Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Efest eTLC2009 - day 1 afternoon – keynote – Derek Wenmouth

A much anticipated keynote from Derek Wenmouth (only 30 minutes long :( on "the changing role of the teacher in the 21st century".

Set the scene with a presentation with using his grandsons, born beginning of 2008 who will start school in 2013 & tertiary study in 2027. What will learning (& teaching be like)?

In 2027, the world will be increasingly globalised, population increase projects 9 billion people in 2048, increased competition for everything, increased diversity of cultures, etc.

So important to account for changing nature of tertiary education (growth of mass education, international groups, increased participation & access). Alongside unpresented rise of ICT (digitalisation & Web 2.0). From analog to digital to connected / ubiquitious - virtual reality, wearable computers, ubiquitious idenity, voice recognition, agents & avatars, miniaturisation, reusable paper, sematic web, personal learning environments.

Need to integrate pedagogy & technology & important for individual educators to keep up with the play. "ICTs can enable teachers to transform their teacher practices." Need to think not as individuals but as a network. These assist with meeting changing student & institutional expectations. Changes include those to be brought about by the shift to the new NZ school curriculum.

efest - eTLC2009 - day one afternoon workshop one

First workshop of the conference from Karen Young & Fred Koenders from Eastern Institute of Technology (EIT) on “ whole of organisation engagement in effective learning”.

Both Karen & Fred are not involved in teaching but in the development of teaching & learning at EIT. EIT began two & a half years ago to improve both learning & teaching within the institution. Started with setting up innovation & learning group (19 staff) who set up parameters. In 2007, first ever half day professional development day for all staff was organised to collect ideas on how to improve learning. Data collated & initial model develop & presented to 19 focus groups. End of 2007 model developed to provide direction. Innovation & learning group then critiqued. Sub group formed to improve which emerged with EIT model of effective learning. Each of the titles in the model expand to provide guidelines. All pertinent to ITPs in NZ.

efest - ETLC2009 - day one morning

The conference officially opened with a powhiri from UCOL welcoming the conference delegates to Palmerston North.

The conference was officially opened by the chief executive of UCOL, Paul McElroy. He made a good point about the need to support good learning & teaching with infrastructure including good ICT, learning resource & support centres. The ICT (desktops & WIFI) provided at UCOL has been very good so far.

Opening address was provided by Dr. Roy Sharp, chief executive of the Tertiary Education Commission. He provided a good background on the fiscal constrains imposed by the current economic climate. The challenge is to maintain & improve tertiary education given limited resources. Themes of the current government were summarised. These include value for money = improved graduate outcomes, high trust + high responsibility ITP system = need to ensure graduates attain skills which will assist future development of individuals and the country. TEC will work at incentivising outcomes & completions as a means to meet government direction. ITPs need to maximise outcomes /completions without compromising quality of learning. One way is to support excellence in teaching. He encouraged the participants to follow the developments on the Amendment to the Education Act (polytechnics) plus look at the draft Tertiary Education Strategy which is open for consultation yesterday & to register comments by Nov. 6th.

Opening keynote address was from Dr. Angie Farrow. A teacher & a playwright. Presented on the concept of teaching as a art form. She told the story of how she got into teaching after a dysfunctional childhood in the East End of London. The decision to go to teachers college was motivated by not having to work in very boring job. She advocates a kinaesthetic and connected form of teaching and learning, based on the concept of ‘presentness’ which she learnt from here experiences in the theatre.

Recommends techniques which can be used to prepare ourselves for teaching which allow us to get into the zone (flow) when we teach. Interactive sessions to assist the opening of new neurological pathways between brain & body were practiced throughout the session. A passionate & enervating presentation providing a good start to the conference.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

efest unconference -afternoon session - LMS & eportfolios

Attended the session on LMS is dead. The other session was actually for 21st century libraries (not learners!).

Is the LMS wagging the dog?? Do we need an LMS? Is cloud computing an alternative or are we moving from one app to another, just the provider is different! Alternatives to LMS include synchronous tools, Google apps & other Web 2.0 tools.

Whatever is decided on, there is still a need for the institution to provide sufficient formal /structured training to ensure staff are upskilled sufficiently to be able to use ICT appropriately. There seems to be a lack of understanding from higher levels as to what is involved in changing staff culture to accept & work with the chosen tool. Discussion centred around how to bring the majority of staff on board.

The next session was on eportfolios. Facilitated by Justin from Ako Aoteoroa & Hazel from Unitec. A round of introductions established that most of us were very interested in eportfolios. Justin is encouraging the group to connect via the Ako Aoteoroa eportfolio group. Many of the challenges faced by the group were similar. There was discussion on how to aggregate, what to collect, where to store, how to assess the evidence, security issues, what to do with multi-media/ multi modal evidence, how to support students with collating and compiling eportfolios, diversity of options available (closed, open source Mahara, free flow using social networking sites), opportunities for research as eportfolios are relatively new, not only student but staff use, potential for recognition of prior learning, meeting cultural diversity, what is the eportfolio for, who owns it etc., portability.

Ako is able to fund the group to meet again in the near future if there was a reason to meet. For example, is a national eportfolio system way to go? Should institutions actually make decision as to the which eportfolios to use?

Discussion also on the depth of reflection possible. Formative assessments of the evidence important to assist students in gauging the level of their own progress and this sometimes encourages the whole group to lift their performances. Useful also for workplacements where students are able to share their work with tutors, employers and other students.

efest unconference - morning session

Plane arrived 20 minutes late at Palmerston North & then no taxis at the airport! So had an impromptu tour of PN before getting to UCOL for the annual efest teaching & learning conference. Got in at the end of Peter Mellow’s opening presentation & morning tea.

Unconference involved breakout into 3 rooms to discuss a range of issues. I stayed pretty much in the one room where we had sessions on Smartphones, 21st century literacies & eportfolios.

Other sessions on learning management systems, teaching with technology, learning design & virtual worlds (the SLENZ project). Sessions were supposed to be consolidated and shared with other groups using the conference wiki, twitter, a info. wall etc.

Smart phones session facilitated by Thom Cochrane from Unitec. We all shared our experiences working with mobile projects & Thom did an overview of mobile possibilities.

We explored bluetooth then a play with texting to poll everywhere (Aussie site)

Then a quick tour of qik (which allows many mobile applications to run on it) eg, videos, photos, GPS which can be streamed in live & once captured can be uploaded up on youtube. The collate on lifestream which allows live streaming as well as chat.

We also cruised through geo tagging, micro blogging, txt notifications (possible within Moodle but costs!), student podcasting (Mac or iphone only).

Monday, September 21, 2009

Video analysis software for multimodal data analysis

While browsing through literature on multi-modal analysis, I came across studiocode as a video data analysis software tool. I then asked around CPIT and found out the sports science people were using a NZ developed product called silicon coach which is developed specifically to analyse sports performances but also provides capabilities for comparison of individual performances and to build up resources based on annotations made on videos. Many video analysis software has a sports orientated slant as this is where it is most useful for analysing the performance of athletes.

I then did the usual google search and came up with a short article which recommended four video data analysis tools including studiocode (Mac OS only). The other three are annotation which is only Mac based but seemed to have an attractive, user friendly interface for US$299; ecove with a byline of software for gathering data while observing behaviour, runs also on Palm OS & Pocket PCs for US$189; & Observer xt which has both Mac & Windows versions plus a version for mobile devices, seems to have all the bells & whistles (like studiocode).

A comprehensive list of qualitative data analysis software provided over thirty examples with about a third capable of video and audio analysis. These include:-

Transana which is developed by the University of Wisconsin and open source and cost US$50 for single user and US$500 per project.

Dart fish which provides a free download trial for 30 days

Atlasti which is a standard qualitative data analysis provides for multimedia coding and supposed to be similar to nVivo.

Hyperresearch $399 as another alternative to the more expensive sports based video analysis tools.

A couple which are freeware to have a look at include Elan and signstream.

So plenty of choice for the moment, the most likely ones will need to be evaluated against nVivo. I am looking for one which will be easy to use as one of the goals of implementing multi-modal analysis protocols for observing teaching & learning at CPIT is to devolve the analysis to tutors.

Monday, September 14, 2009

PSP2 - play station portable in education

Obtained a Sony Playstation Portable using academic research funds a couple of weeks ago. I have had a play with it to gauge it’s usability for mobile learning. The PSP does more than play games it is able to play music and videos, archive and display photos and surf the web. Connected blog provides videos on the various used of the PSP.

I had also viewed several projects (video summary here & a brochure summary) at mlearn 2008. Most of the projects involved the use of a modified PSP with attached camera. The PSP was also used to revise classroom learning and the video does show a range of contexts (primary schools, esol students, deaf students, armed forces etc.).

Other resources uncovered in the last week or so include a wiki on using the PSP in education, a long way around but possible use of the PSP to put up your presentations (if you did not have a laptop available). I also reconnected with Lillian Soon’s blog which details work on not only PSPs but also on Nintendo DS & other portable devices.

Although project examples are mainly in primary schools, there is room for using the PSP within a tertiary environment. My on-going surveys of pre-trade students have continued to show low ownership / accessibility rates of desktop computers amongst vocational / trades students. However they all own mobile phones & over 80% own an mp3 player or similar. Around 70% own an old gameboy, Nintendo or PSP & so providing access to online course material via WiFi for a diverse range of portable devices makes sense. The cost of a PSP – around NZ $350 is also cheaper then a netbook or laptop. However, it’s still the mobile phone that stands out as the preferred device for young people.

Monday, September 07, 2009

ePortfolios - direction and ways to use

Ray Tolley’ blog discusses the many issues which influence the how, why and what of using eportolios in education. He has summarised a google doc version of a summary of a mindmeister mindmap of work being done at Unitec in Auckland by Hazel Owens and the Centre for Learning & Teaching Innovation.

I am looking forward to touching base with Hazel later this month at efest in Palmerston North & next month at the eportfolios in VET showcase in Melbourne. I am hoping that the conversations with Hazel & many others will provide firmer direction for building a case for the use of eportfolios both for our tutors and for students. In particular, how we will set up the institutional eportfolio structure. Will we use Mahara or will we also promote the possibilities provided by cloud computing?