Friday, December 20, 2013

Learning a trade:

The report from the learning a trade project is now uploaded to the Ako Aotearoa website. The project undertook a study of the literature available on skills learning and synthesised relevant principles to the ways apprentices perceived they learnt a trade.

Apprentices stated they learnt best through observation, being coached and through practice. So guidelines to improve deliberate and mindful practice were derived. Feedback on learning from workplace trainers / coaches etc. was found to not work well for some apprentices. So guidelines to emphasis the feedback loop and principles of cognitive apprenticeship were collated to assist apprentices' workplace learning opportunities.

Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 review

Another busy year comes to a close.

Two projects completed for Ako Aotearoa. The hospitalityproject - 'Guidelines for improving students’ reflective practice and digital evaluation skills: Derived from a study with hospitality students'  and the ‘learning a trade’ project. I am currently working on developing some infographics to summarise the guidelines from the project to assist apprentices to be 'mindful practioners' or 'smarter tradies' and workplace trainers / coaches to undertake better workplace learning support.

Three workshops on ‘enhancing vocational education’ completed. The workshops are due for an update, with inclusion of findings, recommendations and guidelines from more recent projects.

Several articles and book chapter worked on in 2013 were published.
Book chapter was from work undertaken in 2010 on situated technology enhanced learning projects.
Articles were published in a variety of journals including: 

Using videos and multimodal discourseanalysis to study how students learn a trade. International Journal of Training Research, 11(1), 69-78. The article based on work with the using videos to study multimodal learning with students learning how to weld.

Learning through apprenticeship: belonging to the workplace, becoming and being. Vocations and Learning: Studies in vocational and professional education. 6(3), 367-383. This is an overview of my PhD thesis.

Proximal participation: A pathway into work. Journal of Vocational Education & Training65 (4), 474-488. Also derived from one concept from my thesis.
Technology enhanced learning strategy was launched at CPIT and two projects are taken up time over the last semester.These include the pilot of echo360 and project surface tablet.

Plus internally circulated evaluations for one elearning platform (OB), our pilot learning spaces and a preliminary formative evaluation of echo360 just begun.

All in, a year filled with lots of new learning for the project surface tablet project, consolidation of research skills and progress with getting articles published. I am now looking forward to a couple of weeks of re-creation over the Xmas and New Year break. On getting back in January, I plan to do lots of writing to recharge the journal articles 'storeroom' to try to maintain momentum with getting articles published. Plus lots to look forward to into 2014 with project surface tablet. 

Friday, December 13, 2013 - another way to archive found sites

I noticed John Clayton's posts on linkedin of various interesting technology-enhanced learning infographics and checked out his links.

This brought me to, a tool to archive found sites. Took me a couple of minutes to set up my own curation of teaching and learning related infographics. I had used my facebook account to set up the account and each of the scoops on my also ended up on my facebook page. Negating my efforts to keep personal and work apart :( However, several of my family and friends enjoyed the posts, so I will keep the facebook connection for the moment.

A few websites I visited in the last few days also allowed instant scoops to be achieved. I prefer archiving sites to provide more than just a brief twitter like link, or a list of links like delicious. So, like tumblr and pinterest represent the current generation of website archival tools. These newer tools have a welcoming and are user-friendly feel to them.

The advantage with is the ability to curate your collection in to various 'topics'. When you put in your key topics, a list of top 100 suggestions come up for each topic. This means becomes a rss feeder as well. The option to link your curated finds to facebook, twitter, linkedin etc. also means that has social networking features. So overall, a good tool to use with students or teachers who can then set up various topics they need to keep up with.

Meanwhile, I will keep my site limited to infographics as I find these visual summarisations to be useful communication tools when working with busy tutors. Not much point sending them an academic paper they will never read! Good infographics provide the important points in an accessible format.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Google Scholar has 'my library'

A few weeks ago, Google scholar presented researchers with a fine Christmas present J

When I fired up Scholar to do a search, the New! Scholar Library: your personal collection of articles with the magic of Scholar banner caught my eye. I clicked on it and enabled the ‘my library’ feature. Immediately, ‘my citations’ were listed and the references used in the articles archived in ‘my citations’ were available in ‘my library’. References can then be archived on Endnotes via download of an endnotes file. Any google scholar search result can also be stored in my library, saving download of the actual files on to one of my physical or virtual drives.

All in, a great service to researchers. Along with scholar alerts, the above makes life just a little easier for researchers. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

ako aotearoa academy symposium - day 2

Day 2 begins with a breakfast session with Aka Aotearoa director, Dr. Peter Coolbear. Peter runs through 'what's next for the Academy' by setting the current tertiary education scene. With policy, items include new tertiary education strategy, public service success targets, parity of success for priority learners, foundation and transition, increased accountability for universities and strengthened quality assurance processes. For pre-degree level impacts are from TRoQ, more learners in STEMs, MOOCs, capability of teaching teams, professional accreditation of tertiary teachers and protection of academic standards. A challenge to the academy to become a 'go to body' for advice on tertiary teaching or learning issues.

First presentation of the day is a sharing session from academy members of vocational education research forum held recently in Qingdao, China. Kelly Pender and Sam Honey share photos and highlights and a question and answer session follows with Julia Bruce and myself assisting.

The student's perspective follows with presentations from 3 students. Rachel Cahir nursing student from Massey University, Jarod Burl a carpentry student from United and Natalie Frew studying Science at the University of Waikato. The students provided their impressions on their learning. Of note, the strong contribution of work placement and work based practice. These are opportunities for consolidating theory and obtaining experience with real and pragmatic actual practice. A rewarding frank and candid question and answer session followed.

A dialogue space precedes morning tea to unpack the morning's activities.

Parallel sessions commence and I attend Peter Mellow's on 'MOOCs and learning with digital curation'. Presented on varieties of MOOCs from no lecturer presence to some and a lot of lecturer presence, taster to full accreditated course, large numbers or just several hundred, structured or semi-structure constructivist. university of Melbourne MOOC Coursera-based learning analytics presented. Discussed possible shift of MOOCs to become digital duration with social media like Facebook and

Then Professor Eric Pawson's 'creating sticky campuses' presentation on 'what makes good student campuses'. Importance of informal learning spaces (indie, outside and virtual) to provide space to learn, interact and socialise. Literature on student engagement by George Kuhn and 'sticky spaces'. Summer student project derive through focus groups was for spaces to be comfortable, have different or flexible function (subject specific and general), amenities (PowerPoint, WIFI and catering options) and management of access at appropriate times.

After lunch, we have Gordon Suddaby continuing the update on 'national accreditation scheme for tertiary teachers', work completed the Alison Holmes. Provided overview, context and suggested process. Arose out of Aka Aotearoa 'taking stock' project to try to rationalise the large number of qualifications for tertiary teachers. Currently awaiting outcome of Australian initiative to meet similar goal. Any accreditation needs to involve process and confer added and sought after status. In general, tertiary institutions have code of ethics for research but not for teaching although many ITPs and some universities have codes of conduct. Suggest investigating Canadian example. Good discussion ensued with regards to the why, how, what and advantages and disadvantages of a proposed accreditation process and designation.

The academy executive lead the session on 'future of the academy'. A discussion on role of academy and how to move forward.

A poroporaki and wrap up closes a busy but pertinent symposium.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Ako Aotearoa academy Symposium - summary of day 1

In Wellington for the annual academy symposium, a meeting of thirty plus tertiary teaching award winners. The theme of the gathering is 'shaking up teaching: exploring the new places and spaces for learning'. After the official opening / Mihi whamatau, we have a practice run of the academy song, nga manukura.

Then, symposium keynote on 'teaching laboratories are changing' from Ken Collins and Joanne Kelly from Lab works architecture. Designing the laboratory also leads to a culture change in how the laboratory goes about its work. Lab works sees teaching spaces as learning environments. Places to exercise curiosity and creativity, develop critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving. Based on Radcliffe (2006) nexuses of interactions and relationships between pedagogy, technology and space. Need to provide formal and informal learning and individual and collaborative learning opportunities. having a purpose build learning space next to lab or practical areas provide appropriate fittings and technology access for problem, inquiry and group based learning.

Parallel sessions begin and I go to Kamuka Pati from Unitec with 'challenges and success of blended learning and the role of technology'. A good example from building trades of bringing technology into a practical skill learning. Not just technical skills, also providing work skills. A smart shed with a interactive white board used to provide access to resources. Mobile learning enhanced with QR codes embedded into text or physical examples so situated learning is enabled. Use augmented reality and software to provide virtual access. Online access of all course resources and assessments plus student portfolios on Google plus using Google sites and Google drive. Scaffolded students from first course with digital literacy skills to enhance further integration of technology. Teacher dash used as learning management system.

Second session in the morning is a joint session with Dr.Dale Sheehan and myself on 'what do we understand by the term workplace learning?'  I start things off with a brief overview of how learning involves individual, social and socio-material approaches. Dale follows with challenges of learners accessing the breath of learning experiences required to learn to become. The groups work through several questions to explore how they can support work place learning for their own contexts. I finish with some ideas for learners and workplace coaches derived from the learning a trade project.

After lunch, we have a mentoring workshop with Dr Lesley Petersen. Covered how to mentor other teachers and how to mentor the mentor based on community of practice framework. Using a mentoring model (HIMM) derived from her PhD work. Importance of preparing not only the mentor but the menthe as well to obtain the rewards from the process. Worked through definition, purpose and benefits. Introduced the mentoring partnership cycle as a guide with communication as key. The second part of the session after afternoon tea was for groups to work through scenarios using two methods, 3e's (establish, expand, explore) questionnaires and DEVA (describe, evaluate, action, value). Session finished with discussion on how mentors can themselves by mentored.

Last session of the day is with Jill Tanner-Lloyd from Aka Aotearoa on 'communicating the future'. A new publication 'striving for excellence: a guide for tertiary teachers' derived from mining tertiary award portfolios previewed. Also shared ideas of how academy presence can be promoted and enhanced.

A home group debrief closed the official part of the day.

Symposium dinner ends a busy day.

Monday, November 25, 2013

mlearn conference 2013 - proceedings

Via Google Scholar alerts, comes the proceedings from the 12th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2013). Conference was held in Qatar from 21 to 24th October.

Several papers are pertinent to our current 'project surface tablet' projects and summarised here.

  • Exploring the impact of using tablet devices in enhancing students listening and speaking skills in tertiary education by Ismail Fayed,Amer Yacoub, and Ali Hussein from Qatar University. This reports on student's use of a range of mobile devices and apps to assist with communication skills in English.
  • Post Web 2.0 Media: Mobile Social Media with Thomas Cochrane (Unitec, NZ) and  Laurent Antonczak. Of interest as it extends on work completed at Unitec to build a community of practice with lecturers involved in technology enhanced learning initiatives. Use of mobile technologies assist lecturers to 'learn by doing' before they implement similar approaches in their classes.
  • Mobilogue – A Tool for Creating and Conducting Mobile Supported Field Trips with Adam Giemza. Mobilogue supports teachers and students to author and provide learning support with location awareness and guidance on mobile devices. Useful for field trips, museum visits etc. QR codes are used to provide access to information and GPS is used to pinpoint place and items for exploration.
  • Large Scale Deployment of Tablet Computers in High Schools in Brazil is a case study of introducing tablets into public education system on mass. Potentialitites, pitfalls and recommendations are detailed.
  • Creating coherent incidental learning journeys on mobile devices through feedback and progress indicators. An interesting article from a group of English researchers with Mark Gaved, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Ann Jones, Eileen Scanlon, Ian Dunwell, Petros Lameras and Oula Akiki. Recommends how timely feedback may be provided to learners through incidental or informal learning. Increasing learners' coherence of learning by bringing fragmented learning moments into a more cohesive learning journey for reflective learning.
  • Key Challenges Associated with Bringing Personal Mobile Devices to the Classroom. Ieda Santos discusses the pros and cons of BYOD.

Then two articles on ethical issues using mobile devices.
  • Poster by J. Wishart provides a good overview to the challenges
  • paper by Trish Andrews, Laurel Dyson and Jocelyn Wishart on how to support practitioners implementing mobile learning.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Educational and work settings forum -

Presentations are now on-line on the Ako Aotearoa website. The forum took place in mid-August in Wellington and focused on workplace-based education with a range of NZ based speakers and a keynote from Australia. Over the long weekend (show day was on Friday last week), I had time on the Saturday afternoon when it got too hot to get any gardening done, to look through the powerpoint presentations.

Of most interest are the two keynotes – one from Professor John Buchanan of University of Sydney and Professor Richard Coll from University of Waikato. Both covered the principles of education undertaken in work settings and the nexus between work and under/post-graduate degree curriculums.

Pertinent to present work is the work of Dr. Marion Sanders from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute and Liz Bowen-Clewey of Competency International.

Dr. Sanders presented on findings from the Ako Aotearoa National Project 'maximising dialogue in field based experiences' from work with social work and teacher trainee programmes.

Liz Bowen-Clewey  presented on a way forward with work-placed based competency assessments. Taking into account a more holistic structure to recognising professional competency through the use of 'professional conversations' and other whole-occupation evidence gathering approaches.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Digital literacy for Vocational (VET) students

Two articles come up this morning via Google scholar alerts which are relevant to current projects at CPIT - the pilot of our 'new' learning spaces and project surface tablet.

1) The first is 'Supporting new students from vocational education and training: Finding a reusable solution to address recurring learning difficulties in e-learning by Dai Fei Yang, Janice Catterall, and Janelle Davis of the University of Western Sydney in Australia. They propose the implementation of a 'educational technology preparation' (ETP) programme to assist students transitioning from the Australian vocational TAFE system into vocational degree programmes at university. The ETP is run through the Student Learning Unit, the Library, the e-Learning Unit and the IT Services and in effect, introduces students to the university's online and blended learning enviroments.

The above may be useful as my preliminary findings from evaluation of our 'new' learning spaces and work with tutors on project surface tablet confirms findings from previous projects (on situated technology enhanced learning and using videos to improve learning of dispositional skills). Digital natives bring digital skills which might not be aligned to academic requirements.

2) Second article from Switzerland 'Mobile Devices to Bridge the Gap in VET: Ease of Use and Usefulness as Indicators for Their Acceptance' by Elisa Motta, Alberto Cattaneo & Jean-Luc Gurtner. Provides some useful example in vocational education (automotive, pastry cooking and cookery) and uses quantitative analysis to establish apprentice / learner engagement is perceived to be linked to ease of use of hard and software.

This article informs our tablet project as use of a variety of apps and bringing these together into a coherent whole to achieve pedagogical goals is a complex process. The tutors and elearning advisors have good ideas but complicated systems mean students and other tutors may find it too unwieldy to apply in real-world practice.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Contributions of neuroscience and neuro-psychology to understanding vocational education learning

Now the ‘learning a trade’ report has been completed, I will be moving through a list of readings in the fields of neuroscience and neuro-psychology. Basically, my ‘summer reading’ project from now into mid-2014. This is an exciting time for scientists working in the fields of neurobiology due to the enhanced opportunities afforded through recent advances in medical imagery.  Learning on brain function is no longer limited to post-activity or illness study through autopsy.  MRI and CT scans are able to provide synchronous recording of brain activity as it takes place.

As a first update, I worked through Steven Picker’s ‘Theblank slate: The modern denial of human nature’ a couple of weeks ago (while at the NTLT conference) to update myself on readings in socio-biology undertaken before I started work on my PhD. Books read at that time include RichardDawkin’s ‘The selfish gene’ and ‘The blind watchmaker’, Jared Diamond’s books ‘ Guns, germs and steel’ and ‘The third chimpanzee’, E.O Wilson’s work to bring the sciences together in ‘Consilience’.  All ‘parked’ for a few years while I put energies into literature on vocational identity formation, workplace learning and vocational learning required for the dissertation.

Socio-biology basically argues that as humans, we are high wired with some ‘pre-programmed’ traits, affinities and learning processes. The pre-programming is seen to be the result of natural selection, providing individuals with a collection of genes that pre-dispose them to affinities for certain types of activities (both physical, mental and emotionally).  The learning of languages, as per the work of Norm Chomsky, is used often to support the argument that young children’s brains are ‘designed and predisposed’ to learn language. Language learning has a ‘fixed window of opportunity’ within the first four years of life.  Our brains are also supposed to learn motor skills through processes of mimesis (imitation), trial and error and practice. Many feedback mechanisms for motor skills like proprioception (body stance and balance) occur subconsciously. Experts cannot isolate the knowledge of process (KP) or result (KR) due to inability to articulate the nuances of complex motor activity.

So, what do the fields of neurosciences and neuro-psychology have to offer to vocational education learning?
I now have a list of about a dozen books to work through to gain a better perspective on how knowing about how the brain works, may inform how we learn skills, apply concepts to problem solving and attain dispositions and attitudes congruent with our occupational identities.  So, as usual, will put up summaries of pertinent books as I work through them, with commentary on the contributions from the books that are relevant to understanding vocational education learning.

My goal is to find a direction for how to go down the road for exploring vocational learning ‘signature pedagogies’.  There will be a need to work collaboratively with sports and education psychologists and perhaps medical imaging specialists further down the track. I need to bone up on the jargon and quantitative research methods used in these disciplines so as to begin conversations. The socio-materiality approach to learning holds much promise but research approaches recommended like activity theory, complexity theory and actor network theory will be a bit of a hard sell to my ‘quantitative’ colleagues in sports and psychology. How to ‘blend’ something like actor-network theory to ‘learning how to weld’ using video, would in itself be an interesting exercise!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Reflections on trip to China

Have had a couple of weeks to reflect on latest trip toChina. Every time I visit, I feel some sense of belonging, even though my family is several generations removed from the mother country. The food, language, ways of doing things are familiar, and yet somehow also strange and exotic.

Wandering around the streets of Beijing or Tianjin, I could feel the energy of people set on progressing forward. The sheer magnitude of people is overwhelming. The pollution in Beijing and Tianjin is also a sobering reminder that progress has consequences. However, the Chinese are aware of their environmental challenges. Lots more trees seem to be grown in the Beijing area and new developments have park lands set aside to ensure the cities are not a continual urban sprawl.

Again, I saw instances of young people assisting others. Two young trendily dressed women in high heels, helped an older woman carry a bundle up the subway stairs. They pitched in without being asked and waved away the older woman’s gestures of thanks. Young men gave their seats up on the subway to the elderly and grandmas taking their grandchild to school. These were spontaneous everyday events. I find I am taken for a local, so the small acts of kindness were not done to impress foreigners.

I enjoyed my sojourns into the local neighbourhoods without by Kiwi colleagues. On the two occasions I went shopping with them, we were inundated by shop keepers, beggars and touts. So, visiting the local areas on my own, yielded more authentic experiences. The non-tourist areas still find foreigners to be a novelty. When I took one of my Kiwi colleagues into the back streets behind the hotel in Tianjin to find breakfast, we were treated with kindness and humour. My fractured Mandarin managed to navigate us through the challenges of ordering and paying for breakfast. The vendors and other patrons were curious to find out where we were from and happy to assist with queries. Despite the emphasis on learning English as a second language in Chinese schools, once outside the usual tourist areas, the older locals tend to not have any English.

My conscience is slightly conflicted with regards to being viewed as an ‘expert’ in vocational pedagogy. The Chinese are keen to encourage greater innovation and creative in their technician occupations. The Ministry of Education has set a direction for vocational education to move from didactic teaching to be more learning-focused. In particular, to use problem or inquiry-based learning and learner participative strategies like role plays and simulations. The government funds architecturally spectacular physical learning spaces and state of the art technical equipment. Their task is now to up-skill their software, the over a million vocational educators PLUS transition their learners from a school system with emphasis on rote learning to self-directed learners AND convince parents that vocational education is just as good, if not a better option than a university education. These challenges are not unique as we in NZ are working towards similar goals albeit on a much smaller scale and with a social structure somewhat more attuned to ‘transformative’ learning approaches.

I think my objective in the next visit is to encourage our Chinese colleagues to reflect on their own approaches. What works for them? What do they see as the strengths of Chinese pedagogy? How do their students find learning through case studies, problem and inquiry-based learning approaches? What influences do students find, will enhance their learning? We should also try to talk to students who have recently completed their vocational ed. and find out if the 'newer' approaches have prepared them for work. If the approaches have, what aspects contributed to assisting them in their new jobs? What were the useful generic skills they learnt through participation in alternative learning approaches? Ditto for employers. Are the graduates they employ, entering the workforce with the level of productivity required of entry-level technicians? What support would employers provide for entry-level staff, to assist them to settle in and 'belong' to the workplace and trade/industry? So, lots to look forward to exploring in the near future.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Pens for Surface RT Tablet

We have just about started our 'Project surface tablet' projects. We have 12 project teams, each with an identified learning outcome that can be enhanced through the use of 'situated technology enhanced learning'. Several of the teams have learning activities that use OneNote in tandem with Skydrive to create shared learning resources. OneNote, along with other note taking apps (youtube video of notetaking), allows for the use of a stylus to draw or use the predictive text screen option on the tablet's keyboard.

Unlike the Surface Pro, Surface RT is limited to use of pens with the fatter stubby end rather than fine point due to it's capacitive screen –  wp central has a collection of pens (various prices and types). At present, it is difficult to obtain stylii from suppliers in NZ to try out. However, we have been able to get hold of some of the 'stubby' pens along with the finer point 'Jot it/pro' range from adonit. The adonit pens are about double the price of the stubby pen options. 

We will be undertaking some trials with the various pens plus also raising awareness amongst our project surface tablet teams to the note taking and sharing options provided by the Surface RT. The co-creation of learning resources is one of the main advantages of going digital and we need to make sure both teachers and learners are able to maximise the opportunities for co-construction of learning.

Friday, October 04, 2013

National tertiary learning and teaching conference - Day 3

Keynote from Dr. Peter Coolbear from Ako Aotearoa opens the last day of an interesting conference. Peter presents on 'supporting the success of priority learners - translating policy aspirations to enhancement of practice'. Covered the policy sitting, what the education performance. indicators are telling us, argue that teaching teams have a role to play and then some projects that hope to address some the issues. Alco Aotearoa working assumptions include working in a system that allows great teaching and learning to occur, we do not do enough to share good practice, we still allow mediocre performance, the system is fragmented and research still weak and has limited impact on practice. These views are shared by government. NZ has moved to greater public accountability from all public funded education. EPls tell us that course completion rates have plateaued at 80 -85%. Therefore, as tertiary teachers, maximising individual performance is no longer enough, focus needs to shift to whole teaching teams causing a significant culture change.  Teaching teams need better management, support and take responsibility for student success on their programmes. Suggested a traffic light model of assessing programme academic health based on principles of learner focus, outcome focus, learner support etc. and include accreditation, completions, academic standards, student evaluations, graduate destinations, equity pathways and community /Iwi involvement. Provided overview of how traffic light model may work for students, teaching team, managers, academic board and council. Related projects include: improving large class learning, using student evaluations to improve outcomes, model of success for Maori learners in workplace settings, success for Pacifika, adult refugee learners: effective responses and recent publications bringing themes together

Parallel sessions follow morning tea. I attend Iain Huddleston's on 'blended delivery gains student support'. Presented examples of changes made to delivery of an engineering course to improve students' learning experiences. Technology based resources were developed to enhance learning and a blended approach used. Group work and enquiry based learning used. Each week groups presented their learning qfrom week before and rest of class time put into exploring the next topic. A learning commons environment set up supported with WIFI, laptops and presentation facilities. Presentations are marked and count towards summative assessments. Review of topics through online quizzes and crosswords. Students develop research, presentation, team work and collaborative skills.

Last keynote with Dr. Stuart Middleton on 'teaching and learning: the Park momentos or 21st century'. Began with overview of how he arrived to the work he is now focused on. English speaking systems seem to all have similar challenges with equity and outcomes. Challenge is to address the schools system as vocational and higher works from the outcomes students bring with them. ITPs have to work with school systems to bring about change and interconnections so students are able to transition into programmes that will provide them with future prospects. Structures like curriculum, time, pastoral care, age related cohorts, sectors, programmes and delivery are things that need change. Transitions between various educational sectors has attrition. Proposed 2 sectors. MIT tertiary High School one way to integrate secondary and tertiary, leading to a seamless transition to allow students to complete multiple qualifications across sectors.

Conference closes with Poroporokai.

Overall, the range of presentations was good. A balance between reports from practitioner on their own teaching contexts and keynotes that set the tone and create forums for discussion. Always good to catch up with colleagues from other institutes to share ideas and brainstorm creative ways to do more with less in the staff development process.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

National tertiary lerning and teaching conference - day 2 afternoon

After lunch keynote from Ria Tomoana from Whitireia Polytechnic on 'sharing successful teaching and learning strategies for Maori, Pacifica and youth'. need to change ALL staff altitudes from "tell me what to do and   I will do it" to" I am here to help students meet their learning goals". Value of undertaking an Ako Aotearoa research project include opportunity to derive an internal solution, potential to create champions among staff, honour staff who are getting good results, clarify the Whitiriea way. Belief in students' potential important to change attitudes. Students will pick up through body language if staff do not really mean what they say. Need robust induction process for staff, mentoring and staff development and performance and appraisal systems aligned to values.

Workshops follow and I attend Katrina Marwick, Rae Perkins and Carole Crawford's session on 'online individual learning plans.' The workshop revolved around 2 working models of ILPs used at NMIT. ILPs used to improve the students' learning journey. ILPs developed on Moodle.
Rae shared the way ILPs used to support business students through her role as a learning advisor. Students begin writing their ILPs at orientation, then initial meeting to discuss initial goals and clarify actual aspirations. Academic strengths and weaknesses are identified and matched to study programme choice. Follow up meetings proceed. If on track, praise, if not, review study plan and work on strategies to work through challenges. Final meeting to celebrate completion.

Katrina provides a learning coach perspective. Matching ILPs to inquiry learning. Students use ILPs set their own targets, apply actions, share the journey. Learners agree to meet deadlines on assessments etc., use of cell phones, through learner contracts. Learners self analyse against required skills. Need to prepare students to take responsibility for their own learning goals and to be able to assess their own progress.

Good discussion eventuated around purpose of ILPs, how institutions or student uses and how both have different reasons for using.

After afternoon tea, keynote with Dr. Kerry Reid-Searle from CQU - Central Queensland University at Rockhampton. She presents on 'suspension in disbelief - an innovative approach to learning and teaching through simulation'. The presentation begins with a role-play simulation of a 'client' and how the 'nurse' models how to work with a patient by encouragement and empathy with the patient's circumstances and needs. Used the initial  'performance' of authentic scenario to explain teaching practice and how to engage students. The 5 senses need to be deployed to learn effectively. Experiential learning needs to really involve students, they cannot just stand aside and watch but participate, feel, do, smell, hear and taste. Simulation is realism, fidelity and authenticity. Teachers need to create realness, integration and connection. Introduced Mask-ed to use KRS simulation. Latex prosthetics along with realistic portrayal of 'characters' provides students with access to authentic learning in a safe environment. The core elements are the character, the educator is hidden, the educator is still expert, learning is important. The character is on the side of the learner. Scenarios are an interplay between character and learners and have strong stories. Need to make sure there is fit with curriculum and used across all delivery, learning activities and assessments. Introduced next iteration Pup-ed using puppets to provide understanding of paediatric practice and used to help build rapport with young patients.

Conference dinner convenes in the evening providing added opportunities to network.

National Tertiary Learning and Teaching conference- day 2 morning

Day 2 begins with workshops. I attend Bronwyn Hegarty's on 'open education practices.' The group is separated into 3 groups to work out the good, bad and downright ugly of 'open education'. Lively discussions emerge from each group.

Parallel sessions follow. First up Brian Tuck with 'mindfulness'. Began with a youtube video on 'what i mindfulness?' When we pay attention to how we pay attention, we find it is actually quite difficult to sustain attention. we practise how to breathe, to enhance mindfulness.

Then Jo Rhodes with 'learning is not a spectator sport - avoiding just another lecture. An active session modelling the premise of the presentation, the student needs to do the work to do the learning. Strategies include: make a large class feel small, encourage questions, be available, learn students names, relate lectures and discussions to actual or potential student experiences, pay attention to individual students,  consider your self presentation and give personalised feedback. Important to plan before the lecture, how you will begin, what activities and 'energy shifts' will be used, learning styles to allow for, materials to be used and what happens after lecture.

Third up I catch up with Aidan Bigham's presentation (on Prezi) as I was presenting in the opposite stream at Qingdao. Aidan shares 'teaching engineering geology in a blended inverted classroom. Inverted classrom akin to flipped classrom, using multimedia resources through blended learning. Went through advantages and disadvantages. Change of heavily content focused approach to meeting student learning outcomes. Used OTARA model to ground planning - objectives, activities, resources and assessment. Student evaluations show higher engagement and increase in students' motivation to take responsibility for their learning.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

National tertiary learning and teaching conference - day 1 afternoon

After lunch, 3 workshops. I attend Jenny McGee's workshop on 'communicating across cultures'. Cultures do not only mean ethnicity but includes all aspects of social, economic and values systems.
 An interactive session with much input from all group members. 5 strategies include know yourself, watch your bias (check out project implicit), mind your language, what you do not say matters just as much, and understand the values.

Keynote 2 from Jenny Magee on 'Turning outsiders into insiders'. Discussed layers of diversity as one way to approach understanding diversity in all  its myriad contributions. Inclusion to make how to make. diversity work.
Bringing diversity and inclusion together provides for engagement to take place. In organisations, communications and relationships contribute to inclusion in turn leading to cohesion, belongingness and inclusion. So instead of 'treat others as you would like to treated
' to treat others as They would like to be treated'. Inclusion derailers include: we recruit people like us, making assumptions, unconscious bias, abd cultural norms. Inclusion enablers include modelling from the top, finding common ground, little things matter, check your expectations and reframing political correctness.

5 parallel streams of 3 sessions follow. I stay with the stream I am presenting last on.
First up, Georgie Gaddum from on 'technology and teaching: a case study of software enhanced enquiry based learning across academic pathways'. Project evolving since 2004. Provides students with an authentic learning experience with del life expectations and time limes. Journalism, photography and web design students, education it and publish a paper for each of the 4 days of the agricultural filed expo held each year at Mystery Creek near Hamilton.

Secondly, Dr. Monique Dalziel, Chris Dunn and Belma Gaukrodger with 'nursing students on cloud 9: engaging students in their assessments'. Used to help first year nursing students learn appropriate communication skills with patients. 5-6 minute videos are taken of interview between student and actor. Students upload the videos on to YouTube and have to reflect on their performance.

My presentation 'applying principles of situated technology enhanced learning to improve trades learning' closes a busy day. Provided overview of the four projects. Firstly completing competency based assessments using photos and videos in level 2 automotive programme. Second, compiling videos into workbooks with barista students. Thirdly, using video to improve learning of front office skills. Fourth project to improve students critical evaluation of web sites via virtual hotel tours.

NAtional Tertiary Learning and Teaching Conference 2013 - day 1 morning

After a frenetic week in China, a complete change of scenery and ambience with 3 days in Invercargill for the annual National tertiary learning and teaching conference hosted by Southern Institute of Technology.

A stirring powhiri is followed by opening address from Maree Howden, Deputy CE of SIT and a welcome from Invercargill mayor, Tim Shadbolt.

The first keynote address from Dr.Stewart Hase on the topic 'heutagogy' follows. Heutagogy is a word coined to extent andragogy. It refers to self-determined learning. Encouraged audience to suspend comfortable habits and look beyond the usual means of problem solving or coming up with new ideas. Check Also new book 'self-determined learning' edited by Stewart and Chris Kenyon. People learn different ways and ask different questions. Self-determined learning one way to match latest learnings from neuro-biology with curriculum and learning development. Humans learn through, focus develops specific regions of the human brain; brains sensitive to culture / environment; memory is fragile unless strengthened; attention span 8 minutes; system 1 (assumptions) vs system 2 (work at problem solving) thinking;  effort develops human brain; learning needs to be multi-sensory; humans are naturally curious and explore; emotion and learning are inextricably linked; humans motivated to resolve incongruity; brain plasticity; state dependent learning; the first 30 seconds; repetition required; takes years to develop reliable memory; when real learning occurs is unpredictable; humans learn best by immersion; ingredients are to puddings as knowledge and skills are to learning.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Inaugural Sino-NZ Vocational Education Research Forum - Qingdao 23 - 24 September

Day 1
In Qingdao for the inaugural Sino-NZ Vocational Education Research forum. Opens with formal welcome from Professor Qin Chuan, President of Qingdao Technical College.

Then a short speech from the vice-mayor of Qingdao Municipal Government, Liu Mingjun.

Followed by a series of speeches from various signatories of the MOE between China and NZ.

Alexandra Grace, Education NZ Regional director in China.
Gao Yong, deputy director for Central Institute for Vocational and Technical Education (CIVTE), China and Shao Wei, secretary general of China International Association for International Exchange (CEAIE).
all provide background on the formalised relationship between China and NZ to share knowledge on Technical and Vocational Education (TVET) and to learn from each other. China is placing priority in TVET due to its potential to increase economic and social levels. There are over 14000 TVET colleges on China with over 10 million students. it is important to improve teaching and learning in TVET to enhance student learning and in turn contribute to China's progress.

After morning tea, two keynotes.
one from Liu Yufeng, director of comparative education research, CIVTE on 'building a modern vocational education: China's path selection. goal of china to become more competitive, as measured on global competitiveness scales. China is on second stage of development but NZ in stage 3. TVET seen as one way to lift competitiveness through improving science, technology through improvement of human capital. Path for constructing modern VET include connection between secondary and higher VET, cooperation between school and enterprise, and improving social justice.
Then Prof. Qin Chuan from QTC with 'learning teaching and doing in one: let every student be the best of him/herself'. Students in VET weak in abstract and logic ability but good at operations, imagination and other intelligences. Move to supply appropriate learning resources, guide students to learn, motivate students to be the best. learning, teaching and doing need to become integrated.

Third keynote from Mark Flowers, CE of Wintec on 'internationalisation of vocational education and training - learning from each other'. Need to change teaching practice, meeting needs of employers / industry, and focus on our students. Skills of workforce need to lift to cope with China and NZ becoming exporters and the process of internationalisation.

Last keynote with Dai Yuwei, President of Tianjin Light Industry Vocational  Technical College, speaks on 'relying on industry guidance and innovating educational system to achieve effective vocational college education of school enterprice cooperation. Three strategies used. Understand and form a school and enterprise cooperation system, derive a model to improve and evaluate the school and enterprise cooperation system, and effective personnel training through and by the system.

After lunch, two streams present around the theme 'excellent vocational teaching'.  I present in the 'science' stream. Summaries of presentations follow. Other NZ educators present in the other stream, including Aidan Bigham, Peter Bilious, Sam Honey, Dr. Karen Vaughan, Adrian Woodhouse and Dr. John Clayton.

I am first up to provide a quick overview of the 'learning through apprenticeship' project. Basically, how to assist apprentices to become more metacognitive about their learning. Learning as becoming through learning how to do, be, feel and think like a trades person.

Zhang Yi from Baotou Vocational College on 'strengthening knowledge application by inverted teaching, improving cognitive competence by innovation of evaluation system. Focus on introducing authentic learning in the form of project based learning. Steps include introduction (connecting theory to practice, working out learning objective), exploration, practice (through project based teams where students play actual production roles), assessing (teacher, self and peer).

Jo Thomas from Wintec with 'English language teaching for a changing world' two concepts, what English should be taught?' and the learnings from a case study. Important to recognise English learning needs of students, what are they learning English for? Task based learning important. shared experiences of a blended distance learning programme for English teachers in Kwangtung.

Shao Ningping from Ningxia Vocational Technical College of Industry and Commerce on 'applications of various teaching methods on logistics management courses'. A practice / task based approach with problem and case study based learning. Requires teachers to take active role in preparing appropriate resources to support the various learning activities. Role plays often used to replicate real world practice to enhance other approaches. Modelling used to help students learn complex tasks. Enterprise cooperation (often work placement) and competition orientated learning also used.

After morning tea, Kelly Pender from Bay of Plenty Polytechnic shares 'empowerment and compassion,enhanced through experiential learning'. Shared approaches used on Certificate of Fitness (level 4). Importance of teachers setting an example. Learning concepts made easier by applying learning through 'learning by doing', improves empathy with others (clients) and understanding why they have to learn certain things.

Chen Xiaofeng from Xinjiang Institute of Light Industry Technology, on 'the teaching innovation of the chemical engineering unit operation and maintenance'. Went through understanding of curriculum planning using a job orientated curriculum. However, employers found graduates to still be under prepared. Therefore, shift to development of students' 'personality' development. Undertook an analysis of the curriculum to increase emphasis on students' 'professional' development. included practising through use of simulation software, then students discuss operation, school competitions motivate students, theory and practical now integrated, use of formative assessments and content extension becomes students' responsibility.

Julia Bruce then presents on 'engaging challenging learners'. Described her work with hairdressing students using a 'living consensus' model. Process of teachers and students sharing responsibility for creating learning environments through group agreements, on-going discussion and shared understanding. Teaching and sharing strategies include ongoing ethical practice discussions, discussions on shared cultural practice (culture share activity), shared group management. Code of practice and shared ethics understandings form the basis of the living consensus. Video diary used to record the evolution of the living consensus so teachers and students are able to reflect on their transformation. Project based learning is the underpinning learning approach.

Malcolm Doidge from Wellington Institute of Technology on 'collaboration as a teaching tool'. Mahi tahi - working together. Provided an overview of work with level 1 - 3 design programme over 3 years. Learning how to help oneself leads to helping others. Used 3 Maori principles, family (whanau), working together (mahi tahi) and principles / guidelines (tikanga) to follow. Using technology (evernote) to record project based learning (developing a board game).

A panel closes the day, followed by conference dinner.

A very packed day but heartening to see the similarities and aspirations between Chinese and NZ current teaching practice and learning focuses.

Day 2

Today there is a series of 3 class room demonstrations.beginning with Du Xiao Ni teaching a session on 'primary hall sensor'. A lesson plan provided in Chinese and the 40 minute session is to showcase 'problem based' teaching approach. the class views an introductory video and then answer a series of questions (in groups). Individual students answer questions using flip carts or diagrams. the teacher clarifies points and revises main features of the lesson. Lesson is teacher directed but good teaching shown in how the teacher draws the aswers out of the students, reinforces correct answers and using 'teaching moments' where appropriate to clarify understanding.

Second demonstration lesson is with Li Qin and a lesson on 'group analysis and modification on the draft of particulat commodities display'. A retailing course whereby students design a display and substantiate their choice. Teacher and other students provide feedback and critique. Questions are mostly from students and team members take turns to answer. Teacher provides a comprehensive critique.

The NZ contribution from Julia Bruce with a group of volunteer students. Julia based her session on helping students understand their learning style preference through completing a short questionnaire. Then discussing ways in which to enhance their learning through the understanding of how they preferred to learn.

Two Chinese and two NZ representatives provided feedback / critique on the three sessions.

The forum closed with short speech from Professor Qin Chuan.

Day 4

Five of us (Jo Thomas, Julia Bruce, Adrian Thomas, Kelly Pender and myself) along with Stewart Brougham (Wintec Offshore project manager) take the fast train (travels at 300km plus an hour) from Qingdao to Tianjin on Day 3. A chance for us to see some of rural Shandong and to debrief the experiences of the previous two days.

On Day 4, we visit the Tianjin Light Industry Vocational  Technical College which is one of 8 educational institutes that make up stage 1 of the Haihe Educational Park. When completed, the park supports educational and residential needs of over 300,000 people!! The physical spaces are impressive and we have another opportunity to observe a few classes in the engineering, art / design, commerce and electronics areas.

Overall, a good experience to observe the challenges China faces and their focus at developing infrastructure and human capital through TVET. There is support from the highest officials for vocational learning to become more learning focused. The sheer numbers of vocational educators to shift from content to learning focus is a particular challenge. However, there are movements from 'sage on the stage' to 'guide on the side' from the presentations and class observations. Small steps in the right direction, although the Chinese will need to contextualise Western models of learning to their culture and social needs.

Link to newspaper article on the conference published late October.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Teaching as design science by Diana Laurillard - book summary

New book (google books has preview)by Professor Diana Laurillard, recommended by Mark Nichols in his keynote at the CPIT Technology enhanced learning strategy launch, just arrived. I purchased via Book Despository who provide free postage to NZ. Books usually take 7 – 10 working days to arrive. My preferred choice now for new books but Amazon still has better range of pre-used books. There is a summary on this site of the software supporting the concept.

I have a good read over the weekend through the book and here are brief summaries of each of the 12 chapters:
1)      This chapter argues for the approach that frames the book – of teaching as a design science. Teaching is an art, demanding teachers’ creativity and imagination. Teaching has been treated as a science, yet, it is not a pure, theoretical science due to the ramifications of ‘human emotion’. Teaching is therefore, more like engineering, computer science or architecture, as teaching contributes to making the world a better place. Therefore, teaching is more of a ‘design science’.  As such, research in teaching contributes to theory but tends to contribute more to ‘design principles’ as teaching is based in context specific practice. Knowledge technologies shape what is learned because the introduction of technology changes how learning takes place.

2)      ‘what is formal learning’ summarises perspective on ‘what is learning’ through several perspectives. The various understandings of ‘what is learning’ are from the educational establishment(i.e. government aspirations); the workplace (i.e occupational focuses); educational theorists (tensions between government – legislation and quality bench marking and work – occupational currency); and teachers (moving towards student and learner centeredness instead of content focus).

3)      ‘what students bring to learning’ presents various studies on the student contribution to learning. In particular, student engagement (self-efficacy, motivation, emotional connection, relationships between teachers and students). The ‘intellectual characteristics’ of learning are also discussed briefly, touching on conceptions of knowledge, approaches to learning, the role of the teaching environment. Also contrasts the formal / informal context of learning and discusses why students find formal learning difficult (inauthentic, difficulties in transfer etc.)
4)      ‘what it takes to learn’ provides short summaries of learning theories (behaviourist, associative, cognitive, experiential, social constructivism) with emphasis on learning concepts, constructivism (feedback counts) and collaborative learning. The first explanation of a part of Laurillard’s ‘conversational framework begins in this chapter.

5)      ‘what it takes to teach’ then takes us through the important factors that influence the design of teaching. The principal factors influencing students (as per chapter 3 – motivation, knowledge and skills, personal goals and needs; teachers (in chapters 2 and 4 – credits / qualifications, course aims, intended learning outcomes, topics) and the teaching / learning activities that bring students and teachers together to contribute to ‘actual’ learning outcomes. A table (5.1) summarises principles and strategies to guide teachers actions that will align goals, activities and assessments; monitor alternative conceptions; scaffold theory based practice; foster conceptual knowledge development; and encourage metacognition.
6)      ‘motivating and enabling the learning cycle’ details the ‘conversational framework’ and sets out the way in which the framework may be used to analyse formal learning to assist learning. The ways teachers, peers and learners communicate through the use of technology described with guidelines on how to enhance the ‘conversational’ collaborative process. Also introduces the five approaches to learning – acquisition, inquiry, discussion, practice and collaboration – further extended in the next 5 chapters.

7)      ‘learning through acquisition’ concentrates on the concept that teaching  through ‘narrative representation’ using appropriate digital technology. The content becomes a ‘story’ that students have to become familiar with. The chapter also introduces the concept and process for capturing pedagogical patterns - which are like an ‘enhanced’ lesson plan, mapping activities to the ‘conversational framework’.

8)      ‘learning through inquiry’ is seen to be a more active form of learning than ‘learning by acquisition. Students can be more directed to ‘follow their own story line’. Technology provides a wide range of resources for students to search through and access. The chapter provides a good overview and guidelines for putting ‘inquiry-based’ learning into practice.

9)      ‘learning through discussion’ follows on from chapter 8. Students ‘story line’ is extended by the opportunity to have discussions with teachers, other students, experts in the field etc. This is the area in which technology contributes the most affordances. The pedagogy of discussion is summarised with the need to scaffold all form of discussion (peer, synchronous, asynchronous).

10)   ‘learning through practice’ is where the learner applies learning through acquisition, inquiry and discussion, to ‘doing’ or ‘experience’. Situated and authentic learning using goal orientated activity supported by meaningful feedback is recommended. The challenges of practice-based learning within formal education contexts are discussed. Technology use includes simulation, virtual worlds, adaptive tutoring, role plays and games and immersive environments.

11)   ‘learning through collaboration’ is differentiated from learning through acquisition, inquiry and discussion by the point that in learning through collaboration, the learner contributes to the process of creating knowledge (content).  Learning activities include ‘peer modelling’, ‘cognitive elaboration’ and ‘practice with one another’. Teachers’ roles are detailed. Digital technologies of use for collaborative learning include wikis, collaborative discussion, collaborative ‘construction environments’ (f2f or virtual).

12)   The last chapter ‘ teaching as developing pedagogical patterns’ brings the various ideas that have been discussed through the book. Teaching as a design science requires: teachers to continually work at improving practice; use learning design based on designing and testing improvements in teaching practice; build on the work of others; and share their practices, outcomes achieved and how these related to design. Examples of how to construct and adapt ‘pedagogical patterns’ are provided.

Overall, the book is a very good overview of the current higher education sector thinking on teaching and learning.  The need to adopt a design approach to teaching practices argued through the book, with each chapter flowing well into the next. It is very much a ‘how to’ manual on applying design science principles to teaching practice. The how and why of ‘pedagogical’ patterns is introduced and explained.

The book is by no means an ‘easy’ read. Carefully working through the book’s entirely will yield many concepts for reflection.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Spotlight on Tertiary teaching and learning from 14th June - videos now available

Videos of most of the presentations from the June 14th event  are now avaiable on the Ako Aotearoa website via the event page.

Good opportunity for me to catch up on the presentations made in the 'learning centred teaching' stream which I missed out on as I was chairing and presenting in the other parallel stream on ' technology enhanced learning'. A good resource as each video encapsulates the on-going work made by educators to improve learning for students.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Keynote on 'learning through practice' - Professor Stephen Billett

Came across this presentation on youtube, uploaded October 2012. Professor Stephen Billett's keynote at a seminar at the University of Paderborn in Germany for their Department of Wirtschaftspädagogik (Centre for Vocational Education and Training).

The presentation is titled 'Towards an account of learning through practice: Traditions, practices and potentials' with some overlap with keynote at AVETRA this year. However, a few important and relevant points to note.

The presentation begins with brief overview of the historical record on learning at work and through practice.

Billett argues for the need to identify opportunities for learning to take place – the pedagogically rich experiences – eg. nurses’ ‘hand-over’. If we study the principles of what makes this activity high learning and  how it is afforded, then there may be some transfer of these principles to other activities.

A note that personal epistemologies also important -  learners' agency, based on their knowing, beliefs and acts they use (listen, engage, deliberate practice)

Practical learning takes place through imitation (mimesis), observations, ontogenetic ritualization, active engagement and construction (‘stealing’ apprehending knowledge). Again learner needs to assent to wanting to become and be ready to capitalise on learning opportunities.

 Recommends – need for science of practice that  goes beyond educational science. Learning through practice premises made accessible by drawing on a range of explanations, dimensions of curriculum, pedagogy and personal epistemology. Includes need to also recognise particular cultural, societal and situational factors. 

Therefore the dimensions of personal and social interact and cannot be easily separated. Practice-based learning, especially when it takes place in the workplace, will always be complex. Individual workplace contexts add to the difficulty with imposing a 'one size fits all' curriculum. Individuals and importantly the workplace need to structure opportunities for learning that fits into the training needs of the organisation while still ensuring individuals affordances are availed.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mobile pedagogy - book summary

Disclaimer – I have contributed a chapter in this book.

Book summary of just launched book in the ‘advances in mobile and distance learning series’ published by IGI Global titled ‘mobile pedagogy and perspectives on teaching and learning’. The book is edited by Douglas McConatha, Christian Penny, Jordan Schugar and David Bolton (all based at West Chester University , Pennyslavia, USA) and contains 15 chapters collected into 3 sections.  Brief summary of each chapter below:

Section 1: Current demonstrations and developments in the field of mobile pedagogy

1) Towards a mobile pedagogy by Scott. E. Hamm, Jason, Drysdale and Diana Moore. This chapter reports on the uptake of mobile learning at Abilene Christian College through a range of projects including students’ access to pre-lecture resources on mobile devices; distance learning / remote teaching using mobile devices; introduction of ipads and its impact on the college’s LMS; use of Twitter; audio as alternative to text-based feedback; and using games. Koole’s framework to study the device (useability), social (social technology) and learning (interaction technology) aspects was used across the various projects to evaluate the various projects and form recommendations to improve mobile learning implementation.

2) The second chapter ‘ student development of E-workbooks: A case for situated-technology enhanced learning (STEL) using net tablets’ by Selena Chan with Katrina Fisher and Peter Sauer (Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology), an extension of our project for Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub. Basically, leveraging off affordances of mobile and situated learning with constructivist and multimodal / multi-literacies focus to deploy net tablets (ipads and toshiba thrive android OS tablets) for students to develop their own workbooks or to complete competency based assessments.

3)  Podcasting and pedagogy also from a New Zealand author, Ross Kendall (Wintec, Hamilton, NZ). Uses Engestrom’s expansive activity model to assess the efficacy producing podcasts. A small group of sociology students (level 5) interviewed experts (on sustainability). The students then consolidated their learning through a project to report the outcomes of their interviews, including how they planned , carried out and conducted the sessions.

4) Then a chapter on ‘communities of communication: using social media as medium for supporting teacher interpersonal development’ by Laurie Stone Rogers.  The chapter discusses potentialities and recommendations for various stakeholders (community, administrators, policy makers, teachers, teacher educators and educational researchers). In particular, to encourage the use of social media to provide teachers with the opportunity to overcome isolation, feelings of loneliness and lack of community. In so doing, to improve teachers’ support as they work through an ever challenging time of change.

5) ‘ebook readers for everyone: FATIH project, is from Turkey with Nilgun Ozdamar Keskin, Furat Sarsar and Michael Sean.  A good overview of the historical evolution of ebooks, their advantages and limitations. The chapter also provides a review of recent ebook projects from around the world and then details the FATIH project, the largest educational technology project in Turkey covering 40,000 schools and launched in 2011 to run through to 2014.

Section 2 has 5 chapters on the themes ‘research, theory and practice with mobile pedagogy in differentiated instruction’.

6)  Mobile learning for all: accessibility considerations for mobile pedagogy by Luis Perez and Ezzard Bryant (University of South Florida). Introduces the concept of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and it’s key principles to make digital resources accessible to all. A degree of flexibility is recommended to cover the myriad contexts of modern technology use. The UDL support of iOS and Android OS are then summarised. Case studies of application of UDL to challenge based learning, including apps used to help students participate in learning activities (brain storming, reflection, data collection, presentation, project management and collaboration) are provided. A good chapter to inform ‘disability’ support services in the education sectors and beyond.

7) Mobile learning applications and differentiated instruction with Shelley A. Jackson, Sharla Snider, Nicole Masek and Joanne Baham (Texas Women's University). Differentiated instruction is defined as being based on teachers being able to adapt instruction to student differences. Examples are provided of implementation of differentiated instruction through instructional groupings, multiple levels of kinds of materials and tests, learning assignments, assessment and evaluations.

8) Then Terese Cumming (University of New South Wales, Australia) continues the theme on ‘does mobile technology have a place in differentiated instruction’. Presents the advantages and challenges of using mobile technology in classrooms. Recommends the process of implementing differential instruction through planning, selecting appropriate ‘content’, undertake processes for teacher planning, contextualise according to ‘product’ (problem based learning, layered curriculum rubrics) and learning environment.

9) Ann Orr and John Conley (Eastern Michigan University) write on ‘mobile technology and differentiated learning: meeting the needs of students with significant disabilities’. This chapter covers assistive technologies and how tablets, with their intuitive interface, variety of access options and possibilities for individualisation offer opportunities for enhancing learning for students with disabilities.

10) M. Liu, C. Navarete, E. Maradiegue and J, Wivagg (University of Texas -Austin) close the section with a chapter on ‘a multiple-case study examining teachers’ use of Ipod touches in their pedagogical practices for English-language learners’. An overview of mobile learning applications that assist English language students with case studies of 3 US of A schools. The challenges of incorporating the technology are discussed along with solutions and recommendations.

Section 3 covers ‘implications and innovative applications of mobile pedagogy.
11)  New demands of reading in the mobile internet age are covered by Byeong-Young Cho and Lindsay Woodward (Iowa State University). Covers the changes on-screen, web-based, small screen and digital / multimedia content impacts on learning reading. The change in how information is presented changes our ‘textual landscape’ and our textual conceptions need to learn higher-order strategies to identify, understand and evaluate web based resources. Recommends reading strategies required to deal with the mobile internet context include being able to constructively and responsively read; realise and construct potential texts; identify important ideas and learning across multiple texts; monitor the process of selecting and understanding texts; and evaluate different aspects of text.

12)  Then ‘iteach literacy with ipad devices: preparing teachers for effective classroom integration, with Diane Santori, Carol Smith and Heather Schugar (West Chester University). Two case studies are presented to discuss the many challenges and potentials through introducing ipads to pre- and in-service teachers for literacy instruction.

13) ‘Journalism and media: From mellowed pedagogy to new mobile learning tools’ is covered by Pamela Walck and Yusuf Kahyango (Ohio University). Studies how mobile technology has changed the way media organisations have changed the way they operate and contrasts to the uptake and deployment of mobile technology in a university preparing undergraduates to work in journalism. Media professionals have been rapid adopters of mobile technology and teaching institutions struggle to keep up with the range of methods now possible.

14) An African example with Mawuadem Koku Amedeker (University of Education, Ghana) with ‘stuck in neutral: why technology hasn’t made major inroads into education in Ghana’. Reports on efforts in Ghana to introduce technology into schools, stymied by lack of professional development support to teachers. Recommends ensuring teachers are ready to integrate ICT into learning before launching hardware focused initiatives.

15) Last chapter a pertinent ‘an ROI Ed-Biz approach for deploying mobile pedagogy with Professor Douglas McConatha. Introduces the CADRE model to evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of introduction of technology into education.

All in a coverage of mobile learning potentialities through real case studies. Of interest is that many of the projects use tablets as the mobile device. Teacher capability also mentioned in many chapters. Without teacher buy-in and understanding of the pedagogical implements of introducing / deploying technology enhanced learning (TEL), the promise of TEL to contribute to educational change (for the better) will never be fully realised.