Last week my Connected Learning team finished a PBL assessment task for our Worlds Together, Worlds Apart unit, which explores issues related to present-day Afghanistan and our relationship to these issues as Australians, including the war, gender-based inequality, religious intolerance and the impact of terrorism on the lives of Afghanis and those throughout the world. Given that much of what’s happening in Afghanistan changes all the time, our teaching of the unit – now in its third year running -changes to reflect this.
The PBL explores the idea of a young Afghani-American woman, Stephanie, who journeys from LA into war-torn Kandahar to adopt her niece and return safely. Students work in groups of four assuming the roles of Geographer, Cultural Expert, CIA Expert and Travel Advisor, all advising Stephanie on a whole range of issues and considerations.
As a product, we had students distill their “brief” into a five-minute screen recording, taken with the latest version of QuickTime. Screen recordings are an excellent way to allow students to show what they know, opening up the potential for students to meta-analyse their own web-based research through audio commentary and other screen techniques like multiple tabs, zooming and different websites and applications that reflect a wide variety of research tools currently available to students.
In the following sample, one of my students informs Stephanie about security concerns facing a young western woman travelling to Afghanistan by discussing the websites she’s used, her findings and interpretations.