PBL Home Page

Outline of These Materials

1. Future of ICT in Education

2. Learning Goals in a PBL Lesson

3. What is ICT-Assisted PBL?

4. Planning a PBL Lesson

5. Authoring a Hypermedia Document

6. Timeline and Milestones

7. Assessment

8. FAQ and Conclusions


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Part 2: Learning Goals in a PBL Lesson

In this section we introduce the idea of a PBL Lesson Planning Table.

We are all familiar with a "stand and deliver" mode of instruction versus a "Guide on the Side" workshop form of instruction and learning. In this section will do some activities that get us interacting and sharing on ideas related to ICT-Assisted Project-Based Learning. One of the activities focuses on the multiple goals in an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson.
  1. Whole Group Activity: Sharing of past and present experiences. Draw upon the experience of the participants. Have them give examples of PBL that they have used with their students, or that they plan to use. What are the plusses and minuses of this approach to education? What are the dreams and the fears? How is PBL aided by and complicated by ICT?

    Debrief: Likely we will find that everybody has a fairly good idea of what they think PBL is. Participants will have experienced PBL in their own education, and they may well be making extensive use of it in their teaching. As we debrief this activity, we will likely be able to point out that there are considerable variations in what people think PBL is. We will give a formal definition in the next section of the workshop.

  2. PBL Lesson Planning Table. Each participant has likely given some thought to an ICT-Assisted PBL lesson that they would carry out with a class. If you haven't already done so, get an example in mind. The table given below contains eight general goals for such a lesson, and you can add more goals. For example, Increased Understanding of Diversity may well be a goal proposed by a College of Education faculty member, but might not be proposed by a Mathematics Department faculty member. For your own personal lesson, distribute 100 "goal points" among the eight or more goals. (The total of your goal points should be 100.)

PBL Lesson Planning Table

Goals: Students will learn:


1. The subject matter content of the project.

2. ICT as integral part of the subject matter content area of your specific course. (Click here for examples from math education.)

3. Some general aspects of ICT, not specific just to your course.

4. How to budget resources (including time) in doing a project, and to self-assess one's progress in doing a project.

5. To work as a team member doing a project.

6. To be a project proposer, a problem solver, and a "creative, higher-order" thinker, working in a learner-centered environment.

7. To transfer their learning over time, distance, and environments.

8. To learn to to learn and to help others learn all of the above.

9. (Other, please specify.)

10. (Other, please specify.)

Total Points


Debrief: The debrief on this can be small group discussion, gathering data from the whole group, noting "outliers" and discussing them individually, and so on. Each participant will likely think of additional goals that are specific to his/her teaching interests and specific courses. The point to be made is that PBL lessons tend to have many goals in common, but that the goals will be given different weights by different faculty members and in different PBL lessons.

It is important to note that the teacher is a key factor in the design and implementation of curriculum, instruction, and assessment in a course. What works well for one teacher might well not work well for another teacher. Teaching and learning are not exact sciences.

The Concept of "And"

When a teacher is designing a lesson or unit, typically there is a clear focus on content within one discipline. Math time in school is spent on math, language arts time is spent on language arts, and so on.

However, that is not the way the "real world" is. Read world problems and tasks are almost always interdisciplinary. Thus, when a teacher is designing a language arts unit, the teacher might also think about things such as:

  • I am really intersted in environmental problems. I think I'll have the studetns read a story (article, book, etc.) about environmental problems and then write about this topic. That way they will be doing language arts And they will be doing environmental studies.
  • I want my students to learn to read and write across the discipline areas. I will have the studetns do a Web search on Pythagoreas and Euclid and do some writing about their contributions to our current math curriculum. That way they will be learning some language arts, they will be reading and writing across the curriculum, And they will be learning some math.

Every unit of study can be designed with And in mind. This tends to make the unit of study more authentic (read world). One measure of increasing maturity and competence in a teacher is how well the teacher makes use of the And principle inc curriculum, instrucoitn, and assessment. ICT-Assisted PBL provides a good environment in which to practice this design principle. .

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