The Students and Parents of Project-Based Learning

We attended PBL World, a conference held by the Buck Institute for Education every year in Napa, California, to dive deeper into high quality project-based learning and had the opportunity to hear powerful stories from students, parents, and educators. In this podcast, you will hear from some of the people we talked with and learn why they are vested in project-based learning.
Das Sisters 2Briana and Leona Das, two high school students from Redwood City, California, keynoted this year’s PBL World conference and shared stories of their projects, beginning when they attended a project-based learning preschool. Briana and Leona have done a variety of projects, including forming a group called Tribe Awesome (watch a video of one of their projects) as a project to grow plants without using soil, called aeroponics.
Fortunately, we also were able to sit with their parents, Muge and Joydip, to learn about how they have fostered a love for projects in their daughters and believe it will be a key to their success and happiness in the future. We were especially delighted to learn about how these amazing parents fostered such focused and determined students.
81f7f143-5362-4fb5-a98f-e0aec8336d95_EL20and20Das20parentsAs Getting Smart highlighted in our Smart Parents project and book, parents definitely can encourage and promote powerful learning experiences at home, at school and everywhere in between. Muge and Joydip amazed us in their inspiration, intention and focus on being informed.
We also chatted with Kevin Armstrong and Abby Schneiderjohn, both teachers from Katherine Smith Elementary School, who discuss how their school transitioned to being almost entirely project-based and why they feel it is a great way to teach.
It was validating to hear from each of these three major stakeholders–students, parents and educators–as they discussed the positive outcomes PBL can create.

This podcast is part of our coverage of this year’s conference on project-based learning, PBL World, and is sponsored by Buck Institute for Education. For more on project-based learning resources, visit and consider attending next year’s conference in June 2017.
For more on a campaign to promote equitable access to deeper learning outcomes for success in college and career, check out our year-long thought leadership campaign, It’s a Project-Based World.
For more on project-based learning, see:

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Bonnie Lathram

Bonnie Lathram is a student advocate and former teacher.

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