Presenting on PBL (again).

I feel like I’m a one string ukelele … boring and annoying with many strings and even worse with just one. Once again I find myself presenting on PBL at a conference in Sydney. I wonder how many people have walked away from one of my 60 minute sessions and actually taken the time to create and implement a project. Surely by now no-one needs to hear me bang on about this particular pedagogy again? It makes me super self-conscious to be presenting on PBL to English teachers at the annual AATE conference next week. (Ah, not to mention the epic line-up of presenters and speakers!)  What if some of the attendees had been at one of my other presentations, or they’ve read my blog? Won’t they be all like, ‘Um, isn’t this what you told us 12 months ago?’

I really liked the advice that a twitter friend gave me today when I lamented my nerves on twitter. She said, ‘People need to hear why it is so important in our world today and see the relevance before they feel confident to apply it.’ And she’s write. Thanks Ashley. The last time I presented on PBL to my English teacher colleagues, I focused mostly on the ‘how’ of PBL and a little bit on the ‘what’, but I didn’t touch on ‘why’. I guess that was because I wanted to run a hands-on workshop and actually had teachers move chairs around and stuff, which was fun but I don’t know if anyone seriously took on this new approach to teaching English. As I said to Ashley, ‘I don’t want someone saying ‘you should do this’ without telling me why & how.’ That’s going to be my goal for this presentation … why and how.

Here is my presentation outline:

This session will give insight into the nature of Project Based Learning (PBL) and how this inquiry method of teaching can be used to enhance student engagement and learning outcomes in the English classroom. PBL, enhanced by digital technologies, promotes skills in collaboration, problem-solving and critical and creative thinking, all general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum. In PBL projects, students use texts as a springboard for their investigation into real-world problems and then share their discoveries with an authentic audience. Bianca will discuss her classroom experiences with PBL and her research, which is a case study looking at the relationship between PBL, multiliteracies, feedback and ICT in the English classroom. Participants will be introduced to a range of strategies and tools for implementing and running successful projects with their classes, as well as gaining insight into the power of being connected to a global PBL community.

What a mouthful, huh? I promised to cover a bit too much in an hour and fifteen minutes, hey? Interestingly, the direction of my research (if it ever happens) has changed since I put in my EOI for the conference. I’ve had 6 months experience working at state office, immersing myself in the new NSW English K-10 syllabus … and as such my interest is in what it has to say about assessment and how teachers can implement these varied assessment practices using a PBL-style approach to teaching and learning. I’m still super interested in digital technologies and multiliteracies, but a new way to approach learning in the English classroom. Cos, you know, assessment is actually about learning – whodathunkit? 😉

Tonight I am going to actually ‘make’ my presentation for the AATE conference and when it’s done I’ll share it here. I guess by ‘make’, I just mean get a rough scaffold, sift through my expanding bag of project resources and then put it into some kind of thrilling slideshow format – urgh. Or maybe I’ll just go old-skool and write a speech with no pretty things to distract a bored attendee? Not sure yet. Anyway, I’ll post below the skeleton I have so far for my presentation just because posting here always makes me feel like I’m being productive but really it’s just a very public way of procrastinating.

1. What is PBL?

2. How can PBL be used to enhance student engagement in English?

3. How can PBL be used to enhance learning outcomes in English?

4. What digital technologies can support PBL?

5. PBL and collaboration.

6. PBL and problem-solving.

7. PBL and creative thinking.

8. PBL and critical thinking.

9. PBL, the Australian Curriculum and assessment.

10. Texts as springboards for investigation into real-world problems.

11. Students as composers for an authentic audience.

12. My own classroom experiences with PBL.

13. My research – a case study.

14. Connecting to a global PBL community.


3 thoughts on “Presenting on PBL (again).

  1. I always keep in mind the “obvious to you, amazing to others” senario. Remember, there could be a whole crew there that have never heard of PBL. They need to hear and learn WITH you. Experience and perspective matter.

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