When Tech Meets PBL

[While Project-based Learning does not require educational technology, it’s much more engaging and easier for teachers to manage projects with technology. In this Edsurge article discover some of the tools that might solve your challenges.]

Patty Gomes

Patty Gomes


By Betsy Corcoran Jun 22, 2016

Almost 20 years ago, when Paul Curtis was a social studies teacher at the just-opened New Technology High School in Napa, Calif., there wasn’t much “tech” to support project-based learning. “We didn’t even give the kids email addresses back then,” he chuckles.

Even now, Curtis, Director of Curriculum for the New Tech Network, is confident that project-based learning can happen without much technology. But use it right, he adds, and technology can change the “tone” of the classroom in powerful ways. “It asks teachers to give up ‘the script’ for the classroom,” he says.

Curtis sees technology shaping project-based learning in multiple ways. First technology can fuel students’ curiosity and put them in charge of learning and exploration. Next: technology can provide teachers a construct or scaffolding for doing project-based work. A well-built learning management system, Curtis says, is an essential tool for helping teachers structure classroom time and manage work. (New Tech Network has been fine-tuning an LMS, Curtis confides. Expect to hear more about the work soon, he promises.)

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