Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ako Aotearoa Academy Symposium 2015 - day 1

At this year's annual gathering of Excellence in tertiary teaching awardees held in Wellington over two days. Great to touch base with familiar people and to get to know the awardees from 2015.

Symposium opens with Maori welcome from Angus McFarlane, Kelly Pender with a special welcome from Dame Dr. Iritana Tawhiwhirangi. She shared her initial teaching experiences following on from teaching in the school with Sylvia Ashton Warner to the setting up of the total immersion schools in the 1970s. James Patterson welcomed everyone and provided overview of program and Amy Fitzgerald ran through housekeeping matters. 
Eric Pawson, currently academy president then welcomed the new members and members at the first time to the symposium. Committee members introduced. Tony Zaharic went through details of two days and logistical matters. James facilitated a welcome to new members. Alison then summarised role of academy and where it connects with other Ako Aotearoa functions. 

Dr. Karyn Paringatai presents on an approach she uses successfully to enhance student learning - nga kura huna o Te Po - the hidden secrets of the dark. Went through evolution of method, refining and evaluation. Then modelled the technique for all of us to learn a Maori song. Questions followed to better understand the concepts.  

After lunch, parallel sessions begin with two short sessions. I support Paul Robinson's presentation on "lateral speed" with Paul sharing his journey a chef and educator. An interactive session to celebrate life long learning. Paul summarised the themes encountered as he travelled a journey both physically and cognitively. Showed video made to complete his Bachelors in Culinary Arts centered around case studies of 3 chefs / bakers / restauranteur and their on going learning and entrepreneurship beyond the Christchurch earthquakes to re establish their businesses. 

Then with Warwick Murray on " virtually there? Transporting students to the field through music and images". Shared 4 ways to teleport students to the field while they are situated in a lecture theatre. Field work is preferable but expensive, time consuming and has inherent cultural and physical challenges. Transform and translate context, delivery and assessments to assist setting scene, activities and expectations. Examples are simulation e.g. Working in the governance of an imaginary country through interactive game followed by reflective practice. Strategies include music and images to set scene, writing songs and listening to songs, ge-ogs (small snippets taken using mobile, usually personalised so connects with students), and amalgamate various scene setting and digital resources into virtual field trips. Immersive virtual field trips final objective. 

A reflective session followed to unpack learnings from previous sessions. 

After afternoon tea, I facilitate a workshop on "using video to improve learning skills, knowledge and dispositions" with emphasis on the sociomaterial dimensions of learning. An interactive session where my assigned 1/2 hour ran to an hour. Good ideas generated by participants which I hope they will put into practice and report back next year 😀

Then a closing plenary for the day from Zoe Jordens on "an exploration of science lecturers' views on quality teaching in science at university". Opened with her experiences from scientist to becoming an educator and how the learning process has captured her interest and focus. Compared typical undergraduate science lab with workplace collaborative lab practice. Provided overview of her current PhD studio topic and overview of the Delphi method (specifically dissensus) used to collect data. Participants were Academy members teaching science. Findings indicate themes of relevance,motivation, understanding the scientific process and variety of ways to deliver assist how students learn science. Variety of ways include doing science, working with scientists, observation and other supporters and sources to construct own knowledge. Quality teaching includes interactive teaching, connection, critical thinking, scientific ways of thinking, reflection and the NZ context. Approaches that prepare students well include authentic tasks, scientific ways of thinking and practicing,mrelationships with industry and inquiry based learning. Next phase of Delphi to analyse data from collection of responses from larger sample of science 'lecturers'. 

Dinner provides another opportunity to catch up and learn from each other. 

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