The following material is helpful to understand the research and practice behind student-directed learning.
Overview of Project-Based Learning
Here is a good introduction to project-based learning from the Buck Institute for Education.
Why Project Based Learning Works and Drives Equity
The George Lucas Foundation sponsored several formal research studies on the PBL and found that it was effective with students from elementary school to high school AP courses. It also bridged the equity gap between students from many different backgrounds and circumstances. (Rigorous PBL is a Powerful Lever for Improving Equity) Here they talk about why PBL outperforms traditional instruction.
Support Underserved Learners to Contribute to Society
Education Trust president John King describes how PBL can support traditionally underserved learners in the classroom and beyond.
Ken Robinson Influential TEDtalk
This TEDtalk by Ken Robinson is an entertaining justification for a major change in education. It is one of the most watched TEDtalks ever.
Sugata Mitra: Build a School in the Cloud
This influential TEDtalk by Sugata Mitra highlights research showing that kids can learn largely on their own if they work in teams with access to the internet. It demonstrates that, with today’s technology, we no longer need teachers to provide direct instruction and have all the answers. This frees up teachers for more important facilitation and nurturing efforts.
Charles Leadbeater: Education Innovation in the Slums
This TEDtalk by Charles Leadbeater builds on the work of Sugata Mitra and shows that new self-directed forms of education are appearing in poor countries and regions where traditional education is not affordable or practical. Innovation is often found in places far away from the established systems and experts.
10 Expectations Students Have for School
This animation from Big Picture Learning makes a strong case that students deserve to have schools respond to their expectations.
Education from a Digital Native’s Perspective
This animation helps us understand the very different perspective of students born in the digital age, and how that impacts the education they expect and need.
Austin’s Butterfly: Building Excellence in Student Work
This very well known story reflects that we all learn more through an iterative process of try and improve based on reinforcing feedback. It illustrates the power of competency-based learning and assessment.
Student-Led Conferences: Empowerment and Ownership
One of the best ways of reinforcing student-centered learning is to have students lead conferences with their parents.
Tina Seelig: Imagination Starts With Engagement
This brief excerpt from Tina Seelig of Stanford University reflects an important dimension of the innovation process that many miss, e.g. that innovation starts when one engages with a situation or issue. This is key to the design process.