Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub Colloquium 2018


This is one of a series of colloquiums for projects funded by Ako Aotearoa. This one, is for the projects overseen by the Ako Aotearoa Southern hub. Notes from last week's colloquium of projects funded nationally can be found here.

The colloquium begins with a welcome from Dr. Joe Te Rito, Kaihautu matauranga Maori, Helen Lomax, director and Bridget O’Regan, Southern hub project manager. Jennifer Leahy MCs the event. Sessions run for 30 minutes with 20 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes for questions.

First presentation is with Stuart Terry from Otago Polytechnic on Student perceptions of student evaluations: enabling student voice and meaningful engagement. Questionnaire and student focus groups used to gather perceptions on the various evaluations used to gather students’ point of view on teaching and learning. Both Otago Polytechnic and Otago University second year degree students involved. The project still in early stages and follows on from another on teacher perceptions. The objective in the current project is to focus on the student experience to inform the future with an emphasis on enhancement over assurance. Provided overview, rationale and initial findings. Students often aware evaluation is important but do not know how the data will be used and are not aware of the affect. Initial findings – 95% have participated, 57% prefer online but 22% still prefer paper. 92% thought it was important to complete evaluations. Preference of 83% to evaluate each course and 82% feel there is an effect on quality but 94% do not see the results of the feedback!!

Then with Dr. Rob Wass and Dr. Tracy Rogers from the University of Otago with ‘mentor and peer observation to improve / enhance thepractice of casual, short-term teachers’. Short-term teachers play a important role but are often under-supported. Pilot of 6 tutors and 12 mentees participated from education, classics, management and the university college. Video (using a mobile phone) was used to record sessions of tutorials. These were used for reflective conversations which were audio recorded. Mentors and mentees came from different discipline area so that the emphasis was on teaching, not content. TurboNote used to annotate the video. The process and the evaluation was shared in the presentation. Focus groups with mentors and mentees (separately) was held. There was good interest and engagement through the project. Both mentors and mentees learnt from the process.

Followed on with, Work-active- supporting the ‘forgottenlearners’ in their journey to work' is a joint project with John Grant and Tracey Anne-Cook from Skillwise and Dr. Maria Perez-y-Perez from the University of Canterbury. This project works towards trialling a new teaching and learning approach for adult learners with intellectual disability. Shift to facilitated and learner centric focus to prepare learners within an internship based employment programme. Participatory action research project with disability support provider (teaching and employment support), employers (internship) and tertiary institution (teaching resources and research). Focus through the 12 week programme to develop soft skills including team work, communication, planning, taking initiative and problem solving. Data collected though focus groups and interviews, student learning diaries, workplace and class observations and the student presentations. Shared the programme details and initial findings.

The next 7 projects are from researchers at the University of Canterbury and Dr. Erik Brogt provides an overview and shared the strategic considerations for engaging with the fund. The academic development strategy is to utilise a distributed model of teaching development. The goal is to support good teaching and evidence based scholarship on teaching and learning. Discussed challenges including the work towards moving forward after projects end and increasing impact of the findings on teaching and learning.

The presentations from UC begin with Professor Lynne Taylor and Natalie Baird on ‘the making of lawyers: A longitudinal study’ which was also presented at last week’s Nationally funded projects colloquium. Provided greater detail as presentation time was longer. Study collected and analysed data from 4 universities from 2014 and running through 2019. Allowing for the tracing of students’ journey from 1st year to beyond graduation. Data also collected from employers. Provided an overview of the analysis of data from students who completed the surveys for 4 years. Intrinsic motivations remained stable across 4 years but after 3rd year, level of interest in pursuing legal career has dropped. Attendance high, increase of participation in active learning, less time spent and little change in self-study approaches. There was little f2f contact with teaching staff. Grades were consistently good, increased levels of confidence, workload was high and perceptions of knowledge and skills gained did not change. Reported on improving student experiences now put in place and plans for future. Programme and course learning outcomes reviewed. Student well-being plan in place. Changed assessment practices as much as possible within regulatory requirements. Staff development programme begun. Working on Council of Legal Education to make relevant changes. Next year, introduce a first year mentoring programme; introduce capstone skills based course as a bridge between university and work; and work on reducing class numbers to decrease lectures and increase tutorials.

Dr. Julia Wu then presents on ‘optimising complex casestudies as teaching tools in accounting and law education’. The project also involves Sascha Mueller and Erik Brogt. Rationalised the approach, especially the selection of case studies which reflected challenging circumstances instead of the more traditional practice of using ‘ideal’ scenarios. 3 phases so far. Began with literature review of the value of the case study approach and the implementation of ‘messy’ case studies. The second stage evaluated, through interviews with lecturers, application of case study pedagogy and through student surveys, their engagement with the case study method. Shared some of the raw data of lecturer and student perspectives, the barriers and challenges. The third stage was to develop relevant case studies and the teaching practice to support these. Final data analysis and implementation now progressing with outcomes to be completed next year.

Professor Philippa Martin presents on professional engineering cohorts. The project was to support students to develop good cohort support groups and is part of a 4 year transformation project. Presented rationale on the need to change the university culture to be more inclusive. The project was to find out the current ‘non-intervention’ socio-cultural associations for 1st and 2nd year electrical and computer engineering students. Data analysis has just begun. The findings feed into the IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness) initiative set up in August. The goal is to create an inclusive atmosphere for minority groups, women and LGBTQIA+.

Then a ‘BYO – bring your own device – to field class:integrating digital and mapping in the field-based coursework’ with Dr. Timothy Stahl and Dr. Heather Purdie. The context is geology and geography. Drew on his own experiences as a geologist, doing post-doctoral field work, to ensure students learnt the practice of traditional field mapping methods. Need to make this learning visible, and for students to learn the important aspects of spatial awareness and a sense of place. Students used the ArcCollector app to record GPS points with photos and videos, analyse data and track their progress in comparison with their peers. Reports on the 5 field trials to date, student feedback through survey and informal staff feedback. Shared progress of refining the approach and tools and ways forward.  

After lunch, two UC projects with a focus on teacher education.

Firstly, we have Dr. Paul Docherty and Associate Professor Wendy Fox from University ofWaikato with ‘investigating of initial education student views of engineersand engineering practice’. An initiative to improve the perceptions of school students (aged 11-13 – key time for career decisions) of careers in engineering. Sought to try to work on the root cause for low participation rates from females, minorities etc. Apart from family, friends, and culture, teachers play a role in decisions and perceptions. Were there false perceptions from teaching staff that coloured students’ career choices and especially those of female, Maori and Pasifika students on STEM careers. The participants were final year education students. Reported on first phase to determine views of teachers; then provide workshops to address; and hopefully lead to some change in perceptions.

Followed by Dr. Cara Swit and Dr. Christoph Teshers with ‘professional learningopportunities for postgraduate specialist teachers’. The project is to add to pre-service mentoring and to augment aspects of teaching a specialists subject. Data gathering is in progress with analysis beginning early next year. Field advisors are assigned to assist early childhood teachers, completing a post-graduate programme, to develop goals around early-intervention competencies. Presented on details of early-intervention which is one of 6 endorsements being supported at UC and Massey. Students complete a 2 year programme and usually complete this while working full-time as teachers. The programme includes 150 hours practicum which is where this project comes in. The aim is to apply the findings from the project, to develop a coaching framework to support the process.

Final presentation of a busy day with Professor Tanja Mitrovic on ‘supporting engagement during active video watching with personalised nudges’. It is a collaborative college with Otago and University of Leeds. This is a follow up project from a 2016 project which developed a controlled video-watching environment – AVW-space. This project added interactive visualisations and personalised nudges in an adaptive way for students to write comments at certain points through video watching. There seems to be an increase in notes being taken through the use of prompts (micro-scaffolds) which help students learn reflective skills. Then learners allow commenting and to are able to rate comments written by others. Extension in future to study further the connection between learner profiles, personalised nudges and addition of interactive visualisations (comment timeline and histogram) to share with the learner how they are doing compared to their peers.

I provide a brief ‘reflections on the day’ presentation with a quick think-pair-share activity. The colloquium closes poroporoaki / farewell.

Poroporoaki and farewell follows.All in, a good range of projects, each seeking to enhance learning experiences for students. 



Thursday, November 08, 2018

Ako Aotearoa National funded projects (NPF) 2018 Colloquium

Yesterday, I presented at the annual hui of the researchers involved with Ako Aotearoa Nationally funded projects held in Wellington. Each project reported on work in progress with several who are close to or have been completed, providing overview of their projects

Colloquium begins with welcome and powhiri with Dr. Joe Rito. Helen Lomax, Ako Aotearoa Director then sets the scene. Dr. Beatrice Dias-Wanigasekara, research projects manager, also extended her welcome and MCed the colloquium.

First presentation is with Adelaide and Doug Reid from Community Colleges NZ on ‘learner access and pathways: youth guarantees, educational outcomes. Project started in 2015 and presentation covered the surveys of youth guaranteed students. The project sought to find out the profiles and longer term effects of the programme. Focus groups and individual interviews also collected perspectives. Themes identified include: the need for self development; having control; fitting in and belonging; the importance of networks and supports; and provision of direction and stability. Identity development was a significant part of transitions (there were multiple transitions), which were complex and context dependent. Skills (communication, collaboration, self-management, learning to learn and job attainment skills), not qualifications assisted in young people staying and progressing in employment and education. 3 interim reports are on project website.

Next up, ‘Set for life – best practice guidelines for vocational education and training for NZ’ presented by Ken Eastwood, Nigel Studdart and Sarah Rennie from Skills Organisation. Project was commissioned by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and co-funded with Ako Aotearoa. Studied transition in Northland / Auckland. Ran for a year from mid 2016 to mid-2017. Hands on action research with focus on support of young people into work in the electrical and plumbing and the primary industries. Summarised progress to date detailing the complexity of transitions and disconnect between needs of employers / industry and schools. The project bought together the range of networks, industry and providers to improve the transition of school leavers into work. Learners appreciated ‘someone who cares’ and assistance in ‘finding my way’. Families were powerful influencers. Needs for engagement in learning were context specific. Transport to work was a defining factor with regards to continuance. Employers’ viewpoints were collated and included the importance of matching the learner to the right workplace. Schools’ needed to make sense of the transition space which was congested and complex, with some schools focusing more on NCEA credits rather than the learning required to achieve employment success. Funding was an issue for providers and ITO as to how completions could be recognised. ITOs are not funded to work in the transition space but may be effective if this occurred. Developed ‘tools’ including Set4 life navigators and the development of a co-designed programmed between iwi , PTE, Northtec, BCITO, Kaitaia College and the Far North Community.

Then, Pania Te Maro and Liz Kohonui from Te Whare Wananga oAwanuiarangi on ‘Ka nanakia hoki ‘ki’ te numeracy: better than expected’. This project studied the design of a tool to assist with modelling the teaching and learning of numeracy. Objective to test the approach of tapping into learners’ personal experiences to assessments to provide a holistic perspective towards progressing further. Traced akonga’s maths education histories and maths identities and help them to work out what they need to learn and how they can learn these. Pilot investigated so the project is in its first stage.

After morning tea, 7 presentations!! Presentations are 15 minutes each with questions after 3 presentations.

Neil Ballantyne (Open Polytechnic) and Dr. Jane Maidment (University of Canterbury) on enhancing the readiness to practice of newly qualified socialworkers. Currently undertaking the 3rd phase of this project. Phase 1 was a curriculum mapping exercise to find out what was taught from students and educators. Gaps were identified in health as greater emphasis placed on child welfare. Phase 2 then surveyed newly social workers and managers to find out what when well and what did not occur to prepare them for work. Knowledge of mental health was identified by both recent graduates and managers as a requirement. Phase 3 is to construct an inventory of candidate capability statements through workshops with stakeholders. Used the world café approach to gather perspectives of participants on a draft. Feedback and negotiation on the draft capabilities framework through consultation with key agencies will then be undertaken.

Followed by Anne Greenhalgh from Workforce development Ltd. With Dr. Lesley Petersen on ‘establishing communities of practice: a pedagogy development mechanisms for teachers in the NZ private training establishment (PTE) environment’. Worked with tutors in 3 PTEs teaching youth guarantees students. The project assisted tutors to share teaching practice and to develop more effective teaching. Meetings every 4 months to engage in critical reflection on their practice. Used reflective competence as a framework. The aim is to produce a COP implementation guideline which will be useful within the PTE context, COP training workbook and session guide, and reflection template.

Then ‘a cross disciplinary comparison of the approach todeveloping work ready plus graduates’ with Dr. Qilong Zhang and Meghan Ruha from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. This is a project that started 2017 and completes mid-2019. Disciplines involved are Health study, creative technology, early childhood education, management and carpentry. Currently looking into implementation of models as they pertain to each discipline. Focused on finding out HOW the models can be operationalised. Emphasis placed in each discipline area on different skill sets. There is importance in making the expectations visible to learners and in providing teachers with opportunities to reflect on what the actual skills define their discipline.

Mark Williams from BCITO on ‘how employers have influenced the participation and success of women in the trades where they are traditionally under-represented’. This is the second part of a three part project. This phase sought to identify the characteristics of employers who have or have not employed women; the enablers and barriers to participation; and resources that may be useful to break down barriers to participation. Benefits of having women in the trades include ability of women to pay attention to detail, more care with equipment and tempering blokey behaviours. Barriers included lack of physical strength, may become pregnant and not enough women apply. Found the presence of unconscious bias and recommends some changes in employer behaviours and beliefs. These include advertising online, offering work experience, identifying supporters in the workplace, flexible work options, train and mentor staff and embracing both gender and ethnic diversity. Shared video developed to support the recommendations.

Dr. Eruera Tarena, Dr. Porsha London, Sharon Armstrong and Piripi Prendergast from Tokona Te Raki – a Ngai Tahu initiative working on establishing equity for iwi - present on Hutia te punga (lift up the anchor). The project works with 3 providers to co-construct and implement Cultural Responsiveness Professional Learning and Development (CRPLD). Project began this year and is half way through the process. Presented on the frameworks informing the work which is to work at the deeper causes then to just ‘fix the symptoms’. Co-construction involves bringing values and beliefs of students and their tutors to address poor retention of Maori students in their programmes. Need to confront practices as what we say we will do, is often different from what actually takes place. Provided details of the CRPLD programme, initial themes and reflections on what has been achieved and what still needs to be done.

Followed on by Laloifi Ripley from Careerforce and Dr. Nicky Murray and Anne Alkema from the ITF on ‘Hinatore: upskilling Maori and Pasifikaworkplace learners’. The project investigates the teaching and learning processes in workplace learning literacy and numeracy programmes that support successful outcomes for Maori and Pasifika learners. 10 workplaces base in Auckland are involved along with 5 providers. The project works with the tutors. Pre-programme data already collected and now collecting post-programme data. Supporting tutors as researchers to enable them to use evidence to improve their practice. Workplace programme details provided. Discussed the need to be respectful of the data and to not impose pre-negotiated data analysis framework on it. Draft framework introduced to honour the data based on ako, mahi and whanau.

Completed project presentation with Associate Professor Leonie Pihama’s and team from University of Waikato project ‘he tatua o kahukura’ is undertaken. Provided a quick overview of the project which is to support Maori scholars’ post-doctoral pathways. 7 sites participated. Then shared the findings and recommendations.

After lunch, I present on the e-assessment project. The guidelines, derived from case study of the seven sub-projects are summarised, along with the research approach and the frameworks informing the project. The final report is in peer review and discussions with regards to dissemination have commenced. In essence, digital tools provide opportunities to gather, collate and work through feedback for learning, assisting learners to progress their learning. Feedback may be from digital tools, the learners, their peers, and their teachers / other experts.

Four more projects presentations follow.

Firstly, Professors Lynne Taylor and Ursula present on their project ‘the making of a lawyer: a longitudinal study. This is a 5 year study with 5 universities to work out the work readiness of NZ law graduates. Across the years, no difference in motivations and values but drop in levels of interest in pursuing a legal career. Drop in lecture attendance but increase in participation in active learning activities. Less time spent in self-study that expected and little change in self-study approaches. There was a low level of f2f contact with teachers outside class. At the end of year 4, very few students reported their tutors knew them. Students reported good grades, increasing levels of confidence of passing over time. Shared interventions put in place to address the findings from the project.

Then, Professor Cherie Chu from Victoria University and Janice Ikiua-Pasi from Weltec/Whitirea present on their project ’10 habits ofphenomenal educators for Pasifika learners’. Used appreciative inquiry to change practice for tutors to engage with and work well with Pasifika learners. Study sought to understand better, how Pasifika learners learn best. Then to apply these towards informing teaching and learning practices that will support Pasifika learners.

Followed on with Dr. Emma Wolfgram-Folaki and Dr. Hinekura Smith from Auckland University present on ‘He vaka moana: navigating Maori student and Pasifika student success’. Reports on a support project which connects beginner academic and professional leaders in teaching, learning, assessment and research at Auckland University and Unitec. 8 fellows (including support staff and academic) supported across this year. PD workshops covering ethics application, writing etc. provide ongoing support through the year.

The Pasifika learner success theme continues with presentation from Sam U’tai from Ara Institute of Technology and Ashlyna Noa (University of Canterbury). An evaluation was undertaken of a Pasifika Resource kit developed through a joint project with Lincoln University and University of Canterbury. This is the 3rd project completed in March this year. The 2nd project recommended change in academic spaces; student services; and Pasifika visibility and the kit was developed to put into practice, the changes recommended in the 2nd project. Found the kit assisted with transforming teaching and learning; improved support for Pasifika students; promoted and celebrated Pasifika diversity; and provided support for staff to increase cultural responsiveness through implementation of specific strategies.

Summing up and reflections is presented by Ian Rowe.

Farewell and poropoaki follow.

Before the colloquium ends, here is a celebration of 2 completed projects (Taikaka with Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan from University of Auckland and Te Whaihanga with Professor Dory Reeves also from the University of Auckland).

All in, a day packed with many and varied presentations. There was a sense of camaraderie across the researchers. Also, always good to catch up with work in-progress which represents teaching and learning across the NZ tertiary sector. Projects were led by Wananga, ITPs, provide providers, ITOs and Universities with several cross sector projects. 

Monday, November 05, 2018

Jobs will change - some new but most modified

The BBC provides an interesting article on 'driving you career towards a booming sector'

The context is the car industry and its stead move toward automous vehicles. The prediction is that by 2030, over 50% of journeys will be on automous vehicles. This leads to the lost of many jobs, but also the creation of other types of work.The article features one type of new job.That of a person who oversees a number of automous vehicles, taking over when required to bring the vehicle back on track, or to troubleshoot when the vehicle is unable to make the requisite decisions to move on. This job role requires someone who is an expert driver, able to monitor a number of vehicles and control them remotely. The role requires high proficiency to problem solve and cope with the load of monitoring a large number of inputs.

The job concept is not new, drone operators as a job title, are now common. The American military have been using drones for monitoring and actioning operations for a decade. These types of work, use the initiative and expertise of humans which are more difficult to configure into AI. When experts are unable to unravel their tacit knowledge, it becomes difficult to set up algorithms for AI to undertake similar decision making heuristics. No doubt, at some near future state, a solution will be found, but meanwhile, the complex and unplanned nature of our lives, makes it a challenge for AI to be prepared for all eventualities.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Brain facts - interactives for core concepts

Brain facts is my go to site for keeping up with developments in neuroscience which inform learning and teaching.

They now have a series of interactive snippets, to help explain core concepts. These are short activities, to explain some of the core concepts of how the brain works.

There is also a good overview in their 'brain facts book' which is updated regularly. Currently, the latest 2018 version is available and a good resource for finding out how the brain and nervous system works.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Future of Jobs - 2018 report from World Economic Forum

Had a look through the World Economic Forum's viewpoint on the future of work over the weekend. There was a brief summary / overview on the NZ Herald last month titled - Machines to do most work in 2025.


Overall, despite the title of the NZ Herald article, a more optimistic report compared to the last one a couple of years ago.

The four drivers of change are ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology.

Accelerators of change due to ability to extend on technology as more is learnt. Trends in robotisation including increased use of robots  including stationary, non-humanoid land, fully automated aerial drones etc. and improved AI and learning algorithms.

There are rapidly changing patterns of the geography of production, distribution and value chains.
This leads on to changing employment types – with over 50% of companies expecting automation to lead to reduction in workforce by 2022. 38% expected to extend though.

There will be a new human-machine frontier with existing tasks. The ratio of human to machine tasks in jobs will see the machine proportion rise. Predicts 58% of tasks will be performed by humans and 42% by humans but this proportion will be dependent on job types.

Some work tasks which have always been seen to be human strengths, including communicating and interacting, coordinating, developing, managing and advising, and reasoning and decision making, will begin to be automated.

There will be emerging ‘in-demand’ roles – usual ones like data analysts, scientists, software developers etc. and the ‘service’, human relationship type occupations. New roles revolve around AI, automation, robotics, human-machine interaction designers etc. This will lead to growing skills instability with the accompanying need for re-skilling and sound strategies to address skill gaps.

This morning, today online article brings another dimension (an Asian perspective) on things. The article records an interview with Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, and has excerpts from his book - published this year - AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order. In short, the book brings another dimension into how to think about the future of work and what society and government's role are in meeting the coming challenges. Will summarise this book once I have read it.



Monday, October 08, 2018

Research methods for education in the digital age – book overview


Here is an overview of a timely addition to the research methodology literature.

Research Methods for Education in the Digital Age arrived at the Ara library last week. 

Written by Maggi Savin-Baden and Gemma Tombs 2017 and published by Bloomsbury

After the introduction, 10 chapters. Includes useful glossary differentiating the various methods and approaches referred to in the book and 25 pages of references.

The introduction provides the rationale for the book. Being to fill a gap in understanding about how research is now conducted in the digital age. Has a table providing descriptions and salient literature sources for key digital technologies used in education. Also includes brief overviews of each of the following chapters.

First chapter, introduces ‘issues in researching education in the digital age’. Begins with summarising the change to data types now possible through the advent of digital technologies – the new typology of data. Apart from orthodox data, there is now the possibility of collecting participative intentional data, consequential data (i.e. health records), self-published data (i.e. blogs etc.), social media data, data traces (from search histories for example) and found data (available in the public domain). Introduces the concepts of the internet of things, digital tethering and digital immortality. Switches tack briefly to preview the traditional philosophies that inform research practice, conceptual frameworks and then discusses the challenges wrought be digital data.

Chapter 2 – new methodologies? – introduces potential methods including liquid methodologies (which morph across philosophical approaches); digital and visual methods – visual ethnography, arts-informed inquiry, grounded theory, evaluation, narrative inquiry,

Continues with chapter on ‘ethnographies for the digital age. Summarises the history of ethnography and then describes and discusses a range of possibilities. Ethnography for the internet, netography, sensory ethnography, connective ethnography, visual ethnography and critical ethnography.
Fourth chapter on adapting research approaches for educational research in a digital age focuses on design-based research, design patterns, future technology workshop, actor-network theory and activity theory. These are defined and critiqued.

Chapter 5 on quantitative data in digital context introduces the three main categories of data. Individual, engagement and learning. Engagement data is further sub-categorised as action or activity orientated, network-orientated or content- orientated. Big data, learning analytics and educational data mining are also introduced and discussed. Various modes for data gathering enabled by digital technologies are also presented and pros and cons discussed. These include web delivered surveys, mobile delivered surveys, social media polls, avatar delivered and chat bot delivered surveys. Other types of data including mobile application data,  social media data, geo-location data and the data associated with participation in virtual applications also detailed.

Digital ethics is covered in the next chapter. The chapter begins with an overview of the purposes of ethics in research. Then a discussion on how the advent of digital research methods and data, pose challenges. Solutions are proposed and discussed. In particular, the issues of privacy, consent and analytics in digital spaces, ‘found data’ in education – e.g. data available from participants in the public sphere, consent and learning analytics – who owns the data and issues of transparency.

Then a chapter on digital data creation and collection. Begins with discussion on what is the researchers’ role. Then discusses cooperative research opportunities afforded by digital technologies. Uses observations as an example of how research methodologies have shifted. Observation may now be carried out without research presence, using avatars or concentrate on textual and visual observations.

Chapter 8 covers data management covers the types of digital data – refashioned, re-created, digitally connected and digitally created. Then goes through the various ways for digital data analysis including social network analysis, analytical induction, critical discourse analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis, narrative analysis, content, keyword and thematic analysis. Most of these achieved through the use of digital tools. Theories for interpreting educational research data in the digital age include cyborg theory, rhizome theory, network society, supercomplexity and digital tethering. Each is defined, discussed and critique.

Then chapter 9 on representation and portrayal in qualitative research. Interesting chapter on how research can now be represented or portrayed through use of digital research methods and tools. Defines each and provides examples, critiques.

Last chapter is on digital impact which is about how research impact can now be measured through mechanisms like h-index and altmetrics. Also introduces the new ways research findings can now be presented including institutional or personal websites, blogs etc. the advent of video abstracts and articles; data visualisations and the role of open access / open data.

All in, a good update for researchers on the potentialities and details for moving from traditional means for conducting and disseminating research, to the methods possible with digital technologies. The book is more of a 'how to' rather than an academic book, so it is accessible and well laid out.



Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Marc Prensky - Public lecture at Ara Institute of Technology as part of Tertiary ICT conference


Tertiary ICT conference – a 3 day conference attended mostly by ICT staff from across the tertiary sector is being held at Ara Institute of Canterbury this week.

Notes taken at the free public lecture this evening by Marc Prensky on ‘Civilisation-level change in education’. he is keynote at the conference.

Advocates for the merger of traditional ‘academic’ education with the older ‘accomplishment’ approach. Discusses why it is important and how we may get there.


Began with brief introduction including having taught at primary to college levels.
Rationalised WHY education has to change. The importance of education but we need to think through what is education and what is the purpose of education.

The third millennium requires a shift, to empower our kids in an exponentially changing world.
Argues, change is on us now and not going to slow down. Technology is not proceeding linearly but information technology has enabled change to be complex. How can people keep up or cope? Maximise the use of technology to face challenges of the future.

Spend some time defining exponential and speed of change. Computational abundance is now here with incredible empowerment. Personal devices (more than number of people), human web (50% now) connectivity and connected things / sensors. Convergence occurring between hard and software, physical and biological, human machine symbiosis etc.
Argues that computational power enable huge empowerment of the individual. Help deal with VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex ambigious), climate change, etc.

What does this mean for the future of work and to be human in an age of intelligent machines.  
“We learn in order to accomplish useful things”. Accomplishment (for others) is not the same as achievement (for yourself). Argues that we have always had ‘the accomplishment tradition” for action, relationships and still practiced in workplaces. The ‘academic tradition’ as about thinking and learning and this occurred in schools.

So, supports the precepts of situated learning. Critical thinking alone is not enough unless combined with effective action, relationships and application.

Education moving from personal achievement – individuals/ grades / rankings and personal success to Accomplishment – real world results.

Current paradigm is kids have to be taught, goal to make them better individuals and best process is with content, tests, rankings and qualifications. Tinkering with educational reform is not effective. Need to change the way people see the world and adopt a new paradigm.
New civilization level paradigm of education is kids empowered to accomplish, with goal to better their world and includes world improvement projects etc.

Goes back to his original premise of kids now needing to be educated for a different world. Reading and writing, researching, translating, thinking (AI) are becoming machine skills. Anything that 2 people can do equally well, can be, and will be, automated (eventually).

Education has been ‘making people the same’ what the future needs is people who can be unique. Teachers need to help kids find, nurture and extend their strengths. Need to see learners as extended brains all networked together. Provided examples of empowered kids and schools around the world (design for change). Proposed a way forward with alternative education as an option as to replace educational systems will be too difficult. Curriculum based on real world learning based on real world projects - people who can get things done. broad lifelong skills the key - effective thinking, action and relationships. Teachers are coaches and enpowerers, not content deliverers. Technology should be used as enablers for improving the world and becoming good empowered people. 

Some of his ideas are congruent with neuroscience of learning – to teach is to learn - see this blogpost on book overview of the secret life of the mind. Get kids to lead, they will learn what is required to solve the problems important to them. Learning needs to be situated, problem / inquiry learning engages and motivates learners. These skills set learners up for the fast changing future.