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.

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