Friday, December 16, 2011

Review of 2011

This year is clearly one to remember. The earthquakes of September 2010, followed by the damaging February 2011 and large June 2011 aftershock, created a great deal of disruption for many and huge lose and sadness for large numbers of Christchurch residents. At work, we also had disruptions caused by two large snow storms (in July and August) and strikes from one of our teacher unions (September, October). So it has been a hard and trying year for students and staff. A year of having to continually cope with change. The good things that have flowed out of our experiences are the sense of community and solidarity that has arisen both at work, in our communities and with our families.

The challenges of rebuilding the city and its infrastructure continue. We are surrounded by constant reminders of the huge task ahead. Each day I view the shattered Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, situated across the road from CPIT. Workers steadily take it apart and carefully label and put aside each removed piece. For me the Cathedral represents what has happened over the year, shattered by the earthquakes but still symbolising that life goes on and that there is a future ahead involving the need to think creatively and to work hard at putting things back together again.

For me personally, the challenges of the year have been to complete projects, help staff cope with the disruptions and logistical issues brought about by losing access to CPIT for over 6 weeks. Completing these, along with completing final work on the PhD have been trying at times but rewarding now that all have been accomplished. Completing the ‘net tablets’ project with Katrina and Peter and their students has been particularly satisfying. This project has assisted much in building technology and research capability.

Over the year, I have also been supporting the writing of a new programme for approval both internally through the CPIT programme approvals committee and externally through NZQA. Despite the many starts and stops, the programme has now been approved and I am now working with the tutors on mapping the programmes’ learning activities and assessments.

A relatively quiet year for conferences but I managed to attend and present at the ones that were the most relevant. It was also good to be able to introduce Flip to the vocational education research circuit as we presented at the ITF NZ vocational education research forum and the NCVER no-frills in Coffs Harbour. I also did some good networking at the INAP conference that I hope to continue with.

As a whole, work on research outputs did slow down but one book chapter and one journal article (both on mlearning projects) have been published and there are two journal articles (from using video and multimodal discourse project) in press for next year. So overall, a good year to settle into my various roles as programme designer, staff developer, researcher and elearning advisor. I am now looking forward to a ‘thesis writing free’ summer with plans for several long tramping trips into the NZ Southern Alps / Mount Aspiring National Park.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

blogging solely on ipad and paper helper

Last week, I was away from the office for almost a week. I took along my ipad and resisted using any other computer. While away from the office, using the ipad to complete simple tasks like checking and replying to email is sufficient. For blogging, I type up notes on notepad and then copy across to the ipad blogger app.  The blogger app also allows for insertion of photos, either from the photo gallery or directly from the camera and tagging with labels. However, both notepad and the blogger app do not have a readily available hyperlink insertion function.
I have since found the app - paper helper - which has a notepad and a web browser. will need to try this out the next time I am out and about. The url of the website tends to be copied across to the notepad area instead of just a hyperlink, so will test this out to see how well it works as a replacement to the ipad's generic notepad.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium day 2 afternoon

After lunch, three more round table discussions:

Working with small groups with Sam Honey

Students with disabilities with Tracy Riley

Accommodating baby boomer to gen x with Judy Magee
most academy members are baby boomers but students tend too span the generations. 'Generational gap' between students seems to be narrowing
and each brings challenges and rewards. In some programmes, 'mature' students are 'valued' as resource centres. utilising students as resources requires some planning and tact although spontaneous class relationships between inter-generational learners can be rewarding. challenges revolving around students' formal or informal use of social networking sites. Piazza recommended as a discussion forum that is more intuitive to use than LMS supported options.

we had a 'return home' session to share with others round table discussions.

Alison Campbell took us through a brief session on the international biology olympiad - lobbying for support for 2014 event hosted by University of Waikato.

Last session was official welcome to new members, and introduction to the new committee. Overall, good to touch base with familiar faces and meet this year's academy members. it is a good opportunity to find out how things are in the different tertiary sectors, share good practice and celebrate the entry of new members. Each sector has challenges and sharing solutions is a good route towards improving learning for NZ students.

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium day 2 morning

Day begins with a discussion of academy future with John Hoskins. Each regional group summarized their plans on how they will respond to Ako aotearoa's call for academy members to contribute.

Then two sessions to choose from
I attended Mike walker's session on Growing undergraduate success with Maori and pacific island students. Began by defining the Maori phrases in his title. Te whenua, the tangata, the aronui, the maramagata. Nzs young people are predominantly non-pakeha but concentrated in low decile schools where likelihood of progressing to university is low. Need to support Maori pasifika students due to small numbers moving through with most being the first in their family to enter university. attrition rates high in first year. Tuakana programme provides a structured introduction to university life and helps students make initial contact with each other. Newer putaiao is a pre-university academic and professinal skills prograame.

The other session was 'Integrating Kaupapa Maori into teaching' with Kelly Pender

After morning tea round table sessions begin, session including

Large class teaching with alison campbell

Gifted and talented with Christine Rubie-Davies

equitable assessment practices with Kevin Gould - ensuring students are treated fairly with regards - university of Alberta 7 guidelines to assessments - similar to David Boud's work. Good discussion with contemporary assessments supplied as examples eventuated. Text/paper based assessments predominate but aspects of peer marking etc. also discussed.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Ako Aotearoa symposium day one afternoon

After lunch, we participated in a series of 'PeArLS' - Personally arranged learning sessions

CHoice of:
audio visual teaching with Margaret Henley
used analogy of providing 'readings' to the use of video in teaching - often used badly, students do not know why they have to watch video, struggle with critical reflection and evaluation and assumes a whole range of student skills (digital natives?). Provide questions to consider and strategies to leverage the use of audio visual material to help students improve visual literacy skills.

Feedback with Dawn Garbett
using feedback from students to improve students. Begin with a diagnostic to find out what they expect to attain from the course. Prime students after to become independent learners. Mid-course use Stephen Brookfield's (1995) student feedback - critical incident (5 questions) to ensure students are on the right track. then use standard institutional tutor and end of course/programme evaluations.

other sessions from :
students in trouble with Donna Buckingham - used scenario to open up discussion on how to support students when they are faced with challenges.
transitioning to levels 1-3 with Sam Honey
sensitive topics with Heather Kavan - sharing session on various contributions from participants as topics different in each context.
supervising workplace learning with Dale Sheehan

All the groups returned to 'debrief' each other so that everyone could catch up on all the individual sessions.

After afternoon tea, we had a session centred around the 'Canterbury Experience: shaking up teaching and learning. Jason Pemberton from the student volunteer army on student experiences over the course of this year. Covered the formation of the student volunteer army (SVA), formal and informal learning through participation in SVA and the student experience in 2011. Jason presented an inspirational message on how students decided to do something to help and get it done!

An interesting day with symposium dinner to get in more networking time.

Ako Aotearoa academy symposium day 1 morning

Ako Aotearoa symposium day 2

Official start of symposium with mihi with Dr. David Jansen and a the singing of the academy waiata followed by welcomes and official address by Dr. Peter Coolbear.
Peter challenged academy members to reflect on the symposium's title ' celebrating diversity'. What is diversity? If it is for students, the NZ tertiary sector completion rates are a call for more work to be done as large sectors of students have poor completion rates when compared to the mainstream culture. Call for academy to be proactive in encouraging pursuit of excellence in tertiary teaching so as to enhance learning for ALL students.
How can we foster excellence in teaching as an academy, can the academy assist with setting up standards of tertiary teachers, need to think forward.

The morning begins with panel discussions with Marc Wilson coordinating.

David Jansen on Maori learners. Provided an overview how to better engage with Maori communities. Even though 23% Maoris speak Maori, still important to engage in Maori. There is diversity in Maori due to geographical distribution, urban/rural shifts away from tribal boundaries and need to recognize achievement. In general Maori value working in groups, using the Maori language.

Sandy Morrison on asia pacific association for adult and basic education (ASPBAE) - has the goal to build leadership and capability. Cultural depth and integrity valued in one context and perhaps not in another. Connecting pacific cultures by helping them to articulate their on 'ako' pedagogical model is one approach. Assisting migrant pacific workers when they come to NZ to value their culture and provide environments for further learning - learning in place, learning in context.

Ksenij Napan on second chance learners - discussed how derogatory the term may be and how it is important to establish another term -- 'interesting people'? Potentials include opportunity to explore peer learning, cultural / racial, religious, sexual orientations perspectives, social expectations of disabled, mature, differently literate etc.

Tracey Riley on gifted and talented students - generalisations as presented by others reflect the way in which gifted/talented students. Students often not identified when they proceed to tertiary education. Important to establish personal choice so that individuals able to choose how to learn, be assessed, maximising on their strengths but also guidance to identify skills, literacies to work more on.

Discussion followed with Marc eliciting searching questions from the audience.
Importance of engaging with students as individuals, with 'generalisations' as a beginning and then working with students to help them learn. helping students construct/engage with intercultural dialogue. Need to perhaps follow up on Ausse data (survey of university students) to unpack whether diversity is addressed (although just capturing ethnicity is too broad a brush).

Then concurrent workshops then proceeded. introduced by Dawn Garbett and consisted of having home groups (colour coded) for us to report back to.

multicultural arts with Jill Smith and Marty Vreede. Jill began with overview of research informing practice and her work with encouraging students to increase learning about cultural diversity. With an example of helping mainly pakeha student teachers use art to explore Asian viewpoints through art. Marty's session revolved around 'a paper on learning' with us participating in making paper from harakeke (flax) as we discussed aspects of philosophies of learning.

other sessions on :
Research supervision with John Hoskins and Marc Wilson

Sara Kindon with New New Zealanders

and will hear from others in the group on the content of these later in the day when we do the group debrief.

Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium workshop day

In Wellington, the rest of the week to attend the annual Ako Aotearoa academy symposium. The academy is a networking and professional development base for winners of the NZ excellence in tertiary teaching awards (now just over 150 strong), with about a third or so of members attending each year.

Great to touch base with many familiar academy members and meet this year's inductees.

Yesterday, day one insisted of a half day of workshops before the formal symposium starts.

After brief welcome from Jon Hoskins, the academy president, we break up into regional groups to discuss how to contribute towards helping tertiary teachers improve practice. The Otago and Canterbury groups met together and after batting several ideas to hold Another spotlight on teaching event, decided on organizing a series of roadshows to the various south island cities/towns. So watch out for these events for next year.

Then two streams of workshops began. I ran a session to introduce the ideas gained from the net tablet project at cpit. A hands on session with some good input during the discussion wrap up.

In the other room, various projects seeking to garner academy members participation proceeded. Including worthwhile projects from Ksenjia Napan on co-inquiry learning, Sara Kindon on educational equity for refugee-background students and Marc Wilson and Dawn Garbett on extending our award portfolio into a publication.

Open Polytechnic staff development day on 6th December

open polytechnic

In Wellington on Tuesday for the Open Polytechnic staff professional development day.

To begin, a traditional Powhiri opened the day, followed by welcome by CE and housekeeping matters from Mark Nicols.

Here for the day to present (twice) and workshop on topic of 'building reflective practitioners in trades at CPIT " providing overview of past, present and future projects, with grounding on frameworks used and reasons for tutors to engage with research.

Managed to also attend a couple of other presentations.

Firstly with Professor Sir Mason Durie on marae encounters as models of interaction relevant to educational success.
3 pathways - engagement, enlightenment and empowerment.
whakapiri, whakamarama, whakamana
Used the marae encounter as a way to explain how education can form relationships between institution and others (students, stakeholders),
increase awareness and understanding and strengthen identity, resolve and purpose.

engagement - negotiating relationships - distinctiveness, defined pathway, connections, reasons for coming together.

enlightenment - awareness and understanding, exchange of thoughts, ideas, aspirations impacts on spirit, mind, body and whanau.
in education should be cultural, intellectual insights, social cohesion and healthy lifestyles.
ways of thinking - centrifugal or centripetal.

empowerment - identity, resolve and purpose - mutual knowledge, respect and connections with the land - endorsement of dignity, identity, confidence and capability.

outcomes of successful tertiary ed include collegial, career,personal, cultural and academic.

secondly with Dr. Stephanie Doyle (Victoria University) on 'stretching the distance: the transfer of learning and distance education'. Went through a few approaches to define "learning transfer" including 'bopeed' analogy - i.e. ignore or leave transfer trusting it will occur 'naturally' (black sheep), transfer need to be nurtured and carefully facilitated (good shepherd). Can also be envisaged as 'transferring learning from course etc. to future' or transfer of existing skills/knowledge into learning context/course.

Learning focused on 'passing an exam' may cause students to learn how to pass an exam but not be able to use the 'learning' in a workplace - where problems are typically ill-structured and mult-dimensional.

transfer more effective if existing learning and present context brought into the learning environment. Making use of the lived experiences of learners.
important findings include - applying learning to real problems and situations linked to deep learning, application generated confidence and clarity, some course work assisted with making sense of past experiences, opportunities to reflect on learning likely to nurture dispositions and habits conducive to transfer.

Also networking with several Open Polytechnic staff. This is the FIRST staff development day OP has held for quite a few years, so a good initiative to get staff to come together, share practice and establish institutional cohesion.

posting this week's posts via ipad only - so will evaluate next week, how things went.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Book on learning through practice

Another book from the professional and practice-based learning (Springer publishers) has arrived in the library. This one on ‘Learning through practice: Models, traditions, orientations and approaches’ edited by Professor Stephen Billett. With short preview on Google books

Much of the book is of relevance, so here is a brief summary of each pertinent chapter.

The first chapter, ‘learning though practice’ sets the scene by providing the rationale for the book, including the growing interest in practice-based learning and the purposes of learning through practice. Then the conceptual premises for learning through practice are set out by way of summarising the next six chapters and then a summary of the following chapters as instances/examples of practice. Overall, a good overview is provided to set the scene and provide the theoretical foundations for the following chapters.

Chapter 2 by Wolff-Michael Roth is on ‘learning in praxis and learning for praxis’. Using fish culture as an example, this chapter discusses the large separation between what is taught and tested at school and the competencies learnt and practiced at work. Of importance is the exploration of learning by implicit (tacit) and explicit modes. There is also a good overview of the praxis and theory from historical and phenomenological perspectives at the beginning of the chapter.

Michael Eraut writes on ‘knowledge, working practices and learning’ in chapter 3. This chapter is a good summary of Eraut’s work on lifelong learning. His premise is that through life, we undergo a series of learning trajectories. These trajectories occur through engagement in work and life. Access to learning depends on type of work etc. and personal, situational and interpersonal influences have an impact on what, how and how much learning occurs.

Stephen Billet’s chapter ‘ the practices of learning through occupations’ provides a historical and conceptual account of learning and discusses the nature and effectiveness of learning for occupations through practice. Of interest are the historical accounts and how, for much of humankind’s history, occupational learning has been largely based in workplace environments, often through apprenticeship type processes. Of note is the need to recognise the complexity, demands and often difficult to learn knowledge that characterises workplace learning. An overview of his concept of affordances and engagement in work also provided.

Chapter 6 is by Gloria Dall’Alba and Jorgen Sandberg on ‘learning through and about practice: a lifeworld perspective’. Argues that approaches to practice-based learning tend to overlook the ontological dimensions that are central to learning. So that learning emphasises skills, knowledge etc, to be learnt but not on how learners are becoming and what the processes of becoming involve. Propose the ‘ways of being’ needs to be used to direct teaching/learning.

David Guile’s chapter ‘developing vocational practice and social capital in the jewellery sector: a model of practice-based learning’ uses a workplace scheme to explore concepts of practice based learning and occupational competency. Cultural-historical activity theory is used to examine the various influences on work placement.

Laurent Fillietaz provides examples from apprenticeship training on aspects of ‘guidance as an interactional accomplishment’. Of note is the use of video and discourse analysis methods to study the learning of apprentices within workplaces. In this chapter, four categories of guidance are proposed. These are spontaneous, requested, distributed and denied. Provides a good framework to explore inter-relational aspects of workplace learning.

Chapter 12 by Helen Worthen and Mark Berchman is on “apprenticeships: what happens in on the job training’ set in an American context. The main discussion in the chapter is the tension between production targets and workplace learning needs.

Several other chapters also need to be studied! But the above are the ones most applicable to current projects.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Pebble pad presentation - Shane Sutherland

Attended a presentation this morning to CPIT staff on Pebble pad -not an eportfolio - pedagogy, principles and practice by Shane Sutherland, development director.

Shane provided a background on why and how pebblepad was developed and also overview eportfolios. The original premise was to make a easy to use interface , however, this now tweaked and a new version about to be launched. Also, principles of portability followed - allowing students to have continued access to their pebblepad space beyond their studies.

Pebblepad supports creation of eportfolios but is not an eportfolio on it's own, perhaps it is more of a 'personal learning space'. a narrative of learning journey can be archived as it evolves.

eportfolio definition (Sutherland & Powell, 2007)  but important to acknowledge the processes that underly portfolios -- JISC, 2008 - behind any product, or presentation, lie rich complex -----
aka good learning

What makes pebblepad different is to help the reflective learning process using tools - for instance 'thought' - journal, reflective journal, what now?, Kolb's cycle - as a way to encourage the meaning making process.

PLS conceptualised to be a bridge between personally provided and controlled content (facebook etc) and institutionally provided and controlled (LMS). PLS also brings peers, students, tutors together as co-creators of content.

examples of student work at

Overall, a glimpse of possibilities, providing learners with an integrated 'front end'.  It will be interesting to test the newer version of pebble pad as the present version does require some intensively/delibrate practice to learn how to use.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ways of knowing and making knowledge

ways of knowing and making knowledge

Had a day over the long weekend to put into exploring in greater detail, two new books just arrived in the CPIT library. The contents of both books, complement my current reading around 'how trade skills are learnt'. The first book is 'Ways of knowing: new approaches in the anthropology of experience of learning'. published in 2007 and edited by Mark Harris. I had skimmed read this book at the Griffith University library and placed at order at the CPIT library, so good to be able to get back into the interesting chapters. The second book is published 2010 and edited by Trevor Marchand called "Making knowledge: explorations of the indissoluble relation between mind, body and environment'. Both books have common anthropological roots with several chapters written by the same authors.

The above books complement two other books I have been working through. "Knowing work: the social relations of working and knowing", 2009 edited by Markus Weil, Leena Koski and Liv Mjelde and 'Emerging perspectives of workplace learning", 2008 edited by Stephen Billett, Christian Harteis and Anneli Etelapelto. Both have socio-cultural leanings and education backgrounds. In the knowing work book, chapters of interest and relevance include Richard Daly on 'communicating the working knowledge of working life: making visible the invisible' - using the need to decode a totally diagrammic ikea instruction sheet to built a stool, as an example.

In the book 'Emerging perspectives' chapters of relevance include:
Stephen Billett's introduction providing a summary of the purposes of workplace learning.
'Negotiating professional identity' by Katja Vahasantanen and Stephen Billet report on how individuals negotiate identity as vocational teachers in the face of continual top-down directed change.
'Learning through Errors' by Johannes Bauer and Regina Mulder provides an overview of concepts of 'error' and how we can learn from through making mistakes
'Reflection and professional competence' by Martin Gartmeier, Stefanie Kipfmueller, Helmut Heid and Hans Gruber - provides an activity theory and social perspective on processes of learning through reflection
'Developing conceptual knowledge in road transport' by Jason Lewis (avetra paper) is of interest for its exploration of guided learning and its role in helping drivers learn problem solving.

Of the ways of knowing, important chapters are
Trevor Marchand on 'Crafting knowledge: the role of parsing and production' - uses a study of masons in Mali to try to explain how craft people communicate at work with very little verbal interaction.
Greg Downey on 'Seeing with a sideways glance', derived from studies of the Brazilian martial art/dance form capoeira.

Most of the chapters in the 'Making knowledge book' are pertinent.
Trevor Marchand's introductory chapter provides a very good overview, marrying the anthropological findings reported in the book to studies in brain function, cognition, psychology, biology, etc.
His chapter on 'Embodied cognition' extends on the work reported in the 'ways of knowing book' and uses examples from a joinery programme, to again explain how people seem to be able to use bodily movements as a form of conversation, including interjections and agreement.
Of interest are the chapters on embodied learning (Greg Downey), Kazakh women's everyday craft practice (Anna Odland Portisch), Central Slovak lace makers (Nicolette Makovicky), weavers in South India (Soumhya Venkatesan) and medical students learning how to hear heart sounds (Tom Rice).

The challenge over the next couple of years is for to formulate projects that study trades skills learning, bringing together the literature on workplace learning, identity formation, socio-cultural influences with the anthropological literature on human knowledge.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

First year apprentices' experiences in the workplace - report now out

The official output from the Ako Aotearoa National project funded "Belonging, becoming and being:First year apprentices' experiences in the workplace" now available on the Ako Aotearoa website.  This project began early 2010 with focus groups and interviews carried out mostly in the middle of 2010 with first year apprentices, pre-trade students and discontinued apprentices.  First year apprentices interviewed were re-contacted at the beginning of this year to find out how they were progressing and the few who had discontinued were then also interviewed.  In all 251 apprentices/students participated with 56 first year apprentices and 34 discontinued apprentices interviewed.  My thanks to all of these apprentices and the Industry training organisations (ITOs) for their support. The seven ITOs, presented various sectors of industry with the AgITO for the primary sector, the Building and construction - BCITO for infrastructure, NZ Marine, Competenz and Joinery ITO for manufacturing and Hairdressing ITO and hospitality standards institute representing the services sector. Apprentices were dairy farm trainees, Gateway students on building sites, building apprentices, boat building and marine engineering apprentices, fitting/turning, fabrication and refrigeration engineering apprentices, joinery apprentices, glazing apprentices, hairdressing apprentices, front of house trainees and cookery apprentices. So some diversity and a wide range of workplaces from small one employer, one apprentice, to large factories employing hundreds and training dozens of apprentices.

The project was an ideal one for me, incorporating and building on some of my learning from my PhD and extending my research skills with a larger cohort of research participants and amount of data. The data collected was extremely rich and much of the raw data was collated into individual reports for each ITO.  Each ITO had developed systems suited to the context they worked in, with many meeting the needs of their apprentices and their employers. As always, there is room to learn and some ITOs had very good practices that could be worthwhile sharing across to other ITOs,

The final report is largely a consolidation of the many themes emerging from the data. The main ones are 'common sense' but are crucial in helping apprentices make sure they have made a studied choice of occupation, settle into the workplace learning environment and maintain resilience and motivation to complete their qualifications. For in completing an apprenticeship, many opportunities for future career development and individual achievement are then made available.

My thanks to Ako Aotearoa for supporting this project as it has provided apprentices with an opportunity to voice their perspectives. The apprenticeship journey is viewed by many as being a 'rite of passage' and for many young people, it is an exciting and rewarding experience. However, for some, workplace and occupational mismatch mean that they discontinue. One interesting finding has been how people who are really interested in an occupation display persistence in trying to meet their 'vocational imagination' goals. So although some discontinue as apprentices, they still maintain connections with the trade either by enrolment in a full-time training programme or by obtaining work in another workplace. Helping people to 'become what they want to become' is an important outcome of this project. As the Chinese saying goes "Choose a job you like, and you never have to work a day in your life" :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Phd journey - reflections

All good things come to an end :) although for me, the continuation of the researcher/academic journey now truly begins. I started tentatively on a Phd in mid-2003 with a preliminary meeting with my associate supervisor and my primary supervisor. After exploring the feasibility of investigating cognitive apprenticeships, I muddled through with the proposal to do a longitudinal study of apprentices. The proposal was accepted in 2005, with the thesis entitled - Belonging, becoming and being bakers: The role and processes of apprenticeship. Data collection began mid-year 2005 and continued to the beginning of 2008 as I collected data in the first, second and third year of apprenticeship. Then, over the next two summers and most Saturdays of 2009 and 2010, the dissertation writing proceeded, with my supervisor Stephen Billett, providing much support as I got to grips with academic writing. Over the beginning of 2011, the final edits were made, interrupted by the Christchurch earthquakes. I submitted in mid-July and the examiners reports, which are very supportive and positive, came through at the end of September. Revisions as required by the Griffith University Chair of examiners came through in October and I submitted these with the accompanying paperwork mid-October. This morning, an email from the post-graduate office confirms all revisions accepted and provided instructions for sending in bound copies of the thesis.

I now use the skills I have learnt over the Phd process on a daily basis. The transition from bakery tutor to researcher has been a long but mostly gradual learning curve. Many of the skills and dispositions of a baker have transported well into becoming a scholar. In particular, the need to

  • Complete adequate preparation – in baking to understand the function of ingredients and to plan the process flow before beginning . In academia, to have sufficient grasp of the relevant literature and to organise one’s argument.
  • Maintain momentum – in baking, many processes are required at timely intervals, hence the need to plan a workable workflow so that processes are spaced out through the shift. In research, there is still a need to establish a realistic timeline and to stick with it. Otherwise, other activities start to take precedent.
  • Keeping at it – diligence and attention to detail are important aspects of baking. This is required to keep track of all the nuances inherent in the baking process. In research, there is also a need carefully and reflectively collect and analyse data and to hone the craft of academic writing. The initial writing is not difficult if one is prepared but fine tuning a piece of writing does take dogged persistence and hard work.
  • Continual learning – consumer demands continually drive the craft of baking. Bakers have to meet ever changing customer demands and this along with the vagaries associated with working with ingredients like flour and yeast, lead to continual learning opportunities. In becoming a researcher, the demands for continual learning are also ever present. There is the need not only to keep up with the literature, but to learn new research methods as projects evolve and new ways have to be found to find answers to research questions. Added to this is the learning required to keep up with technology, including data analysis software and the many ways to now access, evaluate and archive digital literature.
For almost 30 years in baking and teaching baking, I learnt something new each and every day. In becoming a researcher, the same holds true. So the continual learning to meet various challenges are the things that enrich my life and in doing vocational education research, I hope to help contribute to the improvement in the lives of others. So my next goal is to focus on dissemination as research is not much use if only accessible to the few who read academic journals or attend presentations at discipline specific or academic conferences.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

DK on social media for educators - CORE breakfast session

Another well attended session, at the last Core breakfast for this year. DK, who now works for Core in Christchurch, presentation an introduction to contextualise social media, to the audience who are mostly education administrators plus also touched on young peoples' use of social media using concept of young people as a barometer of change.

Social media can be defined as 'digital dialogue', so not just a broadcast medium but a form of conversation.

Hi went through a timeline of ways in which we have moved into social media- including
first sms message in 1992 as a business tool.
1994 first mass mobile phone - nokia
1996 hotmail addresses
1999 first file sharing network plus start of blogger
2000 psp 2 allowed people to play with others via web
2001 wikipedia and crowdsourcing and ipod launched
2002 second life and linden dollars
2003 myspace -
2004 Skype, flickr - concept of geo tagging
2005 youtube
2006 twitter
2007 iphone
2008 use of social media in american presidential elections, Obama shows how to leverage
2010 amazon sold more ebooks than real books

Main point is change and technology continutes regardless, there should not be a 'digital divide' between us and although most of us are 'digital immigrants' we have more experience, money, power and have access to the same technology and software tools.

Used video from zefrank on ugly myspace pages and how do we become producers to make the point of consumers becoming producers and aggregators and how this changes they way in which digital media is constructed and viewed.
Introduced the six spaces of media :
secret - text email
group social - face book, myspace
publishing public - flickr youtube
performance world of warcraft, geocaching
participation showcase - threaddless kickstarter
watching - ppt tv

desire paths - when we want to go somewhere but the majority are shifted to go down another way - stefan sagmeister - video on using speech bubble stickers

play/neoteny - ted talks - steve keil: a manifesto for play, bulgaria and beyond - the need to continue to 'play' as adults

media snackers - 2007 johannesburg - young people with limited digital literacy becoming digital journalists

blogging - seth godin and tom peters - why blog open

social media business is in the work of creating and promoting change

= change - doing something different- alvin toffler -" the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn"

The presentation covered a lot of ground in a short time frame and there were some thought provoking challenges for educators.  How can educators embrace social networking as a form of continual learning for themselves and for their students/

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Ipads in schools - Victoria Australia

Via Derek Wenmouth's blog on his experiences at a workshop on BYOD - bring your own device - at school - is the link to the ipads for education site for schools in the state of Victoria in Australia.

The case studies provide a range of ideas for using ipads and there are handy hint on implementation and evaluation of the projects. Of note is their use of individual ipads for each child and the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the device by not only using at school but also outside of school hours.  The other important point is the integration used reported in many of the case studies. The ipads are not 'add-ons' but used as normal classroom tools where appropriate.

 Good points to bear in mind for our own project.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Supernote on asus transformer

Just in via Endgaget, is a video demonstrating the capabilities of Supernote on the asus transformer. Will need to keep a look out for it when it arrives in NZ as currently, we have had to use a variety of apps on the ipad2 and the toshiba thrive tablet for students to compile their on 'workbooks'.

Supernote proposes a much more integrated experience and the video shows how the process is largely intuitive.  It allows notes to be typed in, sketches to be added and then for these to be manipulated (resized and moved) and photos to be integrated. Did not demonstrate if the photos can be annotated so this will be one feature to test out.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

James Gee on ‘opportunities to learn’ and ‘beyond mindless progressivism’

Working through one of the comments brought up by one of the examiners of my PhD dissertation. The context is to ensure that ‘affordances’ to workplace learning is not conflated to cover all aspects of opportunities for workplace learning. The reference suggested to check was one on ‘sociocultural perspectives on opportunities to learning’ by James Gee.
I have come across Professor Gee’s work via my interest in researching elearning, mlearning, reluctant learners and vocational education. His background is in linguistics as informed by socio-cultural frameworks and so I have used references to his work on several occasions. Of note is his work on identity and its role in education research. He proposes four views (nature, institutions, discourse and affinity identities) as lenses that can be used to study how socio-cultural influences impact on learners and their eventual perspectives of learnt concepts/ideas. Antother aspect of his work, is on video games and its contribution to education with an example here  being one of several publications of games and learning.
A recent blog on ‘beyond mindless progressivism’ argues for the introduction of a ‘post-progressive pedagogy ’ form of situated learning. Many of the 17 points he brings up, are relevant to our current Ako Aotearoa Southern hub funded project, using net tablets to encourage students to create their own content. The main gist is to encourage, provide learning opportunities and tools for students to become ‘constructors’ rather than consumers of content/knowledge
Professor Gee's blog contains thought provoking content, along the lines of another edublogger I follow, Artichoke. Both bring up topics that are in accord with much of my work. Keeping in touch with these blogs, provide a source for my continual critical introspection on where my work goes plus affirmation that I am on the right track most of the time.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Cool tools for Schools

Came across a very good repository of web 2.0 tools for education while updating my list of 'alternatives to powerpoint' for recommendation ot our tutors. A good range of Web 2.0 tools is provided with a colourful and accessible interface.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Comparing pebblepad to Mahara

Our Centre for Educational Development (CED) manager has organised access to trial pebblepad. The main reason is for CED staff to record their experiences, as they work with teams, to support the programme design process. At CPIT, we base programme design on principles of constructive alignment, starting with the development of graduate profiles. From the graduate profiles, flow learning outcomes which are tightly linked to learning and assessment activities.

I have used Mahara off and on and found the interface to be mostly intuitive. I have been playing around with pebble pad this week and in comparison, Pebble pad has a ‘prettier’ front page and is also mostly intuitive to use. There are more elements to Pebble pad as well, making it more flexible. Parts of Pebble pad are user customisable, so there is less of having to do things for the sake of filling up the space.

Pebble pad, like Mahara, works through the collection of assets/artefacts. A difference is that pebble pad treats ALL entries as assets, whereas Mahara tends to have an area for uploaded artefacts and the other entries (journal/blog, CV) etc. are separate ‘blocks’ that you can choose to display.

There is a sharper learning curve to learning how to use pebble pad because there are so many ways to collect and then display assets. Therefore, it is important to provide examples and opportunities for learners to see the bigger picture. One advantage of Mahara is that you can configure various 'showcases' for your portfolio depending on audience. You can do the same in Pebble pad as well by setting up separate webfolios or blogs but it is less obvious.

A trawl through the www indicates a slant towards pebble pad. Examples include this Australian report surveying TAFEs and universities, indicating more users of Pebble pad (p 17) and eportfolio platforms being the most widely used (amongst Australian tertiary institutes) although more so in universities than their TAFE sector who tended to lean towards using their in-house LMS. And a UK report comparing several eportfolio alternatives, trimming them down to a choice between pebble pad and Mahara and deciding on pebble pad as it would be serviced and the institute did not have to set up their own unit to oversee.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lenovo Thinkpad tablet - evaluation

ITC have provided a Lenova Thinkpad for us to have a play with for a couple of days. The Thinkpad runs on Android OS 3.1 and comes with a pen! It is pitched at the business user with documents to go uploaded.

The initial feel of the Thinkpad is that it is solid, with a slightly rubberised base for a secure hold. Positive reviews in general with usual comparisons to the ipad2, with the Thinkpad coming up well as far as capabilities is concerned. For our purposes, the solid feel of the Thinkpad is not a problem as we use it in workshop/workrooms where there is a danger of things being dropped/spilled on the tablet is a high possibility.

There are more buttons on the thinkpad then on other tablets reviewed so far (Acer Iconia, Toshiba Thrive). The on/off button is a bit awkward on the right top when the tablet is held in portrait mode with the buttons (home, go back, browser and lock display) on the bottom. The usb is on the wrong side as when you are in landscape mode, the normal approach is to have the buttons on your right which means the usb memory stick stuck into the tablet is in the way when you use the tablet on your lap.

Access to external files etc. is easy with mini usb, sd card and standard usb. However the usb file copy app means you have to copy your files across and I have not figured out the way to just run your files off the usb without physically copying your files across into the tablet. Plugging the tablet into your pc allows for easy transfer of files from PC to tablet. Downloading files as attachments through browser based email or gmail is less intuitive. You download on to another tab and the attachment ‘disappears’. I then discovered the files in ‘recent files’ when documents to go app booted up!

Of note is the OEM only mobile note from myscript to make use of the pen. There is an ipad version which seems to have more limited capabilities. The mobile note allows you to write with your pen on to the tablet. The slippery screen takes a small amount of time to get used to. Overall, runs well, converting writing to text, has sketching/doodling pen option and allowing you to transfer notes to email etc. also brings in photos and for limited annotation above or below but not ON the photo itself.
In all, a nice piece of hardware, displaying photos with clarity and bundled with enough apps to get things going from the business productivtity point of view. In comparison, the Toshiba Thrive's bundled apps are more user friendly and intuitive to use. The best part of the thinkpad was the ability to use a pen using mobile note. Something which is really useful for our tablet projects where we are trying to encourage our students to write notes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Andrew Massie's presentation on reconnecting Christchurch's electricity supply after earthquakes

Andrew Massie, one of my Diploma in Tertiary Teaching and Learning students who is an electrical trades tutor. Andrew is completing a project, recording the learning garnered during his academic study leave and then using the data to write a curriculum document for training electricity supply industry trades people, working as linesmen, specifically for cable jointing and line mechanics.

Andrew recorded most his learning through a blog and collected a range of industry pertinent photos and videos, recording the work he undertook. The timing of his academic leave coincided with the Canterbury earthquakes. Therefore, his blog and it's contents are now of interest to a much wider audience than just Andrew and myself!

I attended the presentation which was well attended by industry, the people Andrew worked on his attachments and a few of Andrew's family. The main objective was to assess Andrew for about 3/4 of the negotiated learning outcomes for his course, but the information presented was also of interest for finding out how a part of Christchurch's infrastructure was reestablished after the major earthquake events.

Much of the presentation focused on the technical details of different types of heavy duty cables used and how these are installed or repaired. For me, the really interesting part was to capture a glimpse of the distinctive work culture and practices of a specialised type of work. Andrew mentioned how putting up power poles was done with little verbal communication and yet accomplishing a highly technical and complicated task efficiently. How do we help our students enter such a tight knit community of practice and learn the required skills? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Core session on Mobile learning in the cloud

A well-attended session at this morning's CORE breakfast series, presented by Paul Rodley, ICT director from Christ College, a private boys high school in Christchurch. The presentation concentrated on aspects of cloud computing after a brief overview of ICT use in education.

How can educators capture learning using technology when technology keeps on changing so quickly? Work on the actual use of technology and adapt hardware as they are updated. Examples of using mobile technology concepts include location based technology, domination of ebook, cloud computing in schools, bring your own device classrooms, online collaborative learning, rise of the tablet, on-line class management, social media in education, snack learning, mobile learning in workplace learning.

Provided case studies used at his school including using tweeter in a economics classroom, ipod touch with ebooks in English class, ipads with English and Geography classes, using QR codes to access information, teacher generated ebooks with embedded videos and align mobile access to LMS (moodle),

Stressed importance of surveying students to work out how and what sort of technology they are using as this changes quickly from year to year. Also to enable teachers to make use technology including building confidence and providing sufficient support.

Encouraged access to cloud computing as one way to provide equitable use via a variety of devices. Examples include using mediacore for storing videos, myportfolio (Mahara), eTV for archiving NZ based TV programmes and the public cloud (youtube etc.) Lucidchart and for doing diagrammes, aviary (flash based) for editing and storing multimedia, Google docs, plus socrative to quiz students and poll everywhere (both accessible by multiple devices),

Possibilities include ipads as an interactive white board (for $5 to $10) - we have been testing doceri which cost US$50 per PC - teamviewer allows control of several devices, booktrack for soundtrack for books.

Used page three of addiction to angry birds infographicto provide challenges to teachers for keeping up with technology and using ICT to enhance student learning - keep it simple, rewarding, realistic and have fun :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Blogger interface

Noticed last week that blogger was inviting people to try out their new interface, so I clicked on the relevant panel and a nice, clean mainly white /pastel coloured screen came up. On the left, you can click on links on overview of your blog, posts, pages, stats, earnings, layout, template, settings.

Of interest is the stats area. A bit of a surprise to find out that the post ‘learning welding #3’ - on observing non-verbal interactions-, comes up on top for the week and month. Perhaps someone out there (the country accessing this link is South Korea!) has made a link to the posts as an example of observations of non-verbal interactions?

The all-time high post is one I put together from the ITP trade tutors forum last year, followed by posts from ITF research forums! As these are mainly notes to self, it is interesting people pick up on these posts. This also indicates there is (perhaps) large gap in the blogging community for trades-based type posts. I will need to encourage more of our trades tutors to blog. One, Andrew Massey, an electrical tutor, blogged extensively on his academic leave attachment to a line maintenance firm through the first six months of this year, over the period of the Christchurch earthquakes. By all accounts, the blog has been taken up by various civil engineering types, interested in the after effects of the earthquake, from an electricity supply viewpoint.

I have sitemeter installed on this blog and check the sitemeter stats weekly, they generally show interest in tech. related posts, as whenever I post items about tablets, or use of apps etc. the visits to this blog go up.

Also, as of last week, I am able to blog directly from my ipad, although the blogger app is an iphone version. Will try this out at the next conference/forum I attend.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Literature informing tablet based interactive etextbook project

I have been doing a catch up on literature that forms the foundation of the interactive etextbooks on tablets project. The four theoretical approaches to learning underpinning the project are mobile / mlearning, learning as students make meaning (constructivism/connectivism), situated learning in simulated workshops/workrooms and leveraging on multi-literacies and multimodalities.
 Some recent material to explore in deeper depth over the next few weeks pertinent to each approach, and to add to existing literature include the following.

mobile learing - The Joint Committee for Information Systems (JISC) have put out the recent wiki document covering an overview of mobile learning, strategies, pedagogy, technical considerations and case studies. A sort of one-stop shop to find out about what is mobile learning and how to implement into educational settings.

Also of interest is mobile usage and Derek's blog provides a cartoon to bring together data on how American's are always connected via their mobile devices.

Constructivism - George Siemen’s work on connectivism has been introduced as a concept that updates constructivism into the information era. A recent presentation (on sensemaking and wayfinding)provides a summary of some of his recent thinking including how connectivism builds on and extends traditional teaching/learning approaches into the digital era (slide 10).

Situated learning and multi-literacies/ multimodalities - A recent post from Artichoke, provides much food for thought plus ideas to follow up on. She discusses the challenges of assessment for learning in the digital age and provides an example from a NZ primary school context,  with usual caveats and provisos.  All in, the above provide me with ideas on how best to structure the literature review section of the report and to make the links between mobile learning and the affordances mobility/mobile hardware/multimodal apps, provides for students to record their learning within simulated work environments.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Using onenote and evernote in education

I have started using onenote at work, as a way to keep random notes, interesting websites, maps of places I am about to visit and other items that do not have an official digital home as such on my work or home PC.  As usual, learning by doing has helped to provide an opportunity to evaluate how to use onenote more effectively. As we are using evernote on the net tablet project, it is time to do a bit of a comparison between the two. Of note too is that there is an ipad version of onenote for the ipad.
There is a comparison between onenote and evernote on this blog. With onenote having more features and being compatible with the Windows suite of Word, powertpoint etc.
I did some research to look at how to transfer onenote files into other platforms/software tools and came up with how to share notebooks from between onenote users from the official Windows office site, which will be useful for teachers to set up base material and for students to add to, annotate and re-organise, producing their own 'textbook' through the exercise. The site also provides instructions on how to share and export onebook files and also found these useful - how to view onenote files when you do not have access to the onenote programme and similar.   
There is also the possibility of providing students access to onenote files through Moodle and something to try out this week, importing evernote files to onenote as a way for students to retain access to their notes compiled on the tablets using evernote.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Learning activities on tablets

Due to snow event a couple of weeks ago, our interactive text book project has been delayed a week in officially starting up. However, we are now back on track and things are starting to move along.

Some ideas for learning activities of a ‘ice-breaker’ kind will be used to orientate students to using the tablets. The icebreaker activities will allow students to play with the tablets, use the camera, save some photos and make use of some simple maths / flashcard type apps.

Both Peter (automotive tutor) and Katrina (barista tutor) have set out ‘learning activity’ type information sheets to guide the students through the more official part of the project. These learning activities, make use of tablets to basically bring together, students’ recording of their learning journey.

Selected by Katrina for students to compile content on latte labs are photoshop express (PS express) to edit photos, Pixitag lite to add captions/speech bubbles etc. to photos, imovie to edit video and neu-annotate to edit worksheets provided by tutor. Also apps pertinent to barista including latte art, aroma coffee and coffee café, the last two are games to get students up and running with using the ipad.

Peter will be basing his work mostly around using the Toshiba Thrive camera/video and the presentation tool (show). He will also use picsay to add captions/speech bubbles and highlight sections of photos. We are also testing a few apps as video editors.

Another way to get content in the form of videos and documents off the web, is to use TagDiskHD on the ipad. This app has a feature for downloading and saving youtube and other social media site videos for offline viewing. The equivalent for the Android is youtube downloader.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Learning from tablet PC projects

Following from Daphne Robson and Dave Kennedy’s work with the older style tablet laptops, and presentation at last week's CPIT research week,  I did another trawl through the net to find updated information on using tablets in education.  First port of call was the Australian Tablets in Education conference sites for 2009 and 2010, I did another search  the net to find updated information on using tablets in education.  A few presentations in the 2010 conference featuring ipads, most conveying a try out and see approach. Overall conclusions seem to be useful but with limitations.

Then came across the Workshops on impact of pen-based technology on education. Conference proceedings are on Google books for 2007, 2008 and 2010.

Also came across this site with case studies of using tablet PCs in education. All of these provide background material for the use of the current tablets in various educational contexts. Will work my way through them over the next few weeks to uncover important guidelines we can adapt, evaluate/confirm or modify for our own project.

Cpit output last day presentations

There were no presentations on Wednesday and caught up with other meetings etc. yesterday morning when there were presentations from social work, broadcasting, business, computing and engineering schools.

First up Dr. John Schischka, on using the capability approach and  children - a development programme in low income area schools in NZ.
Capability approach involves participants so that they are engaged with identifying their core capabilities and able to forms plans to move forward and become what they want to be. 30 11 and 12 year children in a pilot study started in 2009 are followed through to high school and beyond, to find out if the capability approach does work. Children provided with a range of mentoring programmes, future work experience visits, camps and visits with sports and entertainment personalities. findings from childrens' caregivers' and teachers' perspectives support the  positive outcomes. Morrison and Allan (2007) on student resilience in school context. - need to send paper - voc imagination john

Next, Julia Wu presented on 'using case studies in accounting ed.' Re-examined the efficacy of using case studies in accounting ed. to  prepare for future studies in adult ed. Many pitfalls, balanced against extensive desirable outcomes but selection of case study, matched to what needs to be learnt, most important for instance following teachers' perspectives as controller (illustrative), facilitator (integrative) or partner (developmental (Healey and Mcutcheon, 2010).

Then Mary Kensington on 'students' experiences of a blended learning/satellite model curriculum' from the context of midwifery ed. Explored themes of isolation, development of communities of learners, barriers to  learning (perhaps need to individualise content?), managing life and study commitments and bridging the theory-practice divide. Outcome of a continuing action research project to try to understand how to improve learning for students on the Batchelor of Midwifery programme. Main purpose to identify barriers and challenges and find out if the blended approach did actually promote integration of learning to  practice.

Kirstin Dofs presented on an update of her Masters work on 'automous language learning initiatives'. An on-going project leading to development of guidebooks for students to use in the LSAC. Presentation focused  on development of the study guide/guidebooks (student/teacher and at 3 levels for  learning English as a second other language) through action research cycles.  Included professional development sessions for teachers to help them  get the most out  of the evolving guidebook.

From School of Nursing, Dr. Paul Watson presented on work he has been doing on 'paediatric early warning score'. A tool designed to help identify children in need of higher levels of care. A joint project between CPIT and the Child Health Service at Christchurch Hospital. Current paediatric tools used have not  proved to be greatly reliable or valid. findings indicate need to individualise tool to make it most effective.

Dr. Barbara Dolamore, presented on NTproBNP and cardiac heart failure. A project just commenced on finding a marker to indicate heart failure. NTproBNP is a subset of a hormone released by the heart and stays in the blood longer than the hormone itself. Project to compare how NTproBNP degrades in patients with heart failure and in  healthy people.

Missed James Hayes and caught the end of Dr. John Clarke's presentations due to a meeting to get to. John showed photographs of   mites found in sun-antartica islands, the most prevalent terrestrial animal in the antartic region. An interesting peek into the world of taxonomy.

Back in for Dr. David Hawke's and Dr. John Clarke's presentation on 'tracking nutrient flow through invertebrates at the marine-terrestrial interface using stable isotopes. Investigates boundaries between ecological zones. 3 studies presented on how birds help bring nutrients back from the sea into breeding areas. Identified, through analysis of carbon content of various  mites/beetles etc.  and petrel burrow soils, the method mites used to obtain the carbon. For example a mite may eat another who lives on petrel guano! and this shows up on measurements.

Last up, Dr. Margaret Leonard on  a collaborative project undertaken just before she took up position at CPIT as research manager. Margaret presented on 'the  dark side of virus removal by waste stabilisation ponds'. Project works out how remove viruses in the absence of light. Found mechanisms that work in  the dark, are effective in removing viruses.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Cpit output 2011 - day 2

Due to meeting commitments, unable to get to the morning sessions, which were mainly from the School of Design and Broadcasting. There was also a book launch from a project involving students who had come to NZ as refugees. The book published their stories.

Attended the afternoon sessions as I was scheduled to present in the last session. So, first up, Daphne Robson and Dave Kennedy ' enhanced peer instruction on tablet pcs (another presentaion on setup)". A good interactive session, using the tablet PCs to provide examples of how they use tablets to help students learn maths. Students learn in pairs, so improved peer learning occurred as a consequence of the need to share the tablets! Advantages as from student feedback included viewing, discussing and receiving feedback about answers, easier or faster to learn or suited learning style, more interactive (info from poster presentation), fun, interesting and enjoyable.

Next up, Diane McCarthy on 'getting into actor network theory research' provided an overview of the  concepts of actor network (Latour) theory and it's application  to educational research. Actants like technology allow actors (humans) to interact, communicate, solve problems etc. often through 'networks'. All of these are fluid and are not bounded by distance, size, hierarchy etc. and cannot really be studied separately.

Amitrajit Sarkar presented on relationship between text action conceptions of programming: A phenomenographic and quantitative perspective - with researchers also from Finland, Turkey and Auckland. Discussed whether students have to understand syntax and compilers before they can write procedures. Need to try to understand how students learn how to programme as high attrition and non-completion rate with computing students. Learning about a hierarchy in how students learn programme may assist. Phenomenology can be a qualitative way to understand how people learn - focusing on phenomenon of relationship between actor and object. Student approaches indicate understandings as based on  text, action or models. however, the study has found there is perhaps not a hierarchy, so students do not necessarily have to learn syntax before understanding action and models.

My presentation on the final findings of the first year apprentices project was well recieved with good feedback on relevant conferences to disseminate the information. Important for the findings to go out to employer groups, industry forums, ITO conferences and trade journals, rather than as scholarly writing in research journals. Something to work on : )

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cpit OUTPUT - research week presentations - day 1

CPIT's  annual research week convenes from 22nd to 26th August. I am unable to attend all sessions due to other meetings and commitments but have diaried all the sessions I am able to get to.

The morning began with several sessions mainly from the School of Nursing I would have liked to be at several sessions presenting on their learnings with regards to dealing with earthquake impacts.

However, did manage to attend the lunch time session showcasing  student research through short 3 minute kucha type presentations. Students were from the School of Broadcasting and the School of Business. All provided impressive presentations and interesting topics.

Zoe introduced the local student radio station C96 that caters to children as there is a large gap in the local market. Especially important for Canterbury as everyone deals with the challenges involved with recovering from the Canterbury earthquakes.

Rowan presented on Why is Trade Aid important? online survey of enews subscribers, interviews with  managers and volunteers. Study showed ethical food purchasers are interested in taste, quality and brand. Stories - used presently to market trade aid products - may not be effective, due to competition in the market.

Will focused on American and NZ lack of local content for sports broadcasting. One limitation has been copyright for important events by large broadcasters, leading to small local stations not being able to provide local commentary.

Shani did a study about developing new stories and the importance to keep redevelopment of these stories. Found many strategies useful to keep stories 'alive', pertinent and engaging to readers.

Eugeny Karchevskiy presented on a brand benchmarking project involving Canterbury Coast Sport Trust - promoting sport with in the Canterbury community. Currently the overall brand is challenged due to there being 4 offshoots of the brand along with many offshoots.

Jacob Bateman reported on project to improve lost and found property, pay sheet processing of accident reporting. developed a template (using interviews and time study metrics) that may be useful for assisting the process of improving organisational practice.

Also presenting with the short format were two staff , Jo and Gareth from Recreation.

Jo Straker spoke on an aspect of her PhD, on unearthing the outdoors in outdoor education. Based on interviews with outdoor educators. often difficult to articulate what is learnt during outdoor education. Where you learn,influences what you learn and there is a need to encourage all people to learn from living.

Gareth Wheeler used an audio visual - powerpoint and music with a handout for his presentation on 'living the dream' in the NZ sea kayaking industry. Interviewed students on why they wanted to get in and what happens after the graduate. Many do not continue in the industry due to the it 'being a young person's game'.  
3 Prizes were provided for best student presentations.

This evening, the event is officially launched by our CEO along with a 'keynote' on 'The science and art of chocolate'. Lots more presentations over the next few days to look forward to.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

ITF conference presentations now up

Doing a big catch up over the last two days as CPIT was closed due to snow on Monday and Tuesday of this week.  The two days at home provided good opportunities to catch up on accumulated research journal readings and to make a start on drafting some journal articles. Have drafted abstracts for 10!! covering the learning undertaken across my PhD and the various projects undertaken over the last two years. Should keep me busy working on these for the next five years at the rate of two articles a year J

The snow also provided an opportunity to catch up with the presentations from the ITF conference in July. I did not attend but there is always at least one presentation that is pertinent to my work from this conference. Of interest this year is the presentation from William Symonds, who provided an American perspective and Josh Williams on pathways and partnerships: development of vocational pathways for NZ students.
I also managed to catch up on a book edited by Jane Bryson – Beyond Skill: Institutions, organisations and human capacities as a top- up on her presentation at the ITF research forum in April. The book provides more details on Janes’ presentation centering on the need to look beyond skills and to build capability that is generalizable and that meets the aspirations of both individuals, the organisations they work for and society at large. All very BIG picture stuff but important for informing policy on how to best support individuals’ lifelong learning directions and goals.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Setting up ipad2s for project - multiple ipads on one itunes account

Hardware for our interactive textbook project have started to arrive.  We are now organising the set up of 5 ipad2s.  Essentially, the ipad is an individual user device. Someone out there must be working on a project to find out how the selection of apps on ipad reflect your personality type, as per a book I read recently, that attributed personality types to people by examining the songs they had uploaded onto their ipod or similar (Snoop- what  your stuff says about you).
Some good hints avaialble by googling set up ipads education use from ipadschools wiki including the use of an ipad cart and apple's volume app purchase programme. Also good information on the wiki to setting up ipads for class and link to a workshop that provides information on how to lock appstore on the ipad so that students are not able to access the appstore to download apps or other items. Core-ed blog indicates the apple volume app store is not available in New Zealand (sigh).
Instructions on how to set up more than one device on on individual itunes account provided through apple support site and a youtube video. Therefore, will need to set up one itunes account on our the solitary Mac in our sandpit as our internal IT system only allows access to itunes 7.0!! and sync all the five ipads to the same account.  Apps we will put on the ipad discussed in a previous post and once these have been evaluated, we will delete or upload other apps as the project proceeds.
Therefore, one advantage of the other hardware platform for our project, the Toshiba Thrive tablets running on Android 3.0 OS already.  The Toshiba tablets came with word processor, spreadsheet and powerpoint equivalents plus Evernote along with assorted productivity apps. We will just need to add a few apps and we are ready to go. Next week, the tutors involved will work on details for introducing the tablets to their students, so lots of interesting learning to look forward to.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Evaluating Toshiba Thrive tablet for interactive etextbook project

IT had a Toshiba Thrive, running on android 3.0.1 for a one hour play. So gave it a quick looking over and explored it’s capabilities.  A quick thrawl through Google reveals a mostly positive review from cnet, techradar and liliputing.

The Thrive is about same thickness as an iPad 1 but longer/wider by 3 cm, the screen itself is only 1 cm longer. The Thrive seems to be more comfortable to use in landscape mode as the portrait mode is definitely narrower. The back of the tablet is covered in a cross hatched rubberised coating, making it perhaps a safer alternative for use in workshops. An added plus is the ability to replace the tablet’s battery via the removal of the back.

Collection of Android apps pretty standard but the Thrive also came with Toshiba ‘think free’ based software for word processing (write), powerpoint presentations (show) and spreadsheets (calc).

A collection of ports (usb, camera and HDMI ) allow for ease of transfer off memory sticks and other storage devices and display on a TV screen. These port are behind a rubber flange on the side of the tablet. The rubber cover is attached with a very thin strip to the tablet and might not take continuous rough use!

Access to the usb via the file manager app was a breeze. Reading pdf documents on landscape very comfortable and reading on portrait view acceptable. Photos come up via ‘gallery’ and viewing of photos very much similar experience to on an iPad. Word docs run on thinkfree write. Typing on the on-screen keyboard is straight-forward, with some tactile response and the backspace key is in the usual place on top right hand corner of the on-screen keyboard. No predictive text though. Powerpoint runs well via access through usb and on to thinkfree show. Could edit powerpoint and save but not sure if it will then run again in Windows environment. The touch interface for show was easy to use.

In tablet camera works well, providing good aural feedback when the photo is taken. Good resolution in the photo with options to sent to printer share (blue tooth printer), picassa, evernote, Bluetooth, gmail etc.)

All in, a worthwhile alternative to the Acer Iconia reviewed last week.

Evernote for learning

Have been working through Evernote on the ipad, Android OS tablet and Windows OS tablet and desktop (web version only). Lots of resources on the web as to ways to use Evernote in education including as time manager, student eportfolio, video/prezi of educational uses and  as teacher's 'swiss army knife'.  Also a guide to the ipad apps that complement Evernote.

There is also a blog on maximising the use of Evernote in education with handy posts for teachers, getting students started ,  tips for using at school and how to best maximise research using evernotes.

So, several approaches and ideas to trial and evaluate later in the month with students and tutors on our interactive etextbook project.