Engage Young Learners With Project-Based Learning

Change display time — Currently: Central Daylight Time (CDT) (Event time)
Location: Room 255-7
Experience live: All-Access Package
Watch recording: All-Access Package Year-Round PD Package

Explore and create : Creation lab

Alicia Verweij  
Kerri Wilder  
Heidi Williams  

Project-based learning is possible for young learners. We will illustrate ways to implement it using fun and engaging technology tools. Educators will gain the tools and knowledge necessary to create learning opportunities that challenge young learners to use a design process and computational thinking to innovate and solve problems.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Technology coordinators/facilitators
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: iOS, Windows, Android
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None. All necessary equipment is being provided for participants.
Topic: Project-, problem- & challenge-based learning
Grade level: PK-2
Subject area: Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Explore and apply instructional design principles to create innovative digital learning environments that engage and support learning.
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
Additional detail: ISTE author presentation
Disclosure: The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session
Related exhibitors:
KinderLab Robotics, Inc.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

In this session, we will discuss what Project Based Learning truly is, how to implement it and give them tools to implement it while incorporating technology. This session will be an interactive opportunity for educators to get hands-on with various technology tools and curriculum in order to fully grasp the concept and implementation of Project-Based Learning. Educators will leave this session being able to design authentic learning activities that align with their personal content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning for young learners.
A study from the International Journal of Primary, Elementary, and Early Years Education, illustrates the effectiveness of project-based learning on primary school students. In addition, I have successfully guided fellow educators to success in their classrooms utilizing these very tools and methods that are being presented.


1. What is Project Based Learning and what it is NOT? (5-10 min)
2. What does the research say about Project Based Learning and young learners? (5 minutes)
3. Suggested tools and resources for implementing PBL with Young Learners.
Some of these include Kibo, BeeBot, BlueBot, 3DuxDesigns, No Fear Coding K-5 book, Cubelets, & Chess4Life. (30 min)
4. Hands-on time with bots and materials creating their own plans - with individualized feedback from facilitators (45 min)

Supporting research

A study titled, Project-Based Learning in Practice, showed that PBL had a lot of potential to enhance 21st-century skills and engage students in real-world tasks. (

This study by Niken Farida, in Indonesia, illustrates results that the project-based learning approach can significantly improve social development and that students become more active in the classroom when using a project-based learning approach. (

An independent study done by Margaret Holm regarding the effectiveness of project-based instruction in preschool, elementary, and secondary school classroom settings, found PBL to be an effective means of teaching both content information and related skills. (

Another study, highlighted in the International Journal of Primary, Elementary, and Early Years Education, discusses the effectiveness of PBL on primary school students. It focused on their content knowledge and attitudes towards self-efficacy, task value, group work, teaching methods applied, and peers from diverse ethnic backgrounds. (

A case study illustrating how PBL turned a school into a world leader. (

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Alicia Verweij, EDGEucating LLC

Alicia Verweij is a seasoned educator, passionate about teaching children to think critically, problem-solve, and function in an ever-changing digital world in preparation for future careers. She is committed to collaborative, engaging learning techniques and assisting educators in implementing them. As a teaching veteran, she holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Management, an Alternate Route Education Certification, and an endorsement in Gifted Education. Over the course of her career, she has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards based on her success in the classroom.

Kerri Wilder, William Carey University

Kerri Wilder has 25 years of elementary and secondary experience in Mississippi public schools as a teacher, professional development coordinator, and as an administrator. Holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, a Bachelor of Science in Education with a specialty in Upper Elementary, and additional licensure endorsements in 7-8 Science, K-12 English, and Psychometry. As a seasoned, experienced educator, she is known for her perspective and innovation for solving problems. She has mentored numerous educators and administrators. Kerri’s passion for education is focused on creating schools that everyone wants to be a part of and she has done so quite successfully.

Heidi Williams, Marquette University

Heidi Williams is a passionate coding and computational thinking advocate. She has over 30 years of experience in K-12 public education as both a teacher and administrator. She currently serves as a computer science curriculum specialist for Marquette University's PUMP CS grant in Milwaukee, WI. Williams has shared her passion for integrating coding and computational thinking into the curriculum at local, state, regional and national conferences, and many have leveraged her expertise for conference presentations, coding coaching, professional development and K-12 scope and sequence alignment of computer science skills throughout the curriculum (

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