Tuesday, May 29, 2012

vodaphone tech forum

Last night, attended a short session at Vodaphone's Northland (Christchurch) store. The main audience for the forum was corporate IT managers and technicians. The objective was an update on Vodaphone's latest offerings that would be useful to the corporate market.

Mobile has moved rapidly and telecomunication companies really have their work cutout to keep up with the increase in smart phones and tablets (in NZ over 50% of Vodaphone customes have smart phones and 90% of corporate clients issue smart phones to their staff). The 'bring your own' device is high on the list for corporate IT support and something we in education are continually challenged with. However, there were assurances that sometime in the near future, corporates having to cope with a multiplicity of operating systems, will be a thing of the past - through cross platform device life cycle interfaces.

There was a short presentation of one of Vodaphone's four 'innovations' - infield support systems with the others being machine to machine, mobile marketing and mobile wallet.  Also a demonstration of the 'airwatch' app from ipad to monitor. After that, a chance to play with the many tablets and smart phones on offer. Having become familiar with the iOS on my ipad and the android OS on the Toshiba Thrive tablets, I decided to have a good look at the Windows 7 mobile OS on a Samsung Omnia W and a Nokia Lumia. A nice responsive touch screen with three buttons - a go back, a start and home. Integration to standard microsoft word, powerpoint and excel and given. So roll on windows 8.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

classroom observation software

Two comments (1 recent) on video analysis software, a post for end of 2009, recommend the use of ‘classroom walk through’ software to collect, archive and complete interim analysis of class room based observations. The two are ecove and observe4success. Both require download of specialised software to assist with the archiving and analysis of classroom observations.

I had a look through itunes apps on my ipad and find there are quite a few software tools out there for classroom observations, with ipad app options to link data collected on the ipad with PC resident main archive. Examples include classroom mosaic, ecove – general, special ed., administrator, esl.,  assessa+/ faculty tools,  reflect live,  lessonnote and tower mobile / randa tower. Most ipad apps are free but will only really work if they are synched to the PC or Mac based central repository. Therefore, the apps are for ease of data collection.

In the main, the tools revolve around checklists and collation methods for later discussions with indvidual teachers or for comparisons of teachers' classroom teaching across subject or year levels. I can work out that the tools will provide for consistency of data gathering. However, in professional development for teaching, it is the 'conversation' and reflection on the data that are important rather than the actual quantitative findings from how software collects and collates the data. The tools can also be useful for research data collection. But again with proviso to ensure it augments qualitative data, for example videos of class activities.

Seeing these tools are being now used in a 'mobile learning' way does provide some good ideas on how to use similar approaches to help students learn. They provide for a means for students to gather data from field trips, labs, practical workshops etc. and have the data collated for later followup, discussion, analysis etc.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Using video to help students' reflective learning process

As a follow up from our net tablet project, I have just started on another Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub funded project with Hospitality tutors Debbie Taylor and Heather McEwan. Two sub-projects using tablets (ipad2s and Toshiba Thrives) will be worked through. The first one is for students to use the ipad2s to video each other as they role play front office customer interactions. The second is to explore the concept of virtual field trips to replace hotel visits (as all the high end hotels in Christchurch are not inaccessible due to the 2011 earthquakes).

The first project, using the ipads to video student role plays has just started. Debbie and I are piloting this with a group of 1st year Diploma in Hospitality students. Our first hurdle was a technical one. How to attach ipads to a datashow so that Debbie could use the student videos as examples to encourage better/improved customer service practices. At present, we are trying out several cabling variations.

A literature search found several articles, mainly in the teacher education sector, on using videos to help enhance reflective practice. One article I have tapped for ideas is by Williams, G. Farmer, L. and Manwaring, M. (2008) on ‘new technology meets an old teaching challenge: Using digital video recordings, annotation software, and deliberate practice techniques to improve student negotiation skills’. The study was conducted with law students and although our project will not be going down the annotation route, I will follow up on the software mentioned in the article – Medianotes.

For the moment, we will concentrate on the ‘deliberate practice’ aspect, in particular, to identify the main skills students will need to develop, provide appropriate and timely feedback and assist the reflective learning cycle. For the feedback cycle, we will be providing students (as with previous projects) the guidelines to be able to feed up, feedback and feed forward (from  Hattie and Timperley's - power of feedback).

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Tacit knowledge, Haptics and Embodied Knowledge - resources

Following up on several previous posts relating to studying how students learn a trade, three useful resources to explore further in tacit knowledge, haptics and embodied knowledge.

Professor Alice Lam from the University of London presents an overview of tacit knowledge, from a organisational management perspective. Table 2 summarises the individual/organisational differences for standardised and non-standardised work. So for individuals – standardardised work involves ‘embrained knowledge, non-standardised involves ‘embodied knowledge. On the organisational level, standardised work needs ‘encoded knowledge’ and non-standardised uses ‘embedded knowledge’. 

David Prytherch and Bob Jerrard from Birmingham University present an interesting paper ‘Haptics, the Secret Senses: the covert nature of the haptic senses in creative tacit skills’ through findings from a study of skilled artists and propose that skilled manual work (sculpting, glass blowing, glass engraving and blacksmithing) requires engagement of all senses. Visual sense plays role as a monitor while other senses are important in completing skilled work.

Lastly, a blog on embodied knowledge, featuring the work of Merleu-Ponty. An overview of another aspect of embodiment.