Thursday, September 30, 2010

National Teaching & Learning Conference 2010 - day 2 afternoon

My keynote came up after lunch where I presented on 'Belonging, Becoming and Being: Learning from narratives of apprentices and trades tutors. My main objective was to provide background on concepts of vocational identity formation and to provide the metaphors of belonging, becoming and being as metaphors for forming a shared understanding for teachers to work towards processes which will enhance learning for students. 

After afternoon tea, open conference session with two streams - teaching and learning and elearning.
The teaching and learning stream had groups working on teaching large classes, motivating students, managing assessment for learning. In elearning there are groups discussing eportfolios, social networking, misuse of technology, evaluating confidence with digital literacy and how to embed literacy in elearning.

National Teaching & Learning Conference 2010, day 2 morning

Day 2 began with keynote with Tamati WaakaTe Whare o Wanaga Awanuiarangi, an uplifting and cogent presentation to start the day off well. Tamati began with his whakapapa (his genealogy from his father and mother and the landmarks which are important waymarkers). His presentation centred around ‘learning in a Maori way’ covering Maori ontology (Maoritanga), epistemology (matuaranga) and methodology (and the role of proverbs (whakatauki) in their epistemology. Using his whakapapa, he explained the various aspects of Maori approaches to learning.

Whakatauki included:

Tu kit e marae tau ana – learn your skill in a safe environment and your will thrive

Iti te kupu nui te korero – small words have large meanings

When through various teaching methods as examples – eg. Role play to learn whakapapa, concept maps, mind maps and structured word maps to learn waiata (archaic chants).

Ako Aoteaora publication on teaching and learning for success for Maori in tertiary settings includes 5 main points.

After morning tea, a series of workshops. I chose to attend Alison Viskovic’s session on ‘how do you learn to be a tertiary teacher’. Alison was my M ed. supervisor and now associate dean of the arts faculty at Whitireia Polytechnic. She did an overview of work from her Phd and a literature review on evaluating tertiary teacher training in NZ completed for Ako Aotearoa as a precursor to the Ako Aotearoa commissioned stocktake of tertiary teachers qualifications. A workshop followed to discuss approaches to questions like – do tertiary teaching qualifications matter?; how can informal learning about teaching in teachers’ local communities of practice to be better support? How different or similar are the teaching development needs of university or polytec teachers?; if courses / qualifications matter, what should NZ provision be like? How useful to us are standards set in the UK by the Higher Ed. Academy and the Further Ed. (lifelong learning sector?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

National Teaching & Learning Conference - Day 1 afternoon

Sir Mason Durie's, vice chancellor - maori & pacifica studies - Massey university, presentation Maori student success addressing determinants of sucess in order to achieve best outcomes for Maori students through positive learning enviroments. tertiary ed delivers dual benefits of personal and societal.

Began with an overview of how Maori educational transformation since 1984 starting with the emergence of the Kura Kaupapa Maori and Whare Kura (kohanga reo movement). following that educational policies which recognise Maori aspirations and knowledge increased choices for Maori. Availability of multiple tertiary education pathways also assisted as did information derived from the building of research capability. Participation rate of Maori in tertiary education now higher than average (over 20% compared to just under 15%) although higher partipation rate with female Maoris( 2/3 - 1/3), generally students are 'older'.

Determinants of success include macro (social) variables, learners, teaching institutes and teacher attributes. Post-treaty Iwi aspirations will lead to a change in present relationships between Maori and govt./others. In next 25 years, there will be a move to grow capability and to harness resources which will lead to an emphasis on education to meet future objectives. Best outcomes need to NOT only be measured in academic outcomes, other outcomes include collegial networks, personal, career and cultural. The learning environment is an important contributor to better student outcomes, should include campus experience, modes of learning, generic support and whanau (wider family) support. Suggest engagement (whakapiri), enlighten (whakamarama) and empower (whakamana) students important. engagment needs to be a two way process (bilateral). enlightenment includes cultural enrichment, healthy lifestyle, learning outcomes/intellectual insights and social cohesion. empowerments involves attainment of a qualification which has worth in society including career and leadership opportunities.

Govt. policies indicate need to target qualified students (less open entry), less opportunities for second chance learners, more blended learning, higher expectations of students and perhaps working towards more than one qualification plus a moved to student centred learning. Some movement now with collaborative programmes between tertiary institutes and Iwi.

Panel discussion on Maori ways of knowing followed chaired by Ian Rowe, operations manager from Ako Aotearoa Central Hub. Panel included Sir Mason and staff and students from UCOL. Questions arouse in response to govt. direction as detailed by Hon. Steve Joyce this morning and the recommendations proposed in Sir Mason's presentation. For instance, outcomes need to be viewed wider than just completion of qualification but encompasse other aspects of personal growth and social contribution.

National Teaching & Learning Conference 2010 - day one morning

A wonderful powhiri welcome to Ucol and the annual (4th) National Teaching & Learning Conference at UCOL in Palmerston North.  Annette Aubrey, one of the organisers opened the proceedings with usual housekeeping and plans for the other conference sessions. Official welcomes from UCOL CE Paul McElroy and UCOL council chair, Trevor Goodwin followed.

Opening address was from Hon. Steven Joyce, Minister for Tertiary Education who provided a succinct but clear overview of why the tertiary sector is important to New Zealand and how it can better contribute to the betterment of New Zealanders' lives.  He summarised the need to move away from the consumption and economy based economy growth in the past years towards the need to have productivity growth in the contributing sectors which contribute to the economy (agriculture for one, education another example). Need to provide quality education, improve performance (through measuring and setting performance targets) and obtain value for money by removing low performance entities and financial incentives to improve student performantce.

The minister is supportive of ensuring the continued development of capability in the tertiary sector (better teachers) to ensure government goals of better outcomes for all NZers can be attained.  On to the afternoon with workshop sessions, keynote by Dr.Mason Durie and panel discussion.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

PIPTA and CPIT allied staff workshops

Did two presentations today. Firstly, a short presentation at Lincoln University, on “harnessing technology to enhance trades learning: mlearning, eportfolios and web 2.0” to the Primary Industry Polytechnic Tutors Association (PIPTA) as part of their annual moderation and professional development days. Most of the tutors work in the agricultural, forestry and horticultural fields. I was interested in my interactions with this group of tutors as it is a group I have had few opportunities to make contact with. Also, good to meet tutors who teach in the dairy industry as one of the groups of apprentices participating in the ‘first year apprentices’ research project are apprentices on dairy farms. An industry characterised by very long hours of work exampled by 4am starts to 6 pm finish and working for at least 8 to 10 days before a couple of days off

Second presentation followed by a workshop, similar to one I presented about a month or so ago at Weltec for tutors from Weltec, Whiterea and Open Polytechnics, sponsored by Ako Aotearoa Central Hub. The focus for today’s presentation slightly different as it is to CPIT allied staff, a varied group of people working in administrative and technical support roles. The presentation introduced concepts of Web 2.0 including the rapid movement towards mobile and cloud computing.

Of interest is the increase, when compared to feedback from presentations from just two years ago, of most people’s general knowledge in using technology in both their work and non-work lives. Social networking is now no longer a total mystery to many people and sites like Youtube, Twitter and Facebook are now mentioned so often in general media, that the average person will have at least heard of these although never actually used them.

With each of the above groups, I did a general survey of how many people actually contributed to Web 2.0 sites. There is a 100% response and this may be due to the wider use of consumer focused web 2.0 sites like trademe (buying and selling online), seek (job hunting) and services like internet banking and shopping. Not as many were familiar with ‘cloud computing’ and the move towards ubiquitous computing. However, most had heard about the ipad and net tabs may be the hardware tool which will shift the general population towards un-tethered, cloud-based access to the internet.

Off to Teaching and Learning conference tomorrow where I will present a keynote and a follow-up workshop on ‘Belonging, becoming and being: Learning from narratives of apprentices and trades tutors’. The presentation is on how to leverage off the metaphors of belonging to a workplace, becoming and being to assist tutors to enhance earning opportunities for apprentices, pre-trade students and to help new trades tutors draw on trades skills to become good teachers.

World Skills competitions, New Zealand finals 2010 held at CPIT

World skills was held at CPIT last week. Most competitions went for 3 days (across around 20 plus hours) and competitors generally worked on building some form of product.

I popped in to the CPIT Sullivan Avenue campus on Friday and Saturday to watch the activities in plumbing, bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, marine cabinetry, engineering/fitting, light fabrication and welding. Also had a quick look at competitions on the main CPIT campus including front of house, cookery and floristry. Other trades I did not have time to get to were hairdressing, autobody repair / finishing, automotive technology and electrotechnology – industrial controls and electrical installations. All in, a good opportunity to see trade apprentices at work. Winners were announced on Sunday with dinner at the CPIT training restaurant, Visions. The 'toolblacks' who will represent New Zealand at the final Worldskills competitions in London in 2011 will be announced in December. Fund raising continues to raise money for the team.

Of note was the use, by many trades, of the skill of reading plans and transposing a 2D image into a 3D product, the range of tools and skill used in many trades and the complexity of some of the tasks each apprentice had to work through. In many trades, there were more judges than competitors, so scrutiny of work-skills and craftspersonship was intense. Time was also a factor in several competitions with some competitors not quite completing their projects. Approaches taken by competitors as they engaged with tasks was also interesting to observe. Some tutors about to explain what was taking place to the audience and having some commentary for events of a similar nature is always helpful to assist understanding of the tasks by lay people.

The learning that has been undertaken for each of the apprentice competitors would have been concentrated as many had only been in the trade for around three years. Yet, in the main, most were able to produce products to journeyperson standards. Might be a possible research project here, to study the motivations of high performing apprentices, what drives them to achieve beyond just competency and why they have a drive to excel at their craft/trade.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Shifting offices and getting re-acquainted with nVivo

I shifted offices four weeks ago from a shared office with the Adult Education team to another, with the elearning team and digital librarian. The office is just off to the side of the second level of the CPIT library. So a great place to be since I can now browse the stacks whenever I need a bit of time to do some contemplation.

Other Centre for Education Development (CED) staff are just around the corner and  the main reason for the shift is to try to have all the CED staff offices in closer proximity to each other. Our manager designate from the UK, starts work at CPIT at the end of October. So it will be less daunting for him if all the CED staff are not scattered all over the campus.

I have enjoyed my first weeks (interrupted by a week away due to the earthquake) with the elearning team members. They have just about got used to seeing me in the office when they get in each morning as I am an early starter. I have now worked out all the security issues and liaised with security so that my early starts, once a week or so late finishes and study on Saturdays and on wet Sundays do not disrupt their security patterns.

It’s all also much quieter as the three others in the office beaver away at their computers and have few meetings whereas the adult ed. office was always a hive of activity with meetings and students and other visitors dropping in all the time. Therefore, I have made good progress with data analysis for the ‘first year apprentices’ project. The bulk of the data is now migrated to nVivo and various nodes (themes) have been established. Have also been able to make a start on the reports to each of the ITOs, due for end of this year. Also revised how to do ‘queries’ on nVivo, to compare demographic data and various coded text fragments. So far some patterns emerging as to ‘prior contact’ with a workplace or occupation and apprentices’ ‘stickability’. A common sense finding but well reflected in the data. While using the help feature on nVivo to work out various features of the software, came across the announcement on nVivo 9 launches October. Will need to re-evaluate nVivo9 for suitabitity for multimodal discourse analysis using video data once our version is updated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Moving from bloglines across to Google Reader

Unfortunately, bloglines, my preferred RSS feeder, will be closing down on the 1st of October. I had migrated my feeds across to Google Reader over year or more ago but have found the bloglines interface to be too familiar to give up. There is even a post asking blogliners to convert to Google reader! Now, I will have to get to grips with learning the ropes around Google reader. 
The ease by which one can set up RSS feeds on social networking has perhaps led to the demise to dedicated feed readers.  For instance, my main access to non-work related news is via the feeds set up on my iGoogle page with latest news from the BBC, NZ Herald, TVNZ and TV3.  Many other people set up feeds on their facebook or twitter accounts.  The NZ Herald app on the ipad has a visually attractive and easy to use interface. Even my husband, is now prepared to give up our subscription to the hardcopy newspaper. He never likes reading on screen but the ipad has partially converted him to doing some on-screen reading. Recent post on tech crunch indicates more Americans read online news than on hardcopy newspapers. Growth of multimedia consumption devices like the ipad will only increase this trend.
Google reader has put in many ways to explore my RSS feeds, so it will take me some time to explore the possibilities and to work my way around the items I will find to be useful. One item I already quite like is that Google reader shows all the feeds, not only just the ones you have not read. This is a good way to backtrack and to find out what the blogger has been discussing in the pass, providing better context for the current blog. Also, easier to access ‘older’ blogs. In bloglines, you have to move across to the main blog url in order to check back into the actual archives. In Google reader, a list of ‘older’ blogs is listed and this makes the process of rechecking recent blogs much easier. Also good for when I need to check my own blog, there is a list of all the blogs from this year and access is easier than going to through blogger!
In some ways, having eveything via Google's gmail account (igoogle, google docs, blogger, reader) makes life easier. However, still important for me to try to access and use a diverse range of tools.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will be exploring how to better use collaborative tools for the Center of Educational Development staff to share and archive 'resources' which we all constantly email to each other.  Will be interesting exercise to see what is out there and what we may select to use.  The tools will need to be easy to use as digital literacy of the CED team is mixed plus will also be something that meets the objectives of the group as many attempts at setting up collaborative 'knowledge sharing' tools come to naught when people do not use them - for all sorts of reasons.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Earthquake effects and use of technology to keep up to date with aftershocks

Finally back at work, after a week. The impacts of the Canterbury earthquake, 7.1 richter scale, early on 4/9 will still be felt many months into the future. All well, as my home on the North West of the city, is build on relatively stable and solid river gravel. The house had an almighty shake but came through without any damage. I, along with most Christchurch residents will be forever grateful for the foresight of city engineers who set up earthquake proofing legislation just after the Napier Earthquake of 1931.

CPIT, which is situated in the city, came through relatively unscathed. Just a few broken windows. Even the shelves in our library stayed up, when compared to the ones in the University of Canterbury library. The CPIT library shelves were braced top and bottom, there were books on the floor but no toppled shelves.

I got in to work early on Wednesday and experienced the 5.1 after shock just before 8 am as I just finished clearing my emails. Headed under my desk as it was a very hard shake but apart from some white stuff falling from the ceiling, everything kept together. CPIT was closed soon after and I wended my way home on my bike, taking the opportunity to have a look around the areas of the city not condoned off. Many older brick buildings have collapsed and there was rubble strewn through some streets.

Back at work on Friday, where there were a few, relatively smaller aftershocks. CPIT staff who were at work were briefed on plans for the coming week when students would return to class, including a thorough briefing on what to do in the event of a large aftershock.

The week away from work provided me with time to complete final edit of my theses (yeah). Also catch up on reading for the ‘perspectives of first year apprentices project’ and draft the report / guidelines for the ‘multimodal study of apprentice learning’ project. So all, in a good opportunity to have some ‘contemplation’ time and to catch up on things which never get done on my to do list. In particular, to review my research journals to work out anything I might have missed, forgot to do or need to still catch up on.

After the 4/9 event, we had no power for almost 8 hours. I had to resort to using our one and only transistor radio which did not have very good reception, and our neighbours’ reports, to keep up with what was happening in the city. Once the power was up, the internet and TV provided good information. There was a flurry of emails and telephone calls from overseas, concerned at the damage my relatives / friends had seen on the news. It has become a very small world indeed. An article in the local papers reports on how everyone is now a journalist as facebook, twitter and bloggers provide updated news on aftershocks, damage and other events. We have been checking the GNS Geonet site after each aftershock to guage intensity. Generally, I feel most above 4 at home but the need to be at least 4.5 to be felt at work.

Aftershocks have now decreased in intensity and frequency, so hopefully, things have settled down. The experience sure reminds you what the important things in life are, family, friends, neighbours and pets, all living, breathing, cuddly entities.