What does Project Based Learning Look Like in Hybrid Classrooms?

What is Project Based Learning?

Welcome to “Ask the Tech Coach,” a podcast for Instructional Coaches and Technology Integration Specialists.

In this episode of “Ask the Tech Coach,” Jeff speaks with educator, coach, and co-author of the new book “Environment Science for Grades 6-12” from ISTE Books, James Fester.

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In This Episode …

  • What is Project Based Learning?
    • What isn’t Project Based Learning?
  • The difference between focusing on the End Point and the Journey
  • The Importance of Authentic Learning
  • Shifting to a “Learner-Centered” Environment
  • PBL and Distance Learning
  • Understanding how to create a Call to Action
  • Getting Started with Project Based Learning
    • What is the role of the coach in this process?
  • Advice for Coaches in the 2021-22 School Year
    • Be willing to jump in along with your teachers!
      • Let them know that they are not alone
    • Give Grace and recognize that sometimes no matter how brilliant an idea is … if it’s not the right time … it’s just not the right time. Don’t give up on it.
    • Ask Questions to your teachers
      • What’s on your mind?
      • What is challenging you!

About our Guests

James Fester

James Fester is a teacher, educational consultant and instructional coach who helps teachers harness the power of authentic, experiential, technology-infused approaches to classroom instruction. He works as a project-based learning consultant for PBLWorks, the industry leader in providing high-quality professional development for teachers and schools. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as National Geographic, Google, and the National Park Service on educational initiatives. His writing has been featured on well-known educational sites such as Getting Smart, TEDex, Edutopia, and KQED.

Links of Interest

Jorge Valenzuela

Jorge Valenzuela is an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and the lead coach at Lifelong Learning Defined. Jorge's extensive experience as a facilitator of professional development has taken him all over the country where he regularly works with teachers to develop their project-based learning knowledge integrated with STEM and SEL. His book Rev Up Robotics and its companion jump start guide Ready, Set, Robotics! are available from ISTE, and his next book, which explores his Equity and SEL Integration Framework, is forthcoming from Solution Tree.

Links of Interest

About the Book

Environmental science (ES) education is essential to providing students with opportunities for hands-on investigations to find solutions to complex environmental problems. But the recent COVID-19 crisis has dramatically curtailed student access to ES-focused experiences, particularly affecting students of color and those from low-income communities. At the same time, changes in pollution and air quality levels, as well as a resurgence of wildlife, have created new avenues for students to connect with the revitalized world through technology and social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies.

Project-based learning (PBL), with its emphasis on inquiry and authentic challenges, can be an effective approach to teaching ES. Those new to PBL may not feel they have adequate training. Likewise, teachers who haven’t taught ES may question how to incorporate it into their curriculum. This book addresses both situations, providing practical guidance for teachers, along with examples of technology-rich, learner-centered student projects covering a range of timely and cross-curricular topics such as endangered animal populations, maintenance of oceans, rebounding of bee populations and urban air quality.

This book:

  • Helps teachers design learning experiences that model authentic problems and processes practiced by scientists and engineers, to prepare students for future careers in science.
  • Provides strategies to develop students’ SEL skills and instill in them a renewed empathy for the environment as they get a glimpse of what a better, cleaner and more sustainable world can look like.
  • Introduces facilitation techniques that redefine the teacher’s traditional role as one that supports increased student agency, the development of critical thinking skills and an expanded awareness of their place in the global community.
  • Includes a chapter that focuses on applying the principles and strategies shared in the book in an online learning environment.
  • Addresses Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) topics in environmental science and is aligned to the ISTE Standards for Educators.

PBL is one of the best ways for students to explore complex processes and concepts, and this book will help teachers leverage this approach to empower students to take action toward a better future and world.


About ISTE

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is home to a passionate community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education. ISTE inspires the creation of solutions and connections that improve opportunities for all learners by delivering: practical guidance, evidence-based professional learning, virtual networks, thought-provoking events and the ISTE Standards. ISTE is also the leading publisher of books focused on technology in education. For more information or to become an ISTE member, visit iste.org. Subscribe to ISTE’s YouTube channel and connect with ISTE on Twitter or Facebook.


ISTE books and jump-start guides address both established and emerging industry topics, and are aligned with the ISTE Standards, providing clear, practical guidance to help educators meet the standards. Whether you’re a classroom teacher, librarian, district leader or teacher educator, ISTE books are your answer to effective districtwide PD and professional learning to meet your goals or tech initiatives.

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Welcome to "Ask the Tech Coach," a podcast for Instructional Coaches and Technology Integration Specialists.

About the author, Jeffrey Bradbury

Jeff Bradbury, creator of TeacherCast, and father of the famous @EduTriplets Thanks for checking out TeacherCast today. Please take a moment to find me on all of my Social Media channels!