There are many attempts to root students in the real world, provide internships and opportunities to solve
real world problems.
High Tech High has created a chain of schools where almost all teaching is done through projects. Expeditionary Learning schools and New Tech Network have different approaches but with a similar aim. Big Picture Learning starts from student passion and interests, provides internships for half the week and makes the curriculum back at school fit around the internships and the students interests.
City as School does something similar, placing students in internships in New York. Edge Hotel School on Essex University campus is a functioning 4* Hotel run by University age students who have lessons in the morning and run the hotel in the afternoon. JCB academy is probably the most successful UTC with students solving client briefs from companies such as Rolls Royce. The Aldridge Academies have built their school philosophy around practical real world learning.
Collegi Montserrat in Spain, run by nuns, does extraordinary robotics and problem solving project based learning. Project H has a philosophy of hearts, heads and hammers and teaches students to change their community through design. Some schools and programmes are focused on making a difference to the community and the world. The students receive client briefs to work on. Many have tried to capture the skills that are most important in working in projects. PISA now measures collaborative problem solving. Others have tried to assess these competencies. The centre for high quality student work and the Buck Institute both showcase great exemplars.