Friday, December 16, 2011

Review of 2011

This year is clearly one to remember. The earthquakes of September 2010, followed by the damaging February 2011 and large June 2011 aftershock, created a great deal of disruption for many and huge lose and sadness for large numbers of Christchurch residents. At work, we also had disruptions caused by two large snow storms (in July and August) and strikes from one of our teacher unions (September, October). So it has been a hard and trying year for students and staff. A year of having to continually cope with change. The good things that have flowed out of our experiences are the sense of community and solidarity that has arisen both at work, in our communities and with our families.

The challenges of rebuilding the city and its infrastructure continue. We are surrounded by constant reminders of the huge task ahead. Each day I view the shattered Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, situated across the road from CPIT. Workers steadily take it apart and carefully label and put aside each removed piece. For me the Cathedral represents what has happened over the year, shattered by the earthquakes but still symbolising that life goes on and that there is a future ahead involving the need to think creatively and to work hard at putting things back together again.

For me personally, the challenges of the year have been to complete projects, help staff cope with the disruptions and logistical issues brought about by losing access to CPIT for over 6 weeks. Completing these, along with completing final work on the PhD have been trying at times but rewarding now that all have been accomplished. Completing the ‘net tablets’ project with Katrina and Peter and their students has been particularly satisfying. This project has assisted much in building technology and research capability.

Over the year, I have also been supporting the writing of a new programme for approval both internally through the CPIT programme approvals committee and externally through NZQA. Despite the many starts and stops, the programme has now been approved and I am now working with the tutors on mapping the programmes’ learning activities and assessments.

A relatively quiet year for conferences but I managed to attend and present at the ones that were the most relevant. It was also good to be able to introduce Flip to the vocational education research circuit as we presented at the ITF NZ vocational education research forum and the NCVER no-frills in Coffs Harbour. I also did some good networking at the INAP conference that I hope to continue with.

As a whole, work on research outputs did slow down but one book chapter and one journal article (both on mlearning projects) have been published and there are two journal articles (from using video and multimodal discourse project) in press for next year. So overall, a good year to settle into my various roles as programme designer, staff developer, researcher and elearning advisor. I am now looking forward to a ‘thesis writing free’ summer with plans for several long tramping trips into the NZ Southern Alps / Mount Aspiring National Park.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

blogging solely on ipad and paper helper

Last week, I was away from the office for almost a week. I took along my ipad and resisted using any other computer. While away from the office, using the ipad to complete simple tasks like checking and replying to email is sufficient. For blogging, I type up notes on notepad and then copy across to the ipad blogger app.  The blogger app also allows for insertion of photos, either from the photo gallery or directly from the camera and tagging with labels. However, both notepad and the blogger app do not have a readily available hyperlink insertion function.
I have since found the app - paper helper - which has a notepad and a web browser. will need to try this out the next time I am out and about. The url of the website tends to be copied across to the notepad area instead of just a hyperlink, so will test this out to see how well it works as a replacement to the ipad's generic notepad.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium day 2 afternoon

After lunch, three more round table discussions:

Working with small groups with Sam Honey

Students with disabilities with Tracy Riley

Accommodating baby boomer to gen x with Judy Magee
most academy members are baby boomers but students tend too span the generations. 'Generational gap' between students seems to be narrowing
and each brings challenges and rewards. In some programmes, 'mature' students are 'valued' as resource centres. utilising students as resources requires some planning and tact although spontaneous class relationships between inter-generational learners can be rewarding. challenges revolving around students' formal or informal use of social networking sites. Piazza recommended as a discussion forum that is more intuitive to use than LMS supported options.

we had a 'return home' session to share with others round table discussions.

Alison Campbell took us through a brief session on the international biology olympiad - lobbying for support for 2014 event hosted by University of Waikato.

Last session was official welcome to new members, and introduction to the new committee. Overall, good to touch base with familiar faces and meet this year's academy members. it is a good opportunity to find out how things are in the different tertiary sectors, share good practice and celebrate the entry of new members. Each sector has challenges and sharing solutions is a good route towards improving learning for NZ students.

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium day 2 morning

Day begins with a discussion of academy future with John Hoskins. Each regional group summarized their plans on how they will respond to Ako aotearoa's call for academy members to contribute.

Then two sessions to choose from
I attended Mike walker's session on Growing undergraduate success with Maori and pacific island students. Began by defining the Maori phrases in his title. Te whenua, the tangata, the aronui, the maramagata. Nzs young people are predominantly non-pakeha but concentrated in low decile schools where likelihood of progressing to university is low. Need to support Maori pasifika students due to small numbers moving through with most being the first in their family to enter university. attrition rates high in first year. Tuakana programme provides a structured introduction to university life and helps students make initial contact with each other. Newer putaiao is a pre-university academic and professinal skills prograame.

The other session was 'Integrating Kaupapa Maori into teaching' with Kelly Pender

After morning tea round table sessions begin, session including

Large class teaching with alison campbell

Gifted and talented with Christine Rubie-Davies

equitable assessment practices with Kevin Gould - ensuring students are treated fairly with regards - university of Alberta 7 guidelines to assessments - similar to David Boud's work. Good discussion with contemporary assessments supplied as examples eventuated. Text/paper based assessments predominate but aspects of peer marking etc. also discussed.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ako Aotearoa symposium day one afternoon

After lunch, we participated in a series of 'PeArLS' - Personally arranged learning sessions

CHoice of:
audio visual teaching with Margaret Henley
used analogy of providing 'readings' to the use of video in teaching - often used badly, students do not know why they have to watch video, struggle with critical reflection and evaluation and assumes a whole range of student skills (digital natives?). Provide questions to consider and strategies to leverage the use of audio visual material to help students improve visual literacy skills.

Feedback with Dawn Garbett
using feedback from students to improve students. Begin with a diagnostic to find out what they expect to attain from the course. Prime students after to become independent learners. Mid-course use Stephen Brookfield's (1995) student feedback - critical incident (5 questions) to ensure students are on the right track. then use standard institutional tutor and end of course/programme evaluations.

other sessions from :
students in trouble with Donna Buckingham - used scenario to open up discussion on how to support students when they are faced with challenges.
transitioning to levels 1-3 with Sam Honey
sensitive topics with Heather Kavan - sharing session on various contributions from participants as topics different in each context.
supervising workplace learning with Dale Sheehan

All the groups returned to 'debrief' each other so that everyone could catch up on all the individual sessions.

After afternoon tea, we had a session centred around the 'Canterbury Experience: shaking up teaching and learning. Jason Pemberton from the student volunteer army on student experiences over the course of this year. Covered the formation of the student volunteer army (SVA), formal and informal learning through participation in SVA and the student experience in 2011. Jason presented an inspirational message on how students decided to do something to help and get it done!

An interesting day with symposium dinner to get in more networking time.

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium day 1 morning

Ako Aotearoa symposium day 2

Official start of symposium with mihi with Dr. David Jansen and a the singing of the academy waiata followed by welcomes and official address by Dr. Peter Coolbear.
Peter challenged academy members to reflect on the symposium's title ' celebrating diversity'. What is diversity? If it is for students, the NZ tertiary sector completion rates are a call for more work to be done as large sectors of students have poor completion rates when compared to the mainstream culture. Call for academy to be proactive in encouraging pursuit of excellence in tertiary teaching so as to enhance learning for ALL students.
How can we foster excellence in teaching as an academy, can the academy assist with setting up standards of tertiary teachers, need to think forward.

The morning begins with panel discussions with Marc Wilson coordinating.

David Jansen on Maori learners. Provided an overview how to better engage with Maori communities. Even though 23% Maoris speak Maori, still important to engage in Maori. There is diversity in Maori due to geographical distribution, urban/rural shifts away from tribal boundaries and need to recognize achievement. In general Maori value working in groups, using the Maori language.

Sandy Morrison on asia pacific association for adult and basic education (ASPBAE) - has the goal to build leadership and capability. Cultural depth and integrity valued in one context and perhaps not in another. Connecting pacific cultures by helping them to articulate their on 'ako' pedagogical model is one approach. Assisting migrant pacific workers when they come to NZ to value their culture and provide environments for further learning - learning in place, learning in context.

Ksenij Napan on second chance learners - discussed how derogatory the term may be and how it is important to establish another term -- 'interesting people'? Potentials include opportunity to explore peer learning, cultural / racial, religious, sexual orientations perspectives, social expectations of disabled, mature, differently literate etc.

Tracey Riley on gifted and talented students - generalisations as presented by others reflect the way in which gifted/talented students. Students often not identified when they proceed to tertiary education. Important to establish personal choice so that individuals able to choose how to learn, be assessed, maximising on their strengths but also guidance to identify skills, literacies to work more on.

Discussion followed with Marc eliciting searching questions from the audience.
Importance of engaging with students as individuals, with 'generalisations' as a beginning and then working with students to help them learn. helping students construct/engage with intercultural dialogue. Need to perhaps follow up on Ausse data (survey of university students) to unpack whether diversity is addressed (although just capturing ethnicity is too broad a brush).

Then concurrent workshops then proceeded. introduced by Dawn Garbett and consisted of having home groups (colour coded) for us to report back to.

multicultural arts with Jill Smith and Marty Vreede. Jill began with overview of research informing practice and her work with encouraging students to increase learning about cultural diversity. With an example of helping mainly pakeha student teachers use art to explore Asian viewpoints through art. Marty's session revolved around 'a paper on learning' with us participating in making paper from harakeke (flax) as we discussed aspects of philosophies of learning.

other sessions on :
Research supervision with John Hoskins and Marc Wilson

Sara Kindon with New New Zealanders

and will hear from others in the group on the content of these later in the day when we do the group debrief.

Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium workshop day

In Wellington, the rest of the week to attend the annual Ako Aotearoa academy symposium. The academy is a networking and professional development base for winners of the NZ excellence in tertiary teaching awards (now just over 150 strong), with about a third or so of members attending each year.

Great to touch base with many familiar academy members and meet this year's inductees.

Yesterday, day one insisted of a half day of workshops before the formal symposium starts.

After brief welcome from Jon Hoskins, the academy president, we break up into regional groups to discuss how to contribute towards helping tertiary teachers improve practice. The Otago and Canterbury groups met together and after batting several ideas to hold Another spotlight on teaching event, decided on organizing a series of roadshows to the various south island cities/towns. So watch out for these events for next year.

Then two streams of workshops began. I ran a session to introduce the ideas gained from the net tablet project at cpit. A hands on session with some good input during the discussion wrap up.

In the other room, various projects seeking to garner academy members participation proceeded. Including worthwhile projects from Ksenjia Napan on co-inquiry learning, Sara Kindon on educational equity for refugee-background students and Marc Wilson and Dawn Garbett on extending our award portfolio into a publication.

Open Polytechnic staff development day on 6th December

open polytechnic

In Wellington on Tuesday for the Open Polytechnic staff professional development day.

To begin, a traditional Powhiri opened the day, followed by welcome by CE and housekeeping matters from Mark Nicols.

Here for the day to present (twice) and workshop on topic of 'building reflective practitioners in trades at CPIT " providing overview of past, present and future projects, with grounding on frameworks used and reasons for tutors to engage with research.

Managed to also attend a couple of other presentations.

Firstly with Professor Sir Mason Durie on marae encounters as models of interaction relevant to educational success.
3 pathways - engagement, enlightenment and empowerment.
whakapiri, whakamarama, whakamana
Used the marae encounter as a way to explain how education can form relationships between institution and others (students, stakeholders),
increase awareness and understanding and strengthen identity, resolve and purpose.

engagement - negotiating relationships - distinctiveness, defined pathway, connections, reasons for coming together.

enlightenment - awareness and understanding, exchange of thoughts, ideas, aspirations impacts on spirit, mind, body and whanau.
in education should be cultural, intellectual insights, social cohesion and healthy lifestyles.
ways of thinking - centrifugal or centripetal.

empowerment - identity, resolve and purpose - mutual knowledge, respect and connections with the land - endorsement of dignity, identity, confidence and capability.

outcomes of successful tertiary ed include collegial, career,personal, cultural and academic.

secondly with Dr. Stephanie Doyle (Victoria University) on 'stretching the distance: the transfer of learning and distance education'. Went through a few approaches to define "learning transfer" including 'bopeed' analogy - i.e. ignore or leave transfer trusting it will occur 'naturally' (black sheep), transfer need to be nurtured and carefully facilitated (good shepherd). Can also be envisaged as 'transferring learning from course etc. to future' or transfer of existing skills/knowledge into learning context/course.

Learning focused on 'passing an exam' may cause students to learn how to pass an exam but not be able to use the 'learning' in a workplace - where problems are typically ill-structured and mult-dimensional.

transfer more effective if existing learning and present context brought into the learning environment. Making use of the lived experiences of learners.
important findings include - applying learning to real problems and situations linked to deep learning, application generated confidence and clarity, some course work assisted with making sense of past experiences, opportunities to reflect on learning likely to nurture dispositions and habits conducive to transfer.

Also networking with several Open Polytechnic staff. This is the FIRST staff development day OP has held for quite a few years, so a good initiative to get staff to come together, share practice and establish institutional cohesion.

posting this week's posts via ipad only - so will evaluate next week, how things went.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Book on learning through practice

Another book from the professional and practice-based learning (Springer publishers) has arrived in the library. This one on ‘Learning through practice: Models, traditions, orientations and approaches’ edited by Professor Stephen Billett. With short preview on Google books

Much of the book is of relevance, so here is a brief summary of each pertinent chapter.

The first chapter, ‘learning though practice’ sets the scene by providing the rationale for the book, including the growing interest in practice-based learning and the purposes of learning through practice. Then the conceptual premises for learning through practice are set out by way of summarising the next six chapters and then a summary of the following chapters as instances/examples of practice. Overall, a good overview is provided to set the scene and provide the theoretical foundations for the following chapters.

Chapter 2 by Wolff-Michael Roth is on ‘learning in praxis and learning for praxis’. Using fish culture as an example, this chapter discusses the large separation between what is taught and tested at school and the competencies learnt and practiced at work. Of importance is the exploration of learning by implicit (tacit) and explicit modes. There is also a good overview of the praxis and theory from historical and phenomenological perspectives at the beginning of the chapter.

Michael Eraut writes on ‘knowledge, working practices and learning’ in chapter 3. This chapter is a good summary of Eraut’s work on lifelong learning. His premise is that through life, we undergo a series of learning trajectories. These trajectories occur through engagement in work and life. Access to learning depends on type of work etc. and personal, situational and interpersonal influences have an impact on what, how and how much learning occurs.

Stephen Billet’s chapter ‘ the practices of learning through occupations’ provides a historical and conceptual account of learning and discusses the nature and effectiveness of learning for occupations through practice. Of interest are the historical accounts and how, for much of humankind’s history, occupational learning has been largely based in workplace environments, often through apprenticeship type processes. Of note is the need to recognise the complexity, demands and often difficult to learn knowledge that characterises workplace learning. An overview of his concept of affordances and engagement in work also provided.

Chapter 6 is by Gloria Dall’Alba and Jorgen Sandberg on ‘learning through and about practice: a lifeworld perspective’. Argues that approaches to practice-based learning tend to overlook the ontological dimensions that are central to learning. So that learning emphasises skills, knowledge etc, to be learnt but not on how learners are becoming and what the processes of becoming involve. Propose the ‘ways of being’ needs to be used to direct teaching/learning.

David Guile’s chapter ‘developing vocational practice and social capital in the jewellery sector: a model of practice-based learning’ uses a workplace scheme to explore concepts of practice based learning and occupational competency. Cultural-historical activity theory is used to examine the various influences on work placement.

Laurent Fillietaz provides examples from apprenticeship training on aspects of ‘guidance as an interactional accomplishment’. Of note is the use of video and discourse analysis methods to study the learning of apprentices within workplaces. In this chapter, four categories of guidance are proposed. These are spontaneous, requested, distributed and denied. Provides a good framework to explore inter-relational aspects of workplace learning.

Chapter 12 by Helen Worthen and Mark Berchman is on “apprenticeships: what happens in on the job training’ set in an American context. The main discussion in the chapter is the tension between production targets and workplace learning needs.

Several other chapters also need to be studied! But the above are the ones most applicable to current projects.