key academic content, practice 21st Century Skills (such as collaboration, communication & critical thinking), and create high-quality, authentic products & presentations.

In 2016 Norton began to look at the integration of the arts using a human-centered design approach to Project-based Learning based on the success of the Avonworth School District using this model.

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