Tara Akstull's Portfolio Page


Design Project: Problem-based Learning in Math through Technology

Project Topic

Problem-based learning is a new wave of education which encourages and fosters teaching for understanding to students. It is for teachers to learn how to support students to make connections to real world applications. This project will be aimed at promoting students to use problem-based learning in mathematics. In addition, the basis of the problem-based learning will be integrated through technology. This project will be “Problem-based Learning in Math Through Technology” including background information, objectives, and units with activities for instructors to discover.

Intent of Project

The goal of this project will be for students to be able to practice with problem-based learning in mathematics through technology applications. Instructors will learn how to create processes in problem-based learning while committing to using technology tools. Teachers will be given information about problem-based learning including why to use it, how to use it, and examples of when to use it. Through this project, teachers will also be informed about various technology methods they can use in their classroom. Specifically, teachers will be targeted about how to incorporate technology while involving problem-based learning practices in their classroom.

By the end of this project teachers will be able to:

  • State what problem-based learning is, the advantages of problem based learning, and how they can use PBL in their classrooms
  • Provide examples of how and when to use PBL in classroom
  • Use various technology tools in their classrooms with their students
  • Create lessons in their classrooms that integrate technology
  • Generate PBL activities that use technology to benefit and advance the lesson for better understanding among students

Needs Assessments

Instructional Problem: There is a need for mathematics students to become interested in material and make the connection to why mathematics is important. There is a need for students to see why math is important and valuable through “real-life” scenarios and applications. This project focuses on developing teachers to be able to provide students with opportunities to make connections with problem-based activities influenced by technology.

What is to be learned: Instructors will learn about problem-based learning, technology, and how to incorporate the two to create lessons and strategies that promote understanding for mathematics students.

About the learners: The learners for this course will be primarily 7-12 mathematics teachers. These teachers must have a commitment and dedication to helping their students value and understand mathematics. These teachers must also have an interest in learning and incorporating technology within their classroom. There does need to be a basic knowledge with computer use and programming, but mainly there just needs to be a motivation to learn about applying technology.

Instructional context: Each of the three units will be modeled with the same approach. Each unit will have an introduction, objectives, activities, and reflection. The goal of each unit is to provide information and practice. The method of instruction is of a constructivist design where the learners (7-12 teachers) are engaged in active learner-center activities where they can self-discover new concepts based on prior knowledge. The activities are problem-based “authentic tasks” where the learners will be given an opportunity for guided practice.

Course Purposes and Performance Objectives

Purpose 1: To educate instructors about problem-based learning in mathematics

  • State what problem-based learning is and why it is beneficial for mathematics students
  • State examples of problem-based learning and what it looks like in a mathematics classroom
  • Examine strategies for problem-based learning in mathematics
  • Learn how to create problem-based activities that could be utilized in a mathematics classroom

Purpose 2: To educate instructors about technology integration in math classrooms

  • Understand the basics of technology and why it can and should be used in a math classroom
  • Examine various math supported technology tools and methods that are used in classrooms
  • Generate reasons for technology in mathematics and state ways technology can be used in a math classroom

Purpose 3: To encourage and educate instructors specifically in the use technology in mathematics classrooms with problem-based learning activities

  • Develop an understanding of how integrating technology can benefit problem-based learning
  • Create problem-based activities that have a technology background and use technology tools of the classroom

Task Analysis

Prerequisite Skills

Essential Prerequisites

  • Understand mathematical concepts and applications of how to relate “real-world” processes to math
  • Basic knowledge and understanding of technology
  • Skills of following directions
  • Ability to navigate through educational technologies

Supportive Prerequisites

  • Willingness and motivation to learn new strategies and methods of teaching
  • Dedication to improve student learning through teaching for understanding

Instructional Curriculum Map

File:Curriculum Map-Tara Akstull.pdf


Gagne, R. M., Wagner, W. W., Golas, K. C., & Keller, J. M., (2005). Principles of Instruction Design. Belmont, California: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.