Stemiverse 0044 – Celinda Corsini on designing Project-based Learning 

 August 7, 2018

By  Peter


In this episode, Dr. Peter Dalmaris talks with Celinda Corsini.

Celinda is a passionate and innovative educator with a commitment to developing bold initiatives in education to equip students with the skills and competencies they need to thrive in our ever-changing world.

She is a blended learning expert, having conceptualized and developed flipped learning for the language classroom in isolation in 2011 by embracing 21st-century technologies and skills.

She is a Project-Based learning practitioner and had the privilege of receiving 12+ months of intensive mentoring in Project-Based Learning by a PBL expert from the world-renowned PBL School High Tech High, San Diego.

Her passion has inspired and continues to inspire her to design interdisciplinary programs that go well beyond typical syllabus content and create challenging and authentic learning experiences about:

  • positive psychology
  • prejudice
  • social justice
  • holograms
  • book creation
  • illustration
  • disruptive museum experiences
  • the purposeful use of social media
  • digital technologies.

Celinda is currently working as an Inquiry Leader at St Luke’s Catholic College, a next-generation learning community in Sydney’s Marsden Park that is committed to designing and establishing the ‘new normal’ for preschool to post-school learning.

She believes that her role as an educator is to set up the conditions for deep, active, engaging, personalized, independent and collaborative, interest and strengths-based learning.

This is Stemiverse Podcast episode 44.

Stemiverse podcast is brought to you by Tech Explorations, a leading provider of educational resources for Makers, STEM students, and teachers. Go to to see a complete list of our books and courses covering the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and electronics.

Show Notes

  • [00:00] Introduction – Introducing Celinda Corsini
  • [03:29] Celinda talks about her background and what brought her to Education
  • [05:42] Celinda’s high ATAR and the family pressure that lead her to enroll in Advanced Science rather than a Teaching course at University
  • [07:18] What happened after Celinda decided to follow her passion to become a teacher
  • [09:14] Coming up with ideas for teaching organically vs. based on teaching & learning methodologies
  • [10:45] What were the first 1 or 2 years of life as a teacher for Celinda like?
  • [11:23] “Why I left ‘Teacher Heaven’ for PBL” article by Celinda
  • [15:34] What “Flipped Learning” is and how Celinda implemented it
  • [19:44] The evolution of Celinda’s website-based learning management system
  • [21:17] Moving to PBL: What was Celinda’s 1st project like
  • [23:39] High Tech High
  • [24:21] Examples of interdisciplinary projects lasting 1-2 terms
  • [26:30] Project challenges
  • [29:51] Project exhibitions at High Tech High help motivate students
  • [30:58] Designing PBL units with the intent to teach beyond the scope of the subject
  • [34:01] Providing the authentic audience for the project and learning from failures
  • [36:19] Celinda’s method of turning the curriculum tyranny into an opportunity
  • [39:17] Jocko Willink
  • [40:17] Level of engagement of students when working on a project compared with the traditional style of teaching
  • [43:02] The art of setting up the conditions for learning
  • [43:45] PBL is a tool rather than a silver bullet
  • [45:57] Celinda’s Website
  • [46:35] Celinda’s method for developing projects
  • [48:34] How documentation and reflection helps Celinda and her students improve
  • [51:23] Lack of formalized testing in PBL requires confidence on the teacher’s part – Open: How We’ll Work, Live and Learn In The Future by David Price: “No student ever had his entire education ruined because of a learning innovation that didn’t come off. But I can show you plenty of students whose curiosity and imagination were strangled by being trapped in a repetitive, uninspiring, unimaginative learning enclosure”
  • [53:47] Lack of innovation in teaching causes frustration
  • [54:29] Group work or independent work?
  • [56:24] How to plan teamwork based on team members’ strengths: Differentiated collaboration
  • [59:30] Rapid Fire Questions
  • [59:38] Most influential people to the way Celinda thinks and teaches: David PriceJake Plasketther mentor at High Tech High, and her colleagues at St Luke’s Catholic College
  • [01:01:12] Feeling supported and normal as a teacher at St Luke’s Catholic College
  • [01:03:23] Advice to educators just starting out: Be prepared for challenges and don’t revert to the way you were taught at school
  • [01:04:50] Celinda’s Contact Information: Email: [email protected], Twitter: @profCel, Website: PBL PROJECTS and ibitalianabinitio, LinkedIn: Celinda Corsini


Peter Dalmaris is an educator, electrical engineer, electronics hobbyist, and Maker. Creator of online video courses on DIY electronics and author of three technical books, and has recently released his book Maker Education Revolution.   As a Chief Tech Explorer since 2013 at Tech Explorations, the company he founded in Sydney, Australia, Peter’s mission is to explore technology and help educate the world.  Tech Explorations offers educational courses and Bootcamps for electronics hobbyists, STEM students and STEM teachers. A life-long learner, Peter’s core skill is in explaining difficult concepts through video and text. With over 15 years of tertiary teaching experience, Peter has developed a simple yet comprehensive style in teaching that students from all around the world appreciate.  His passion for technology and in particular for the world of DIY open source hardware has been a dominant driver that has guided his personal development and his work through Tech Explorations. Peter’s current online courses have helped over 60,000 people from around the world to be better Makers. 

Peter Dalmaris

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