Harvard’s Project Zero

Galang, Johnny


Harvard Graduate School of Education (2018). Homepage. Retrieved from http://www.pz.harvard.edu/

Project Zero is a comprehensive website with many resources for curriculum development, assessment, and a wealth of other topics. There are free tools and education around topics such as essential questions, deep learning, and developing a culture of thinking.

It may be overwhelming to someone who is new to educational theory, but can provide useful tools to push your practice further.

Adriana Lugo


Embedding Assessment Throughout the Project (Keys to PBL Series Part 5), (2014). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JBK4C6agqAA.

This video is a culmination to PBL and walks you, step by step, on how to make assessment a part of your PBL project. They explain the five learning keys that an assessment should have in order for it to be successful. They offer tips throughout the video. I recommend watching all five videos in the series.

What if Students Controlled Their Own Learning?

Kira Koop

ET = Educational Theory and Practice
CA = Curriculum Assessment
CO = Collaboration

IL = Information Literacy and 21st Century Skills

Hutton, P. (2014). What if students controlled their own learning? | Peter Hutton | TEDxMelbourne. [Video] YouTube.com: TEDx Talks.

This resource touches on elements of all four main sections of the course, but mainly resides within the category ET: Educational Theory and Practice. In this video, Peter Hutton describes the situation at his school, TC (for Take Control) in Australia, where the school experience is created by and for the students. Students sit on the panels for hiring teachers, they have input into the curriculum, and they choose their classes. There is no traditional homework assigned, instead, students are required to create a plan each week for 10 hours of “home learning” – whether that’s completing a project begun in class, conducting an experiment at home, or any other idea. The school’s default policy for questions or suggestions from students and parents is “yes”, unless it costs too much, costs too much time, or interferes with another person’s learning.

This is a radical approach to schooling, and it was fascinating to learn about this school’s approach to learning. The idea that students are trusted to know what they wish to learn, after demonstrating a set level of literacy and ability, and are able to choose every single course they participate in (from 120 electives!) is wonderful and mind-boggling. I’m having difficulty imagining this strategy in place at the high school that I graduated from, which was a fairly conservative, religiously-based school. The more I think about it, however, the more I like the idea of empowering students in this way. Each child or teenager at this school must have a very defined idea of their own agency and their own power, which turns the current dynamic of authority-submissive in the classroom on its head. 

Crafting Professional Development for Maker Educators

Alicia Morales


Graves, C. (2016). Crafting Professional Development for Maker Educators from Edutopia retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/crafting-professional-development-maker-educators-colleen-graves on September 2016. 
Summary: Maker spaces are a growing trend in many libraries, public or school, they usually involve hands on learning, crafts, and student collaboration, they are great ways to learn. This article’s focus was taking this same concept, maker spaces for student learning, but instead of student learning, it’s moved to teacher learning. Maker Spaces for Teacher PD’s. Creating successful professional development should focus on getting teacher/learners involved in thinking about the process and creativity of learning. It an be messy yes, but in the end teachers experience what students experience when making content. 

The Flip: End of a Love Affair

Wright, S. (2012, October 8). The flip: End of a love affair. [Weblog post]. Powerful Learning Practice. Retrieved from http://plpnetwork.com/2012/10/08/flip-love-affair/

Summary: This Weblog post discusses a teacher’s experience using the Flipped Classroom and its effect on instruction and education. Wright references a previous post where she describes implementing the flipped classroom and how she enjoyed this method of instruction. The author still holds by everything in her previous post but reflects that the flipped classroom did not provide the “transformative learning experience” she wanted for her students. With a shift from a teacher-centered to a student-centered classroom, Wright’s students took more and more control over their learning. Over time, her role changed and her classroom became one of inquiry and problem based learning.

Evaluation: Wright’s experiences in the flipped classroom are comprehensive and enlightening. It would be beneficial if she expressed how she guided the class (if at all) towards its new manifestation or provided some guidelines on how to shift a class from flipped class to a problem based learning class. Wright could better explain how students took ownership of their own learning. Further, did this effect occur with only one cohort or subsequent classes? This post led me to wonder if Wright’s experiences are common or not or if the flipped classroom is just a step towards something else entirely, rather than an ending point for instruction. 

TED Talks Education

Karen Rogers


TED. (2013, May 11). TED Talks Education. Retrieved July 13, 2016, from

Summary:  This video has a plethora of educators, Bill Gates, psychologists, and students who talk about educational theory, new ways of looking at curriculum and assessment, and how to improve our teaching.  The speakers talk about the importance of relationships, inquiry, perseverance, how to motivate students, and ways to help teachers improve.

Review:  The video is incredibly empowering and inspiring.  It encourages teachers to change their traditional mindset and take some risks in education.  It talks about the problems faced in education and ways to improve them.  It talks about the importance of building up student confidence and passion for knowledge being even more important than talent.  I think it is something all people in education should watch before starting the school year.

Project-Based Learning: Success Start to Finish

Karen Rogers

CA = Curriculum Assessment
CO = Collaboration

 Edutopia. (2012, May 23). Project-Based Learning: Success Start to Finish. Retrieved July 13, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OWX6KZQDoE 
Summary:  This is a great video about Manor New Technology High School where they have a completely project-based learning program.  The video demonstrates how teachers implement and create the projects for the classroom.  It gives a great amount of information about why you should choose project-based learning and how to assess the projects.
Reflection:  This video was very useful and I think it would be a great video to show staff who have doubts about delving into project-based learning because it actually shows the planning process and thought process behind teaching in this way.  A lot of the fear around this type of learning deals with teachers not having the knowledge on how to start planning or implementing these types of lessons.  Most educators agree that this type of learning is best for helping students to engage and learn in the classroom, but they don’t know how.

Transforming pedagogy: changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered

Jana Brubaker


Dole, S., Bloom, L., and Kowalske, K.  (2016).  Transforming pedagogy: changing perspectives from teacher-centered to learner-centered.  Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 10(1).

This article reviews the similarities and differences of problem-based learning and project-based learning, which was interesting to me.  Both are inquiry based, and have similar processes, but different results.  Project-based learning results in a product, or an artifact, while problem-based learning results in solutions rather than products.  One important similarity between the two is the role of the teacher as a facilitator or a coach.  Another similarity is that both are cross-curricular and emphasize student choice.  Both contain what is needed for deeper learning and content mastery.  This deeper learning transfers to other contexts.  
Although research is beginning to show that these models of learning produce deeper learning, they are difficult to implement in schools that are focused on standards-based learning and assessment.  Such a big change in pedagogy takes time.  Teachers need to be able to discuss, think about, and practice teaching in this way before implementing it.  The authors conducted a field study in which they offered an online summer course, with one week of field experience, on both models of learning.  After returning to the classroom, they interviewed the teacher participants to find out if they were using these models of learning. Sixty-four percent of the teachers said that they were still using the models due to the course and field experience and 100% said they would recommend those models to others.

Most of the teachers said it was a great learning experience for them.  They learned how to maintain order in an environment that appears more chaotic.  They were able to focus on critical thinking and problem solving skills in a new way.  They learned how to differentiate and allow students to take control of their learning.  Student participants also had positive experiences.  Classroom climate was reportedly better.  Student-teacher relationships improved too. Overall, the article helped me gain a better grasp of the differences between the two teaching models.

Going Gradeless: Student Self-assessment in PBL

 Leslie Fox

Weyers, M. Going gradeless: Student self-assessment in PBL. (2016). Edutopia. Retreived from:
In this short article Matt Meyer explains his positive experience with going “gradeless” in his 6th grade PBL class.  Meyer’s was inspired to try this new method after reading about Mark Barnes’ ideas of using narrative feedback rather than grades to affect mastery of specific learning targets within a larger project context. Meyers describes his intention to promote learning, increase student’s ability to metacognitively assess their own work against a set of standards. He details the plan to keep parents and administration in the loop as well as using Mastery Connect for formative assessments on a weekly basis.  Results include students asking in a continuous flood of emails “what can I do better?”

While at the time of writing this article, Meyers had only been trying this method for less than a quarter but his enthusiasm at his student’s engagement in the process is definitely exciting and contagious. This article lays out a simple, but powerfully effective plan to begin getting students more engaged in learning. It also offers a breakdown of conferencing with students to find out what they believe they did well or need to do better. This system encourages deeper metacognitive thinking than doing work for a grade. While the idea of “gradeless” classes seems extreme and makes most teachers, administrators and parents extremely nervous, this article shows how incorporating self-assessment into larger units can benefit learning in the classroom.