Monday, February 20, 2017

Modern Professional Learners' Toolkit

I have followed Jane Hart's blog for many years. Her Top 100 Tools has been my go to and recommend to others site for a comprehensive list of elearning tools.

Of late, Jane's focus has been on 'learning in the modern workplace' with the book - ' learning in the modern workplace 2017' summarising much of her frameworks and approaches.

This year, a series of articles on the modern workplace learning magazine provide for contributions from other consultants in the field.

So far, articles include:

4 articles by Jane with relevance for me in these two - 'why organisations need to empower employee-led learning'; and 'the modern professional learners' toolkit'.

The former has a good diagram on how individual workplace learner's personal learning space may be constructed.

Two other articles of relevance are by Clark Quinn on experimentation and reflection and by Harold Jarche on mastery takes time and effort.

So, a site with worthwhile resources to follow into the future.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Future of work - not all bad news - some optimism and guidelines

Many of the items we read in the news about the future of work, tend to focus on the ways in which technology will impact on humans in a negative manner. In all endeavours, there are good and bad sides to the story.

For example, this article from Forbes, argues that the future is not that scary. The article does a good job of summarising the salient impacts and approaches the future of work by distilling the personal, organisational and societal impacts. Of importance is the need for individuals to shift from a pathway of education, work and retirement into a cycle of where education, work and leisure are continually 're-invented'. The 're-design' of organisations also includes a need to continually 're-skill' with the 'middle management' layer the ones to most likely be wiped out as jobs which are more 'mundane' disappear and AI replaces 'company wisdom'. Jobs may disappear, but many other jobs well be changed and created as well. There is a call at the end of the article for education and public policy to keep up. These two megaliths have always been slow to change. For education, the recommendation is to ensure vital 'basic skills' including thinking, writing, analysing and maths and science are pre-requisites to completion of formalised schooling. The is then space for 'new education companies' liked Pluralsight, General Assembly, EdX and Coursera - offering small / just-in-time training / educational packages.

On a related note, an article on 'crafting the employee experience' from Deloitte University Press, advocates for the use of 'design thinking' to help employees and employers (i.e. HR). HR becomes 'experience architects' and are tasked with reimagining all aspects of work in their organisations. Aspects include the physical environment; how people meet and interact; the focus of management; and the processes of selecting, training and evaluating workers. Therefore, a focus on individuals and their experience, not just the process of HR.

For many years, education have had 'personal learning environments (PLEs)' as an approach. There are considerable logistical and funding challenges to implementation. The current models based on 'one size fits all' and  'factory production' of outputs (i.e. learners) are being dismantled but only in small pockets of education. So a challenging but exciting time to be in education.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Kevin Kelly - What does Technology Want / The Inevitable - book summaries

In an effort to get to grips with the role of technology, going forward into the future, I worked through two books by Kevin Kelly over the summer ‘break’. In much of the literature and media collation of ‘the future of work’, the role of technology is the all present BIG elephant. Technology is seen to be ‘a good thing’ but also the harbinger of changes to our way of life and the types of work available in the future. In more dystopic and pessimistic versions of the future, the cause of social inequalities and division is how technology changes the availability of 'mundane / unskilled' work. The more able and educated are able to transition rapidly into new work leaving many others behind who are unable to make the shift.

So, firstly, read through Kevin Kelly’s first book, published in 2010. Kelly was editor of Wired and has an interesting background. In effect, coming from an original 'back to basics' philosophy to becoming an early adopter and 'observer' of technology's eventual pervasive influence on our current lives.

What does technology want provides an interesting comparison between natural evolution and the development of technology. The overall approach is optimistic and the main argument is for us humans to understand and maximise the strengths technology provides to augment human potential. The book has been critiqued for imposing a technological view on to biological evolution. There is a 16 minute TED Talk to summarise the book's premises and the concept of 'the technium'. 

The second book published 2015, The Inevitable, is perhaps more readable and applicable to the current context than the first. In this book, Kelly brings evidence from the recent past and the present, to support 12 coalescing ‘verbs’ on how technology impacts on the near future. There is a one hour Youtube video summarising the book's thesis.

These, as recorded in wikipedia are:
1.    Becoming: Moving from fixed products to always upgrading services and subscriptions
2.    Cognifying: Making everything much smarter using cheap powerful AI that we get from the cloud
3.    Flowing: Depending on unstoppable streams in real-time for everything
4.    Screening: Turning all surfaces into screens
5.    Accessing: Shifting society from one where we own assets, to one where instead we will have access to services at all times.
6.    Sharing: Collaboration at mass-scale. Kelly writes, “On my imaginary Sharing Meter Index we are still at 2 out of 10.”
7.    Filtering: Harnessing intense personalization in order to anticipate our desires
8.    Remixing: Unbundling existing products into their most primitive parts and then recombine in all possible ways
9.    Interacting: Immersing ourselves inside our computers to maximize their engagement
10. Tracking: Employing total surveillance for the benefit of citizens and consumers
11. Questioning: Promoting good questions are far more valuable than good answers
12. Beginning: Constructing a planetary system connecting all humans and machines into a global matrix.

As prefaced in the book, there are overlaps between the inevitables. So each does not stand alone and there is synergy between several 'inevitables'.

What is the impact on the 12 inevitables with education, especially vocational education? 

Unlike the compulsory-school and the higher education (preparation for work) sectors, vocational education has the advantage (or disadvantage) of having a foot in the 'formal / structured' learning environment and the more 'informal' learning accessed by people across their lives. Just-in-time learning, micro-learning etc. via mlearning and summarised for example via Jane Hart's blog, already evidence some of the inevitables. 

People can 'subscribe' (belonging as in #1 inevitable) to learning via MOOCs or other methods to 'bespoke' their own personal learning environments. Flowing (#2), Screening (#4) and Accessing (#5) all add to people's learning experiences as they learn collaboratively on a global scale (#6 sharing), interacting (#9) and often have to use tools to filter (#7), remix (#8) to their own requirements. They can, along with others, track (#10) all their activities. Their learning may be supplemented by AIs (cognifying as in #2) and their are opportunities to question (#11) are availed through being part of networks, social media, access to multitudes of 'content' etc. 

The Inevitable provides a good overview of where humanity may be headed. There is importance in understanding how the rapid shifts in technology impact on us. We can then make more informed choices as to what initiatives we support and advance. To use technology for betterment of the human condition rather than just let technology overwhelm our humanity. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ako Aoteoroa Professional Development facilitators day - Friday 27th Jan

The facilitators' 'Day' began with the evening before with a meet and greet session, dinner and after dinner session with Dr. Marc Wilson from Victoria who presented on "passion and excellence in teaching".

On Friday, the day officially opened by Dr. Joe Rito, Deputy Director Maori with welcome from Helen Lomax Deputy Director - sector services - who also set up the scene for the day. 

There is a quick round for participants to set up their workshop goals.

Dr. Stanley Frielick, Director, set the scene with update on where the P D portfolio is likely to move and develop towards. Referred to 1999 article in Higher Education whereby the author takes on the persona of Machiavelli to 'speak' to higher ed. leaders and managers. Shared his own journey as an educator to discuss how the concept of Ako contributes to the NZ context. Is 'just being good enough' sufficient and a goal to try to get to the entire sector? What is the contribution of requiring all of sector to be 'registered' with proviso for the completion of a qualification? Can professional development form a 'badging' component? And the who develops the professional developers? Should there be better contextualisation of PD to meet the needs of the diversity of the sector, discipline specific pedagogical approaches and diversity of learners? What other modalities can be useful beyond F2F to engage with PD participants? Especially the components unique to NZ including biculturalism and Pacifica. 

Session to unpack 'my teaching method'. An opportunity to share and learn from others. Main themes were using appropriate activities (active learning), application to practice, synchronous feedback through twitter tags or answergarden which creates wordle in real time . Groups reported back on similarities, active learning increases engagement leading to better possibility of participants adopt new practice, a 'product' to work on to bring back into future teaching practice, flexible learning to meet participant needs, astute observations - safe learning spaces, learning is universal across levels and disciplines, post workshop followup required to continue the beginnings of a community of practice formed during the PD session. 

Guest speaker Derek Wenmoth from CORE eduction provided insights on PD and strategies that work with educators. Summarised the CORE approach as developed through experiences from working with the compulsory schools sector. Discussed contemporary professional learning demands and how CORE meets these. Importance of ROI, return on investment. Principles include opportunities for pragmatic in-depth learning, sustained over time, contextual, linked to practice, grounded in theory and research and connected to others as part of a network of others working towards similar goals. Advocated using the concerns based adoption model (CBAM) from awareness (what is it), information (how does it work), personal ( how does it impact on me and what is my plan to do it), management (how can I master the skills and fit it all in), consequences ( is it worth doing), collaboration (how do Others do it) and refocusing. Presented on how CBAM applied at CORE across f2f, online and blended (all courses and used the most). Used the course - modern learning curriculum- as an example. A 20 week course build around a cohort with challenge based focus, content is support to activities, assessments are transparent and there is opportunity to link to qualifications. Encourage students to co-construct content through the course. Rubrics for assessment are available from the beginning so learners know what to work towards. 

Then a forum on growing sector capability: barriers and enablers. 3 groups shared discussion on how to move PLD forward in the NZ tertiary context. Themes included continuing mentoring and coaching - how to support, blended learning challenges, issues of transition from school to tertiary, are we ready for the different learner profiles and expectations, engaging with reluctant learners on directed PDL, using competency learning in a workshop context to frame, how to support participants after the return from workshops, PLD options across personalised learning journey, surveying to find out what is required.

After lunch, two sessions to discuss themes arising from the morning's presentations and discussions. In first session, a master chef show format used for creation of course to be innovative, have impact, be blended learning, embed literacy and numeracy, with Kaupapa Maori approach. Second session to collate tips to add to how to improve facilitation in workshops. Each facilitator providing one tip used before, during or after session.  

Closed with Stanley providing reflections for the day and Joe with poroporoaki

Monday, January 23, 2017

Future of work - labour party (NZ) final report

As signalled at last year's NZ Vocational Education and Training research forum and through posts last year - changing nature of work and through the presentations at the tertiary education symposium - the Labour Party in NZ (currently in opposition as the National Party is governing) has had a 'think-tank' on 'the future of work'.

The full report is now available, with the contentious 'universal basic income' given a small bit of space. The BBC provides a global viewpoint on the UBI and there will no doubt be more debate on this issue into the future.

Back to the report. The main rationale of the report is the forecasted changing nature of work, In particular, how technology will change the demographics, objectives, content of work. In NZ, prediction is for 45% of current jobs to be shifted by technology in the next 10 - 15 years through 'computerisation' aka as automation, globalisation and collaboration. The main risk to NZ is growing inequality between people who have the 'right' skills to shift with the times and people who are unable to re-train, up-skill etc. to move into the 'new economy'.

The recommendations are tempered by the Labour Party's 'social responsibility' mandate and it will be interesting to find out the National party stance on the issue. This year being election year in NZ, there will be opportunity to gauge each party's vision and strategy for the future of work.

There are 19 recommendations on education and training including important initiatives at the school level to improve careers advise at the secondary school level, introduce 3 years of free post-school education and training and create gateways back into education for older Nzers.

Security of work and income garners 19 recommendation including the support of 'self-employment, investigation of alternative income support models and providing training and support for workers who lose their jobs due to technological change.

There are recommendations specific to equity for Maori and Pasifika as NZ demographics indicate increase in population to come from this sector.

Specific recommendations are proposed for working with the impacts and opportunities for technology and balancing economic development with sustainability.

Many recommendations have been brewing for sometime through the public sector in NZ. As both National and Labour are basically centrist - National is centre right (slightly) and Labour is centre left (more pronounced), I would think that many of the initiatives in this report, will, at some time in the new future, become policy. Which ones will depend on the party governing after the elections later this year.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Iphone 10 years old this month - has mlearning become established in education?

This NZ article, provides a historical overview of the evolution of the smart phone and its impact of the technological landscape. In ten years, we have seen phone companies come and go. However, the continuing influence of smart phones on the world has been and continues to be far reaching. The article, as with this other one from the BBC, describes the iphone as a key transformative technology for the last decade. The smart phone has afforded access to a powerful computer to over 2 billion people. As reported in another article, peopleare enamoured by smart phones and we are emotionally attached to them as the conduits to social media.

On the teaching and learning side of things, the advent of the smart phone must surely be one of the most important contributors to mobile / mlearning initiatives. With the smart phone, ready access to the internet via WiFi, the untethering of knowledge, content and the ‘sage on the stage’ approaches to teaching and learning accelerated. Tablets have added another dimension to the ways in which smart phone technology may be leveraged. 

Many of the ‘cutting edge’ applications discussed at mlearn in 2006 2010 are now common place. A recent NZ project, provides salient examples of the breathe and scope of mlearning in the NZ tertiary sector. However, the potentialities of mlearning are still largely untapped. In large educational institutions, two barriers have taken time and patience to surmount. The first is the security aspect around institutional IT systems, the second the provision of adequate and robust WiFi. BYOD is one way to move through the IT security challenge but BYOD use hinges on ease of access to WiFi. Blended learning and the integration of TEL via mlearning to support active learning through inquiry, project or problem-based learning becomes normal.

Learners having access to a wide range of resources now require skills to evaluate and collate material. To be able to bricolage, one has to know what, where and how to look for information and then to critically appraise the material and incorporate into informing how to solve an existing or new problem. Learning shifts from learning content to learning how to think. Teachers, especially ones assisting learners to learn a specific occupational, need to now be able to help learners learn how to ‘become and be’. Therefore, there is an important shift in pedagogical focus, from learning how and why to learning how to extend beyond the here and now. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Food Heroes - Channel New Asia series

Came across this series while I was in Singapore in November. I have been dipping in and out of it across the break from work. Here are notes taken of each episode - each around 25 minutes long.

All the featured chefs are young, in their early to mid thirties. They come from disparate backgrounds but all have an innate respect for food. All attended some form of culinary training before embarking on journeyman experiences, mostly in well-rated, influential restaurants, often through unpaid internships but strategically selected – the best restaurants. Archive of the series also available via toggle.

A graduate but with a love of food and an innovative pastry chef / owner of 2AM Dessert Bar. Her innovation is anchored by perseverance. Has clear ideas on how to provide food with experience. Food is not just to be eaten but to invoke memories and add to individuals’ collection of sense of place. Provides ingredients, in the form of jars of coloured chocolate, sauces etc. to customers to make their own versions. Completed work experience in France before embarking on her own entrepreneurial journey.

Jason Tan - chef at the  CornerHouse 
Jason comes from humble roots and is still living in HDB (public housing in Singapore) apartment with his parents.He is inspired by nature and the restaurant is aptly situated in the Singapore botanical gardens. A Singaporean who helms a top flight French restaurant – there is no Frenchman running a Chinese restaurant in France.  He is praised by food critics for technique, precision and innovative use of local ingredients. Allowing ingredients to shine through careful cooking technique, appropriate to each ingredient and various combinations to feature and highlight natural the flavours. Shared how he learnt the exacting attitude required to produce excellent and consistent food. Work experience in Franc with this article detailing some of his training

Hashida ‘Hatch’ Kenjiro – helms Hashida Sushi in Singapore.
 Hatch epitomises the Japanese tradition of sushi chef training by his father – stealing knowledge by observation. Started at 12 cleaning tables after school. Only at 14 was he allowed to assist in the kitchen. He still follows traditional processes as learnt from his father but his presentation is modern and often inspired by modern art. He takes procurement of ingredients seriously. All fish is air-flown from Tokyo and he visits the suppliers often to maintain person to person relationships.
Another overview plus video of sushi making from ieatishootipost.

Julien Royer – head chef at Odette, a fine dining French restaurant 
Julien grew up in a family of farmers where his grandmother, Odette was his first cookery teacher. His philosophy is of using simple food as the best ingredients and then continuing with minimal cooking and modernistic plating. Keeps taste pure rather than masking natural favours. Uses smell and sound to enhance the dining experience. Not just to push boundarie and innovate for the sake of innovation, but to stick to the basics and do them well. Offers a vegetarian tasting menu J Stresses the importance of educating the palate for young chefs. Uses a collaborative style for training emphasising co-creation of dishes.

Loh Pik Peng
 A hotelier and restauranteur with 20 hotels/restaurants inSingapore and a trendsetter and also in Sydney, Shanghai and London. He specialises in identifying the x factor in chefs so that each restaurant is subsequently successful. An innovative, creative and technically well versed cook may not actually make a good chef. Running a restaurant also includes the business side of things.
Began with Ember as his hotel needed a restaurant. Then webt on to open a whole series - Restaurant Andre, Majestic restaurant, The Study, Cheek by Jowl, contributing to revival of heritage areas around Singapore.
He is from a family of foodies – father, grandfather and studied law before beginning the unlisted collection.
First hotel / restaurant in late 1990s and early 2000s, a challenging time due to financial recession. Learnt by doing and distilled factors that would contribute to successful restaurants. See this article for his ideas on entrepreneurship in hospitality.
Focuses on quality food accompanied with quality service, ambience / atmosphere and attention to details.Mentors promising chefs to helm his restaurants. Currently employs 170 chefs / cooks. Programme profiled 3 of his chefs, a multinational group with an Australian, Sri Lankan, Singaporean but is now working to support and groom local chefs. Especially the ones who are keen to  work with locally sourced ingredients and provide a distinct Singaporean interpretation to fine-dining.

As one of the most experimental chefs in Singapore and the flag-bearer for emerging Modern Singapore cuisine, Han Li Guang reinvents well-loved local dishes into something never encountered before. Think chicken rice without chicken and rice, and chilli crab ice-cream. 
Article for more background information found here.
Han is a banker turned chef with little formal cooking background. He completed his apprenticship to a fine dining restaurant when he first started out. He had to learn basic skills rapidly but sought to stay true to his food philosophies. Reads voraciously to expand his horizons and obtain learning on techiques.
Han brings ingredients together to make familiar Singaporean dishes with a twist. Experimental cuisine reinterpreting the food Han loves to eat but to push the boundaries to define and elevate flavours and come up with something unexpected. Articulate in explaining how his cuisine has developed and his reflections on how he goes about innovating. See this article for more. For example, how to present Hainanese chicken rice and make it a culinary taste adventure. So the dish honours the ingredients and presents a surprise take on something which is familiar to Singaporeans. As he is working with iconic Singaporean dishes, the challenge is made greater. R and D is intensive and time consuming. His goal is to create something unique to his personality but retaining the integrity of his philosophies on cooking. Advocates for the need of young potential cooks to not only learn Western cuisine but to be also train in how local food is produced.

Malcom LeeCandlenut specialising in Peranakan gastronomy – 
The food of my childhood. Ieatishootipost video with American ambassador being introduced to Peranakan cuisine. 
Malcolm odernised the ‘fusion’ of Malay and Chinese cuisines. He honours the integrity of hallmark Peranakan dishes but presents innovatively. Traces the development of his journey towards paying attention and respect to traditional dishes, based on the recipes of his mother. Moved Peranakan food up a notch from its home cooked food foundation towards fine dining expectations. He originaly refined the classic dishes to satisfy his own vision / palate expectations of the dish by creating either a better version or a modern version. The episode also covered the challenges of introducing diners to new interpretations of familiar and beloved favourites. While studying towards his undergraduate degree, he interned at several fine dining restaurants in Europe, strengthening his resolve to become a chef. After graduating, he studied at cooking school in Singapore. Peranakan cooking has always been based on the cooking of the family, the traditional dishes cooked by grandmothers. Malcolm’s goal is to stay true to the roots of Peranakan cooking but to also modernise and extend the cuisine.
Innovation includes the use of ingredients traditionally used in savoury dished in sweet desserts. An example being their signature dish, buah kelauk ice cream. The bauk keluak has a distinct flavour and traditionally cooked with chicken, giving the dish a very dark black colour and a distinctive bitter end note. Using the buah kelauk in ice cream extended the nuttiness and chestnut like texture into a smooth, ice cream.
Persistence and adherence to his foundational philosophies pay off with the attainment of one Michelin star in 2016. What began as a passion, evolved into an obsession. Eventually, the business stress caused him to re-evaluate his priorities and to seek better work-life balance.

Andre Chiang – restaurant Andre
Andre helms the third-placed restaurant in Asia and 32 in the world and a restaurant on the list of top 10 restaurants in the world worth a plane ride. Andre is renown for creating degustation menu with 8 courses. His food is innovative, visually attractive and adventurous in taste and texture. Based on octo philosophy, the eight essentials of dishes. Meals are to be an experience, with the 8 dishes spaced across 3 hours and matched with appropriate wine, service techniques and accompanying serving theatherics. An example, seared meat, served with heated stones and covered with a range of herbs and spices in a closed container. The dish is enhanced with the aromas, textures and ‘surprise’ elements.
Menu elements change each day. The lunch menu is a ‘menu in process’ based on what is available at the market each morning. His mother was a chef in Taiwan and some of this legacy, the importance of food and eating, is reflected in his cooking. Moved to the South of France at 15 and trained in a 3 star Michelin restaurant. He had to train his palate towards what was expected in a French kitchen.
He is able now to blend eastern and western philosophies of cooking, bringing elements of the best of each culture into his current repertoire. Provided example of how he worked with foie gras to create a unique product to lighten the dish but acceptable to the French palate. Always seeks to retain the natural flavours of the food but adds sufficient elements to enhance and improve the natural ingredient. It is a daily collaborative effort to maximise the ingredients available to create the best interpretation, worthy of service to his customers.

The series is beautifully filmed. A must see by anyone interested in how cooking evolves with its strong links to socio-cultural connections.The food videography is done well so best to view each episode after you have eaten :) 
Indications there will be more episodes to come in series two.