Monday, May 27, 2013

Apps for learning at CPIT

Sam Hegarty our ‘star’ learning technology advisor and the library liaison team represented by Brian McElwaine and Meg Upjohn have been running a series of workshops at CPIT. One of the lunch time workshops centres around the use of apps for technology enhanced learning and the library’s session focused on using apps to find resources. All the sessions have been well attended.

Apps we introduce are mostly IOS but we have also started a list of apps that will run across all the various tablet platforms – IOS, Android and Windows 8. With BYOD, it is important we make things easy for tutors to use apps for learnable moments.

The main objective is to ensure that learning outcomes come up first and foremost in planning lesson sessions. With the maturity of iOS and tablet infiltration into classrooms across the education sector, a slew of blogs and sites recommend a large list of apps.Some with focuses on specific areas in educations like project-based learning, a list compiled through crowd sourcing, and higher education. There is also a good site that sorts apps into various categories like grade levels and learning purpose. 

As a way to filter through all the information a taxonomywheel (with iOS apps as examples) provides food for thought and a foundation for discussion during the session.

The apps presented include - in addition to ones noted previously include:

- Haiku deck – an alternative to keynote

- Coach’s eye (just over NZ$8.00) – annotation of videos

- Explain everything – similar to educreations but with a more mature user community spanning the school and higher education sectors.

Ones I have been playing with in the last few months include:
- Inspiration lite – mind mapping.

- Comic life (just over NZ$8.00)- used in our original mlearning / mportfolio projects using phones. This niffy app turns photos into cartoon strips. Insertion of speech bubbles etc. is intuitive and fun.

The library is moving into the use of QR codes. So introduced scan life for reading QR codes. The codes can be generated using Kaywa. Codes provide direct access to ebooks, emails to ask for more information or make suggestions and ease of access to websites with long urls.

The two readers recommended are Bluefire which is compatible with the ebook collections at CPIT library and overdrive for access to theChristchuch library’s extensive ebook collection. Both require membership accounts at each of the libraries to be able to access the e resources.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Deliberate practice in apprentice learning

‘Learning by doing it’ has been one of the most frequent ways of knowing coded from ‘learning a trade’ project interview transcripts. The literature is helpful with respect to practice-based learning, in particular, the literature on expertisedeliberate practice, the 10,000 hours rule and motor skills learning in sports.

Deliberate practice implies ‘knowing how to learn’. To be proficient at practising a motor skill means continual appreciation of what the body does, commitment to a regime of structured practice, diligence to work through repetitive practice, and reflective cycles to ensure each iteration of motor activity leads to small and sometimes significant improvements. Optimum deliberate practice also requires the learner to know when to seek assistance when required, work out whether to accept recommendations from coaches etc. along with know how to implement suggested improvement and also be attuned to ‘messages’ / feedback from tools, machinery, materials, ingredients etc. (i.e. socio-materiality).

The result is reflected in changes to learners’ muscular/skeletal and neuro-physical structures, leading to the merging of physical and cognitive motor skills learning. In essence, practice becomes embodied and merged into tacit knowledge frameworks.

To accomplish deliberate practice, the task to be learnt needs to be well-defined. Task performance feedback needs to follow performance and there is then opportunity to repetitiously practice the skill. In the ‘learning a trade’ data, the opportunities to engage in workplace tasks and to repeat tasks until learnt are readily identified. However, feedback is rarely mentioned. In some cases, feedback is only availed if the apprentice makes mistakes, so there is the outcomes from learning through making errors.

Motor skill learning in sports contributions several concepts. One is the need to support physical skill learning with mental imagery and the other is the use of analogy, instead of overloading the learner with copious verbal instructions. Therefore, motor skill learning through deliberate practice includes not only the need to practice in a reflective way but to also hone mental imagery and mental associative skills. ‘Learning by watching’ provides some of the models for mental imagery and coaching with the feedback triggers for on-going improvement of performance. The individual learner still has to be cognisant of all the various sensory inputs, advice from others and attuned to messages both from within themselves (the mental imagery etc. ) and surrounding their work tasks (the socio-materiality aspect). Guidelines for learners will need to include ways for them to become more metacognitive about how they approach the learning of practical trade skills.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Guided learning - coaching

Interim frequency analysis of the data from the ‘learning a trade’ project with apprentices reveal ‘being coached’ to be as high on the ‘ways of learning’ as ‘learning by watching’. Therefore, a need to do a summary of what ‘guided learning’ means in a workplace-based context. One comprehensive and relevant resource is chapter 5 (guided learning at work) from Stephen Billett’s 2001 book ‘Learning in the workplace: Strategies for effective practice’. Barbara Rogoff’s work, focused more on children learning, is also useful. Rogoff's  key reference is her book 'Apprenticeship in Thinking' which I have recently purchased second hand from Amazon and am working through. Both Rogoff’s and Billett’s work are informed by socio-cultural frameworks, premising that learning involves individuals and guides (trainers, mentors, supervisors, shift leaders, senior apprentices, peers etc.). Learning is also based on balancing the tensions between individual learning needs / trajectories and workplace organisational objectives (i.e. production). Guided learning goes through the steps of modelling, coaching, scaffolding and fading.

The newer socio-material approaches to understanding learning includes the socio-cultural frameworks and the many other factors that impact on/ influence learning – spatial, material, mechanical etc. I will be adding the socio-material influences into the project literature review but so much of socio-material learning is tacit. Apprentices, many struggling to articulate how they learn their trade, have alluded to socio-material influences although we have a few good examples.

Two categories of guided learning are proposed to be direct (as per coaching / mentoring) and indirect (learning by watching – i.e. Nielsen’s circumspection). If we re-analyse the ‘learning by watching’ and re-classify as either direct or indirect, we come up with half as learning by watching while being coached and half with learning by circumspection. So guidelines for both approaches need to be provided for apprentices and trainers/coaches.

For apprentices to learn and develop deeper understanding of work tasks, including some of the tacit and socio-material elements, strategies to use include questioning dialogues, diagrams and models and analogies. There is project data on apprentices 'learning by enquiry' and using sketches and plans. However, these strategies tend to be work or task driven, rather than something that every apprentice does in a particular trade. A more rigorous and deeper study will need to be made of each individual trade to sift out the salient learning approaches for each trade to identify 'signature pedagogies'

Monday, May 06, 2013

Cpit staff PD day - going forward together

All staff convene for a one day professional development event at the Wigram event centre. The day opens with a mihi and karakia from Hana O'Regan. Joe Bennett MCs the occasion and begins with a warm up keynote. Then Stephen Collins representing the CPIT council provided a short welcome and acknowledgement of CPIT's staff commitment over the course of the last few years. CE Kay Giles then provided overview of CPIT's efforts over the last few days and the need to go forward together. Reiterated need to move from teacher and content focus to student and learning focus. Individual learning plans, student led through virtual and asynchronous flexible delivery.

To set the scene, a keynote for Dominic Thurbon from chief creative officer from change labs. In times of change, we must identify and challenge our assumptions. Put forward 3 assumptions to challenge and provided examples / case studies (mainly from U S of A) of how those challenges were met. Assumptions included: what if knowledge was not valued? What is sitting down killed education? What if students took responsibility for their own outcomes?
Then a call for all to contribute to innovation through individual transformation and action.

All staff were then organised into groups to discuss how to best go forward. Each group convener then had to collate items discussed and put up on Yammer. Dom and Kay provided short summary of their group walk about while staff groups were discussing.

After lunch, video presentation from Mark Solomon. Call to raise the aspirations and qualifications of Maori and Pacifica. By 2050, over 50% of the NZ population will be Maori, Pacifica or Asian. Responsibility rests with our generation to play a part. Used the earthquakes as an example of how the community can pull together and the importance of keeping the sense of community.

The Loons contributed to the next session, with a series of displays (juggling and hoops) and practice and build up to a mass group activity session. The activity featured an action song - the 'hi ho hi ho, its off to work we go' song from the cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - and  a passing the parcel sequence. The scaffolding towards the final massed performance will be an interesting 'case study' for reflection in our teacher education courses :)

CPIT excellence awards were then presented by John Mote, CPIT Council member. Excellence in teaching practitioner awards were presented to Tracey Coulhart, Linda Mcketrick, Andrew Massie and John Morgan. Awards for emerging excellence in management award to Jann Lay and Michael Edmonds. Rising star awards for administrative staff went to Sam Hegarty and Mandy Jones. Sustainability awards to Heather Teage, the payroll team and the international admissions team. Excellence in management award went to Karen Te Puke.

Kay provided the summation presentation, thanking the Council and planning committee. In all, a good opportunity for bringing together the whole of CPIT and a bit of a reward for the many trials and tribulations over the last two plus years courtesy of the Christchurch earthquakes. The event reiterates that the institute as a whole is in good heart. All staff are keen to make a contribution, so it is important to provide conduits for crowd sourcing and to support innovative ideas that will make a difference. As Kay put it, we are a small institution but have been put into a unique position to contribute to the major NZ history making role of rebuilding our city. Therefore, Going Forward Together, is a apt slogan. CPIT's major challenge now is to continue on the work begun on Friday, to collate the many good ideas put forward by staff, to prioritise and action the ones that will make a difference to students (and staff) and to maintain momentum of continual improvement in trying times.