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.



Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Plans for 2017

Looking forward to another fulfilling year after a good week plus of R & R up in Nelson. The weather cooperated, so lots of cycling and a good walk up to Mount Arthur to admire the Celmisia Dallii which only grows in the NW of the South Island and was in full flower

There will be several ‘projects’ on the go for 2017, all of which will require concerted effort!!

Firstly, there is the e-assessment project with NMIT, Te Tapuae o Rehua and Unitec. The project begins officially with a two day workshop at the end of January. During the workshop, there will be some team building along with ensuring all the participants understand the commitments required for the project. We will have short sessions on what ‘assessment for learning’ means, along with an introduction and overview of qualitative research through a variant of participatory action research - the spiral of inquiry. By the end of the two days, each sub-project team should, or be close to, confirming their research question and plan.

Secondly, the Batcher of Construction moves into ‘teaching and learning plan’ development. Although the degree is not officially approved, we begin working on year 1 and 2 courses which are currently part of NZ Diplomas in construction.

Thirdly, there is the ramp up of support for tutors in architecture and engineering as they plan towards move into a new, purpose-built facility – Kahukura. Most of the tutors have identified some ‘project’ they plan to put in place in the first semester, in anticipation for the move into Kahukura in the second semester. The learning spaces in the new building are set up to be flexible learning spaces. So the main objective is to assist tutors with shifting to a learning focus from a mainly content-focused teaching approach.

Fourthly, ongoing programme development work commences with the re-development of the Bachelor of Information Technology (BICT). This is a large programme and continues on from work accomplished through 2015 on programme design for level 3 to level 6 NZ Diplomas in computing. Some of the NZ diploma courses may require re-visiting to align with the move into graduate profile outcomes for the BICT. Last year, quite a bit of my time was taken with supporting the level 3 and level 4 programmes offered by Campus Connect. These courses are largely to prepare learners to become users of technology and courses are offered across campuses across Canterbury. ‘Blending’ the programmes have been a good learning experience for both myself and the Campus Connect staff.

Fifth item on the list, support of a smaller group of staff, still working through mobile learning projects from Project Tablet. Several are ready to shift up a notch and work intensively with embedding TEL into all their courses.

Lastly but by no means least important, my development as a scholar with articles to complete from previous projects. Hopefully several conferences (with papers) to present at and usual work to support tutors at Ara with educational research projects.


As per usual, I will share my learnings on this blog, of the continual journey to understand how people learn a trade, how to incorporate techonology enhanced learning into vocational education programmes and the maximise on the important contribution of sound programme development towards better learning experiences for students.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Review of 2016

This year has been rather hectic. There have been ‘peaks and troughs’ throughout the year. As most of my work this year has been focused on getting new or re-developed programmes ready for approval, deadlines have led to times of intense activity, bracketed by less busy weeks. The less busy ‘programme development’ free weeks have been devoted to drafting articles and prepping up for an Ako Aotearoa funded National project to begin next year one-assessments.

Much of my work this year has been to shepherd a degree through the programme approval process. The work will now continue into next year as the programme moves into generation of teaching and learning plans.

The beginning of the year was busier than usual as two of us ‘established’ educational developers assisted new staff into the fold. We inducted and mentored four ed. devs. brand new to Ara and one shifting sideways within Ara. Each of the new educational developers bring with them strong skills and add much needed expertise to our team. My objective has been to nudge out their strengths so that we are able to leverage off these. We also now have an ongoing ‘professional development and learning’ programme for our entire team. This will assist all of us to gain skills and expertise in ‘new’ areas of learning and add to our overall capability. It has been good to have a larger team to work with and I have learnt much from the collegial and collaborative work environment.

‘Research’ has revolved around two evaluative type projects. Both were small and provided information to the wider Academic Division team as to how to proceed with use of technology and the connection of tutors’ research to their curriculum and teaching development.


Publication (see here for updated list) has proceeded as planned with two journal articles published. Currently there is another one in the review and a book chapter in press. The book chapter includes contributions from 5 other Ara staff. I have a couple of articles now in draft and will work through them through the summer, ready for submission early next year. The publication cycle will see these published end of 2017 or into 2018.

Looking forward to some R & R over the Christmas and New Year with a trip up to Nelson to complete most of the great taste bike trail and a foray up to Mount Arthur to continue by learning of alpine plants.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pecha Kucha presentations - Ara Department of Humanities


Organised by Libby Gawith, chair of the Humanities department research committee. These short show and tell sessions are popular with our tutors at Ara Institute of Canterbury. Presentations are over lunch time with each presenter given 6 minutes to provide an overview of their work. Some of the presentations are based on just completed Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching (DTLT) projects which are based on practical strategies to enhance learning for students.

Andre de Roo from Engineering trades presented on  taking tec to the coal face based on work undertaken as his last DTLT project on programme development. Rationalised through needs of industry with lean manufacturing and CAD / CAM controls, robotic workshops and 21st century pedagogies with needs for deeper learning. Class set of tablets had logistical issues. Created covers and used onenote class notebook in welding classroom to help learning. 

Louise Sheppard  reported on trialling an e-book version of a course textbook within context of anatomy and physiology. Presented rationale, details of the ebook, costs and principles. Ebook comes with a ‘learning space’ which is a trimmed down LMS revolving around the book. Able to select / hide / structure text book, assign reading week by week (and see learning analytics on this), includes quizzes, multi-media content, book-marking etc. Students also able to like, comment, interact and post picture, videos and links.

Adrian Blunt spoke on the concept of "great expectations". Overview of his study leave over this semester whereby he explored the relevance of the work of Professor Jo Boaler – on math mindfulness and Professor ChristineRubie-Davies (Auckland University) on high teacher expectations.  Teachers with high expectations had equitable classrooms, did not lose sight of individuals, encouraged goal settings, effective feedback and communication between students and teachers. Challenged all to consider setting high expectations for our student.

Mary Brett-Kohistani presented on "the digital divide", part of her final paper on a MA with the topic of what is the digital divide and how does it apply to literacy. Especially what the implications for tutors. Have, can and will or nots. Digital divide is focused on socio-economical issues but also generational differences. So digital = access or ownership or not. Literacy = able or not yet able. Practitioners may assist to close the divide using social media aligned to needs of learners.
Ian Patterson – Peer assessment and feedback – reporting on his DTLT project – how to motivate students with lab work if model answers were published at the end of each week. Involved students through peer assessment, students had to figure out the answer and then provide feedback to their peers. Explained the logistics, challenges, some solutions and reflections. Took more time as tutor was the manager of the assessment process.

Hossein Askarinejad overviewed using BYOD in the classroom which was part of his DTLT project. Need to incorporate active learning through real / live practical activities along with BYOD to engage students. Provided an example whereby learning activity encourages students research article online, check against NZ standard and assess the various options. Summarised logistical needs – enhanced WiFI, charging stations, support for software / hardware and having backup available (shared tablets).

David Cooper  presented on Sound 3 M.A.K.E. – musical audio kinetic electronics which anchors his Year 3 course to assist students to learn the HOW and WHY behind their music theory and practice. Based on using Arduino and open source software to extend their parameters. E.g. connecting musician’s heart beat to musical composition. Encourages students to be innovative but within a budget to encourage sustainable practice.

Graeme Harris provided details of his project – Motorsport and how to also assist a group of Indian students on a block course to learn about engineering analysis. Provided background, the Indian context, the needs of the students – what they want to learn and how the course is structured / design to meet the student learning needs.

 Good to see progress in the various projects. Almost all projects have had some contact with our educational development team, with two projects being off-shoots or continuation of the tablet projects begun 3 years ago. 



Monday, December 12, 2016

Innovating Pedagogy 2016 report

Via ignatia web, report on Innovating pedagogy for 2016 from a report by Open University and the Learning Sciences Lab, National Institute of Technology in Singapore.

A short (40+pages) report with following (out of 10 proposed) of relevance to eassessment project.
 - Learning through social media
- productive failure (i.e. learning thorough experience and from making mistakes)
- teachback (learning by teaching others)
- Learning from the crowd
- Learning through video games
- Formative analytics (developing analytics to help students improve)

The 2015 report is more traditional, advocating
- crossover learning (formal connected to informal),
- learning through argumentation,
- harnessing incidental learning
- context-based learning
- embodied learning

The 2014 report covered pedagogies now taken for granted e.g.
- massive open social learning
- learning design informed by analytics
- flipped classroom
- learning to learn
- BYOD
- dynamic assessments
- learning through storytelling
- threshold concepts

The older two reports advocate similar recommendations to the annual US of A Horizon reports. Trawling through the innovative pedagogy reports provide a good historical record of how pedagogy has shifted over the last 5 to 6 years.

We will need to mesh some of the above with the work on vocational education pedagogy. There are good synergies across the above and the work of Lucas, Claxton and Spencer. Summaries of the three pieces of work on this blog:

-vocational pedagogy
- remaking apprenticeships and
- practical guide to craftsmanship.

Plus also work from recent 'Learning a trade' project - learning as becoming by learning to do, think, feel and be within the NZ context of biculturalism for example with Maori trades training.

Each of the sub-projects in the eassessment project will integrate at least one if not more of the 'innovative pedagogies' and apply the recommendations from the various international and NZ vocational pedagogy studies.



Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Microsoft Classroom - interim thoughts

One of the platforms to pilot through a recently approved Ako Aotearoa National Project funded 'eassessment' project will be Microsoft classroom.

This platform was launched in April 2016 and currently in preview ( ie.beta ) mode.Microsort classroom requires access by students to Office 365 and allows teachers to to manage classes and assignment. It is different from OneNote and more akin to an LMS.

There is a website to learn how to use the platform.There is an overview video on syncing microsoft classroom to school data - 12.20 minutes long. In short, the platform allows for bringing custom office tools (OneNote, Word, Powerpoint, Sway etc.) to the classroom.  
The video covers  how the platform runs and overall the visual / user experience is similar to onenote class notebook layout. The process of how microsoft classroom integrates outlook, planner, has announcements, conversations, office mix, sway etc. and cassroom experience also over viewed.

Apps for iOS and Google are also available to smooth the path to BYOD.