Finding What’s Missing: Structured ICT in PBeL

Project based learning works. It does. All the case studies I have read so far say so. They do! But don’t just take my word for it, read my literature reviews here and here. And I encourage you to do some research yourself. Each district, school, or classroom that has implemented project based learning has had notable outcomes. But they have each personalized the way they have designed and implemented their approach to project based learning.

Now, unfortunately, that is not the case when it comes to transforming project based learning by integrating technology. Many have encountered rough terrain. According to Lone Dirckinck-Holmfeld (2016), a professor at Aalborg University in Denmark, the systematic integration of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Project Based Learning (PBL) in various contexts, particularly as institution-based strategies, is an area requiring significant attention, not least because the continuing developing of new tools and delivery modes, e.g. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), provide a crucial foundation for radical transformation of PBL. And if you haven’t noticed, that is what I am trying to do, integrate ICT with PBL. It’s a challenge, but it can be done. And what I have come to realize is that a systemic integration is drastically needed for PBL with ICT to work. And that’s exactly what is missing from my innovation plan.

This update will have to include what’s missing: structured ICT. It will have to acknowledge ICT’s immersion within each aspect of my PBeL innovation plan: the students, teachers, environment, devices, and infrastructure. I don’t have it completely figured out yet, but the update will have to answer the following questions:

How will students use ICT? For what purposes will students use ICT within their projects? How will ICT impact projects?

How will teachers define ICT to their students? For what purposes will teachers use ICT within planning and executing instruction?

What will ICT look like in the classroom? In the library? In the science laboratory?

What specific devices and how many of each device will be needed to execute a successful integration of ICT with PBL in the classroom, school, and/or district?

Does the present infrastructure support the full integration of ICT? If not, what is needed?

How will ICT and PBL be balanced? What role with ICT play within PBL? To what extent will ICT impact PBL?

There are still so many questions to be answered; these are only just a few. I guess my update won’t be an update after all; it will be a renovation of my innovation plan.

If you have any suggestions, answers, and even more questions, please feel free to comment below!

Also, if you want to learn more about what worked and what didn’t work in others’ attempt at integrating ICT with PBL, take a look at this fun, but informative presentation: 3 Lessons Research Taught Me About Project-Based eLearning

Dirckinck-Holmfeld, L. (2016). Networked learning and problem and project based learning – how they complement each other. In S. Cranmer, N. B. Dohn, M. de Laat, T. Ryberg, & J. A. Sime (Eds.), Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Networked Learning 2016 (pp. 193-199). Lancaster University. Retrieved from


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