Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 21
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Accelerating High-Quality Project-Based Learning With Digital Tools

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, June 24, 1:30–2:30 pm
Location: 105AB

Rich Dixon   Sarah Field   Dr. Lisa Mireles  
This collaborative session will use crowdsourcing to develop a matrix of digital tools to support implementing quality project-based learning. You'll leave with a resource you can use with all students and a framework for determining which digital tools to use for PBL.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Intermediate
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Any web browser:
Windows: IE7+, Firefox, Chrome, Safari5+
Mac: Safari5+, Firefox, Chrome
Linux: Firefox, Chrome
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Project-, problem- and challenge-based learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Teaching, Learning and Assessments
  • Coach teachers in and model engagement of students in local and global interdisciplinary units in which technology helps students assume professional roles, research real-world problems, collaborate with others, and produce products that are meaningful and useful to a wide audience.
For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Purpose: Introduce participants to the High Quality Project Based Learning Framework (HQPBL) and crowdsource high quality digital tools to support the implementation of HQPBL.

Outcomes: Participants will:
Gain a deeper understanding of the High Quality Project Based Learning Framework.
Have a better sense of the criteria they should be considering when determining which digital tools to use in their classroom.
Collaborate with other educators to determine best fit digital tools.
Leave with a resource of easy to learn and use digital tools that can foster High Quality Project Based Learning.

As more teachers find themselves teaching in 1:1 environments, it seems necessary to consider which tools best support students in achieving deeper learning outcomes. Too many teachers are utilizing devices to “personalize” learning which often means that students are working independently on devices to master skills and content without context or collaboration. Additionally, the sheer quantity of digital tools makes it hard for teachers to discern which might best serve their students for different purposes and it can be overwhelming for educators to feel like they have to learn how to integrate multiple digital tools at once.

This session will explore how teachers can leverage digital tools to support the implementation of high quality project based learning (HQPBL) that requires students to both experience and demonstrate intellectual challenge and accomplishment, authenticity, public products, collaboration project management and reflection. Using the HQPBL framework, the presenter will encourage participants to dive into each element and to consider which digital tools would help students make their thinking and learning more visible throughout the different stages of a project. Digital Tools will be shared, rated and archived using Padlet so that participants walk away with an arsenal of high quality, easy to use and affordable tools to support deeper learning pedagogical approaches.


I. Introduction, Outcomes and Overview (5 min)
II. High Quality Project Based Learning (HQPBL) components - (10 min)
III. Introduction to a framework for choosing digital tools in support of HQPBL (5 min)
A. Learner centered digital tools connected to the ISTE Standards for Educators (5b) and Coaches (2c)
B. Criteria to consider with a focus on Equity
IV. Participant collaboration: crowdsourcing to develop a matrix of digital tools that support High Quality PBL. (25min)
V. Exploration of resources for at least one other component (10 min)
VI. Debrief /Takeaways (5 min)

Supporting research

Higgin, T. (2018, July 23). What Makes a Good Edtech Tool Great? - EdSurge News. Retrieved from
Fester, J. (2018, January 24). PBL Blog. Retrieved from
Holland, B. (2015, April 10). "Fitting In" PBL. Retrieved from
Hoffmann, M. (n.d.). 5 Top Ways Technology Benefits Project Based Learning. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from
Lenz, B., & Kingston, S. (2016, January 21). Blending Technology into Project Based Learning. Retrieved from
Mergendoller, J. R. (2018, March). Defining High Quality PBL: A Look at the Research[PDF]. Novato: Buck Institute for Education.

More [+]


Rich Dixon, Hapara
Sarah Field, PBLWorks
Dr. Lisa Mireles, PBLWorks: Buck Institute for Education

Dr. Lisa Mireles joined PBLWorks in 2018 as a Director of District and School Leadership. Over her 29 years in education as a teacher and administrator, she has developed a deep interest in the convergence of leadership, technology and project based learning. A founding board member for the Hawai'i Society of Technology in Education (HSTE), she helped launch both Edcamp Kaua'i and Kaua'i Educational Leadership Alliance (KELA). Lisa holds a Bachelors in Political Science and a Masters in Education from U.C.L.A.. along with a doctorate in Learning Technologies from Pepperdine University.

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