Posts Tagged AATE

PBL presentation at AATE conference

Last week I presented material on using PBL in English at the AATE national conference.

Some English teachers up here in Brisbane gave me permission to show their work there, and I also shared some key links that helped me when I was beginning my PBL journey:

The big points about PBL that I highlighted by the end of the talk were:

  • PBL involves a process of deep learning over time.
  • PBL must involve an authentic audience beyond the teacher.
  • PBL still involves small bites of teacher-delivered material, timed to support learning and project progress.
  • PBL involves students in tackling real world concerns. Relevance is key!

Finally, I offered a range of my own ideas for PBL units for English. This frustrated non-teaching teacher would be very pleased to see others use/adapt/critique these project concepts…please report back if you do!

Digital storytelling PBL concept - by Kelli

Digital storytelling PBL concept – by Kelli (CC BY-NC-SA)


Student research PBL concept - by Kelli

Student research PBL concept – by Kelli (CC BY-ND-SA)


Poetry PBL concept - by Kelli

Poetry PBL concept – by Kelli (CC BY-NC-SA)


Shakespeare PBL concept - by Kelli

Shakespeare PBL concept – by Kelli (CC BY-NC-SA)

, ,

Leave a comment

AATE / ALEA 2013 National Conference

This year in Sydney, as with last year in Melbourne, AATE and ALEA are holding separate national conferences.

Despite promises to myself earlier this year to go to less conferences, I’ll be heading along to both 🙂

The ALEA National Conference, which is about to be held in Sydney from 6-9 July, has already sold out all available places (Well done to Lisa Kervin, the conference convenor!) I’ll be sticking my head in on the last day of this conference to hand out promotional material our conference in Brisbane…it’s hand over time, baby!

The AATE National Conference will be held a little later this year, from 3-4 October. I’ll be there with Five Bells on, presenting a workshop with Bianca Hewes on ‘Success, obstacles and ethics in online teaching’ as well as on a panel about teacher blogging. I’ll be joined on the panel by the likes of Bianca, Troy and Darcy, so you know it’s going to be a power-session; not to be missed!

Once these two conferences are wrapped up, it’s next stop: Brisbane 2013!

Our website won’t go live until after the hand over in July, but there is a Facebook page you can like and Twitter profile you can follow:



We’re working like crazy to get the Call for Papers and everything else ready for the launch, but here’s a sneak preview of things to come:

…will I see you in Brisbane in 2013?

, , , , ,

1 Comment

Next Stop: AERA! and AARE, and AATE…

When you have a research paper to present, choosing the right conference to take it to is important.

I have long been affiliated with the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). When I first started out as a postgrad student, I used to go to their conferences to present papers, and I even was elected as student rep. to the Executive Committee.  I also had one of those awful experiences of being a small fish in a giant pond, and having only three people turn up for me to deliver my paper to.   Devo’d…In the end I ultimately stopped being involved in AARE because I needed to narrow my focus and concentrate on English curriculum teaching and scholarship.

Since then I’ve been going to the annual conference of the Australian Association for Teachers of English (AATE) – every year since 2004!  And this year is no exception – I’ll be in Melbourne for the AATE conference in December (will you?).  Only, for the first time in awhile, I’ll be heading to the AARE conference too, in Hobart the week before.  With more skills in networking under my belt, and a clearer direction for engaging with the ‘special interest groups’, I’m feeling really positive about reconnecting with AARE and sharing my PhD findings there.

For me though, as far as big, generalist conferences go, AARE was always plenty big enough – and having developed an instinct to narrow my scope rather than broaden it, I didn’t think I would ever attend the EVEN BIGGER, EVEN BROADER, international ‘annual meeting’ of the American Educational Research Association (AERA)

But, attend it I am!

Both the paper and group session I submitted have been accepted to AERA 2012, which will be held in Vancouver in April next year:

Curriculum Change and Resistance: Challenges Identified During the Implementation of An Expansive State English Curriculum.

This paper presents the findings of a doctoral study that undertook a content analysis of a corpus of curriculum texts, news reports and case interviews with teachers during a period of curriculum change in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Producing the young citizen in texts of families, neighbourhoods and nations

This session critically analyses popular fiction, nonfiction and television texts for children and young people focusing on sexuality, sexual safety, bullying and heroism. Each of the selected texts can be understood as a pedagogical apparatus that works to instantiate children and young people as particular subjects and objects of knowledge. (with Gannon, Lampert, Bethune and Gonick)

So, let’s count ’em up: AATE and AARE in December; I already went to ALEA and IFTE earlier in the year; AERA in 2012.

That’s FIVE amazing conferences in 12 months!

And one BUSY girl :/

Totally worth it 🙂

(By the way…’what’s with all the four letter acronyms starting with A’, I hear you ask?  Tell me about it!  Took the first year of my research degree to decipher this shiz!  And the kind of ugly websites of AERA and AARE…you can tell all of their energy goes into research!)

, , , ,

1 Comment

Call for Papers: English in Australia 46.3


A new English? More of the same? Or something still unknown? Past, present and future reflections on English teaching and new technologies

This special guest-edited issue is an opportunity to look back at the way English teachers have responded to the many iterations of ‘new’ media and to also grapple with how English teaching might respond to the here and now of our students’ increasingly digitally mediated lives, as well as looking forward to imagine the possibilities for English education. What are the challenges and opportunities presented by various forms of ‘new’ (and ‘old’) media, and by various ways of understanding the ‘new’? What things might need to change? What might be best left as it is? How might English teachers best respond to new and emerging digital texts and contexts?

We ask for contributions that share ways forward for powerful practice in English education, both in terms of the texts that might be studied and the curriculum work English teachers might do. Submissions might explore students’ relationship with multimodal texts and practices or examine digital learning environments and their connections with ‘traditional’ classroom spaces. They might explore new conceptual and theoretical ground or they may address issues of long concern for English teachers such as creativity, engagement and social justice. We are keen to receive classroom-based accounts and action or practitioner research or any other relevant studies conducted within professional contexts or as part of higher education research degrees.

Guest editors: Kelli McGraw (QUT) & Scott Bulfin (Monash)

Download the Call for Papers and guidelines for contributors.

Leave a comment

AATE Annual Conference 2010

The full program for this years annual conference for English teachers in Australia can be found at:

The conference is on this year in Perth from 4-7 July. I’ll be presenting a paper on the Monday about National Curriculum, based on my PhD research on curriculum change:

Getting comfy with the ‘new’: What we can expect to feel about curriculum change.

The National Curriculum will bring with it a host of challenges and problems that may leave us grieving for our familiar local curriculum. What can we expect to feel in this time of change? And what will the effects of this be on our beliefs, our pedagogy and our practice? How much of what we are already doing, really, are teachers expecting to be able to carry forward? It seems this point in curriculum history is an ideal spot for us to revisit and revise our curriculum philosophies, as well as our beliefs about the purpose and goal of teaching English.

Reflecting on the findings of my PhD research into the changes and innovations of the 1999 HSC English syllabus in NSW, in this paper I consider the processes by which teachers have coped with change. What is likely to make us uncomfortable in the National Curriculum for English? What have we already shown in NSW that we fear? The audience will be invited to consider their own philosophies, and begin preparing for change.

The 2011 conference will take place in Melbourne (in December), and the 2012 conference sees the conference returning to Sydney (in October).


Yes, you are in fact a digital immigrant

Many presentations at this week’s AATE conference referenced Marc Presnky’s research on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants.  In a conference where many papers and worshops discussed multimodal texts and the changing (increasingly digital) nature of texts and classroom practices, this is unsurprising.  What was a bit surprising was the backlash that I witnessed, paper after paper, from teachers who resented the label ‘Digital Immigrant’.

I can see where people are coming from on this – especially teachers who have invested a lot of time in learning about new technologies and increasing their technological proficiency.  However, learning or knowing about the digital world just does not make one a digital native.

I have found it very helpful to think about the other aspect of Prensky’s argument – that Digital Immigrants can of course learn the Native language, but they will always “have an accent” (for a great explanation of this, see Mike Jones lecture on Blogs, Wikis and the New World Order for the ScreenSpeak series for NSW HSC English teachers.)  In fact, I think that in a lot of ways the Digital Immigrant who ‘learns the language’ will often learn to use the language better than a Native speaker – just so it is when Japanese speakers learn English, or when the English learn Dutch!

I didn’t have my own computer until I was about 14, and even then it was a computer that my boyfriend set up for me and helped me to use.  But before that I did own an electric typwriter.  I have never really been interested in programming or electronics.  I am still happy to buy CDs (although I will then put the tracks onto my iPod).  At only 27 I am in fact a Digital Immigrant…but I am learning the language quickly and my accent is becoming less broad 🙂  And in so many ways I have mastered the digital language far better than my Digital Native students; this makes me an ideal teacher for them.  I also have a deep empathy with the students who, through economic or social disadvantage have not engaged in the same level of technology as their peers; these students are in fact Digital Immigrants themselves, despite their young age.




The most engaging keynote that I saw at the AATE conference would have to be Daniel Meadows’ presentation ‘New Literacies for the Digital Age’. Daniel is an artist/photographer/storyteller from way back, and his keynote was about the power of storytelling, specifically the power of the digi-story.

A digital story, or digi-story, is a story that is told using a series of photos or other images, with narration and other sound layered over the top. Ideally they should only be about 2 minutes long, and use about a dozen images and a narration of about 250 words.

Daniel shared a number of digi-stories of his own, and from the Capture Wales project – what was refreshing was that his keynote was actually based on these digi-stories, with short explanations in between each to provide context, to highlight theoretical frames and positions, and make connections between the stories. I was so inspired by Daniel’s keynote that now I plan to use digi-stories in my year 9 class next term. I’ll still be basing next term’s work around ‘making meaning’, and the first 5 weeks will definitely still be focused on video games. But now in the second half of term, rather than students using a collection of digital resources for composing, I’m going to get them to make a digi-story!

, ,


AATE conference

I’m down here in Adelaide for the AATE/ALEA National Conference – the conference just finished today, but I’m going to blog a few posts about the papers and keynotes I went to.  I was tempted to take the lappy into the lecture halls and just write notes on the blog, but it never seemed to work out!  I’ve still got a couple of days here for the AATE Council meeting, and then back home to do some PhD writing next week.

Happy School Holidays, eh?  I reckon we should take up what a few independent schools do and just call it ‘non-term time’!

Seriously though, the conference has been good…I’m brimming with ideas now for teaching next term 🙂