Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar awarded grant for Multiple Literacies in Project-based Learning

  Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar has been awarded a $1.8 million grant, funded by The Michigan State University/Lucas Educational Research Fund, for her project, “Multiple Literacies in Project-Based Learning.” The project will develop and test rigorous project-based curricula for the upper elementary grades that integrate the Next Generation Science Standards, and the Common Core State Standards in the English Language Arts and Mathematics. In this design-based initiative, the curricula, which include multi-modal, digital apps, will be developed iteratively and studied in classrooms over the next five years. Collaborating on this grant are Elliot Soloway, computer scientist, and Elizabeth Davis, science educator, both of whom are from the University of Michigan.

Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar is Professor of Education; Jean and Charles Walgreen Professor of Reading and Literacy; Arthur F. Thurnau Professor 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Spring 2015 2-Tier terrarium Blogs

terrarium is a type of miniature ecosystem of plants. Terrariums are usually sealable glass containers that can be opened for maintenance and to access the plants inside. However, this is not essential; terrariums can also be made using other transparentmaterials, and some are open to the atmosphere rather than being sealed. Terrariums are often kept as decorative or ornamental items in the same way as aquariums.
Closed terrariums create a unique environment for plant growth, as the transparent walls allow for both heat and light to enter the terrarium. The sealed container combined with the heat entering the terrarium allows for the creation of a small scale water cycle. This happens because moisture from both the soil and plants evaporates in the elevated temperatures inside the terrarium. This water vapour then condenses on the walls of the container, and eventually falls back to the plants and soil below. This contributes to creating an ideal environment for growing plants due to the constant supply of water, thereby preventing the plants from becoming over dry. In addition to this, the light that passes through the transparent material of the terrarium allows for the plants within to photosynthesis, an important aspect of plant growth.

Group 1:

Group 2:

Group 3:

Group 4:

Group 5:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pearson unveils new approach to social studies education

Developing an understanding of social studies–where our society has been and where it is going–is crucial to success in today’s fast-paced, interconnected world.
Last month, Pearson unveiled new secondary social studies programs designed to engage every student in the love of history, geography, government, economics, and culture to provide a foundation for success in civic life as well as college and career.
Created through a collaborative process involving educators, experts and students from around the country, Pearson’s next-generation social studies programs align to the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards. The framework, developed and launched last year by the National Council for the Social Studies, shifts the emphasis from delivering content to preparing students for life beyond the classroom.
Kathy Swan, project director and lead writer of the C3 Framework, collaborated with Pearson on the development of the new programs. Swan, an associate professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Kentucky, said: “While much of the content in social studies hasn’t changed, if we are going to engage today’s students in learning this important subject, we must transform our instructional approach. Today’s technology provides us with a new way of immersing students in learning about history, geography and culture by personalizing content and actively involving them in thinking in different ways.”
The new programs combine best practices, curriculum standards, and technology. Students connect to digital content and actively learn, investigate, and acquire key content knowledge through print and digital resources. Then they extend their understanding by applying what they just learned in quick recap exercises. Through formative and summative assessments, they demonstrate understanding of what they are learning.
“If we are going to educate 21st century learners, it is crucial that we take a 21st century approach, integrating all of the powerful tools and resources that we have available into an engaging and interactive learning environment,” said Bethlam Forsa, Pearson’s managing director for learning services. “Through our collaboration with educators, experts, and other leading education organizations, we reimagined social studies to develop programs that will provide students with a foundation for success in college, career and civic life.”
Pearson collaborated with NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBCUniversal News Group, to produce the program’s myStory videos, developed to help students make personal connections to people and places all over the world. In addition, for the 2015-2016 school year, schools using Pearson’s new grades 8-12 social studies curriculum will have access to NBC Learn’s library of more than 17,000 premium education videos.
“NBC Learn is uniquely able to bring historic and current events to life through the combination of original productions and a deep digital video archive of news stories by our world-class journalists,” said Soraya Gage, vice president and general manager, NBC Learn.
In addition, Pearson worked with the nonprofit, non-partisan Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF), to develop the Civic Discussion Topic Inquiries for all of the new programs. Pearson also integrated CRF’s project-based learning model, Civic Action Project, into the company’s longest continually published title, “Magruder’s American Government,” which was first available in 1917.
“Exploring civics through project-based learning provides students with a real-world view on how government works and the ways that citizens can help solve or influence a problem, issue or policy,” said Marshall Croddy, president, CRF. “Pearson’s new social studies curriculum provides us with a powerful platform for involving students in learning civics through this model.”
Delivered via Pearson’s REALIZE platform, the next-generation programs include student and teacher print editions,eTexts, NBC Learn myStory videos, videos to support flipped learning, and built-in progress monitoring and assessments. Embedded professional development provides teachers with access to both complete professional learning assignments and short segments to support them as they teach the curriculum.
Available now for pilots and for implementation in fall 2015, the new social studies programs are “American History” for middle grades; and “World History,”“United States History,”“Magruder’s American Government” and “Economics” for high school

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall 2014 2-Tier Terrarium Blogs

terrarium is a type of miniature ecosystem of plants. Terrariums are usually sealable glass containers that can be opened for maintenance and to access the plants inside. However, this is not essential, terrariums can also be made using other transparent materials and some are open to the atmosphere rather than being sealed. Terrariums are often kept as decorative or ornamental items in the same way as aquariums.
Closed terrariums create a unique environment for plant growth, the transparent walls allow for both heat and light to enter the terrarium. The sealed container combined with the heat entering the terrarium allows for the creation of a small scale water cycle. This happens because moisture from both the soil and plants evaporates in the elevated temperatures inside the terrarium. This water vapour then condenses on the walls of the container, and eventually falls back to the plants and soil below. This contributes to creating an ideal environment for growing plants due to the constant supply of water, thereby preventing the plants from becoming over dry. In addition to this, the light that passes through the transparent material of the terrarium allows for the plants within to photosynthesise, an important aspect of plant growth.

Kimberlee Parker, Angela Ly, and Kelsey Carr: Terrarium Blog 

Sanam, Peyton, Maddie : Terrarium Blog 

Hannah Lee, Kendall Omick and Karla Markowitz - tumblr blog

Caroline, Britt, and Mccall: Terrarium Blog 

Nhu-Nguyen, Katie, and Morgan : Terrarium Blog 

Marley Gastrock, Emily Murray , Hayley Feichtinger: Terrarium Blog 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Eco blogs (draft)  (Dayana C. and Nataly M. ) (Jose Molina, Alejandro Sinfuentes, Norma Acosta, Mayra Banda) (Ana, Marysela and Claudia) (Alfredo H., ?) (Brenda Gutierrez, ?) (Kimberly I. and Melissa)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PBL Institute Announced--- June 16-20, 2014

Greetings My Friend,

I am bringing you exciting news! After years of requests, Think Forward Project Based Learning has now expanded and will be conducting the first "Think Forward PBL Summit @ Manor New Tech" this summer. We will be offering 3 strands for practitioners and leaders alike. This Summit is not your ordinary sit and get. Put on your scuba gear because we are going deeper.  All participants will be deep diving into PBL, creating, authoring and presenting a project at the end of the 4 days.

If you have ever felt the need to really learn the processes of PBL from practitioners who have lived 100% PBL over the last 7 years (averaging 50-100+ projects each), want to take your knowledge of PBL deeper, or are a leader wanting to figure out how to create structures for PBL success, this is for you.

The attached flyer has hyperlinks for more information and registration. We look forward to seeing you this summer.


Steven Zipkes, M.Ed.   
Manor New Technology High
 Distinguished Educator

Monday, July 8, 2013

MASEE Graduate, Mr. Bobby Garcia, Takes Robotics Team to Win After Win--and Learning About Robotics All the Way

Mr. Bobby Garcia (far left) with Robotics team and
special guest- Manor New Tech HS-- May 9, 2013

Here is a story about Mr. Bobby Garcia by Christine Benson of the College of Education's Communications office at The University of Texas at Austin and his robotics team at Manor New Tech High School in Manor, TX. Mr. Garica is a graduate of the MASEE program that is offered at the College of Education from within the STEM Education Program. MASEE is funded primarily via the "UTeach Engineering" grant from the National Science Foundation of which I am a Co-Principal Investigator. To date, the MASEE program has graduated 30 in-service teachers with at least another 20 in the pipeline. -Dr. Petrosino 

Bobby Garcia, a graduate of the College of Education’s Master of Arts in STEM Education - Engineering (MASEE) program, is inspiring students at Manor New Tech High School to win. Garcia is lead mentor for the school’s robotics team and under his tutelage Team TEXplosion has garnered local, state and national awards.

Earlier this year, the team won at the FIRST Lone Star Regional Robotics Competition in Houston, which qualified them for the FIRST Championship Robotics Competition in St. Louis, MO, in April. In  the past they’ve also traveled to farflung spots like Washington, D.C., and Salt Lake City to compete.

The FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) competitions are among the most prestigious high school tech tournaments in the country and often are hailed as the World Cup of Technology and a “varsity sport of the mind.” They’re open to high school students who are interested in science and technology and, in addition to building tech knowledge, aim to boost students’ social and  leadership skills.

“This past school year, I convinced my school administration to allow me to offer a course for our FIRST Robotics Competition group,” said Garcia, who has taught at Manor New Tech since it opened in 2007, “and I helped create and run a course for our junior varsity FIRST Technical Challenge. I wouldn’t have had the confidence to teach either of those courses last had it not been for my experience in the MASEE program.” —Christine Benson, College of Education Communications Assistant

Monday, May 13, 2013

Petrosino Interview on NPR About STEM Education and Job Creation

President Obama visits Bobby Garcia's Robotics Class

at Manor New Tech HS, Manor, TX

Recently, I was interviewed by Kate McGee of KUT News, and NPR affiliate concerning STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education and STEM careers. The interview coincided with a visit to Austin by President Obama to Manor New Tech High School, a school that I have been involved with since its formation in 2007 and centers on Project Based Instruction and meaningful disciplinary knowledge and is part of the New Tech Network of schools across the nation. Manor New Tech is a public non-charter school. 

You can read and listen to the flu article and the piece that ran on the radio by clicking here: As Obama's High School Visit Nears, Education Advocates Question Emphasis on STEM

The core of the interview centered on the value of a STEM education but also indicated that it may not be a panacea for all that is effecting our troubled economy. I would encourage you to read the full article and to listen to the broadcast. 

I will also post more about the President's visit to Manor New Tech High School in Manor, TX

-Dr. Petrosino 
President Obama's visit to Manor New Tech comes
 as the White House, the private sector and some education advocates
continue to emphasize the importance of STEM education – science,
technology, engineering and math). But some say there may be too much
emphasis on STEM programs.

“It’s one thing to understand physics; it’s another thing to understand why some concepts in physics are difficult for students to understand,” says Anthony Petrosino with the UTeach program. “We put leverage on both of those.”STEM programs have gained popularity in recent years as a way to address a perceived lack of qualified candidates for tech jobs.  

Petrosino says the more people know about science, math and technology, the better. But he doesn’t think STEM will fill all high-tech openings.

“There’s some colleagues at Rutgers, Harvard saying, ‘You know, we’re graduating at the college level a number of STEM grads, but they’re not getting the types of jobs, benefits, incomes we may expect,’” he says. “We always want to be carful not be caught up in the frenzy.”

Picture: Provided by Mr. Bobby Garcia, Manor New Tech HS, Manor, TX. President Obama visiting Robotics Class-- Thursday, May 9, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

Instruction for Discovery Learning: Levels of Implementation Exhibited by a Sample of Algebra I Teachers

Hoffman, Shannah
The University of Texas at Austin

Master of Arts

Math Education
Document Information

Instruction for Discovery Learning: Levels of Implementation Exhibited by a Sample of Algebra I Teachers

May 2013


discovery learning; inquiry-based learning; project-based instruction; teacher orientation; mathematics education; student surveys; classroom observation; school culture

One type of instruction that is of particular interest in STEM education is instruction that actively engages students in inquiry and discovery. The author develops an operational definition of instruction for discovery learning (IDL) that adopts some of the fundamental commonalities among many reform-oriented instructional frameworks such as inquiry-based and project-based instruction. Four teachers—who received their bachelor’s degree in mathematics and teacher certification from the same undergraduate teacher-preparation program—and their Algebra I classes were observed with the focus on how particular features of IDL were being implemented in their classrooms. To gain further perspective on classroom practices and interactions, student surveys were administered to a total of 142 students and each teacher was interviewed. The student surveys focused on student orientations toward IDL, attitudes toward mathematics, and their perspective of IDL implementation in their class. Student survey data was analyzed through ANOVA, post hoc tests were used to identify significant pair-wise differences between teachers for which the ANOVA identified significance, and a factor analysis was used to evaluate the component loadings for the survey questions. The surveys revealed significant differences between perceived activities in the classes (p<0.05), but did not show very significant differences between student orientations toward IDL. All four teachers expressed familiarity with and commitment to reform-oriented frameworks such as inquiry-based and project-based instruction, and certainly experienced inquiry-based learning as students themselves in their undergraduate program. However, only one teacher—the one teaching in a New Tech high school that was structured on the framework of project-based instruction (PBI)—showed consistent differences in both student perspectives of IDL and observed implementation of IDL. The author discusses the levels at which these teachers implemented IDL, the differences among student perceptions across the classes, teacher orientations toward mathematics and learning, and the importance of a supportive school culture and administration in order to fully implement IDL and influence both student and teacher orientations toward reform-oriented pedagogy.

Petrosino, Anthony (chair)

Daniels, Mark

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Position Announcement: Engineering Education (Open Rank- University of Texas at Austin's College of Education)

The following position is available at The University of Texas at Austin. This is an open rank position in Engineering Education and the position is offered from the College of Education at The University of Texas at Austin. Any specific questions on the position to be directed to Dr. Jill Marshall ( who is the co-Chair of the faculty search along with Dr. Susan Empson ( Other information for applicants can be viewed at the end of the ad. To be clear, I am NOT on the Search Committee for this position. -Dr. Petrosino

Job Type: Tenured/Tenure Track

Job Rank: Rank Open

Job ID: (0) 10010400001

College: Education

College URL:

Department/Unit: Curriculum and Instruction

Department/Unit URL:

Closing Date: Until Filled

Field of Specialization: Engineering Education

Job Description:

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction at The University of Texas at Austin invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor position, or a tenured Associate or Full Professor position with a specialization in Engineering Education (K-16) beginning in Fall 2013. The rank depends upon the candidate's qualifications. REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS: • A doctorate in Engineering Education, Learning Sciences, or related field • Demonstrated excellence or potential for excellence in research and teaching DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS: • Funded or externally fundable research program • Teaching Experience (K-12) Any programmatic research agenda in STEM education will be considered but preference will be given to those that complement and extend existing faculty's expertise and focus on access to quality STEM curriculum and instruction for populations historically underserved by the education system. Successful candidates will be expected to teach undergraduate courses in our teacher certification programs and graduate courses in our STEM Education graduate programs (including research methods courses in the department of Curriculum and Instruction). Above all, we seek a talented, productive scholar to join a faculty committed to innovative and socially responsive research and teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs in STEM Education with strong ties to the College of Natural Sciences and the Cockrell School of Engineering, over 50 full-time graduate students, two nationally recognized teacher certification programs, including UTeach (7-12) and the Laptop Initiative for Future Educators (K-6), and a location in a diverse, rapidly growing, urban setting. This position offers a unique combination of opportunities for interdisciplinary inquiry, design-based research, program development, and impact on schools. The department of Curriculum and Instruction has a strong commitment to issues of equity in education, effective and innovative learning technology, and field-based teacher education.

Applicant Instructions:

Please submit a cover letter addressing the required and preferred qualifications, a curriculum vitae, a statement of teaching philosophy and research interests, and three letters of recommendation to: ATTN: STEM EDUCATION SEARCH/Engineering Education 1912 Speedway, Stop D5700 The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712-1293 USA. Electronic submissions should be sent c/o Ann Ford []. Review of applications will begin November 15, 2012. Applications will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Research-Supported PBL Practices- Manor New Tech High School

At one New Tech Network high school, strategies backed by research make project-based learning effective and engaging for teachers and students.

At Manor New Technology High School in Manor, Texas, several research-based practices interact to promote successful inquiry-based learning:

Manor New Tech is part of the New Tech Network, a nonprofit that works with schools and districts around the country providing services and support to help reform learning through project-based learning (PBL). Since opening its doors in fall 2007, the school has achieved several notable accomplishments:

  • It has graduated two classes with an average annual graduation rate of 98 percent.
  • All 39 students in the first senior class graduated, and 95 percent of the 74 students in the class of 2011 graduated. Those who did not graduate are continuing to work on getting their diplomas.
  • On average, 96 percent of students in the first two classes (100 percent of those who graduated) were admitted to college, and over 50 percent of those admitted were first-generation college students.
  • Currently, 79 percent of Manor New Tech graduates have enrolled in a two- or four-year college immediately after high school, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, thus surpassing the national rate of 70 percent.
  • The school has outperformed the state of Texas and Manor Independent School District in the percentage of students passing state standards in three of the four subjects tested: science, social studies, and reading/English language arts.
Manor's Success Metrics. High School and Beyond. Average rates for high school graduation, high school drop-out, and college enrollment immediately after high school. State Standards. Percent of students passing state standards in social studies, science, English language arts, and math.

Collaborative Project-Based Learning

When implemented well, PBL has been shown to develop students' critical thinking skills, improve long-term retention of content learned, and increase students' and teachers' satisfaction with learning experiences (see Ravitz, 2009, for a review). Students at Manor New Tech typically complete nearly 200 projects over the course of their high school experience, with each project lasting about two to four weeks. (See our article "A Step-by-Step Guide to the Best Projects" for more details on Manor's PBL process orwatch the video.)

In designing projects, teachers spend significant time developing a driving question, which forms the backbone of the project and helps to engage student learning (Blumenfeld, Soloway, Marx, Krajcik, Guzdial and Palincsar, 1991). An example of a driving question is, "How can we use mathematics to design and use a Dobsonian telescope?" Teachers at Manor New Tech start with the end goal in mind and avoid canned projects to ensure relevance to their students. As a general rule, the driving questions at Manor New Tech must be mapped to state standards and cover a sufficient number of them to warrant the time spent on the project. In accordance with research on effective problem-based learning designs (Hung, 2009), teachers at Manor New Tech design projects so that learning the content defined by the state standards is necessary in order to successfully complete the project.

At the start of each project, students receive a detailed assessment rubric that outlines the state standards the project covers and provides explanations of how performance will be assessed. Providing a rubric for students has been shown to promote students' time-on-task and content-related discussion (Barron and Darling-Hammond, 2008). The rubric often includes time lines and information on essential elements of successful final products (for example, if a report may be produced as a podcast rather than a paper, the rubric specifies minimum length for the podcast). After students have received the assignment, teachers ask them to determine what content they know and what they need to know. The need-to-know lists are reviewed as a class, and any questions are clarified. Students are prone to ask questions about project logistics (e.g., Can we use music? When is it due? How many grades will we get?), but by adding a content section to the list of knows and need-to-knows, students are more likely to ask questions about content, a practice that is at the heart of inquiry-based learning (Yañez, Schneider and Leach, 2009).

Well over a thousand studies support the impacts of collaborative learning on improving student achievement and promoting positive peer relationships across group lines (Johnson and Johnson, 2009). The way that teachers support successful collaboration is likely an important ingredient in Manor New Tech's success. Students are assigned to groups of three or four, and the first group project meeting begins with groups creating contracts that establish shared norms or expectations for behavior (e.g., being on time, not criticizing each other's ideas, etc.). Building individual accountability into the project process helps to promote successful student collaboration (Slavin, 1996). If a student is not fulfilling his or her portion of the project, it is the responsibility of team members to bring this to the teacher's attention, being specific about the responsibilities that are not being completed. Team members can be fired, which means that the fired student must complete the project on his or her own, although this occurs infrequently at Manor New Tech.

Once a project is under way, teachers' roles shift to advisers, coaches, and evaluators, scaffolding students' success with ongoing and diverse assessments and giving benchmark grades as key stages of the project are completed. Importantly, teachers adjust the project in response to student input, several citing Angelo and Cross's Classroom Assessment Techniques as a frequent reference (Angelo and Cross, 1993; Dickinson and Summers, 2010). During in-class presentations, which occur throughout the project process, students provide feedback to each other using the "I like/I wonder/next steps" format (i.e., statements should begin with "I like…" or "I wonder…" or provide suggestions for next steps).

In addition to the content objectives, which are based on state standards, Manor has six learning outcomes that are assessed in every project: written communication, oral communication, collaboration, critical thinking, work ethic, and technology literacy. Two additional learning outcomes -- numeracy and global awareness/community engagement -- each must be assessed in at least one project per semester. By providing clear learning goals at the start of each project and ongoing and diverse assessments with frequent feedback, Manor New Tech creates an environment for effective inquiry-based learning (Barron and Darling-Hammond, 2008).

Supporting Teachers' Development and Leadership

Professional development has been shown to help teachers implement PBL successfully (Toolin, 2004; Ravitz, Hixson, English and Mergendoller, 2012). Manor New Tech has instituted several systems that effectively support teachers in leading project-based learning throughout the project cycle:

  • Professional Development Mondays: Once a week, the school employs a one- to two-hour delayed start for students so staff can engage in a range of professional development meetings, including faculty-wide meetings and leadership committees.
  • Critical Friends: This peer-evaluation protocol (also used by students to evaluate each other's projects) often takes place on Mondays and provides a supportive meeting space in which teachers receive feedback on project designs and suggestions for how to adapt tactics as projects progress.
  • Teaching Advancement Program: TAP provides time and compensation for teachers to take on extra responsibilities and to mentor other teachers. Master teachers are always on call to provide assistance and mentorship to their peers, and many new teachers cite the master teachers as critical to their success and confidence (E3 Alliance, 2009).
  • Project Lead The Way provides STEM curriculum, teacher training, professional learning communities, and business partnerships that enhance the professional relevance of PBL and work-based learning opportunities. Manor New Tech students follow this STEM curricular program, which requires all students to take two courses in engineering (Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering).
  • Summer professional development: Each year, all Manor New Tech teachers participate in the New Tech Network's summer training institute. In addition, Manor New Tech hosts the Think Forward Institute, a training workshop for teachers and administrators from Texas and beyond on how to lead PBL successfully. Manor teachers report that engaging in professional learning communities and teaching others about their methods helps them reflect upon and refine what they have learned over the course of the year.
  • UTeach enables pre-service education students at the University of Texas to gain experience in PBL instruction at Manor New Tech, as well as at other inquiry-based high schools. A substantial number of teachers at Manor New Tech have been recruited through the UTeach program (International Center for Leadership in Education, 2010).
  • Team-teaching and one-on-one professional development coaching are regularly supported at Manor New Tech.

This system of supports helps teachers to design and lead engaging, rigorous projects at Manor New Tech. In addition, the school encourages creativity in project designs and in the approaches that students can take to complete their projects. Providing teachers with greater autonomy over their work, in the context of accountability arrangements, along with professional development, have been shown to promote the success of teachers and students (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2011).

Technology Integration

In general, technology works best when it facilitates learning and activities that would occur without the technology, while extending the time, place, and pace at which they can occur (Naidu, 2008). An analysis by the U.S. Department of Education (Means et al., 2010) also found that blended learning environments are more effective than either online learning or face-to-face learning alone. To blend face-to-face and online learning, Manor New Tech uses New Tech Network's proprietary Echo platform, which integrates Google Apps for Education, to support project collaboration and facilitate communication among parents, students, and teachers. The platform includes the following features:

  • Grade tracking: The platform's online grade management tools display student progress on multiple learning outcomes such as the state content standards, written and oral communication, collaboration, critical thinking, work ethic, and technology literacy. The online system provides a comprehensive indicator across grade levels and classes that helps teachers, parents, and students see individual student strengths and weaknesses on a daily real-time basis, enabling teachers to coach students accordingly.
  • Instruction and training resources: Resources include New Tech Network's guidelines and tools, teacher-created documents (e.g., rubrics, scaffolding activities), and professional development materials tied to PBL.
  • Library: The library is a collection of high-quality projects developed by New Tech Network teachers that are available for immediate teacher use.
  • Student journals: Journals facilitate student reflection, help teachers check students' progress, and ensure that students are on course and understand the content.
  • Discussion forums: Students and teachers can instantly share ideas and resources.
  • Agendas: Daily agendas are linked to project tasks, reinforcing collaboration and school culture.
  • Evaluation tools: Tools facilitate peer feedback and help students evaluate projects or group collaborations, as well as enable teachers to track behavior and reward positive student behavior accordingly.

The Scalability of the New Tech Model

High school reform researchers consistently find that immediate positive outcomes are more likely when launching a brand-new school like Manor New Tech, as compared to redesigning underperforming schools (National Evaluation of High School Transformation, 2006; cited in E3 Alliance, 2009). New Tech Network has grown rapidly from 16 schools in the 2006-07 academic year, to 42 schools in 2009-10, to 85 schools in 16 states in 2011-12 (New Tech Network Outcomes, 2012). New Tech's internal evaluation data indicates promising evidence that its model has replicated successfully, with an average four-year cohort graduation rate of 86 percent, an average dropout rate of less than 3 percent, and a college enrollment rate of 67 percent immediately following high school graduation (New Tech Network Outcomes, April 2012; New Tech data 2012).

However, the scalability of the New Tech Network model remains an open question. Can New Tech maintain the quality of the services it provides as it scales nationally? In addition, will New Tech's model work for schools that lack the infrastructure to support systematic professional development around project-based learning and 1:1 computing?

An additional factor that may also account for Manor New Tech's success is that students must apply to attend. Even though Manor New Tech uses a blind lottery system, all students who apply are likely to be more motivated to succeed in school.


Angelo, T.A. and Cross, P.C. (1993). Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Barron, B., and Darling-Hammond, L. (2008). Teaching for Meaningful Learning: A Review of Research on Inquiry-Based and Cooperative Learning.PDF

Blumenfeld, P. C., Soloway, E., Marx, R. W., Krajcik, J. S., Guzdial, M. and Palincsar, A. (1991).Motivating Project-Based Learning: Sustaining the Doing, Supporting the Learning.PDF Educational Psychologist, 26 (3 and 4), 369-398.

Dickinson, G., and Summers, E.J. (2010). Understanding Proficiency in Project-Based Instruction: Interlinking the Perceptions and Experiences of Preservice and In-service Teachers and their Students; A synthesis report prepared for Manor New Technology High School, Manor, TX. Texas State University-San Marcos.

E3 Alliance. (2009). Case Study of Manor New Tech High School: Promising Practices for Comprehensive High Schools.PDF

Hung, W. (2009). The 9-Step Problem Design Process for Problem-Based Learning: Application of the 3C3R Model.PDF Educational Research Review, 4, 118-141.

International Center for Leadership in Education. (2010). Case Study of Manor New Technology High School, Manor, Texas.PDF Model Schools Conference, June 2010, Orlando, FL.

Johnson, D. W. and Johnson, R. T. (2009). An Educational Psychology Success Story: Social Interdependence Theory and Cooperative Learning.PDF Educational Researcher, 38 (5), 365-379.

Means, B., Toyama, Y., Murphy, R., Bakia, M., and Jones, K. (2010). Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis and Review of Online Learning Studies.PDF Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.

Naidu, S. (2008). Enabling Time, Pace, and Place Independence.PDF In J.M. Spector, M.D. Merrill, J.J.G. Van Merriënboer, and M.P. Driscoll (Eds.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology (3rd ed.), (259-268). New York, NY: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

New Tech Network Outcomes 2010-11 (April 2012).PDF

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (2011). Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from around the World.PDF OECD Publishing, Paris.

Ravitz, Jason (2009). Introduction: Summarizing Findings and Looking Ahead to a New Generation of PBL Research. Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, 3 (1), Article 2.

Ravitz, J., Hixson, N., English, M., and Mergendoller, J. (2012). Using PBL to Teach 21st Century Skills: Findings from a Statewide Initiative in West Virginia. Paper presented at Annual Meetings of the American Educational Research Association. Vancouver, BC. April 16, 2012.

Slavin, R. E. (1996). Research on Cooperative Learning and Achievement: What We Know, What We Need to Know.PDF Contemporary Educational Psychology, 21, 43-69.

Toolin, R.E. (2010). Striking a Balance Between Innovation and Standards: A Study of Teachers Implementing Project-Based Approaches to Teaching Science. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 13 (2).

Yañez, D., Schneider, C. L., Leach, L. F. (2009). Summary of Selected Findings from a Case Study of Manor New Technology High School in the Manor Independent School District, Manor, Texas.PDF Charles A. Dana Center at The University of Texas at Austin.