Project Based Units (PBU)

Creating a Systemic Curriculum/Technology Integration Model for Tri-City Schools

The graphic below represents the TRITEC model for achieving curriculum/technology integration in tri-city schools.

Project-Based Unit Electronic Template

TRITEC Curriculum/Technology Integration Model

The model is the foundation for PBU Builder, the web-based application that supports teacher efforts in developing and sharing Internet-based project-based units. PBU Builder incorporates relational databases that consist of the following components:

  • Student Technology Competencies
    The Tri-City K-12 student technology competencies were created as a collaborative effort among the school districts of Everett, Malden, and Medford as part of a systemic strategy for achieving student technology literacy. This comprehensive database outlines the grade levels at which students must demonstrate mastery of specific technology skills to support deeper understanding of subject-area content. Students will be exposed to each technology competency in many different ways before skill mastery is expected. The database indicates the grade level for skill introduction (I), reinforcement (--), and mastery (M) in a K-12 environment, in addition to the required (®) or elective (E) nature of each competency. Once a technology skill is mastered, skill enhancement will continue until graduation.

    Since the student technology competency database was designed to support student attainment of district curricula, teachers use this database in conjunction with the district curricula database in the creation of project-based units (PBUs) to ensure that technology is implemented effectively in support of the district curricula and enhanced student learning.

  • Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks
    The Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks came about as a result of the Massachusetts Education Reform Act of 1993. The frameworks consist of curriculum guides for seven academic areas---Arts, English Language Arts, Foreign Languages, Comprehensive Health, Mathematics, History and Social Science, and Science and Technology/Engineering. Local school districts use the frameworks to develop more specific curricula for their teachers and students. In PBU Builder, the frameworks are linked to the district curricula as a reference so that alignment between state and district curricula can be ensured. Since the state frameworks are dynamic documents, PBU Builder contains a state/district curriculum alignment tool to allow easy realignment of district curricula to state frameworks as they are revised.

  • District Curricula
    This database contains the grade-level curriculum benchmarks in major subject areas for the school districts of Everett, Malden, and Medford. These benchmarks are directly aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks, as the dotted line in the graphic indicates. Teachers using PBU Builder will be selecting curriculum benchmarks from the district database for use in their PBUs, and will also have the opportunity to explore the manner in which their district's curriculum links to the state curriculum documents. Curriculum directors can use PBU Builder's state/district curriculum alignment tool to review and edit their district's curricula and maintain up-to-date linkages to state curriculum documents as revisions to these document occur.

  • Project-Based Unit/Electronic Template
    This electronic unit-planning template allows teachers to create multi-dimensional, interdisciplinary lessons, incorporating selected technology competencies and district curriculum benchmarks, that engage students in the learning process. Teachers creating PBUs work in teams with colleagues who bring to the development process varying subject-area and technology expertise. The resulting PBUs contain activities that foster the development of student skills and understanding as students create projects that call for them to apply their knowledge.

    The PBU template requires that teachers supply similar information for all PBUs in the form of theme, PBU title, contributors, grade level(s), age level(s), subject areas, unit goals, links to district curriculum (content benchmarks and technology competencies), materials and resources, timeframe and schedule for implementation, necessary student foundational skills, learning activities and organization notes, assessment, and teacher notes and feedback. In addition, each field in the PBU template is defined to ensure consistent interpretation of the information requested.

    The PBU template serves as the teacher team repository for: (1) uniformly capturing necessary information that allows teachers throughout the tri-city districts to implement each PBU successfully; and, (2) compiling corresponding student-oriented modules for Internet-based research lessons. All PBU template fields are searchable so that teachers can determine which district curriculum benchmarks and technology competencies have been integrated into PBUs, and which have yet to be selected for inclusion. Such analysis will ensure that all aspects of the district curriculum and state frameworks are addressed.