In the February issue of Educational Leadership, Jane David takes a look at the research behind project-based learning.
Within her overview of PBL pros and cons, one important point gets buried: "Because teachers tend to find this approach difficult to implement with low-performing students and may lack supporting technology, it is less likely to be embraced in high-poverty schools, which could increase rather than lessen existing inequalities."
Seems critical to challenge this perception so that real-world projects aren't seen as just another perk for students of privilege. I know there are many excellent examples of authentic projects that engage diverse learners (including students growing up in poverty). Marco Torres and his students' powerful multimedia projects come to mind. With access to digital tools and new approaches to learning, these students--growing up in one of the poorest areas of Los Angeles County--gain an outlet for their eloquent voices. Shouldn't that be a possibility for every student?