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Project-Based STEAM Learning

Pennsylvania Convention Center, 201C

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Education Manager & EdTech Coach
EDGEucating LLC
Alicia Verweij is a seasoned educator, passionate about teaching children to think critically and problem-solve in preparation for future careers. She is committed to collaborative, engaging learning techniques and assisting educators in implementing them. In addition to decades of classroom experience, she holds a Master of Education in Educational Leadership, a B.S. in Business Management, an Education Certification, and an endorsement in Gifted Education. She has received numerous grants and awards for her success in the classroom and continues to share her passion for integrating STEAM and Project-based learning at local, state, regional, national, and international levels.

Session description

Leverage computational thinking and problem-solving with fun and engaging technology tools to produce future-ready students and meet STEM benchmarks. Explore a lesson that will have your students responding to a natural disaster, assessing damage in remote areas using rovers and drones, and engaging government agencies in recovery.

Purpose & objective

Due to the challenge of students not meeting ACT STEM benchmarks. This session will teachers to better understand how to implement CT & CS strategies while diminishing the fear that some have of utilizing technology. The sample lesson incorporates tools and knowledge necessary to create learning opportunities that challenge learners to use CT to innovate and solve problems. Attendees will get hands-on with technology and understand how using it in the classroom can challenge learners to use a design process and CT to innovate and solve problems. By experiencing a lesson, educators obtain the necessary knowledge to design their own authentic learning experiences using digital tools and resources to activate a deeper understanding of the current curriculum.

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Intro & Statistics to illustrate the need for PBL - 5 min
Lesson overview - 5 min
Attendees get hands-on with the technology portion of the lesson (device-based activities) - 40 min
Wrap up and explanation of how CT & CS are incorporated into the lesson and how this helps promote deeper learning for students (how it fits ISTE standards) - 10 min

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Supporting research

A study from the International Journal of Primary, Elementary, and Early Years Education, illustrates the effectiveness of project-based learning on primary school students. It proved that content knowledge and attitudes towards self-efficacy, task value, group work, and acceptance of peers from diverse ethnic backgrounds improved due to PBL. (

According to The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2019 report, only about 21% of students taking the ACT met the minimum STEM benchmarks for college entrance. (

Applying a real-world context to your lessons helps students realize that the skills they’re learning are not just relevant but vital beyond the classroom. Trevor Muir presents evidence of this approach in his TEDx talk on real-world learning. (

Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. From reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. (

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Session specifications

Innovative learning environments
Grade level:
Skill level:
Coaches, Principals/head teachers, Teachers
Attendee devices:
Devices not needed
Participant accounts, software and other materials:
We will provide devices that attendees will use for this session.
Subject area:
Computer science, STEM/STEAM
ISTE Standards:
For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards and use digital tools and resources to maximize active, deep learning.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
The submitter of this session has been supported by a company whose product is being included in the session