Home It’s a Project-Based World: A Thought Leadership Campaign

It’s a Project-Based World: A Thought Leadership Campaign


About one-third of American workers are now engaged in some kind of freelance, or project-based, work. Students are graduating into a working world that encourages short-term projects or “gigs” over full-time employment. And, for those who do work in full-time jobs, they often organize their work into projects, work collaboratively in teams and solve unique and pressing problems.

The jobs of the future require new skills and mindsets, but how do we prepare students for those jobs? And at the same time, how do we help teachers prepare to teach students these new skills and how can leaders support all of this work?

It’s a Project-Based World was a year long thought leadership campaign where Getting Smart explored the economic realities of a project-based world as part of the equity movement to ensure all students are prepared for college, career and citizenship. The purpose of the campaign: to promote equity and access to deeper learning outcomes for all students. We cultivated a blog series, published podcast interviews, publications, and infographics as well as hosted speaking engagements and discussion where we explored topics around the preparation of students, teachers and leaders for a project-based world.


We spent the last year exploring the following questions:

  • What implications does this shift in our economy have on young people and the ways we design our schools?
  • How can we align teacher preparation and professional learning so that it is modeled after the type of project-based learning environments we seek to create for students?
  • How can leaders across sectors foster learning environments that promote equity and access in preparation for a project-based world, with longevity and at scale?

Publications & Infographics

LEARN: Preparing Students for a Project-Based World by Bonnie Lathram, Bob Lenz and Tom Vander Ark explores economic realities, equity, student engagement and instructional and school design in the preparation of all students for college, career and citizenship. There is also a quick start guide for students to get started with projects today.


TEACH: In the paper Preparing Teachers for a Project-Based World, Emily Liebtag and Tom Vander Ark explore how teacher preparation and professional learning can be aligned to–and modeled after–the types of deeper learning environments we also seek to create for students. To complement the paper, we also published a quick start guide for teachers.


LEAD: Preparing Leaders for a Project-Based World highlights the way leaders from education, business and the third sector can support deeper learning  and shares how technology is changing the learning landscape and how roles for education and community leaders are being redefined accordingly. There is also a guide for leaders that shares the 7 keys to leadership development for PBL.


Media: Podcasts & Videos

Superintendent Patricia Deklotz shared with the Getting Smart team how she is working to prepare teachers in the Kettle Moraine School District

Drew Perkins, Director of PD at TeachThought and PBL enthusiast, chatted with Getting Smart about student-centered learning and ideas for how to best prepare teachers for this work.

The Getting Smart podcast features students and educators from Bulldog Tech.

Bonnie Lathram was interviewed on Education Talk Radio on August 31, 2016 with Larry Jacobs.

The Getting Smart podcast features Students and Parents of Project-Based Learning.

Bonnie Lathram was interviewed on Education Innovations Radio with Paula Lazor.

The Getting Smart podcast features student projects and teachers from the Highline School District.

Tom Vander Ark offers a five minute commencement speech from June 2016.


Check out these popular blogs from the It’s a Project-Based World campaign or click here to see them all.

Get Involved


To join the conversation, share this page across social media channels using the hashtag #ProjectBased and follow @Getting_Smart.

Sample Tweets:

  • It’s a #ProjectBased World: @Getting_Smart shares what’s needed to prepare students, teachers & leaders
  • Welcome to the #ProjectBased World – how can we prepare #students and #Teachers?
  • Preparing to Lead in a #ProjectBased world – learn more via @Getting_Smart campaign
  • It’s a #ProjectBased World, so what does that mean for learning, teaching and leading?


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