Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2012 review

Have a read through my plans for 2012 and evaluate that progress has been made. In general, it has been a quieter (underground) but more productive (above ground) year. The Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub funded project on improving students’ critical reflective practice in front-office reception skills using net tablet to record role plays and ‘virtual tour’ of hospitality physical facilities has gone well. I am in the process of writing up the report and both Debbie Taylor and Heather McEwan have worked conscientiously with their students through several iterations of each part of the project.

The project with Tony Smith and the manufacturing team was not funded externally, but the CED found a small amount of money to get this going. So far we have interviewed several students who completed their programme in the first semester. The findings have been interesting, showing that students perceive ‘literacy and numeracy’ to be ‘work-task’ focused and only seek to engage with activities that will enhance their work readiness.

Dissemination has progressed well. On-going discussions with Ako Aotearoa led to the offering of the professional development workshops centred around vocational education. So far, 7 workshops have been run, involving over a 100 participants. Several more planned for next year, with one in Tauranga already confirmed. The workshops have been great learning for me as well as (hopefully) for the participants. There are so many passionate educators in the ITP and private provider sector, working to enhance learning for their students.

I have also made some inroads in to the challenging area of journal publication. Two journal articles published:

Perspectives of new trades tutors: Boundary crossing between vocational identities. Asia Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 40(4), 409-421.
Using feedback strategies to improve peer-learning in welding.  International  Journal of Training Research, (10) 1, 23-29.

Two are now in review (both from my PhD) and one in process of submission (from the earthquake case study project). I have found the peer review process to be helpful. Critical comments have been constructive and provide a fresh eye on the article’s argument. I now bear in mind the time taken to get the article through the system. So at least two now in progress with one about to be submitted. Will work on a couple of articles through the summer ‘break’ so that they are ready for submission. Keeping the momentum up is a challenge but I now have a large amount of material suitable for re-working into articles for submission.

Completion of the PhD has freed up time for me to catch up with reading pertinent to finding out more about enhancing 'learning a trade'. Several book summaries have had extensive 'hits' on this blog, signalling that is a gap in the information trail for this type of work. One book summary on Lave's critical ethnography of apprenticeship, was reworked into a book review in the journal - Vocations and Learning. I have found blogging to be a good way to draft, sieve through and consolidate ideas.

I have also enjoyed working with several programmes to improve teaching, mentored new trades tutors and taught one of the Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching programme. So overall, a good year with lots of new learning and challenges.

Will now be recharging the soul with a few tramping trips into the NZ outdoors. Back in early January to begin the 2013 year. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Nokia Lumia 800 and Windows Mobile 7.5

CPIT has now replaced blackberrys with windows phones. I picked up my Nokia Lumia 800 at the beginning  of the week and have been evaluating its performance with regards to usability, availability of apps and options for mlearning. In general reviews for the Nokia Lumia have been positive as per this post and also in this one.

Takes 10 seconds to boot. Battery use is high compared to the blackberry or ipad. I usually charge up the blackberry twice a week and get over 10-11 hours use out of the ipad from full charge (so sometimes only charge once a week).  The Nokia seems to require daily recharge if it is left on standby all day and used intermittently to web surf or check emails/calendar. Having access to wifi most of the time will assist with the data plan $$ aspect. Tried out the tips on the official NZ Windows phone site and also picked up a couple of hints from the maximumpc site.

CPIT has organised synchronisation between phone and PC using skydrive. A windows live account needs to be set up first. I found the process to be relatively painless. Once set up, docs., photos and items on ‘personal web’ are accessible between phone and PC. The personal web is also linked to onenote on my PC. The first time I dropped a pdf journal article into the PC skydrive, access on the phone was almost instantaneous. Skydrive then asked if pdf reader needed to be installed to read the pdf. So generally intuitive for this aspect. Synching with contacts on outlook also straightforward.

However, going back to reading on the small screen after enjoying the larger screen on an ipad takes some getting used to. Landscape mode works a bit better and font size can be increased by ‘pinch and open gesture’ although continued scrolling will mean my preferred mobile ereader is still the ipad.

Took an hour or so to get used to the various ways to access apps. The touch screen is sensitive, so had to get into the habit of light touch in middle of screen to scroll up/down through the tiles. Otherwise, heavier touch on a tile would launch the app. 

A range of apps recommended on honeytechblog. Kindle app synched into my existing archive and I was able to download selected books speedily. Readability better than with the Adobe pdf reader.

A nifty app is the NZ radio – providing the ability to tune in to radio stations and listen to music while also working on other tasks.

Other apps relevant to NZ is the NZ Herald (the ipad version is more visually attractive) and Air NZ to process etickets. The Maps app works well and I tried out the Nokia maps while driving. I am not a great fan of using GPS but found the Nokia map app to work well. The app marketplace seems to have a reasonable selection of apps, with many familiar iOS and Android apps featuring in their Windows form. 

There is NO front camera.
Access to Moodle was straightforward but the login page came up minuscule! As did the course pages.

There is a smaller selection of apps for 'education' and this site, provides examples of apps to increase learning capacity.

NO screen shot capture!! This is one feature I use to copy maps in to my ipad photo gallery for reference when out of wifi range. Will be able to use mobile data but sometimes good to have a couple of maps for reference as well.

In general, our students tend to own Android smart phones or have ipad touches. Iphone with dataplan still expensive on a student budget. Have not come across any student with a Windows Mobile phone as yet. So Windows phones might be a similar category to blackberrys, mainly a corporate / business phone rather than one used as a personal phone. iphones and Android phones seem to be more for personal use.We need to continually be conscious of what our students use as bring-your-own device is now pretty much the norm.

The phone is perhaps just a tad large for my small hands and weightier that the blackberry pearl I have had since mid-2009. Getting used to a slightly different way to accessing apps and working through them was relatively straight-forward. With skydrive and access to Kindle archive, I can use the phone for reading and editing of documents on the hop. Will play with the camera over the weekend, especially to try out app options for panoramas, a list of options on this blog.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium - day 2

Day beings early with breakfast with Dr. Peter Coolbear, Ako Aotearoa director. Peter provided an update on Ako Aotearoa direction and business plan. Also engaged members in how the academy may fit in to the new business model. Although the mission and vision of Ako Aotearoa remains the same, there is government direction to improve student outcomes, improve parity of success for Maori and Pasifika learners, improve progression to higher levels of study and improved consistency of academic standards. Currently tertiary sector still highly fragmented, still allows mediocre delivery, not good at collecting evidence of added value but also allows great teaching and learning to happen. New Ako Aotearoa model is to expand level of activity, demonstrate value of Ako Aotearoa to sector and leverage organisational change. Some achieved via income generation and co-funding. Priority to projects that enable change, work in partnership with organisations and stakeholders and development and deployment of professional development opportunities. Academy already assists with a range of activities, but encouragement to engage with future professional accreditation scheme, partial funding by sponsorship. Involvement in organisational, National and regional projects.

Then a session with Dr. Kirsty Weir on the various national and regional funds available from ako Aotearoa. I present examples of projects that ako Aotearoa has funded and also provide some pointers for writing proposals and the support provided by ako Aotearoa to prospective applicants.

Parallel sessions begin after morning tea. I attend the session with Dawn Garbett on constructing a pedogogical identity. Originates in Dawn's research using self- study and teacher identity. Self study is to look at effect of teaching on students, not just an introspective process. Involves recording teaching stories to derive themes. We participated in an activity, using card sorting, to work our own teaching approaches.

Before lunch, Alison Holmes returns to discuss responses to the questions on accreditation she distributed yesterday. Challenges with keeping accreditation of tertiary teachers voluntary and based on model of continuous professional development. Important the process is not just another compliance requirement. Levels of accreditation maybe useful to engage educators who are at different stages in their developments as teachers.

After lunch, the session I attend is with Adrian Woodhouse on assessment strategies for transforming from "yes, chef" to "why chef". A design - based culinary arts degree replacing traditional master/apprentice, behaviorist model. The new degree adopts a constructivists, co-created and facilitation model. Programme has 3 years, year 1 is welcome to world of culinary arts, year 2 is being a culinary designer an in year 3 is to decide on my place in the culinary world. Learning environment is problem-based where theory and practice is intertwined and assessment IS learning. Referred to paper by horng, hu, Lin et al (2006) - link to 2009 paper - on culinary creativity. Need to connect students world with the world of culinary arts. Traditionally show, tell, observe, practice and apply , so, new approach to understand underpinning theory and develop new product. Use theme to provide opportunity for learner to connect with own world and to world of culinary - example develop a childrens' inspired dessert e.g. Peter rabbit. Examples of student work on facebook page.

Home groups meet to share on other parallel sessions.

The 2012 members are welcomed and a short session on "where to from here?"

A poroporokai closes the symposium. Overall, a slightly more informal symposium with a good range of sessions to cater for the diverse needs and teaching contexts of the participants.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium - Day one

The annual gathering of NZ tertiary teaching excellence award winners convenes today and tomorrow for the fifth Ako Aotearoa academy symposium. Good to catch up with familiar faces and a chance to meet the 2012 award winners. This year CPiT is represented by members of the restaurant bar and wine team and one of the chef tutors from the 2003 team award.

A busy programme all day today including symposium dinner. Tomorrow the day begins with breakfast with Ako Aotearoa director, Dr. Peter Coolbear.

Session one after the welcome mihi is with Tim Fowler from NZQA Quality Assurance. Provided an overview of NZQA direction regarding qualifications in the next few years. First focus is in 'outcomes' driven by government policy and funding structures. Outcomes can mean different things to each sector but from NZQA it is to try to improve outcomes through qualification restructure.
Biggest issue and challenge is the targeted review of qualifications (TRoQ) to create robust qualifications that are easy to understand by learners, educators and employers. Reduce 6000 qualifications to 1200.
International education important as a way to bring $$ into NZ. Need to not only increase international student numbers but also to allow NZ educational institutes to teach NZ qualifications overseas.
Also just approved 180 credit masters degree now approved to be available.

Home groups are formed with 7 groups of 6 to 7.

A practice session of the academy song -tenei te karanga - followed.

Pre - lunch session was A panel discussion, focused on 'what is success?' with Mark Brown, Sam Honey and Welby Ings.

Alison Holmes introduced an Ako Aotearoa initiative on an accreditation system for tertiary educators in NZ. Argued for a need to establish a professional structure for tertiary teachers so that tertiary teaching is valued and better supported. Feedback to Alison via email on the questions posed in the discussion paper.

Concurrent sessions in three streams follow lunch.

I choose session with Oriel Kelly on - refreshing the elearning guidelines. Reported on applying then NZ elearning guidelines project (2006). Addressed learner centredness, good practice etc. while taking perspectives as teacher, manager, administrator etc. project is to refresh the guidelines by adding a broader range of stakeholders e.g. Quality assurance, industry etc.
Areas also broadened to include learning support services. Workshopped a draft with each of us taking on a perspective (different hat), an area and guideline area. Hats include QA, organisation leaders, manager, teachers and learners. Area include design, relationship, outcomes, support. And guideline areas are learning,improving, collaboration, enhancing and future proofing.

Then I present findings from work with Debbie Taylor on applying principles of deliberate practice and feedback to improve learning of front office skills using role play. Opportunity to try out a few apps that assist the reflective learning process also included.

After afternoon tea, student panel of Sharon Robbie, Mary Ellen Orchard and Tom Sheehan provided a student point of view. The students talked about their sense of what is success and what sorts of support worked well for them.

Home group catch up, with group members sharing feedback on thensessions they attended, closes official section of the day.

We meet early evening for launch of Maxine Alterio's book.

Dinner in the evening closes a busy day.