Meeting ISTE Standards for Students Through a Project-Based Approach

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Participate and share : Poster

Melinda Kolk  
Angela Matthews  

Project-based learning, as opposed to project work, is uniquely suited to meeting the intended goals of the ISTE Standards for Students and also provides opportunities for students to meet specific digital-age learning targets. Come learn how to combine technology with PBL to meet curriculum and ISTE standards.

Audience: Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None needed. Simply a notebook or digital tool to record ideas. A range of software can be used to support the PBL process and help students meet the goals of the ISTE Standards for Students. This session focuses on process, not products. What you have already is the best tool to use.
Topic: Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.
Innovative Designer
  • Students know and use a deliberate design process for generating ideas, testing theories, creating innovative artifacts or solving authentic problems.
Creative Communicator
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Influencer Disclosure: This session includes a presenter that indicated a “material connection” to a brand that includes a personal, family or employment relationship, or a financial relationship. See individual speaker menu for disclosure information.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

At a time when there is a lot of shallow, on-demand information, we need to encourage deep thinking and creative problem solving. Project-based learning provides an effective model to engage students in deep thinking, while connecting their learning to the real world.

Project-based learning in a student-centered and inquiry-based approach to learning that coaches students through the deep thinking necessary to effectively construct knowledge. Combining technology with a project-based approach to learning in the classroom makes it easy to meet the ISTE Standards for Students.

In a project-based approach to teaching and learning, students work to apply what they know to solve a real-world problem. Students explore the curriculum in depth as they apply knowledge to resolve questions, determine connections, and assess relationships. During the project-based learning process, students also engage and hone thinking, communication, leadership, collaboration, and the essential digital-age skills outlined in the ISTE Standards for Students.

What is PBL and how is it different from project work (10 minutes)
How PBL embodies the spirit of the ISTE Standards for Students and is uniquely suited for students to meet specific standards of: 1. Empowered Learner, 2. Digital Citizen, 3. Knowledge Constructor, 4. Innovative Designer, 5. Computational Thinker, 6. Creative Communicator, 7. Global Collaborator. (15 minutes)
Examples of PBL and how this is achieved, including food waste and school gardens (20 minutes)
How to begin taking a PBL approach (15 minutes)

Learner outcomes 
As a result of attending this session, participants will:
1. understand the difference between projects and PBL
2. see what a PBL approach looks like in action.
3. learn how PBL provides a motivating and effective way to meet both content standards and ISTE Standards for Students.
4. walk away with ideas and strategies for implementing a PBL approach at their school.

Supporting research

Boss, S. and Krauss, J. (2018) Reinventing Project-Based Learning, 3rd Edition. International Society for Technology in Education: Eugene.

Harmin, M. (1994) Inspiring Active Learning: A Handbook for Teachers. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: Alexandria.

Katz, L.G. and Chard, S.C. (2000) Engaging Children's Minds: The Project Approach, 3rd Edition. Stamford, CT: Ablex.

How to Turn Your Classroom into an Idea Factory.

Top 10 Ways to Make your Projects More Authentic

ISTE Standards for Students

More [+]


Melinda Kolk, Tech4Learning, Inc

Melinda is the Editor of Creative Educator magazine and the Deputy Director of the Constructivist Consortium. Melinda is also one of the founders of Tech4Learning. For the past 20 years, Melinda has led workshops at schools around the world and made hundreds of presentations at education conferences, such as ASCD and ISTE, on the topics of creativity, project-based learning, and open-ended technologies. She has been a featured speaker or keynote at MACUL, VSTE, MICCA, and ISTE.

Angela Matthews, Pflugerville ISD

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