Thursday, June 10, 2010

Temasek Polytechnic International Teaching & Learning Conference - day 1 morning

At the Temasek iternational Teaching & Learning conference today. Conference opened with 10 minute video on Temasek Polytechnic's facilities, programmes and educational philosophies. Welcome from the Temasek Polytechnic Choral followed by official opening address by Mr. Boo Kheng Hua, the Principal and CEO of Temasek Polytechnic. The conference officially opened by guests of honour along with presentation of gifts to the keynote presentation. feedback, comments & questions can be texted to

First keynote, the much anticipated Professor Stephen Brookfield on 'Becoming a Skillful Teacher'.

Who we are as teachers may be premised on who we are as learners. Stephen proposed that being a poor learner helped him to become a better teacher.He illustrated this proposal by telling his story, of how being a student who struggled academically flourished when he was provided the opportunities for self direction and support for individualised assistance when required. From his experiences as a Phd student, he became interested in the importance of building trust between students and teacher. Especially in how this reciprocal trust may be used to enhance the development of critical thinking strategies.

He also spoke of the challenges of teaching, using the term the term 'muddling through' but doing this in a delibrate and reflective manner to ensure the one learns from each teaching situation.

Four assumptions - teaching is helping learning, good teaching = whatever helps students learn, best teaching is critical reflective - checking assumptions informing your practice and most importatnt the pedagogical knowledge we need - how students experience learning. He provided stories from his own teaching for each of the four assumptions. An engaging approach as he was able to built rapport and empathy from the audience. Remember the examples which are also provided in several of his books. He also spoke on his use of the Critical Incident Questionnaire in probing student's perception of learning progress.

after morning tea, a session - pedagogy - in search of a definition - which is background and presentation from the interactive digital media programme at Temasek Polytechnic's Informatics and IT school. Began with overview of digital use by Singaporeans and then of TP students. Findings show a preference for a 'blended learning approach' to teaching and learning. TP using IDM technology to form communities of self-directed learners to help co-create knowledge, personalised to individual learning needs and be accessible anytime/anywhere. An example of better meaningful learning is to encourage sharing of information beween students via shared note-taking etc. to encourage this, some changes need to be made to physical environments, definitions (learning spaces) and pedagogy which encourages not only mastery of knowledge & skills but also knowledge construction and sharing.

Dr. Diana Laurillard presented keynote on 'can pedagogical creativity cross discipline boundaries? The role of learning technologits in collaborative innovation'  from the London Knowledge lab. The presentation covered 'why might we need digital tech in learning & teaching?', optimising the learning design process, improving leanring through technology and capturing pedagogy. Need to not just use the technology because it is there but to challenge how technology can actually enhance student learning.

Why? might be through fit to pedagogy (personalised, social and/or active learning, digital skills for work & life), logistics (flexibility, wider reach, better use of teacher time), economics (blended delivery, much more for slightly more and sharing tools, resources & designs), strategic fit and student demand.

To optimise the learning design revolves around encouraging and supporting educators as 'researchers' to adopt, critique, adapt, do and then evaluate. Can be done via "scaffolding the learning design process, embracing a gentle introduction by modelling and visually representing the learning design process, capturing teachers' learning designs for later revision or sharing in appropriate visual representations and foster a community of practice in which teachers can share, take inspiration from, each others' teaching & learning designs". this is based on the concept that the learner (the connversational framework model), in order to understand concepts or adopt practices/ skills (learning concept) is through carrying out an action plan (learning outocome) which is tempered by reflection and adaption. Teachers add to learning by teacher contact (listening / reading) beings guided, students asking questions and through teaching practice which involves working to a goal, providing feedback and by students experimenting and revising. Other learners can also support this via students having access to ideas of others, comparing student outputs and being able to articulate ideas and use all thes to improve on their own learning outputs.

Used an example to explain how to use technology to improve learning by unpacking how 'parts of an engine' can be enhanced. For instance, just using flash to just label parts or reassemble a 3D engine might not lead to greater reflection/adaption. needs to include a more delibrate feedback cycle to encourage in deeper learning, for instance why putting an engine together in various ways affect efficiency etc.
with capturing pedagogy, an example used where by a specific example of a learning activity can be generalised and then contextualised to another use. Firstly, highlight the actual keywords which are learning outcomes, then convert to more generalised description and then adapt to other specialists areas. This can be visually expressed and patterns can be better discerned, adapted, improved etc.

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