STEM Education Summit
Celinda Corsini: Am I Teaching Robots or Humans?
This is the question I asked myself in 2015 when I realised it was time to abandon Flipped Learning. The method had proven to be incredibly effective and efficient, producing exceptional examination results, but its scope was disappointingly narrow.
About this talk
Am I Teaching Robots or Humans?
This is the question I asked myself in 2015 when I realised it was time to abandon Flipped Learning. The method had proven to be incredibly effective and efficient, producing exceptional examination results, but its scope was disappointingly narrow. More importantly, it failed to acknowledge the creative, social and unique human beings on the other side of the screen.
Four years later, feeling reinvigorated and wiser from an immersion into PBL, Inquiry Learning and Capability-based learning, I was ready to revisit the world of online pedagogy to push my thinking in new directions.
As the project leader for the creation of new online courses in a distance education setting, I had the perfect opportunity to rethink online learning with a team of teachers to design a more human-centred learning experience. These four driving questions framed our design:
- How do we design online learning to be more active? There is a lot of spoon-feeding in online courses. I wanted to find a way for students to generate the learning content.
- How do we design online learning to be more social? Online learning is often an isolating experience for students. I felt it was essential to create a learning community, at least among students of a course.
- How do we design online learning to be more personalised? Most online courses look quite prescriptive and offer only a one-size-fits-all product. I wanted to incorporate more student choice and open-ended tasks that acknowledge the different passions, interests, and aspirations of every learner. Furthermore, I wanted to explore ways we could allow students to design their own personalised learning path.
- How do we design online learning to be more focused on future skills? Typically, learning is narrowly focused on syllabus outcomes. I wanted to stretch the learning beyond the boundaries of a subject and help students develop useful skills for their future.
In my talk I will share our journey into achieving these four priorities.
About the Speaker
Head Teacher, Teaching & Learning (Innovation & Future Directions), NSW School of Languages
Celinda Corsini is a Head Teacher in secondary education with experience in Online Learning, Flipped Learning, Inquiry Learning, Capabilities-based learning, and PBL. She is an expert language teacher in both HSC and International Baccalaureate programs and has also taught numerous subjects across 5-12. Celinda has presented at various conferences to share her experience in Blended Learning and Project-based Learning.
Watch full video below
Peter Dalmaris: Hi, everyone. And welcome to Celinda Corsini, who is about to deliver a talk on making online learning social, personalized, and active. Celinda's talk is part of the STEM Education Summit, a unique, one of a kind event where educators from around the world come together to share the best insights on the technologies, methodologies, and philosophies they use to teach and inspire the next generation of amazing humans.
Peter Dalmaris: I'm Peter Dalmaris, an online educator, author of Maker Education Revolution and Co-Founder of Tech Explorations.
Peter Dalmaris: Celinda is a head teacher teaching and learning Innovation and Future Directions at the New South Wales School of Languages based in Sydney, Australia. She spent five years perfecting her flipped learning model but, eventually, found that it was no longer challenging for her. Responding to her quest for tools and methodologies that better address more than learning states, she began to explore the world of online pedagogy. Celinda's goal were to create a model of online learning that was more social, more personalized, and more active.
Peter Dalmaris: Most online learning experiences seem to make students feel isolated. The content is usually accrued adaptation of offline content. Students are guided through prescriptive curricula with little room for imagination and experimentation. The development of soft skills is not even enough taught in many cases.
Peter Dalmaris: So, in her talk, Celinda will take us through the model she has created for the development of online learning experiences that are social, personalized, and active. She will talk about her process of creating and delivering such experiences and the tools that she is using. So, Celinda, thank you for joining me today. How are you?
Celinda Corsini: Very well. Thank you. How are you today?
Peter Dalmaris: Great. It's a beautiful day here in Sydney today. And as a lot of other people, we're stuck at home, so we're going to make the most out of it. So, thank you for taking so much time, I know, from your busy schedule to create this presentation and help take it from around the world. I appreciate it.
Celinda Corsini: And thank you for having me today.
Peter Dalmaris: Awesome. Awesome. So, here's my question to kick start your presentation. I understand that you have a lot of experience with project-based learning, and you were my guest, I think, a couple of years ago on Stemiverse Podcast, where you discussed designing project-based learning.
Peter Dalmaris: But in this case, I wanted to ask you about flipped learning, because it's very interesting. I know that you chose to no longer use flipped learning. You made the decision back in around 2015. Could you take a few minutes to explain why? And as teachers, what can we learn from your flipped learning experience?
Celinda Corsini: Yeah. So, it was around the end of 2015, I remember that last term in 2015, I would be walking to my class and I was overwhelmed by this feeling of boredom. I felt I had developed, and tweaked, and attempted to perfect the model to a point that it had become overkill, really.
Celinda Corsini: And when I think about why I was so bored by it and why it was no longer stimulating me intellectually, my conclusion was that it was because it wasn't a very deep level of teaching and learning. It was formulaic. It was robotic, almost, both for me as a teacher, but unfortunately also for my students.
Celinda Corsini: At the beginning, when I started to develop it, I did think it was, you know, transformative, revolutionary, almost. But then, I realized it was really just cloning myself, the teacher online, and that nothing much had changed. And, in fact, I had compromised and sacrificed some important elements of my teaching practice, such as self-discovery and allowing students to develop some important thinking skills.
Celinda Corsini: In my case, for languages, pattern seeking, for example, I had taken all that away by just having to spoon feed them online. And, basically, I felt that the learning outcomes were far too narrow. And that's why, you know, I was ready to move on with my teaching practice, and I realized that flipped learning didn't give me the space to move on because it wasn't deep enough. It was very superficial.
Peter Dalmaris: Yeah. Well, I'm wondering, like, if you look at flipped learning as another tool or one of the many tools that a teacher can have and use appropriately for specific situations, would you say that flipped learning is appropriate for some aspects of your work as a teacher? Obviously, not others. And if yes, where do you think that flipped learning fits best?
Celinda Corsini: I guess flipped learning fits best when you want to quickly get students through content and you're trying to create more time to do other things. So, it's a timesaver, in my opinion. It's also when, I guess, there is no need for students to develop deep thinking skills with regards to the content.
Celinda Corsini: So, if you're willing in whatever context, whatever topic, to sacrifice those deep thinking skills in terms of the content, because you're going to gain some more benefits in that time saving through what you do, perhaps in class, then it's worth using.
Celinda Corsini: So, mainly a timesaver, but also, I guess one of the biggest benefits of flipped learning is that in saving that time, then your role in the classroom can change. So, you're no longer out there lecturing and you have time to sort of walk around and be that guide on the side to provide timely support and timely feedback. So, you just need to be aware that you're compromising something.
Peter Dalmaris: Yeah. Do you think that flipped learning also requires students to be a little bit more responsible about the learning because you are pushing some responsibility to them?
Celinda Corsini: Absolutely. And it doesn't work if you don't achieve that level of responsibility. Now, I was blessed to be in a really good school. It's a school where students were very, very motivated to learn. And I can only say it worked in my context, and I think that may have had something to do with it. At the same time to, I guess, encourage that level of accountability I had put other things in place.
Celinda Corsini: So, for example, they would have a week to learn my content, but then I would test them the first day back on all the content I had delivered. And I wouldn't wait. I would just go on with the program. So, they knew that if they hadn't completed all that online work, they would be completely lost. And many of them were completely lost and realized, "Okay. I need to get the work done." But I'm not too sure how that would work in other context.
Peter Dalmaris: So, like any tool, you learn it first, make sure it's applicable to your circumstances and what you're trying to achieve.
Celinda Corsini: And like any tool, you shouldn't overuse it. And I think sometimes as teachers, when we find something that works, we almost develop a little obsession with it. And that it narrows our vision and then we don't open our minds to new possibilities. And we stop evolving because we're so convinced that what we're doing is working. Why is there any need to change? Why is it you need to continue reading and developing professionally if we think we've found the perfect solution? So, I think that's another -- that I learned.
Peter Dalmaris: It's like you can't compare a teacher to a specialist doctor. So, you find a specialist doctor, specialist in the left eye only and that's it. But you can't be a teacher that is so specialized that only applies one tool in the work. You need to be multidisciplinary and a Jack of many trades.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. And in addition to that, even with the example of a doctor, our doctors continue to evolve. You know, science continues to evolve. And in the same way that we expect our doctors to be consulting the new research and to be changing the way they treat us using more reliable forms of treatment, I feel that as educators, we have the same responsibility.
Celinda Corsini: And so, even though we think we've got the right method and found the perfect method, we need to continue consulting because there will always be new research out there. And I feel it's our responsibility to consult that new research and to change our practice. Even to meet the changing world out there, things are changing, we need to continue adjusting.
Peter Dalmaris: Yeah. That's a great analogy. Thanks. That's the point of the summit as well. So, your talk is about online education, which at the time that we're recording this, the whole world is changing. And with it, education. And usually education needs to be at the forefront of change. Educators shape the future because they shape the people that are going to be in charge of the future.
Peter Dalmaris: So, you will talk about your experiences with creating better online learning experiences, so I invite you now to just take it away and tell us about your online curriculum development experiences and your model.
Celinda Corsini: Okay. Thank you. So, the title, "Am I Teaching Robots or Humans?" was a question that I asked myself a few years ago as I began to reflect critically on my online teaching practice, in particular with flipped learning. And even when I looked around at other examples of online learning, it felt that all we were doing was asking students to download knowledge directly from their computer to their brains, and to spit it back out in the form of tasks or assignments.
Celinda Corsini: But how were we acknowledging that there was an actual human on the other side of the screen? A person capable of thinking for him or herself, and who was wired to interact socially with others? I don't think we were.
Celinda Corsini: But last year, I had an opportunity to change this. I started a new position, and I was tasked with leading a team of teachers in the writing of new online courses in my situation for an advanced foreign language course. This was a rare opportunity to develop a new pedagogical approach for our distance education school.
Celinda Corsini: And I had four burning questions that I wanted to seek answers to. How do we design online learning to be more active, social, personalized, and focused on future skills?
Celinda Corsini: In this presentation, I'll be sharing how I addressed these four priorities as I embarked on - what I call - my second journey into online learning.
Celinda Corsini: By the end of this presentation, I hope that you will have various strategies that can be adapted or transferred to your teaching area. The intention, however, is that my journey of trial and error act as a springboard to generate new ideas for evolving online teaching and learning in your particular context.
Celinda Corsini: But first, I'd like to go back to my personal why for what I'm sharing with you today. It starts around ten years ago when I ran into this quote. And, for me, it triggered months and months of thinking. For example, if students have the knowledge at their fingertips, it makes no sense for me to be focusing so much on content. My focus instead should be on skills.
Celinda Corsini: But students still need content. So, how do they get this content? At the time, I was teaching a beginners language course, my students had no prior knowledge to even begin to access content on their own. So, the only solution I could think of at the time was for me to buy more class time so that I could focus on skills and to do this by delivering all my content online.
Celinda Corsini: So, although, I interpret this quote quite differently today, back then it was a step forward in my thinking, and it led to the development of my flipped learning model.
Celinda Corsini: So, here's a case study of the results of three years in their final exam, which was the IB exam in my context.
Celinda Corsini: So, the Class 2012 was the last cohort I taught, let's say, in a traditional face to face method. So, whilst I was teaching these two year course, I began to develop my prototype for flipped learning. And I engaged my 2012 students as design consultants. I was asking for their feedback to develop the prototype. In fact, I even had two groups of students as part of a separate project who were building two little prototypes for me on two different platforms, Google Sites and WordPress.
Celinda Corsini: The class of 2013 was the first cohort to experience my flipped learning model. And I sought constant student feedback during implementation, and I continue to tweak my model based on their feedback as well as my own observations.
Celinda Corsini: Now to 2014, you can see how the results improved further in 2014. This was now my second iteration of my flipped model. And, basically, my 2014 students were reaping the benefits of the feedback I had received from the previous cohort. So, by asking for student feedback, you'll get additional impact on results. And I can't emphasize this enough, whatever your context, whatever your methodology.
Celinda Corsini: So, looking at the results, you could say mission accomplished, I guess. But then, I had a moment when I looked at what I was doing ad I actually felt ashamed and not proud. If I had to be honest with myself, all I had done was find an effective formula for acing the exams. And because of this, I felt I was cheating my students.
Celinda Corsini: As an educator, I should have been preparing them for their future and not solely for a series of trick questions printed on a few sheets of paper to be completed under three hours on one single day of their life as learners.
Celinda Corsini: I no longer found flipped learning challenging or intellectually stimulating. And, more importantly, actually feared it had corrupted my teaching values and my learning philosophy. So, in 2015, I abandoned this model of teaching. And the place I referred to in this article as Teacher Heaven, a results oriented school where abandoning this model would not have been an option.
Celinda Corsini: So, in 2016, I started at a new school to experience blended learning, project-based learning. And then, in 2018, I moved again and I experienced inquiry learning and also had the incredible challenge of teaching nine different subjects. Then, I decided that my next challenge would be reentering the world of online learning. And I wanted to basically test if the four years of experience could help me create a better version of what I was doing before in 2015.
Celinda Corsini: So, Make it active was my number one priority. I wanted to find a way to make the learning more student-centric and for it to be more about learning by doing. But online learning element of my flipped model, as I mentioned before, was very passive. So, in a way, students were just downloaders of learning content. It was like computer to brain.
Celinda Corsini: But, now, our students have become uploaders of content. They have become creators, at the very least curators, of subject knowledge. My hope is that for the future, students will be given the opportunity to co-construct the learning.
Celinda Corsini: My second priority was to make the learning more social. In the past, the online side of my flipped learning model, I had achieved some level of social learning, but it wasn't enough. In fact, for the majority of the time, my students were learning in isolation.
Celinda Corsini: Now, the social learning has evolved through group tasks, collaborative discussions, and peer feedback. But my hope is that it evolves further in the future to include peer assessment, collaborative assessments, and connecting with experts and adults outside the school.
Celinda Corsini: My third priority was to make the learning more personalized. My old model offered some element of choice in that students were free to learn at their own pace. However, it was only a very rudimentary form of personalized learning. In fact, I don't even think I could label it as such. And like many online courses I still see today, it was quite prescriptive and offered only a one size fits all product.
Celinda Corsini: Now, it has evolved to include some opportunities for student choice, a personalized project, and some open-ended tasks. My hope is that in the future, it will include personalized learning paths and non-comparative assessments and reporting.
Celinda Corsini: And my fourth goal is to teach useful skills for their future. I wanted students to learn beyond the boundaries of our subject. I wanted them to develop soft skills, capabilities, future work skills. In short, I wanted the course to help students prepare for their future instead of limiting our scope to external examinations. Isn't that the role of teachers after all? Isn't the purpose of 12 years of schooling to prepare them for life? Instead, my old model, at most, developed independent learning skills and familiarity with ICT skills.
Celinda Corsini: At present, we have embedded general capabilities. However, in the future, my hope is that the capabilities and future work skills can be assessed and taught explicitly.
Celinda Corsini: So, how did I go about evolving my practice? I went back to the literature on future focused pedagogy. So, I reread all my highlights from previous books I had read, but this time I had a new question at the front of my mind as I was reading all my highlights. And that was, What might this look like in online learning? Because, of course, most of the literature is about your traditional face to face classrooms.
Celinda Corsini: Then, I started searching specifically for literature on future focused pedagogy. And a report developed by the FUTURA Project titled Next Generation Pedagogy: IDEAS for Online and Blended Higher Education, I found this very, very useful and it helped me shape my thinking and opened my mind to new possibilities, and it just triggered so many ideas for me.
Celinda Corsini: However, this time I couldn't simply action my own ideas as it was no longer just me and my classroom. In fact, I had no students and I didn't even have a class. Instead, I was leading a team of teachers in the writing of online courses for their subject. So, I had many more brains to work with me, and I really wanted them to be involved in the design of the overall pedagogical structure of our courses.
Celinda Corsini: So, what I did was I took inspiration from Google Design Sprint, and I facilitated a design thinking day with the writers. I also used the Design Sprint as an opportunity to model some of the four priorities that I had for our online courses.
Celinda Corsini: So, for example, I set up the conditions for the writers to co-create the pedagogical knowledge we needed to commence writing our project. And, basically, instead of doing a long and detailed presentation on future focused learning, I injected just enough essential knowledge, which I presented as brief stimuli.
Celinda Corsini: And I engaged the writers in discussion protocols, such as Socratic Seminars and Save The Last Word, where we use the stimulus to feed and trigger that discussion. This also allowed the writers to experience and get a taste of social learning, another priority of mine.
Celinda Corsini: Then, I set up ideation activities to generate some new ideas for our courses. And from the beginning to the end of the day, the writers were recording their ideas, their questions, and their personal priorities on Post-it Notes.
Celinda Corsini: When reflecting on the Design Sprint, they commented on the transferability of some of the learning activities that were used for that day for their face to face lessons. But I challenged them to go a step further and I said, "How can we transfer some of the elements that you really appreciated today in our online learning environment, not just our face to face lesson days?"
Celinda Corsini: So, the design thinking day generated hundreds of the Post-it Notes, and I took them all home over the term break, and I used them as a checklist as I put together the design for our overall pedagogical structure for this online learning. It was very important to me that the writers saw their ideas in the structure and felt that they were part of the construction of this structure. So, what I share with you today is a result of many brains.
Peter Dalmaris: So, Celinda, if I can interrupt you for a second here. What you're saying here and what you described is very interesting, and I'm combining it with this quote by David Price saying that "No students had his or her entire education ruined because of a learning innovation that didn't come off," which I find very liberating.
Celinda Corsini: So, very often I see people, teachers including - teachers are people - are resistant to change because they're asking - I guess there's a good reason behind it - what if this doesn't work out? What if we fail with this experiment and our subjects who are our students have missed out on all these other possible outcomes that they would have achieved if we haven't tried this crazy experiment?
Peter Dalmaris: But what David Price is saying that this is not going to happen. Every experiment, actually any educational experiment cannot fail. And it's more likely that students will suffer, educationally speaking, if you don't try new things to adapt to the requirements of the students themselves. So, that word came to my head, liberating, when I read that.
Celinda Corsini: Yeah. And, basically, I use this quote as a mantra. So, I'm a big risk taker. I define myself as a big risk taker. But this doesn't mean that I don't experience fear. And I have this quote on repeat in my brain whenever I'm trying something new because my first question is what if it doesn't work? And I go back to this quote, even if it doesn't work, there's going to be a lot of learning and it will be probably better than what we're currently offering.
Celinda Corsini: And I guess it's a calculated risk. It's not a crazy risk. Every risk we take is calculated. But this quote has definitely helped me. And it brings me to to my next point, which was, when I returned from the holidays and I shared the pedagogical structure, there was definite fear in the air as the blue sky thinking from our design day was now presented as a reality for future implementation. You know, what if it doesn't work?
Celinda Corsini: And we all understand that fear. We all experienced that fear. And that's when I go to my favorite quote from David Price. And I don't escape that fear. Even as the leader of this team, I couldn't escape that fear. And I did experience moments of high anxiety, as I always have whenever I'm trialing a new innovation. But to get me through those nail biting moments and to silence that voice of fear in my head, I just have it on repeat and use it as my mantra.
Peter Dalmaris: Yeah. It's worth putting on the wall.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. Yes. Definitely. So, this is how we turned our four main priorities into reality. So, first of all, to make it more active. As I mentioned before, this was my first goal. And when I thought about it, there was nothing really revolutionary about the learning in my old flipped model. I was just using technology to clone myself, essentially, as the teacher. So, the learning certainly wasn't transformative.
Celinda Corsini: And I also noticed much the same thing with many online learning courses, there was a lot of spoon feeding and listening to the teacher had just been replaced by downloading the content. So, my question was, how do I transform students from downloaders of learning to uploaders of knowledge? And how do I do it socially so that my learners are contributing to the knowledge construction? And in doing so, also feeling a sense of belonging to a learning community.
Celinda Corsini: So, what I did was, I thought back at the best examples of how I felt this was achieved in face to face lessons. And a few years prior when I started doing all my research on project-based learning, I had run into discussion protocols such as Socratic Seminar and Fishbowl Short Talk. So, I started thinking that that's where maybe the solution could lie.
Celinda Corsini: But how do we transfer these online? And I also know how difficult it is to get students to participate in discussions online. I know that universities, for example, make it accessible to enforce that online participation, but that actually wasn't an option for us. We could not make this an assessment. So, I really needed to find a solution that would work.
Celinda Corsini: And I began just searching for online versions of these discussion protocols that I was so familiar with and that I knew worked so well in the classroom. Luckily, I didn't have to look very far because I found a book titled Going Online with Protocols, and it was the actual online version of all those protocols from the same authors of discussion protocols. And they were offering adaptations of the protocols, as well as guidance and strategies for facilitating successful discussions online.
Celinda Corsini: My biggest takeaway from this book were actually the instructions. And this is an example of how we adapted the instructions. So, you can see, step one, between Monday and Tuesday, you're posting something, an answer to a question. Between Wednesday and Thursday, you're commenting on the response of other students. And then, returning to the document on Friday to compare interpretations and select the best ones for your own notes as a student.
Celinda Corsini: So, what we can see from these instructions are two main things. One, it actually allows for a certain level of asynchronous learning in that students don't actually have to be online at the same moment. But the learning is contained within a span of a week. But the other great thing about these instructions, which were adapted from the book, are that, they facilitate interaction versus idea dumping.
Celinda Corsini: So, one thing I don't like about traditional online discussions is that, to me, it just looks like it's very linear, first of all, and it's idea dumping. I go in, I dump my idea, and I leave. At the most, I will interact with the idea above me - in terms of space, just above me - and then I'll leave. And so, I'm actually not being exposed to everybody's ideas.
Celinda Corsini: In this case, you have to go back twice, in fact. And in the way we set it out, it isn't linear. You navigate the whole discussion and they're hosted on collaborative places such as Google Docs or OneNote, to allow for that level of interaction and collaboration.
Celinda Corsini: Now, the teachers actually didn't use any of the discussion protocols from the book, but they adapted the concept. And the examples from the book inspired them to create their own original ones that could meet the specific needs and learning outcomes of their course. Their protocols, however, included these essential ingredients of timing and interaction. And so, all our online discussion protocols have similar instructions to the ones that you see below.
Celinda Corsini: Now, teachers were initially worried that this would not work. Our students in the past typically didn't respect our weekly deadlines. So, in their minds, what hope did we have for them respecting midweek deadlines? However, teachers were pleasantly surprised by the participation and by the quality of the contributions.
Celinda Corsini: And, to me, it's all about communicating to students what you value. And in our case, we value these online discussions and then putting systems in place to make it work.
Peter Dalmaris: So, Celinda, sorry to interrupt you at this point. Just to summarize so that I understand what is happening. What you've done was to set, basically, the rules of the collaboration game, if I can call it like that, so that you can encourage participation from the students in using an online tool like Google Documents or OneNote.
Peter Dalmaris: But the rules, I can see, are fairly simple. Just three things to remember for the students, specific dates just to put some time limits. And the bottom, just identify yourself when you're talking to other people. And that's about it. There's nothing complicated.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. So, it's a very simple concept. It's one of those things that you think, how did I not think of that? And it's just applying this simple concept. And then, you can really make up your own online protocol once you've got these essential ingredients for the success of the protocol.
Peter Dalmaris: I'm not sure how you gave the instructions to the students or maybe a distilled version, but did you have perhaps details, such as your answer must be at least 200 words, and you can't answer the same question twice, and things like that? Any restriction or it's just what we see?
Celinda Corsini: So, it depends on the protocol. So, in this particular one, you can see at least two must be those that other students have not as yet responded to. In terms of the comments, the way you were commenting was quite specific. Here, we've kept it quite open. So, identifying what you liked about their response, challenging a point, expanding on their idea.
Celinda Corsini: What we did find at the beginning, we were getting them to respectfully disagree and they didn't like that. They weren't really doing that and it was quite empty. So, we took that out and we just made it a bit more general. Then, they did start to disagree when it was necessary to disagree. So, it actually worked better in our context to keep it more open-ended, but to give them some ideas on what the comments could look like. Because when you just say comment, it's too open-ended.
Peter Dalmaris: Give them a seat or an example of what you expect them to do.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. Probably my next slide would be a bit helpful. This is what one of the online discussions look like. For example, this is for analyzing literature. So, we would give them an extract from a novel that they had to study for their exam. And at the beginning was a question, and they had to offer their response in the left column. And in the right column, they would comment on the response.
Celinda Corsini: So, you can see Ruby's response in the left column. And Josh, who is responding to Ruby's comment. And what we did, particularly at the beginning, we always included an example of a response and other comment, what a comment may look like. And we, as teachers were in there commenting as well, but we weren't commenting in teacher talk. We were trying to get to their level and be active participants.
Celinda Corsini: And so, we were going in and saying, similar to what Josh says. And, actually, you've got an example from me at the bottom, that very last one. So, we were participating as students in the comments section, one, to model. Two, to show them that we were listening and that we were acknowledging their contributions. And that's very, very important to make sure to have that online presence. Otherwise, they feel like no one's listening. Like, "Why am I doing this?" Again, communicate what you value.
Peter Dalmaris: So, in these interactions, they're not teachers and students, right? It's just people interacting. They're all at the same level.
Celinda Corsini: Correct. And in trying to guide the teachers, I said to them, it doesn't sound like teacher talk. Like, we really need to be sounding like one of them. And it also gives us the chance to provide feedback without the teacher talk, but saying exactly what it was that we liked about their point. So, it's the equivalent of putting, you know, a tick near the good part of an essay, for example.
Peter Dalmaris: So, there's still feedback from the teacher, just make it stand aside, I guess. It's not part of the discussion, but the teacher now are showing judgment. Would that tick mean judgment, good job. So, you want to convey that.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. So, someone has a big, long response and maybe not all of it is fantastic, but you're going in to say which bits you really like. And that is also showing the other students, "Oh, look. The teacher is emphasizing that particular bit of Ruby's response," for example.
Celinda Corsini: Then, there are times where they need that more personal feedback on their response, but we do that privately. So, say there are maybe errors in grammar because it's a foreign language for us. Or maybe they didn't get a point and it was quite wrong. We call their response out, put it onto a private page. We provide them feedback and then grab the new response, which we may have done with them over the phone, for example, and put that back into the conversation so that there is no embarrassment with anything that wasn't quite right.
Celinda Corsini: So, going back, this is basically what the discussion protocols look like. So, just to give you a measure of the context before, it's literature analysis. Now, normally, what our students would have done was simply download the notes. A teacher would have analyzed the excerpt, they would have downloaded the notes, and they would have then regurgitated, in a way, the analysis from the teacher, but targeting that particular question.
Celinda Corsini: Instead here, they're just given the analysis. At times, they're given a very, very brief stimulus, maybe with the list of themes, and that's it. And then, they are co-constructing that analysis as a group rather than the teacher or the course spoon feeding back to them.
Celinda Corsini: Now, you can see that I've highlighted a section in blue here. Josh responding to Ruby saying, "I definitely agree with your stance at the start of your response. In my opinion, et cetera." What we can see here is how the student's thinking is being pushed and challenged by their peers.
Celinda Corsini: And then, you can also see the yellow highlighted section, and here is evidence of students gaining new insights from each other. "It really makes me reflect." "Maria: Wow. I did not think about that." So, you can see how it's working beautifully. And these are actual reactions that we didn't expect to see, so it was a pleasant surprise for us.
Celinda Corsini: So, what have we achieved with discussion protocols? So, the biggest achievement, of course, was getting students to be uploaders rather than downloaders. And to be co-creators of the content knowledge. But we've also taken the isolation out of the learning by making it a social activity. And we've also embedded some capabilities in co-constructing the knowledge. Students are also achieving things such as critical thinking skills, creative thinking skills, and social learning.
Celinda Corsini: If you look at our general capabilities in Australia, for example, it ticks a lot of them. So, three out of our four priorities.
Peter Dalmaris: Celinda, one thing I didn't understand in this slide is the question marks in Future 2.0. Could you explain what it is?
Celinda Corsini: Yes. So, I already have ideas for the future that I'm hoping to implement, but then I'm hoping to go beyond. And I'm not going to stop there. It's a commitment to the future to continue developing these priorities.
Peter Dalmaris: Yeah. So, as the future unfolds and who knows how, you will be learning from it and then adapting your methodology to that new future, that's what 2.0 is, it's in the future.
Celinda Corsini: Correct. And particularly with what we're experiencing now with the situation with schools around the world having to turn to online learning and distance education, as upsetting as the situation is, I think this is going to trigger a big evolution, and revolution, perhaps, in teaching and learning in general, not just online.
Celinda Corsini: But I am very excited to learn from the experience of all of the educators right now and get exposed to all the ideas and creative solutions they are using to get through these challenging times. I think we can learn a lot from them. And it may really make this whole learning process a lot quicker than we had initially hoped for.
Peter Dalmaris: There's nothing like a good crisis to speed things up. Usually it's the right direction.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. That's correct. So, now, to my second goal, how do we create a sense of belonging to a learning community that they can't see, hear, or touch?
Celinda Corsini: So, thinking about the past and the online side of my old flipped learning model, my students collaboratively created a vocabulary list. They connected with native speakers through our peer tutoring network, and they supported each other 24/7 through an online Facebook Group that I had created for that purpose for our class. So, I had achieved some level of social learning, but it wasn't enough. And for the majority of the online time, my students were learning in isolation.
Celinda Corsini: In a distance education setting, whether a limited or, in some cases, no face to face lessons at all, creating a sense of belonging to an online learning community is essential. And we all understand how important that is now where we have entire countries experiencing lockdown and self-isolation.
Celinda Corsini: So, as I mentioned before, we have achieved a sense of belonging, a sense of social learning through the social uploading through these discussion protocols. But I wanted to do more to embed social learning into our learning courses.
Celinda Corsini: So, I proposed that we include one group task in each course to be completed each term, which takes up one full week of learning. So, one full week of learning, four full weeks of learning per year, on collaboration on one group task. Now, the main learning outcome is for students to develop online collaborative skills.
Celinda Corsini: And I know students hate collaboration because of the conflict, you have difficult students, you have the lazy students. But I feel it is essential. I was scared it wasn't going to work, to be honest. I really was scared that students were going to fail. Then, I thought, "So, what if they do? Is that a bad thing?" We are actually gifting them four opportunities to fail at working collaboratively in a low risk environment, and to learn from those failures before having to work collaboratively in the high risk environment or university assessments.
Celinda Corsini: We know how many university assessments nowadays involve group work, group projects, or, worse, still on the job. And even teachers now, we're really struggling perhaps to work collaboratively with our colleagues now that we are forced to? Sorry. Did you have a question?
Peter Dalmaris: I was just going to comment on this one, like, my experience with group work at the university level. It's like either amazing performances by the top groups or terrible failures by groups where they just couldn't get it right, the collaboration was not working.
Peter Dalmaris: So, it's like a collaborative assignment or a group task seems to be one of those high risk situations that teachers have really good experience with and really bad experiences with. And that makes it hard for us to reconcile and say, yes, collaborative and group work is excellent. It's amazing. I should do it. Like, you're always thinking, is it worth the potential trouble? How do you get it right?
Celinda Corsini: Yeah. It's a big headache, and it always has been a big headache. And in the school last year - sorry, two years ago now, it was a big thing. We wanted most of our work to be collaborative. And we had students that weren't very motivated to learn, in general, and it was a struggle. And I experimented with so many different strategies. And to be honest, I did not find one.
Celinda Corsini: My husband went through a lot of group work in his recent degree, he did a degree in cyber security. He just finished at the beginning of this year. And he hated his group assignments to begin with. And then, he came up with a strategy, and he would advertise on whatever online community and say, "Who wants an HD? I only want to work with students who are committed and want an HD." So, he sort of took on the leadership role from that point of view and started to hire, almost, people to be -
Peter Dalmaris: Recruit.
Celinda Corsini: ... recruit - recruit peers to be part of his team. And that's when it worked really well. And that's when he was learning so much from others because they had the same commitment level. But what do you do? You create a commitment level -
Peter Dalmaris: It's the dynamics.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. The dynamics.
Peter Dalmaris: You get the dynamics right. There have to be some common characteristics and common goals, I guess. Otherwise, you don't have alignment in a group. And maybe that's one of the features of a group assignment, like the teacher has to be careful to allocate people that can work together and the alignment then is right if the people think together and have similar goals. Otherwise, it can be a total disaster.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. Absolutely. Similar goals, similar philosophies. And he did his through Deakin University. And what I have in my next slide is, like, a watered down version of a great method they have for accountability. Watered down because my school wasn't ready to accept something too complex. At this point, it's a new course. But they've got, I think, an amazing type of table. It's like a criteria or it's a peer assessment, I think, of group work and it's fabulous. It's something that I would really like to adopt.
Celinda Corsini: Predicting one of the most painful aspects of group work that is people not doing their part, I suggested we include this table as a submission with their task. So, at the beginning, "My job is to -". Then, something they answer while they're working on the task, "I have been helping others by -". And then, "My actual contribution was -". Because I also wanted to acknowledge that things change. At the beginning you might decide as a group that each person is doing something, but then you need to be able to adapt and be agile, and I wanted the table to reflect that.
Celinda Corsini: And it's rudimentary, as we can see, but I plan on developing a more sophisticated model for accountability in the near future. I think we still need to work on being more explicit in the teaching of group work. This is a puzzle I've been trying to solve for years, and I think it's going to take quite some time if we ever even do find a solution.
Celinda Corsini: So, what does this group task look like? So, this is an example of a group task from one of our courses. You can see that it's product-based, and this is so the team can work together to achieve a common end goal. The product-base also allows for authenticity, so that the students are creating a real world product for a real audience.
Celinda Corsini: And, although, as I said before, the main learning outcome is online collaborative skills, with everything that comes with that, such as conflict resolution, et cetera, the subject content and outcomes provide the context.
Celinda Corsini: So, in our case, the subject outcomes were about expressing opinions and formulating arguments in the foreign language on our three prescribed topics and developing multiple perspectives. So, you can see that reflected in the yellow highlights. So, the highlights represent the subject content and outcomes.
Celinda Corsini: Teachers were also quite worried about the group task, and many writers didn't want to include an element of choice in the task. They also weren't too keen on the open-ended nature and want it to be a lot more prescriptive. However, luckily, some writers took a chance and tested it out.
Celinda Corsini: And I remember one particular day when my colleague, who was teaching a group of students, called me over to her computer screen. And her students had chosen to co-write a poem, which was one of the options. And she was so astonished and so proud of what they had produced that she had called over three or four of us just hovering over her computer looking at what they had produced. So, there's a lot of excitement.
Celinda Corsini: And, for me, it was one of those "phew" moments, "It works. It works." Of course, it didn't work for everyone, and that's okay. But it did work for some groups.
Celinda Corsini: And the French teacher, for example, was telling me earlier this term that some of her students had really bonded through the group task, and they had decided to meet up face to face in a café. So, remember, our students are from different schools around New South Wales, and they met up and worked on it. And they were telling her how they formed a beautiful friendship through the group task.
Celinda Corsini: Another teacher of ours felt the task wasn't appropriate for one of his students because she had high levels of social anxiety. However, he still made her do the task. And -- as a group task, it was still a lovely, open-ended real product. She did a 60-second documentary. He was so proud of what she produced that he sent it to me, the head teacher, to other head teachers, to the principal, because he wanted to show it off. And we will be publishing that 60-second documentary for our 2021 cohorts. It will be published on our course.
Peter Dalmaris: So, this kind of work also produces pride, because the outcomes are comprehensive. They're not just a quick assurance, a question, or a multiple choice. It's something that is valuable on its own. So, the students are proud of what they've done
Celinda Corsini: Exactly. And you see the effort they put into it. And they don't need to, they have a choice, but many choose to put that effort and to produce something that is worth sharing.
Peter Dalmaris: Amazing.
Celinda Corsini: So, what have we achieved with the group tasks aside from making the learning more social? So, inherent in collaboration are many capabilities, future work skills and dispositions, as we know. But we can also see evidence of active learning. So, there is uploading happening in these group tasks. It's slightly different to the co-creation of content. But students are curating content.
Celinda Corsini: And, in fact, student curation of content is an alternative to co-creation of knowledge. When the co-creation of knowledge is not feasible, perhaps it's just too complex, for example. So, the curation of knowledge, students are still part of the co-creation of the learning, but they're simply using existing content, which they need to search themselves, evaluate, organize, and present. But, finally, the group task is also a strategy for personalization.
Celinda Corsini: So, you can notice in the example that I provided before that there is an element of choice. You have four choices there, that the nature of the task is open-ended. And you can see in the last dot point, "Does your group have their own idea for a task? Discuss it with your teacher." So, there's an invitation there for students to design their own tasks as long as it's approved by the teacher.
Celinda Corsini: Okay. So, now, to our next priority. In a world where consumers can find their own names on soft drink cans, in which they can design their own sneakers, in which our streaming services give us personalized suggestions on what shows to watch, personalized learning, I believe, will soon be an expectation by our end users, our students.
Celinda Corsini: So, how can a learning be personalized when you have a large number of students all enrolled in the same course, all on the same platform? Even if we were able to come up with thousands of ideas for personalization, where would you find the time to embed them in the course and to manage it during the learning for each student? We have seen an element of personalization in the group task, as I mentioned just before. But what else can we do to achieve an even higher level of personalization?
Celinda Corsini: We can start by adding a major task to the course that can be highly personalized but contained by specific non-negotiables that all students must respect to ensure all targeted learning outcomes are met.
Celinda Corsini: So, looking at this image, for example, your dough represents your learning outcomes and the cookie is the way students can demonstrate their learning. You haven't told them they can create anything with their dough. It must be a cookie. But you haven't said that they can't add anything beyond the dough. We see examples of caramel, chocolate, et cetera.
Celinda Corsini: So, this is an example of a highly personalized task that we've included in our courses. It's what we call the personal research project, and it's modeled on inquiry learning. There's a five step approach and students are given between a term or two to gradually develop their idea and work on the project.
Celinda Corsini: So, if we look at the first one, Explore Three Issues, this is an opportunity for the students to discover what they may be interested in within the parameters of our prescribed topics and content. So, basically, this is the immersion phase of inquiry learning where your students don't know what they're interested in until they explore. So, yes, we need to cater the learning to their interest, but we also need to give them an opportunity to discover new interests. And that's what immersion is for.
Celinda Corsini: Number two, Investigate Your Question Through Research. So, here, they choose one personal topic. In our case, a question that reflects their interests, passion, aspirations, to exploring depth, of course, within the parameters of the topics of our program.
Celinda Corsini: So, step three is the phase where we encourage them to do hands on research. So, they've decided on their question and their specific topic, and they have already researched that using articles, and in the literature, in general. But, now, we are getting them to find a way to continue exploring their question in a practical, hands-on method.
Celinda Corsini: So, essentially here, they're given the opportunity to construct the knowledge. And they can do this via surveys, interviews, experiments, social experiments, creating prototypes, creating business pictures, or even a product.
Celinda Corsini: And, first, they need to talk to us about their idea. So, we have a lot of conversations one-on-one with the students about how they're going to go about this. And then, they start their investigation and, again, continue the conversation with the teacher about their findings and how they're going about that.
Celinda Corsini: And in the final phase of the personalized projects, they deliver a TED talk in front of an audience with an idea worth sharing. And there are three particular questions that we are asking them to answer. The first one is, What were the key learning outcomes of your research? The second one is, How did it help answer your question? And the final one is, What new insights did you gain as a result of this whole process?
Celinda Corsini: So, basically, they're showing us what they learned. They're articulating their process, so how they learned that. And they're sharing their reflection on their learning. And this idea was the result of one of the many Post-it Notes that we had collected in a Design Sprint day with the writers.
Celinda Corsini: So, how did we go about designing a personal research project? Well, it all started from our design thinking day. Before the day, teachers collected student profiles. So, I emailed a template of what you see on the screen. And our teachers brought this template to all their current cohort, and then we used the profiles as an ideation tool on the Design Sprint date.
Celinda Corsini: So, I placed the profiles, we had about 30 of them all around the room. And I asked writers to read the profiles and, on Post-it Notes, to write ideas for learning activities that would address our learning outcomes while engaging this particular students' interests, strengths, and aspirations. And so, these Post-it Notes were the inspiration for our personal projects.
Celinda Corsini: But these profiles really helped shape not only the personalized project, but other aspects of the course. And, in fact, they were going to be used for every course from now on at the beginning of every course just to get some really useful information from our students. They are really effective. And I also used personal profiles in a PBL workshop I was leading last year. And I just got some profiles from my own kids at home as a little experiment, and it was a two minute ideation tool.
Celinda Corsini: So, I gave these profiles to the teachers in the workshop. And in two minutes they came up with learning activities for my daughters. And as a mother, who knows my daughters very well, it was incredible because they were spot on. They had managed to design, in two minutes, learning activities that would really appeal to my kid's interests, but also show their strengths and allow them to shine. So, it's something I really recommend in all contexts.
Celinda Corsini: So, another tip is to ask the students what they value in a learning experience, so when you're trying to think of a personalized task. And the way I did this was, I called some students from the current course and I asked them two simple questions. Think of a learning experience you enjoyed at school and explain why you like it. But I also thought it was useful to have an anti-model, and that's why I ask the second question, Tell me about a learning experience you did not like or you did not find useful.
Celinda Corsini: As I've mentioned previously, student feedback has been paramount in the evolution of my teaching practice. And I really do believe that student voice should be constantly informing every aspect of our teaching and learning, and it was certainly incredibly useful in this context.
Celinda Corsini: My next tip for creating your own personalized task is to, again, go back to the students, get their feedback. So, once you have a personalized task, seek their feedback on it. So, again, I came up with the idea, then I called current students and I asked them these four questions, What advice would you give to your teacher regarding this project? What about it engages you? Where would you need most support? Because that third question would then help us in the design of the course as well. It would help us predict at what point they needed us more. And, Is there anything you would add or change about the assessment?
Celinda Corsini: And as a result of this, I did adjust certain things in our project, such as the timeline, for example. And I also included the conversations about their research with teachers. So, I make that part of the research process that you need to call your teacher and discuss. And these may also help you sell the idea to other colleagues who may be feeling a bit hesitant about doing things differently.
Celinda Corsini: My fourth tip in adding a personalized task is to embed cycles of peer feedback. And this will help the student improve their project because they're getting feedback from others. It also allows for more feedback opportunities before getting feedback from the teacher. But most importantly, it allows for the cross-pollination of ideas.
Celinda Corsini: So, as a student on my project, not only do I get exposed to different topics because all students have done different topics. But in getting exposed to other projects, I get better ideas for my own project.
Celinda Corsini: And we simply use this table for students to seek and provide feedback. So, "Feedback I received from my peers on my idea was -", and we added dot points. "Changes I will make as a result of this peer feedback are -". But then, also, I got them to reflect on what they gained out of giving feedback to others. So, this is the, "Feedback I provided -", and "The new insight I gained was -".
Peter Dalmaris: Interesting. Sorry to jump in here. But listening to this, it's interesting to see that you are giving students ample opportunity to reflect on what they learned individually and what they learned from others, and asking questions off themselves that helps them internalize what they're learning. And it's a core component of personalization, isn't it?
Celinda Corsini: It is. It's something that I think not all teachers are ready to value at the moment. I think, sometimes reflective questions seem a bit airy-fairy and, you know, diary entry, and why are we getting them to reflect, who cares about the outcome of this meeting? And I think we need to get better at formulating valuable reflective questions. But I think reflection is essential, and it also informs our practice. We can't get into their heads, but this allows us to get into their heads.
Peter Dalmaris: So, the reflection is not just for them, it's also for the teacher.
Celinda Corsini: Absolutely. So, what we achieved with adding a major personalized task? So, students now have a task that is their own based on their passions, interests, strengths, or aspirations whilst demonstrating, of course, all the target learning outcomes. Students are generating the learning content themselves initially by consulting research, but particularly through their own personal investigation when they're creating a product or prototype surveys, et cetera.
Celinda Corsini: Students, through the peer critique that has been embedded, are learning with and from other students at certain points of the project so they're connecting with their peers while making it more social. And, finally, students are developing various capabilities and dispositions depending on the content and the outcomes.
Celinda Corsini: And, now, to our final goal, which was to develop soft skills, capabilities, and future work skills. So, we have seen that capabilities were present in all the learning activities I shared in this presentation. And that's because when we design significant and authentic learning tasks, they will inherently develop deep levels of thinking and learning that go well beyond the scope of our subject. And we can see many of these capabilities in studying our Australian general capabilities, for example.
Celinda Corsini: But where to next? In terms of making the learning even more social, it will be ideal for students to consult with experts during one phase of their personal project. For example, students are conducting a survey, say, on school stress. Maybe a psychologist could provide feedback on the types of questions they include in the survey.
Celinda Corsini: Or if a student is designing a prototype for ethical and sustainable clothing, they could consult a sustainability expert or scientist at the beginning of their research. Or they could consult a fashion designer or even a tailor to provide feedback on their design once it's made.
Celinda Corsini: In terms of personalization, for sections of this course, students could design their own learning path by tracking outcomes and capabilities. So, we could offer different ways of achieving the learning outcomes for the course by, perhaps, designing a range of significant learning tasks, providing a description for each outlining the learning content, the learning outcomes, and the capabilities that they address.
Celinda Corsini: And then, students can be free to select which ones they do as long as they ensure that their choices collectively tick all the required outcomes and capabilities for the term or the year.
Celinda Corsini: And in terms of capabilities, where to next? So, when we were designing our new pedagogical structure, we reached out to universities to help in forming our thinking. And there's one story that struck me in particular that a vice-chancellor of one of the universities told us, and it was about two young boys who had previously worked in a fast food chain.
Celinda Corsini: Basically in an interview, both boys were asked what skills they had learned on the job. And one was able to provide a long list of skills. Whereas, the other answered, "I learned to flip burgers." And he was from a lower socioeconomic background, and not having the vocabulary to name the skills, he was not even able to recognize them.
Celinda Corsini: So, my takeaway from this story was the importance of labeling our learning tasks with the capabilities, skills, and thinking dispositions we want them to develop, so that students have the vocabulary to recognize and articulate the useful skills, in addition to those of our subject area, to recognize and articulate the skills they gained as a result of our course.
Celinda Corsini: And I think this could help them with interviews, applications for jobs, or tertiary studies, for their portfolios. But it also provide them a language to reflect on their learning. And it may also help them identify the explicit thinking strategies or skills that they need to use to complete the learning tasks in our course, because it means they can more easily internalize, apply, and transfer these skills to other tasks within our course or tasks outside of our course.
Peter Dalmaris: This is very interesting, Celinda. Sorry to interrupt you. I haven't heard of labeling before in this context, but I realized now how important it is. So, talking about McDonald's, for example, with the student that said "I learned how to flip burgers," now that I know about labeling, that was the only thing that he was able to label.
Celinda Corsini: If McDonald's or the instructor at McDonald's were saying, "Now, I'll show you how to calibrate the temperature of the oil," there's a label for that activity. It highlights to the student that they're about to learn something new and that that is its name. So, that's what you're talking about here, right? Anything that is important enough to spend time learning should have a name.
Celinda Corsini: Yes. And so, for example, problem solving in the kitchen of McDonald's, working under pressure, finding alternative solutions to when you finish a particular ingredient. Communication skills, having to tell a customer that they've run out of something, for example. There are so many skills. And it's a bit like, you know, having ten different names for the color white or for snow in particular languages. We can't even recognize the difference because we don't have the vocabulary to even know that there is a difference.
Celinda Corsini: So, I think having that vocabulary is essential for then recognizing the skills. And if you can recognize the skills and you have that vocabulary, then you will even see more value in what you're learning. You can see there's a purpose.
Celinda Corsini: And, finally, Where to next? It would be awarding micro-credentials for capabilities. So, that would show what we value, and it would be ideal for that to be also reflected in our assessment and reporting. But then, the students could also use these micro- credentials as evidence in their portfolios, again, for tertiary studies or job applications.
Celinda Corsini: I'm taking you through my journey of evolution in online learning by addressing the four priorities that I had as a result of the shortcomings of my previous journey through flipped learning. I hope you can take away some implementable ideas and generate many more of your own. As an educator, as I said before, it's my responsibility to continue evolving my teaching practice informed by new research and in response to the ever changing world out there.
Celinda Corsini: I think we are closer to teaching humans now, but there is room for improvement. There will always be room for improvement, certainly in my practice. And I think a huge leap in quality will come when we are able to work in full partnership with the students, our end users, and have their voice contribute to all aspects of the learning from the beginning to the end. That's where I think we're going to see the big leap.
Peter Dalmaris: Wow. That's amazing. Thank you, Celinda. As a comment when you said it seems like we are ready to teach humans now, saying that in 2020, when people lately have started worrying about robots taking over the world and big names in technology, like Elon Musk and Bill Gates are worried about that. And you say that we're now ready to teach humans, thanks to all this technology that we have and the work of people like you who are keen to try new things, because it's the only way we can discover new things is if we experiment, so that strikes me as an amazing development.
Peter Dalmaris: So, here's my question just to finish and wrap it up. Let's say that you are a teacher overwhelmed with sudden changes in the way that we work. And I've got your model, your methodology, in front of me. Where should I really begin? I am forced to now teach my students online. That seems a lot to take in. There's just so much going on.
Peter Dalmaris: Should I focus on an individual component out of this for, perhaps, maybe active? I remember one of the first slides the example of the conversation using an online tool that students had to make them active into that activity, and tagging each other, and commenting on each other's work. Would that be a good place to start? Or maybe one of the others? Like, what do you recommend as the first step?
Celinda Corsini: Yeah. I have to say it really depends on your context. So, I'll give you an example. We are now writing new courses for our beginner languages. So, what I shared with you today was for our advanced, which was almost native speaker level and literature- based. So, it's now the opposite. And making it more active for a beginner's language is really difficult. And I think some of our writers have achieved it, but it's challenging, I'd say at this point. Early stage of the course, only maybe a few writers have managed to achieve that.
Celinda Corsini: So, it's about the context, what is more doable, what's more feasible, and making it active is quite challenging because it's the part about co-constructing the knowledge. And it's that fine balance between injecting a little bit of knowledge and letting them do the rest. It's also about your priority as a teacher, so it's going back to your values.
Celinda Corsini: Out of these four things, one, what's the easiest one to implement? But, two, what's the one that is most important to you? Because that's going to be the one that you value. You are going to communicate that value to your students. Hence, they are going to put more effort into that because you're communicating that to them and you will gain more success out of what you value the most.
Peter Dalmaris: Makes sense. So, don't feel that we need to implement all that at the same time. There's an iterative process that the teacher has to learn as well how to implement these changes. So, just pick one that makes more sense for your particular situation and your personal skill set and begin. But it's important to begin somewhere.
Celinda Corsini: Yeah. Begin and start small. So, I said before, I'm a risk taker, but I'm not a crazy risk taker. It's measured. And an example was when I was in my last year of flipped learning, when I was getting really bored and I started reading about PBL, I read the PBL publication, Work That Matters, I think it was called, or Learning That Matters.
Celinda Corsini: And I did a PBL, but I did a small one. I did a three week one. And thank goodness, because it was a massive flop. It was terrible, terrible. But students still learned something. It was different and it took them out of the boring routine of the flipped learning, I learned. And at the most, I wasted three weeks, but it wasn't wasted anyway. But start small. Had I dedicated an entire term to that PBL, that would have been a problem. Yes, measured risks.
Peter Dalmaris: Experimental never fails, right?
Celinda Corsini: That's right. Always. And, also - I don't know - intuitively, I feel that something is going to work. So, with that PBL, I didn't have the feeling at that point in time due to my lack of skills and knowledge that it was going to work. I had that sense that I'm really not too sure with the other things I've done in the past, such as flipped learning, which it was a big dive for me. I just did it and I just changed the whole course into flipped learning.
Celinda Corsini: I instinctively or intuitively knew it was going to work. I can't explain why. My intuition was saying, "Yes. It will work. It will definitely work." And so, I felt safe in taking that risk. To me, it wasn't a risk. It just made sense. So, it also depends on your confidence levels. And so, if you're not too confident, try it out first.
Celinda Corsini: But going back to what I said before, student feedback, get the student involved before you implement, get the student involved during implementation, and then take on their feedback in your iteration.
Peter Dalmaris: Great. Thank you, Celinda. Okay. Last question, if people want to get in touch with you, is it something that you are happy to do, like, people getting in touch with you? What's the best channel? Because you've got quite a few ways of communication. Do you have a favorite one?
Celinda Corsini: Perhaps, Linkedin.
Peter Dalmaris: Okay. So, we'll have your LinkedIn, I guess - what's it called? Channel? No. Handle. We'll have your LinkedIn handle in your presenter page. You can get in touch there. So, Celinda, have a good day.
Celinda Corsini: Thank you. You too.
Get life time access to all STEM EDUCATION Summit masterclasses
Watch each masterclass and learn how to deal with change in a world of increasing complexity and uncertainty, and how to use new education technologies and approaches so that your students can learn the right skills, with the right mindset.
The Tech Explorations STEM Education Summit is a one-of-a-kind event
where Educators from around the world come together
to share their best insights on the technologies, methodologies, and philosophies
they use to teach and inspire the next generation of amazing humans.
Jump to another article
1. Silke Bethke, John Nyagah And Catherine Squire Blatti: Supporting Families Of Young Children Through STEM Education
2. Dr Peter Ellerton: Critical Thinking In STEM
3. Celinda Corsini: Am I Teaching Robots Or Humans?
4. Prof John Fischetti: Co-Constructing The Learning Journey With Our Children
5. Dr Ken Dovey: Leadership In Education, A Collective Achievement
6. Seven Vinton: Strategies For Extending Student Logical Reasoning
7. Alain Pannetrat – Building A Wired IoT Platform For Makers
8. Karsten Schulz – Making A Computer Processor With The B4 Kit
9. John Teel – 15 Steps To Develop Your New Electronic Hardware Product
10. Jordan Christman – Getting Started With FPGAs
11. Nicola O’Brien: Remote learning now and in the future
12. Dal Gemmell – Telcos Aren’t The Future. You Are.