#OZPLBLCHAT 28th November: Significant Content & Student Voice and Choice

Tomorrow is our second ever #OZPBLCHAT. If you missed last week’s awesome chat, you can read about it here. There were so many questions that I didn’t get around to answering – I hope that the wrap-up blog post and the storify helped. If not, just add your question as a comment below.
OK, so this week (Monday, 9pm) we are looking at TWO of what BIE called the ‘8 ESSENTIALS OF PBL’ and whether you think there should be more or less to PBL, my experience has revealed that all 8 of these elements are essential. Tomorrow we’re looking at two that I think come (or should come) at the beginning of the project-planning cycle: Significant Content & Student Voice and Choice.

If you’ve never planned a PBL project before, you might want to consider checking out the freebies offered by BIE to get you started. You can find them here. I suggest starting with the ‘project calendar’ just to help you get a bit of structure to your project. At that same link is a good PDF on the 8 essentials for PBL too – a worthy read. Also at the same link, scroll down and check out the ‘teaching and learning guide’ – another good document to guide you through the early stages of PBL. I also have a bunch of these files saved in folders in my PBL 1001 edmodo group that you can request to join by using this link here. Finally, you might want to check out the sample projects and resources that have been shared for free in the BIE edmodo community that you can join by clicking this link here.

Before I go through the discussion questions for tomorrow night’s chat, I’ll just let you know that significant content and student voice and choice are things that I have grappled with enormously over the last two years. Sometimes I have felt so much angst about student voice and choice that I’ve wanted to quit PBL altogether because I felt like a fraud. Another time I realised after the project launch that I hadn’t given my students enough voice and choice, resulting in their frustration with the project. I ended up ripping up the project and getting them to create their own projects. Finally, despite my reticence to have projects too driven by me and my secret syllabus needs, I have had great success with well-designed projects that have prompted students to engage directly with significant content from the syllabus as well as content relevant to their own lives/world.

Discussion questions for #OZPBLCHAT:

1. What makes content ‘significant’? (For the teacher and the students.)

2. How do you plan a project around significant (syllabus) content?

3. a. What is ‘student voice’? (AND) b. How do we ensure our students get a voice but also engage with ‘significant content’?

4. a. What types of choices should students be given during projects? (AND) b. How do I give my students a choice?



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