The Buck Institute for Education (BIE) is the industry leader in providing professional development, products, and support services related to the Project Based Learning (PBL) teaching and learning methodology. Through this method, K-12 students work on extended projects that engage them in solving real-world problems. They demonstrate their knowledge, critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills while also focusing on teamwork, confidence, public speaking, and resilience. Projects often involve environmental issues such as climate change, sustainability, pollution, and habitat protection, including one created by the National Environmental Education Foundation and curated by BIE.

This year, BIE gathered 25 prominent educators and representatives of organizations with an interest in PBL at Cavallo Point through the Convene program for their High Quality PBL Steering Committee with the aim to develop guidelines for widespread adoption. The national park lodge and surrounding Fort Baker area created “the sense of being ‘away from it all’ yet not remote from the real world around us,” the BIE organizers said. “The location is one of the main attractions; having the close-up view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the dramatic landscape of the San Francisco Bay gives a sense of importance and ‘world-classness’ to the work we do there. The site and the way the historic buildings have been preserved yet modernized creates a feeling that ‘we are doing some historic work here.’ Being able to stroll the grounds amid the scenery gives participants in events the opportunity for reflection and contemplation.”

High-Quality PBL Steering Committee at Cavallo Point (Photo Credit: BIE)

While PBL is gaining awareness and acceptance, there is a concern that quick growth without focus could dilute the marketplace and effectiveness of a proven method. As such, BIE hopes to facilitate the development of PBL implementation guidelines to be used by teachers, schools, districts and states, other countries, education support organizations, curriculum providers, and researchers. While this is just the first step of their 4-year strategic plan, the group meeting at Cavallo Point generated initial ideas for defining the characteristics that must be present for a project to be deemed “high quality”. By Spring 2018, BIE hopes to finalize the guidelines and publish them on a website accessible to the public.

The Institute at the Golden Gate was happy to provide an inspiring backdrop for BIE’s important work. The Convene program offers special discounted rates to non-profit and government groups gathering to address environmentally-focused issues and runs annually from November through April. Learn more about the Convene program, if your group qualifies for the special discounted rate, and how to apply by visiting our Convene page.

Tags: convene
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