Part 4… Authenticity: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources

Welcome to the fourth in a series of posts regarding Blending the PBL Gold Standards, I am very excited to share on PBL and Blended/eLearning as it relates to this Blog’s topic of Authenticity. As I reflect, PBL has always been blended. Our challenge is… how to break down the classroom walls even more with the technology we have today. In this series, I will look at each of PBLWork’s Gold Standards. I will provide a short explanation and some free resources examples! Keep in mind that you may want to start small. That might include looking at a past project, or even a large multi-step lesson through the lens of the Gold Standards and free Blended/eLearning resources The Gold Standards from PBLWorks are posted in the picture above. Enjoy this wonderful journey of learning. Before continuing, I would appreciate having you take a moment to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email and follow me at (mjgormans). Taking that moment ensures that we can continue to network, something that is very important to me. Also, please share this post with others and even provide a re-tweet with tools at bottom.  Last, please check my Booking Page to see how I could be part of your school PD or Conference plans.  Enjoy your PBL Journey! – Mike Gorman (

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. I have a number of distance interactive workshops that can be made to fit your schedule. Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021.

Part 4… Authenticity: Free Blended and eLearning PBL Gold Standards Resources by Michael Gorman at 21centuryedtech

Learning must be authentic and meaningful in order for the content to really be understood and usable. While there are several education models that promote this idea, it is a necessity in a well-planned Project Based Learning (PBL) Unit. While memorizing and reciting facts may actually give some positive results on a test, it demonstrates only the lowest levels of learning as represented at the bottom of Bloom’s Taxonomy. PBL provides students that authentic learning experience that allows for real world applications, purpose, student relevant, and an audience beyond their classroom walls. Read more about these four special indicators of an authentic learning experience. While a PBL project may not always have every indicator, it is important to keep these qualities in mind when designing a project

  • Real World (True to the World)
  • Purposeful… The …So what
  • Relevant to the Here and Now
  • Audience and Mentors

1. True to the World – Learning must have meaning which extends to the real world, outside the walls of the brick and mortar classroom. The equations of math and the theories of science are a language of their own and reside in that real world. Today’s technology allows students to interact with the larger community, visit another continent, and even travel across the solar system. Curricular concepts and standards can become real and filled with meaning.
2. Purposeful – PBL provides students a purpose, allowing students to work on purposeful projects that can make a difference to others. This project is the process and the final results not only provide a reason and purpose. While a diorama displaying a garden can demonstrate some basic learning at the end of the unit, a student initiated vegetable garden that provides food to the community provides real purpose. Students begin to see why they are doing and learning and are provided the opportunity to contribute to a greater community. As students envision the project and its results… it must really answer the… So What?
3. Relevant to the Here and Now – A common question from students is often, “Why do we need to learn this?” The typical answer is often, “Because you will need it someday. Students should be learning concepts and ideas now, because they also need it now. A PBL Unit might put them in the middle of saving a building, helping the less fortunate, communicating with a culture across the world, creating a museum, writing books for younger children, or authoring an article for Wikipedia. When students know why they are learning and using their knowledge to make a difference, a whole new deeper learning results. They may actually be able to tell their parents what they learned in
school today, and more importantly describe what they did!
4. Real Audience and Mentors – A classroom is filled with students and a teacher and their interaction can be powerful. PBL promotes the idea of the classroom being the entire world. Providing students an authentic audience beyond their classroom is powerful. It promotes rigor and quality work because students realize their work is to be on display and will be viewed by more than their teacher and peers. It could be another classroom or better yet, of the world whether it is real or virtual. Audience can also be an ongoing part of any project in the form of mentors and experts. This capability can exist in the classroom or even online using proper procedures.

Resources for Authenticity, PBL, and Blended Learning:  – I am including just a small set of resources that might help you develop authenticity in PBL as you blend the possibilities. There are only five, and as you read them, think of ways you can take these ideas and blend them with technology. These resources provide possibilities that might be an entire PBL, or just a learning activity inside a PBL. My primary focus was to find a few resources that might allow for some real authenticity across a wide range of subjects. I realize there are so much more… but that will be for a later Blog or Book!

iEARN: A global site crossing all disciplines promoting class to class collaboration throughout the world. Provides connection to UN Sustainable Development Goals. Here you can get your class involved across multiple disciplines with schools across the community, state, county, and world. Best of you will find PBL that is already blended.

Taking It Global – A Global space that promotes projects perfect for a PBL and Blended Classroom while making learning authentic for students. The connections and ideas are amazing and will engage students while supporting the standards.

Nepris – Welcome to a site that connects educators with a vast network of industry professionals to engage students in their learning and prepare them for their future. Professionals now have the opportunity to share their skills and knowledge with learners to inspire the next generation of the workforce. I believe that every PBL should have some kind of career connection. This site provides an experience that connects student to career and college possibilities!

Virtual Fieldtrip Collection – This is an amazing spreadsheet filled with authentic virtual PBL fieldtrip possibilities. How might you build these into a blended lesson that allows students to leave the classroom and their home? You will find a wonderful collection from museums, zoos, parks, industry, business, and even Skype sessions with experts. These examples just scratch the surface of possibilities.

Teachers’ Guide To Global Projects – This organization brings great resources to the classroom through the support of the Longview Foundation. Be prepared to spend some time looking at possibilities for real world connections using the blended classroom. The resources are sure to make learning in your school and classroom come alive with amazing authentic connections.

Reflection on Authenticity
As you can see, an authentic learning experience is of prime importance when designing and planning Project Based Learning for students at any level. Through this practice students can see real world application that provides meaning. They are involved in a purpose that facilitates engagement and passion. They interact with an audience and mentors providing a gateway that employs rigor and quality work. Best of all, technology and the blended classroom allows authenticity to become amplified creating new possibilities for applying real meaning to the standards. The result… learning that is deeper and rich in understanding.

Next Post: Student Voice and Choice, PBL and the Blended Classroom… Sign Up Now!

Booking Info –  Look for contact information at the Booking Site. I have a distance learning workshop and session entitled “STEM is a Verb”. In fact… the Workshop is also a Verb! I also have a new 1 hour workshop “Preparing for  PBL”. It really promotes that 4C Classroom. Perhaps you wish to investigate PBL in the eLearning and Blended Classroom in another practical workshop. All of these and more can also be built into a 1/2 day or full day session, and are very interactive! Schools have loved it! Talk with me about your spring and summer… or even fall planning for 2021


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