Project-based learning is focused on research, planning problem-solving, authenticity, and inquiry. Collaboration, resourcefulness, and networking matter too–dozens of characteristics “fit” into project-based learning. Among other characteristics, its popularity comes from its general flexibility as a curriculum framework. Within the context of a well-designed project, you can do, teach, assess, and connect almost anything. The following might be useful if we had to settle on a handful of itemized characteristics for modern, connected, possibly place-based, and often digital project-based learning.
The ability to be agile–to pivot as circumstances, data, and needs change is perhaps the most modern of characteristic. With the quickly changing world, the ability to adapt is an extraordinary sign of strength. Survival in 21st century is possible through pivoting to a new digital media, audience, programming language, timeframe, purpose, or other parameter.
Pivot is when you are designing a kit that helps test water quality for third-world communities, but instead find a way to use Google Maps to help certain communities share water cleaning technology. Pivot is when building an app to help people find restaurants you find out people use it more to set up lunch dates with friends. Pivot is also when trying to build an art museum, you find an incredible source of collectible books instead.
Students are able to see both the micro details and the macro context when they can “pivot” within the development of a project, which is a pretty remarkable assessment in and of itself.