Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Using presentations in education - moving beyond powerpoint

I have started planning towards a workshop on different ways to use powerpoint and other forms of ICT assisted presentation. The main objective is to showcase a few different ways to make ICT presentations more interesting and to provide alternatives to ‘death by bullet points’.

The other major objective is for tutors to realise that they do not need to do the work of preparing presentations but that the examples could be introduced to students. Students can then move ahead to conceptualise, prepare, construct & present the material. It makes use of the concept of the student being ‘the producer, not just a consumer’.

To start with, a couple of alternative ways to present using powerpoint can be discussed. These include using powerpoint for publishing, as a backdrop for drama productions, pecha kucha and other similar methods.

Then an introduction to Web 2.0 based presentation sites via exploration of webtools4u2use and examples in readand writeweb, cogdogroo, worsefor wear and boxoftricks. This is followed by a brief look at presentations on prezi and animoto.

In short, the workshop was to encourage tutors to be more aware of the tools, available via the web, to engage their students in using the vernacular they are familiar with to express themselves.

The dialogue which follows student presentations also provide important learning opportunities. I find that it is important to facilitate student reflection on each presentation and sometimes to summarise or make links/applications on the white board while students are debriefing. This not only provides notes for future discussion and work but also models the process of reflection.

Friday, July 17, 2009

21st century mobile learners - here or still to come?

While away last week & travelling about, I mulled over the readings stored up from the last couple of months and blogged over the first half of this year. That wended their way across my screens (laptop & blackberry) as I travelled by planes, trains and buses across the red, red Australian landscape. They all propose a future for education that is in many senses already here but also not quite here yet.

To me, the students are ready & willing. A couple of weeks ago, my group of students working on evaluating social networking sites as eportfolios shared their work with other students in their class.

However, it’s harder to shift tutors towards making use of technology in their teaching. Although many are have made the leap. The Mobile Learning Institute’s film series “A 21st Century Education” profiles individuals who embrace and defend fresh approaches to learning and who confront the urgent social challenges that are part of a 21st century experience. Most of these are general with regards to the use of ICT but Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris take a road trip through Texas and Louisiana to see firsthand how mobile devices are being used in schools.

Apart from the above, what of the role of mlearning in the 21st century? I caught up with blogtalk radio & listened to Liz Kolb’s interview of Suzette Kliewer who is a math teacher in the K-Nect project in North Carolina. Suzette talks about how she has been using Smartphones with her math students. The project reminded me of many of the findings in John Hattie & Helen Timperley’s article on ‘The power of feedback’. They propose a model of feedback which involves asking three key questions at task, process, self-regulating & self levels. Task refers to how well a task is being performed, the process refers to the main process required to perform the task, the self regulating comes from the student self-monitoring & self directing their actions and the self refers to the personal evaluations and affects of the learner. The three questions are where am I going (feed up), how am I going (feed back) & where to next (feed forward). The model is based on feedback being provided by teachers, peers etc. regarding aspects of performance so that the learner is able to confirm or adjust their learning trajectory.

Therefore, the use of appropriately constructed ‘learning opportunities’ with the use of relevant feedback via ‘just in time’ technology like mobile phones is one way to meet the needs of some current learners. ‘Programmed learning’ segments that are customised to the levels of learning & interests of students will be even more useful & move the concept of personal learning environments forward. Anytime, anywhere access using mobile internet devices is one way to keep the 21st century learner engaged & pro-active towards meeting their own learning goals.

Friday, July 10, 2009

NCVER 2009 - day 3

Only one presentation stream on day three followed by a panel discussion. Paper presented by Warren Pears from the Dept. of education & training , Queensland on the topic - school leavers and the decision to participate in post-compulsory vocational education. Report on two studies carried our in 2005 & 2008 on school leavers. Explored factors including family type, attitute of parents to voc.ed / higher ed., effect of peer groups and social status. Findings that concur that school based apprenticeship / traineeship & VET in schools did lead on to positive impact on post-school uptake of voc.ed.

Panel discussion facilitated ably by Ian Colley & with Pam Christie, Institute direction TAFE NSW Sydney, Tom Karmel, managing director of NCVER, Terry Lloyd, deputy vice-chancellor, TAFE, University of Ballarat & Gavin Moodie, principal policy advisor, Griffith University. The topic was 'the place of VET in the tertiary sector'. The panel discussions are always a good way for me to catch up with happenings in the VET sector in Oz.

NCVER 2009 conference - day 2 afternoon session

I presented just after lunch to an interested audience. Last presentation of the day was from Denise Stevens & Dr. Robyn Clifford from William Angliss Institute of TAFE, speaking aout how to establish a research culture in their institution. William Angliss is situated in Melbourne and runs a wide range of hospitality programmes. So research has not been a priority at the institution. Guidelines etc. were presented. I think that NZ polytechs. are further on in establishing research culture as it is a requirement for the accreditation of degree courses. Will need to explore the CPIT strategy further to see if it can be improved on.

The conference dinner was held at Sovereign Hill, a historical village set up as a mining area. A sumptious dinner, with convivial company was followed by a sound & light show of the 'eureka stockade' incident.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

NCVER conference - day 2 morning sessions

Day begins with a keynote from Martha Kinsman from the Policy & Research Council for TAFE Directors Australia. Martha's presentation provides a very good overview of the history of TAFE, in particular, the effect of CBT on VET & the PD of trainers and teachers. Australia seems to be poised to move from mass to universal system of tertiary education. History, turning points in VET & evaluations of these informs policy for the future. Book to check out is Tech Voices: recollections of the tech teachers association of Victoria (2005).

Second session I attended was by Ann Harris from the University of Huddersfield who provided a very good theorectical underpinning to the use of narratives in research. Her session on 'Stories of vocational educators' provides lots of links to my current research on 'new' trades tutors. In particular, the duality of identities, framed as 'conflicted identities' of voc. teachers. Identities impacted on my compled disciplinary & occupational histories through developing institutional situations and changing social & political circumstances.

Next two sessions on building capability in VET in Queensland where the Dept. of Education has funded PD for VET organisations. Mike Harris from the Dept. of Ed. & Training presented a model build via research on PD needs in 2007 & 2009. Lesley Wemyss from Crestfern presented on the private provider experience in an ACPET funded PD project. Both provide some interesting information for CPIT staff development strategies.

NCVER conference - day 1

Travelled down from warm Darwin to a much cooler Ballarat. The 18th NCVER 'no frills' voc. ed. research conference is being held at the University of Ballarat, set in bush about 10km from the town centre.

Arrived late afternoon but able to catch up on a couple of the day's presentations for day 1. Of interest was 'the value of completing apprenticeship or traineeship' by Peter Mlotkowski from NCVER. Survey sampled over 5000 trainees at end of 2008. wages seem to be unimportant in whether to continue with an apprenticeship.

Also Victor Callan's report on e-apprenticeship - how elearning is driving innovation in workplace learning. Profiled 3 case studies, the TAFE/WA state wide transforming trades training initiative, Gary Sewell's work with bakery apprentices & the National work on skills shortages in the plumbing industry. Will need to catch up with these when I get back to work!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Herdsa2009, day 2 concurrent sessions 3

Last few sessions of the conference as tomorrow I travel down to Ballarat for the start of the NCVER voc. ed. research conference.

First up, Barbara Grant from University of Auckland with a presentation on the implications of doctoral supervision on the identity formation of Maori students. There were challenges from the students to the supervisors' predominantly Western approaches to research & doctoral, culture. However, the experience could be & was not only challenging & filled with uncertainty but also rewarding and pleasureable.

Next, Gary Pritchard from University of Wales on the concept of using students' strengths to engage students in learning. Bases on strengthfinder model proposed by Clifton. Talents, knowledge & skills = strengths & possible to also use strengths to work on areas of weaknesses.

Last up, Ray Meldrum from Unitec on 'the student curriculum experience: an engagment with chaos". based on his Phd which looked into how tertiary education could nurture entrepreneurial activity. Used the concepts proposed by Doll (1989, 1993 & 2002) to unpack concept of creativity. At the moment, universities study entrepreneurs but they should be studying what is involve in becoming and being an entrepreneur and using these to inform how to help people attain entrepreneurhood.

herdsa2009 - day 2 - concurrent sessions 2

My presentation was after lunch in between a session by Alexis Esporto from Swinburne University & Nick Zepke & Linda Leach from MasseyUniversity.

Alexis has been working on forecasting future skills needs. He detailed how the Monash forecast survey tool in association with the American Occupational Info. Network (O*Net), to provide for forecast of skills needs for occupational areas. The O*Net provides a comprehensive skill lists which can be used for comparisons between occupations.

Linda & Nick presented a subset of their work on student motivation and engagement in learning. In this presentation, the focus was on what engaged students in learning. Deci & Ryan's (2000) self determination theory was used to underpin the research. Three facets of SDT were student autonomy, relatedness to others and feelings of competency & success. The study showed there was little commonality between various institutions but that feelings of competency & success were important intrinsic motivators for students. Recommendations therefore are to find out what motivates your students in your context, develop student belief in their own competence, focus strongly on student sucess and recognise agengy & relatedness as motivators.

Herdsa2009 - day 2 concurrent sessions 1

Attended 4 sessions this morning. First one presented by Pauline Hagel, La Trobe University on collaborative inquiry using learning projects based on communities of practie. Value of doing this was to support different forms of participation, have distributed leadership, define commitment, be responsive to different interests, allow for small 'wins', provide opportunities to stop and review practice and act as a break fromm teaching routines.

Second, a short session from Marj Kibby (University of Newcastle) on embedding research into first year work of media / film studies using a structured workbook supported by a Blackboard site.

Then an inspirational session from Heather Sharp (University of NSW) & two students, Linda Stanley & Marie Hayward (University of South Queensland). During their undergraduate year, these students worked on a book chapter which was published along with paper for this conference. Collaborative work was supported via a Wiki (wetpaint). The whole project was framed using the eight cognitive benefits proposed by Steinberg & Kinchloe (1998). This is a concept that I will think through & use with the Diploma in Adult Ed. students.

Herdsa2009 day 2 - keynote by Ron Oliver

Day two begins with official welcome to Larrakia country from Dorothy Fox, a representative from Charles Darwin University & Helen Wozniak, conferene coordinator.

Then a demonstration of turning point keypad & brief introduction from Netspot - a conference sponsor.

Keynote from Prof. Ron Oliver was on 'taking distance out of campus study. Well structured, covering the salient points of 'learning design' including a website which archives examples of teaching and learning design and has facility for others to add their examples.

Aspects of 'reusable learning design aligned to info. access, info. organisation and info. processing in the form of task directed (teacher led), task guided (guided) & task autonomous (independent) 'flowcharts' or recommendations. Important to have a learning plan, construct delibrate learning activites, planned form of engagement, provide content & info. learning guides and supports / scaffolds to learning.

Reinforces need to use assessment tasks as learning (LOA) & improving students' engagement with learning.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Workshop 2 at Herdsa2009 by Mike Keppel & Dominique Parrish

Second workshop on "transforming higher education through learner orientated assessment" presented by Prof. Mike Keppell from Charles Sturt University & Dominique Parrish from University of Woolongong. Mike started with overview of assessment including differences between summative / formative, assessments of, for and as learning and learning orientated assessments (LOA).

LOA is defined as using assessment tasks as learning tasks, supporting students to become self evaluators and using feedback as 'feed forward.' Based on work by Carless, Joughin & Liu (2006) & Keppell & Carless (2006). For me, it is an offshoot of 'learning design' & student centred learning with assessments being student directed and enhancing learning.

Dominique presented with guidelines on how to achieve transformative change in education using the development of LOA as context. Ten points proposed to assist the process for transformative leaders to assist their team / organisation towards sustainable & dramatic change.

Herdsa 2009 - workshop on assessments with David Boud

In sunny & warm Darwin for the HERDSA2009 conference at Charles Darwin University and attending workshop sessions today. First up, Dr. David Boud's session on 'reconstructing assessment for longer-term learning: Generating positive student experiences through future orientated assessments.

The workshop was centred on work completed for the Australian Learning & Teaching Council and a website has been set up as a resource site. This site provides good information on key assessment elements which include engaging students, using authentic activities, allowing students to design assessments, assessing using integrative activities, helping students to learn judgement, modeling the practice of good asbe susessments, allowing students to work with peers and reommendations on giving and recieving feedback. There is also an option for practitioners to provide examples of effective practice.

In order for assessments to be viable for longer term learning, they need to be sustainable, help students develop informed judgement, onstruct reflexive learners and contribute towards the formation of becoming practitioners.

A good session, raising very pertinent questions and feedback from various partiipants. It was also heartening to see participants were interested in improving assessment practice and keen to provide students with better ways to learn via assessment.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Visit by Paul Levy from Swinburne TAFE

Paul Levy from Swinburne TAFE visited yesterday to do a catch up on e & mlearning projects at CPIT. We started with the HP tablet project run by Dave Kennnedy & Daphne Robson. Daphne provided a good introduction to the capabilities of using tablet PCs to enhance learning of mathematics and statistics fro pre-health & nursing students. There are inherent advantages to using this form of technology in association with class presenter. Students are able to work on ‘problems’ which have been collated using powerpoint. When they have solved the ‘problem’ they are able to sent their answer to the tutor. All of the answers from the class can then be compared, discussed, analysed etc. In all, an excellent example of social & participative learning in action In the near future, I will need to explore the possibility of using class presenter with mobile devices.

Paul & I then had a chat about his projects. He recommended the Nokia Omnia as an alternative to iphones plus also demonstrated the use of livescribe to archive and document the various conversations & meeting we were having.

We next called on Nick Ford to discuss elearning and how to enthuse reluctant educators into making use of ICT. A good discussion followed by Nick sharing resources relevant to the teaching of electrotech including crocodile clips absorb electronics and designing circuits using yenka electronics.

After lunch, we travelled across to the Sullivan Avenue CPIT site to visit the Technical Innovation Institute tutors. First up, a good chat with Cameron Wright from carpentry about how they use etxt to support workplace based apprentices along with assessment processes used by carpentry. Carpentry also uses student diaries to good effect to journal workplace based skill acquisition.

Then a fruitful conversation with Sean Flanagan, faculty academic coordinator & automotive tutor and Stephen Price, programme manager for engineering & electrical. The main objective was to learn about how best to cluster competency based units into manageable learning clusters, modules and in particular to explore how the concept of ‘projects’ could be useful. Stephen also took us around the electrical training areas which had lots of good resources for students to learn about the practical aspects of electrical trades. Andrew Massie, electrical tutor then showed us his Moodle site & had a chat with Paul with regards to collaborative activities that could involve students from both CPIT & Swinburne.

All in a good day for me to catch up on various activities at CPIT, have in-depth discussions with Paul on e & mlearning and to find out how others approach the teaching of trades content.