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successful PBL. But moving from individual schools to mass implementation of main course Project-Based Learning will require vision and leadership at the district, state and eventually, the national level. In West Virginia, we find one example of how this could occur. Governor Joe Manchin and State Superintendent, Dr. Steven L. Paine have created Teach 21, a multi- faceted initiative to better prepare students to meet 21st century educational goals. Teach 21 is a top-to-bottom effort to redesign West Virginia schools for the 21st century. It includes re- thinking and revising state standards and assessment, teacher credentialing, and profession- al development. Relying on wikis and other technologies to share information, disseminate approved project designs, and support teachers, West Virginia educators and their students are being treated as 21st century learners.

Main course Project-Based Learning is an instructional strategy that enables students to learn meaningful content and practice skills needed for 21st century success. It also pays off in terms of traditional student achievement and college success. For example, a four-year study of project-based instruction in Detroit Public Schools demonstrated that middle school students learn more science when it is taught with a project-based approach (Geier, R., Blu- menfeld, P.C., Marx, R.W., Krajcik, J.S., Fishman, B., Soloway, E., & Clay-Chambers, J. 2008). And research conducted by the New Technology Foundation (www.newtechfoundation.org) and the High Tech High Foundation (www.hightechhigh.org), and described on their websites, has shown that a higher percentage of students graduating from their project-based high schools go on to college compared to similar students attending similar schools within the same district. If we are serious about reaching 21st century educational goals, main course Project-Based Learning must be at the center of 21st century instruction.

References

Geier, R., Blumenfeld, P.C., Marx, R.W., Krajcik, J.S., Fishman, B., Soloway, E., & Clay-Chambers, J. (2008). Standardized test outcomes for students engaged in inquiry-based science curricula in the context of urban reform. Journal of research in science teaching, 45(8), 922_939.

High Tech High. (2009). About us. Retrieved from: http://www.hightechhigh.org/about/

Kirkpatrick, W.H. (2001). The project method. Teachers college record. Reprinted in F. Schultz (Ed.), Sources: Notable selections in education. (pp. 26-33). Guilford, CT: The Dushkin Publishing Group, Inc. (Original work published in 1918).

New Tech Network: Powering the Future of Learning. (2009). About us. Retrieved from:

http://www.newtechfoundation.org/about.html

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Virginia Educational Leadership

Vol. 7 No. 1

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