I’ve been tinkering away at project-learning in my classroom since October, 2010. A month or so before that my friend Dean Groom introduced me to this new way of doing things … I imagine he could sense how frustrated I was with trying to integrate technology into my classroom with little purpose or direction. Anyway, if you’ve ever read another post on this blog you’ll know that the rest is history. I’ve stuck with PBL through the failures and the successes, the tantrums and the celebrations. Why? Either I’m just a stubborn git or this project-learning thing has some merit. I’m happy to argue that both are true.
Mid-way through last year I decided to undertake a Master of Education because I felt so passionately about PBL – I wanted to get the data to back up my belief that technology is integrated meaningfully into the classroom only when we use an appropriate pedagogy such as PBL. I wanted to get the data so I could SPREAD THE WORD about the awesomeness of PBL. I wanted all teachers in Australia to give PBL a go and see the impact it will have on them and their students. But guess what? I didn’t need the MEd to do it – people didn’t want ‘research’ data … they wanted to see how it works from a teacher’s perspective, they wanted to see the pit-falls and the joys, they wanted to see that it’s worth doing again and again. And now … there’s HEAPS of interest in PBL!! Yay Australia!!
OK … to get to the point of this post. Due to the massive surge in interest in PBL (and not only tentative interest but people and faculties and even whole schools committing to doing PBL now and very soon!) I have decided that there’s a need for a weekly (or fortnightly depending on the time of term, lol) PBL chat. There’s already #pblchat which is moderated by the beautiful Theresa Shafer of the New Tech Network, but it’s mostly for the US and thus focuses on their standards and Common Core etc. We need an AUSTRALIAN PBL chat! Why? Because we have a new Australian Curriculum that’s being implemented soon and it is SCREAMING for project-learning … so we’re going to have a chat. When? Mondays from 9pm until you all get bored or leave to watch #qanda.
Typically twitter chats are democratic … in that the participants get to select the topic. I’m going to change that. I’m going to go all authoritarian and determine the topics for the rest of the term. How come? Because there isn’t that long to go until the end of the year and I figure there are some key elements of PBL that just need to be covered … namely, BIE’s 8 elements of PBL. So below is a suggested outline of weekly topics for the next 5 weeks. I would, however, love your suggestions for focus questions for each topic – post ‘em as a comment if you’ve got ‘em. These 5 topics take us until the end of term (public school term, that is, haha) and after that we can become democratic e.g. let’s have a holiday and resume the chat when we’re all rested and eager to start a new school year.
Oh, and if you’re not on twitter and don’t want to be, don’t worry! I’ll be collecting all of the best tweets using storify and adding them to a weekly wrap-up blog post
Monday 19th November: The what and the why.
– What is this PBL thing?
– Why should I care?
Monday 26th November: Significant Content & Student Voice and Choice
Monday 3rd December: Driving Question & Need to know
Monday 10th December: In-depth Inquiry & 21st century skills
Monday 17th December: Revision and Reflection & Presentation