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#1 2020-09-06 17:03:18

Registered: 2020-08-03
Posts: 6,254

Project based learning (PBL) is often misunderstood


Category Archives: learning design

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In 2015, I was fortunate enough to have an instructional leadership role for technology as part of my school’s BYOD program.  I worked with every faculty in the school across Year 7-12 to build the capacity of teachers to use technology to transform learning.
A Twitter conversation led me to revisit a more formalised instructional leadership strategy,  (EAfS).
EAfS involves instructional leaders working in schools to build capacities of teachers in teaching literacy and numeracy.
A look at their  revealed some interesting ideas to me, particularly the progressions of how children learn early numeracy skills like place value, mental calculations and using symbols.
I also really liked the idea of instructional leaders building collaborative cultures of inquiry and supporting teachers in collecting, evaluating and using data to inform their practice.
— Alice Leung (@aliceleung)                          , , , , , ,.
I presented at the 2017 NSW Secondary Deputy Principals Association Conference this week on embedding effective questioning into assessment for learning.
According to , teachers ask 400 questions a day, wait under 1 second for a reply from students and most of these questions are lower order questions that require students to recall facts.
The research also shows that increasing the number of higher order questions leads to increases in on-task behaviour, better responses from students and more speculative thinking from students.
Here is another example of a hinge question from.
Alternatively, you can use digital tools like , and.
I personally find mini whiteboards the easiest to implement.
Digital random name generator from tools like and.
Teachers can put a stimulus in the middle of the table for students to create their own question, .

Like this source I found via  for Stage 6 Modern History

You can find more information and resources on questioning in assessment for learning.
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Project based learning (PBL) is often misunderstood.
On one side, it is touted as a strategy for “future focused learning” and “21st century learning”.
On the other end, there is misconception that PBL involves sending students off to learn by themselves using “online research”.

This is unfortunate as the more experience I have in implementing PBL

the more I see it as an overarching structure that combines a multitude of evidence-based teaching practices that ties in with goal 2 of the :          The key word here is develop.
Self-regulated and self-directed learners are made, not born.
To be successful at PBL, students must have a level of self regulation and self direction.
Many teachers implementing PBL for the first time find that their students have low levels of self regulation and self direction, .

Which can make PBL frustrating for all

The learning design behind any PBL experience needs to have built-in teaching moments that build students’ skills in self regulation and self direction.
One of the most useful papers I have found that describes this is.
I have drafted a graphic that combines the paper and my own experience to show how teachers can design PBL experiences that scaffold student self regulation and self direction.

To enable students to be successful in PBL

many of the strategies teachers need to use are evidence based.
For a while now I have been using the  from.
The site is a collation of Australian and international research that informs teachers on the impact on a range of teaching and learning strategies.
A sort of the strategies show that the top 5 that make the most impact are: From   The top 3 strategies, ,  and  are key components of PBL:  Feedback – The nature of PBL involves formative assessment, assessment for learning and assessment as learning.
Students are constantly drafting and re-drafting their work based on feedback.
This requires teachers to build in multiple opportunities for teacher feedback, peer feedback and self feedback.
One of the best resources I have found in designing and implementing formative assessment and feedback is , particularly the sections on teacher questioning.
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Last Sunday I had the privilege of hosting the weekly #aussieED chat on Twitter

The focus was on STEM.

I wanted to dig deep into what Australian teachers thought on STEM education

For those who don’t know, STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths.

A focus on STEM isn’t new and has been a focus on-and-off since the

However in the past 5 years.

There has been a large focus on STEM in primary

secondary and tertiary education as well as being emphasised in government policies.
So for the #aussieED chat I wanted to find out what teachers felt was happening with STEM education in their schools.
These are some of the themes:  Some teachers indicated that their schools have implemented STEM as cross-curricular project based learning experiences and have moved from a few innovators and early adopters trailing STEM programs to whole school approaches.

These schools are now supporting other schools who are starting their STEM journeys

A good example of this is the  project in NSW public schools.
It will be interesting to see how different schools and teachers evolve their STEM teaching approaches as they gain more experience and reflect upon them.
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Image from                           , , ,                                                 Field, tenor and mode – a literacy framework for all subjects.
17                         A worksheet to analyse the language features of a text using field, tenor and mode –.
A text composition planning sheet.
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Last year I was very lucky to have received a bunch of more flexible furniture from.
To put things in context, I’ve always been very lucky to have a “nice” learning space.
The science lab I’m in was only refurbished in 2010 so my classes and I have always worked with new furniture.
However, when I began my project based learning journey in 2012, I realised that the standard two-seater rectangular tables were no longer working.
Students wanted a space where they can easily transition from whole-class instruction/discussion, to small group work and to individual work.
The space, as it was, was very effective for whole class instruction, but not for small group work where students needed to collaborate and often worked on different projects at different paces.
For the next few years, students spilled out into the hallways, took up nearby classrooms if they weren’t being used and even moved out into the quad in order to work on their projects as a team.
Last year was my first year of full time work after returning from maternity leave.
My baby is now 18 months old.
Being a parent and a full time teacher plus a leader is challenging.
My online PLN often talks of work life balance.
However,  .

Said to me on Twitter that he calls it “work/life satisfaction” and not “balance”

I really like the term “satisfaction” than “balance”.
To me, balance is more quantitative.
Something like ‘I must spend equal amounts of time doing work, spending time with my family and doing things I enjoy.’ On the other hand, “satisfaction” seems more qualitative to me.
‘Am I happy?’ “Satisfaction” is also more personal.
Work/life satisfaction is different to each individual and it doesn’t have to be 50/50 all the time.
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Formative assessment is something I’ve been putting a lot more emphasis on over the past few years.
I’m so sick of just relying of end-of-topic exams to gauge what students have learnt.
I want my students to continuously question how they are going and make changes to their learning accordingly.
This is one of the reasons that my faculty has embarked on a.
One of the ways that many teachers using SOLO use to assess student learning is with SOLO hexagons.

Here’s an of how to use SOLO hexagons from the SOLO guru

Pam Hooke.
And here are the hexagons my students used (note that the hexagons were pre-cut for students and placed into zip lock bags with the above instruction card).
My students worked in groups of 2 to 4.
I used the  to create the hexagons.
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