Teaching that Engages


Project-based learning (PBL) is at the heart of the New Tech instructional approach. Through PBL, we use technology and inquiry to engage learners with issues and questions that are relevant to their lives. Teachers design rigorous projects tied to state and district standards and customize them to suit the needs and interests of their learners. Learners then work in teams to acquire and apply knowledge and skills to solve problems.

Our approach to PBL fundamentally changes the role of teacher and learner. Instead of traditional one-to-many instruction, teachers become facilitators and coaches who guide learners to take charge of their own learning, invent their own solutions, and develop self-management techniques. We invest deeply in process through ongoing training and support to ensure all teachers at Niles New Tech are successful in this new approach to teaching and learning.

Through PBL, learners become active learners and doers who take responsibility to complete projects. They learn to handle long, complex tasks and manage their time. They are assessed on their skill in working in teams and creating products such as presentations, designs, plays, short stories, and prototypes. Learners acquire not only subject-matter knowledge, but also the skills they need to thrive in college, career and life.

Related Resources

  • Picturing the Possibilities - Project-based Learning: Great video of PBL in action at Napa New Tech. The teacher in this video, Megan Pacheco, is now the senior coach for the New Tech Network.
  • Project Based Learning: Explained: This simple video makes the essential elements of PBL come alive and brings to light the 21st Century skills and competencies (collaboration, communication, critical thinking) that will enable learners to be college and work-ready as well as effective members of their communities.
  • "It really, actually changed my life": High school learners reflect on their experience of project based learning and describe how they not only learned a great deal of content, but also practiced the 21st century skills needed for personal and workplace success.
  • New Tech @ Coppell: New Tech High @ Coppell opened their doors in August, 2008 and today is considered a very high fidelity school that is producing great results. This learner created video outlines a bit about their school.
  • Project-Based Learning: Another short and simple video explaining Project-Based Learning. This one was created by Jeff Robin - a master teacher at High Tech High.
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