Projects are not Project-Based Learning.
My amigas at Secondary Spanish Space invited me to contribute a post about what PBL is--and is not--in language classes. Here's a sample:
Posters and videos and in-class presentations make learning tangible. They can become treasured artifacts of growth. On display, they can even inspire others to learn more. But if they are created as an afterthought, if they are tacked on after the “real” assessment as a sort of treat or distraction--as an intermission from Serious Work--they are not PBL. They are what the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) describes as “dessert” projects.
In PBL, though, projects are the main course.
Project-Based Learning means the learning takes place through preparation of the final product, through preparation for the final presentation. The presentation part is especially crucial for language classes because there is nothing like an authentic Spanish-speaking audience to make believers of our students.
BIE emphasizes eight elements that are essential to a Gold Standard PBL project, which I think can be broken down into three categories for world language instruction: Context, Input, and Output.
To learn more about how Context, Input, and Output align with BIE's Gold Standard criteria, check out the post on their site!