A Public Product

Posted by Nathan Hatt on 2/20/2019 3:30:00 PM

In this edition of the PBL Corner, we begin an ongoing conversation featuring the many voices of A2 STEAM. Part one of our series will focus on the value of a “Public Product”.

John Larmer, Editor in Chief of PBL Works (formerly BIE), explains the importance of a Public Product well in his article on the PBLWorks blog: “Gold Standard PBL: Public Product”.

“Of all the Essential Project Design Elements in Gold Standard PBL, you could argue it’s “Public Product” that most makes PBL stand out as different from traditional instruction. In some non-PBL classrooms you might find, say, a challenging problem, some degree of authenticity, student voice and choice and even, occasionally, sustained inquiry. But when students make their work public – that is, when it’s seen by people beyond their teacher, classmates, and maybe parents – it probably means a project is happening.”

I had the opportunity to interview students, teachers, and parents over the past two weeks as we have been discussing the importance of a Public Product in our PBL work together. Here is what they had to say:

Mr. Larmer concludes his article with the following passage:

“There’s one final benefit to having a public product: the proud moment when students present their work to the “real world” is often a memory they will keep for the rest of their lives. We like to say PBL is transformative for students; you can bet that was true for the young people in the projects highlighted above.”

As Ms. Toon says of our own work, of which I hope we take to heart, “What if we could help them hold on to those memories?” What public products has your child helped to make this year? What products do you hope they remember?