Projects provide authentic contexts for learning and allow students to connect their academic experience to the real world, while exploring their interests and passions. Well-conceived projects engage the heart, hands and mind by encouraging students to create products that are of value to themselves and the community. When students see the relevance and importance of their work, their motivation and self-confidence can take root. For students who have not experienced success in more traditional settings, projects can provide ways to be successful in many dimensions.
Project-based learning promotes student maturity and ownership of their learning. Projects require planning, follow-through and time management. Student proaction enriches the teacher-student relationship, as instructors become coaches and students develop into motivated learners across new kinds of interactions. In turn, the classroom becomes a shared workplace with shared responsibility for creating projects of quality and importance. In these ways, project spaces can become fertile training grounds for tomorrow’s STEM professionals.