Tuesday, February 09, 2016


Thinking through as to a direction for project surface tablet. One of the main ‘success’areas with tablets has been the use of the tablets to take videos of students learning practical skills or learning dispositions through roleplay. Included is the aspect of peer learning and feedback. So students use the videos as a springboard for learning not only the skills or dispositions but important aspects of judgment required to maintain reflective practice.

This bookon peeragogy, via a 2013 posting on Arlington Education Foundation referring to a holistic approach to technology enhanced learning, provides some suggestions for ways forward with regards to enhancing learning through peer learning. Although set in formal school contexts, the ideas and discussions are transferable across to vocational education.

The online book is basically a collection of ideas / resources from various American teachers who seek to improve learning through implementation of peer learning and peer production. It’s the peer production part which we really need to move along with.

So, instead of providing feedback etc. the next step is to perhaps have students develop a how to ‘guide’, using their original videos as source material. The ideas included in the book are ways to organise student groups, activities suitable, organising learning context, assessment suggestions etc. Technology tools suitable like forums, wikis, real-time meetings, MOOCs etc are discussed.

I will try out a few of the ideas with our project tablet teams, to extend on what we have begun and to continue to improve on our learning-centred approaches as supported by introducing ‘situated technology enhanced learning STEL’.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Using Sway

Sway is a microsoft free online presentation and storytelling app. I had a play last here when it first came up and found it quite user friendly. Since then, the sway team have been busy putting up examples and the examples offered are now more varied and interesting.

Although not the best example (it is structured as a scroll down) the content in this sway on the future of education is thought provoking.

Resources are now up for educators in the form of a sway, plus microsoft office has resources here and here as well providing examples for use of sway.

There is a positive review from Australian teachers blog and  jonathanwylie has a tutorial with examples.

In my own context, sway represents an opportunity to showcase ones work or for students to compile multimedia content. Sway is generally easy to use and hows promise but requires time to learn. As with other presentation tools, it is important to 'storyboard' before embarking on forming the resource.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Future of learning - schools and unschooling - impact on post-school / tertiary

While in Perth, also did a bit of reading around what the school sector is coming up with with regards to 'the future of schooling'.

Teachthought provides one perspective with 13 likely realities for the future of learning.   Included are the usual suspects of personalised learning through access to information via the WWW and the impact of the 'maker movement'.

Also, form teachthought, articles on ways technology will change education and the caveat of putting curriculum before technology.

All the above provide a good overview of what thought leaders are thinking with regards to the schools sector.

Meanwhile, in the world of work, sites like knowledge works provide articles on the uncertainty of work. Some congruence between the two sites. Tertiary learning is therefore the connecting systems between formal schooling and the future of work.

There is a need to prepare ALL for a world of continuous change. In some forms of work, there may be less change in the actual work (e.g. craft / trades) but the impact of social-political changes forces the work to refocus. For example, a carpenter still needs the skills, knowledge and dispositions of being a craftsperson BUT the ways in which the business of carpentry is conducted, will shift. There will be economic pressures to adjust to through ways materials are sourced. Technological changes in how the carpenter interacts with 'head office'. New requirements set by legislative changes and the need to be more sustainable in using materials and in building design. Therefore, important to sift out what ACTUAL impacts there might be so the curriculum to train, shifts with time.

Of interest, for instance is this book chapter by Trevor Marchand which came through my Google scholar alerts this morning. The chapter ' managing pleasurable pursuits: utopic horizons and the arts of ignoring and 'not knowing; among fine woodworkers in the 2015 book 'regimes of ignorance' - chapter one available for overview. In Marchand's book chapter, the idealistic direction of aspiring woodworkers is tempered as they progress through their two year programme. Many of the students are 'vocational migrants' - mature students who intend to 'retrain' into, perhaps, more fulfilling work - (as per Crawford's shop class as soul craft intentions). Marchand's woodcraft student interviewees appreciate the thorough grounding they are being provided with through the programme at the Building Crafts College (BCC). However, they intimate that some 'management of small business' focus may also be useful as many graduates intend to set up their own business after completing the programme.

At my institute, many of our trades programmes run in similar ways to the programmes at the BCC. There is strong emphasis on crafts skills. Business management etc. is usually something graduates of trades type Certificates embark on at Advanced Certificate or Diploma level in some trades - see NZ Dip in baking level 5 as an example of incorporating business into a trades programme. Many trades people also enrol (usually part-time) in business management type diplomas after they complete their apprenticeship. However, there is also a large category of trades people who 'stay on the tools' and leave business management aspects of their business to other business partners or their spouse or other family.

So perhaps an aspect to keep in mind and have conversations about when we design trade programmes. When, how much and how the wider business arena, beyond crafts training, needs to be introduced.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Presentations - Tim Ingold, Patricia Churchland

I was in Perth for two weeks over the Christmas and New Year to catch up with family. The weather was hot - at least 30'C everyday. I was up early as Perth is 5 hours behind NZ. Comparatively cooler in the morning to work off the good food dished up each day by my mother and other rellies, with 20 - 30 kms bike rides. Thankfully, some small hills and mostly on bike trails to explore area around the Canning River.

During the afternoon, when temperatures made it too hot to be outdoors and my parents, babies, pets  etc. were having their post-lunch siesta, I caught up with a range of youtube videos on topics relevant to my research projects - i.e. trades learning and how people become trades people. Usually, I previewed the video on afternoon. Then spent another afternoon working through the details of some of the concepts presented using Google Scholar and the presenters' webpage. Then drilling down to salient concept and to write up notes etc. with another more selective video watching session. So each of the following presenters took up a good 5 - 6 afternoons.

First up , caught up with a few videos with Professor Tim Ingold who has a chair in Social Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. There were several videos reflecting the evolution of Professor Ingold's work. One I watched through was on'Thinking through making' recorded in October 2013. Although only about half an hour, the presentation covered many of the precepts of Ingold's work, with text version covering for example in 'Toward an Ecology of Materials'. Annual Review of Anthropology' .

Then, the work of Professor Patricia Churchland from the University of California on neurophilosophy, leading to a collection of videos from Serious Science - which I will park for another occasion to view. Also a longer video on free will and self control related to her work on neuroethics.

I find videos to be a good way to better understand the writings of researchers, especially with topics requiring effort to build up a foundation in and then to work through complex concepts. Viewing the video brings into focus researchers' / writers' standpoint. Good presentations often include examples not always detailed in articles. So, videos are good supplements, especially if ever being able to watch f2f presentations from illustrious academics are out of reach.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Papers - researching work and learning 2015 and sino nz tvet research forum

Put in an afternoon last week to catch up on papers from conferences I missed out on last year. Thankfully, presentations and papers archived by the efficient conference organisers :)

Firstly, the Research in Work and Learning 9th conference which was held in Singapore at the end of November last year. Links to abstracts with papers start from this site. Symposium papers with a couple discussing on sociomateriality

Then, papers from the  3rd sino-NZ TVET research forum also held at the end of November, in Hamilton. Good to see progress in establishing links between Kiwi and Chinese TVET.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

The year ahead - 2016

This year two major items will impact on my workload and work direction.

Firstly, the merger of CPIT and Aoraki Polytechnic to form a new institute is now in progress. This raises issues of support for staff situated away from Christchurch city. Due to the distributed nature of our campus, there is a need to support learners who will be geographically dispersed. There has been an emphasis on ‘flexible delivery’ to date but the merger will mean flexibility of access becomes an important implementation goal.

Secondly, we have at least 2 new educational developers starting with us this year, with possibility of 2 more. The arrival of this cohort of educational developers, brings us up to former strength. The newbies come from either the higher education or the formal education (secondary) sector. Their challenge will be to come to an understanding of our diverse portfolio relatively quickly. The outcomes of TRoQ/ MRoQ mean we have substantial work to do. The merger will challenge us, with our mostly f2f delivery modes, to prepare teaching teams for shifting to provide more flexible forms of learning.

On the technology-enhanced learning front, a major project will be to complete pilotsof Onenote Classroom Notebook with several courses. We need to test the viability of this platform for deployment into specialised discipline areas, each with specific pedagogical goals.   

Work with tablets continue as several teams supported over the last 3 years have now adopted BYOD or have managed to purchase class sets of tablets.

Dissemination continues with several journal articles in various states of draft, close to submission, peer review and tidying up for publication. There is a joint book chapter to coordinate and write and discussions for an edited book to see to fruition. 

So, looking forward to a busy year with new challenges and continuing work.

Monday, December 14, 2015

2015 overview

Here are some reflections at the end of a busy year. This year, there has been concentrated work on completing learning design projects. Hence, less time to get to conferences, ruminate on the philosophy of vocational education and write.

The main programme I have been involved with this year have been from computing with a total of 8 programmes of study developed into two new programme documents.

Programme development support has largely been with Architecture as they developed programmes of study for 3 qualifications. My role has largely been to facilitate staff to understand the process and to help them work through the implications wrought by the course descriptors developed by another ITP. We worked on ways to improve learning focus through development of authentic assessments to assist students’ work readiness.

Additionally, I have supported my colleagues with the development of 4 other programmes, either as sounding board, critical evaluator or with staff development support for the teaching teams. Tag teaming assists us to ensure we provide a seamless and pro-active support as and when required. Often, teaching teams need ‘just in time’ support and we have found developmental activities solicited by teams, yield better long term outcomes. The teams are already moving in a certain direction and our role is to gently steer into the path which will assist with enhanced active learning, and formative feedback principles.

Technology enhanced teaching support has focused on several ‘new’ project tablet projects, including one to trial one note notebook creator with a small cohort of students. Also the support of 4 teaching teams to use tablets and miracast in the new teaching spaces of our ‘science’ and humanities teaching block.

Research has been quiet this hear due to the need to concentrate on programme development. I have concentrated on dissemination and review. as a means to increase access to my work, I compiled an annotated bibliography as reference for people interested in the scholarship of apprenticeship and trade-based learning. There has been encouragement from winning several awards in the vocational research arena. Confirming I am on the 'right track' and encouragement to work at honing my writing and presentation skills.

Off next week for a couple of weeks of rest and recreation :)