Project Based Learning needs innovative Districts to support Teachers
Sixteen months ago, I co-founded a startup called CrowdSchool with a mission to transform K-12 classrooms by putting Project Based Learning (PBL) at the heart of school. Our founding team had more than 15 years teaching through projects in the classroom, and it seemed only natural that we build our platform for teachers.
One could argue that when it comes to teachers, we’ve been successful. Since launching the private beta version of CrowdSchool in April, more than 200 teachers have used our platform to create and teach with project based lessons in blended classrooms. Over 5,000 students have made projects through CrowdSchool to date. Students have created Marble Maze Machines to learn about Newton’s Laws, designed campaigns to prevent bullying in their communities, and even proposed solutions to the Nile Water Crisis in Africa.
It’s been incredibly inspiring to see teachers transform the lives of their students with learning opportunities that combine creativity with solving real world challenges.
However, one of the biggest challenges we’ve heard from teachers is that they feel like they need more permission and support from their districts in order to make PBL a core part of their classrooms. More often than not, districts make the big decisions on curriculum, instruction, and budgets. To take Project Based Learning to scale, we need more school and districts to support teachers in implementing PBL. We’ve shifted our strategy to include these key stakeholders.
We’re still committed to designing a platform to make it easy and magical for teachers and students to do transformative PBL in the classroom. We’re also now building an Enterprise Edition of CrowdSchool that has all the features Superintendents love to geek out on: advanced assessment tools, SIS integrations, curriculum libraries, and professional development resources. And fortunately, as startup in BoomStartup’s EdTech Accelerator, we have the mentorship of executives from Pearson, PowerSchool, and McGraw Hill to help guide our development of these tools.
Want to bring more transformative PBL to your school or district? We’re currently taking applications to pilot CrowdSchool’s Enterprise Edition.