UTS recently hosted teachers from south west Sydney, as well as from our local precinct, for a professional development opportunities connecting schools and UTS academics in conversations about new teaching and learning approaches. Teachers Day allowed for information-sharing around how transdisciplinary experiences and project-based learning opportunities are created in different schools, in U@Uni outreach and for students at UTS.

Alice Leung, a STEM Advisor for the NSW Department of Education  commented “Teachers Day enabled teachers from a diverse range of schools to connect with each other and collaborate. There are many benefits to project-based learning; it can be used as a strategy for more effective cross-curricular learning. It also allows students more ownership of their learning and builds their skills in collaboration, critical thinking and self-regulation – essential for the 21st century.”

Project-based learning: students in a lab at the recent Summer School
Students at the recent Summer School (Image courtesy Equity and Diversity)

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-Based Learning is a teaching approach in which students gain knowledge and skills by investigating an authentic and engaging problem, challenge or question. Students are engaged in hands on and interactive activities that are transactional rather than more traditional passive approaches to learning. Some of the key elements of project based learning involves authenticity, student voice and choice, collaboration reflection and feedback and public product whereby students make their work public by displaying it beyond the classroom. This type of learning lends itself to transdisciplinary opportunities reflecting how projects occur in the real world.

This type of learning is reflected at UTS through learning futures where learning on campus is being transformed via curriculum design that supports authenticity through links with industry and experts, collaborative student work and authentic assessment tasks. UTS’ new world-first Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation is another example of transformation of teaching and learning at UTS.

Continue the conversation

Both schools and universities are breaking the boundaries in education to ensure that students gain the skills they need to be successful in future careers. A lot can be shared and learnt from each other in this space and we hope to continue this conversation and training opportunities for teachers in South West Sydney. If you would like to be involved in future opportunities please contact Lisa Aitken at lisa.aitken@uts.edu.au.

Lisa Aitken is Widening Participation Coordinator in the Equity and Diversity Unit, UTS.

  • This is an excellent initiative to raise the standard of teaching in our high schools and provide high quality professional development for those teachers. It also has the added benefit of facilitating a cross sectoral pollination of ideas and knowledge.

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