Wednesday, April 27, 2016

ARA Institute of Technology - Staff day 2016

Ara Institute ofCanterbury was formed at the beginning of 2016 through merger of Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Canterbury (CPIT) and Aoraki Polytechnic. The name Ara was’ selected to reflect one of the objectives of the institute, to be a pathway for learners into initial work and continually beyond the attainment of the first tertiary initial qualification.

Today, the first staff day for Ara begins at 10am to allow all staff to travel to Christchurch from South Canterbury for the event.

The programme begins with the new Ara promotional video showcasing the Canterbury landscape followed by inspiring Te Reo welcome from Hemi Hoskins, HOD for Humanities. The chanting of Ara waiata is then completed. The MC John West who is Ara project director for organisational transformation follows with welcome, housekeeping and overview of the day’s objectives. An icebreaker activity to get to know each other in our assigned tables start off a busy day.
Jenn Bestwick, Chair of the Ara council and Kay Giles, Ara CE than officially begin the day with ‘a call to action’ and the viewing of a video ‘Ara – the Future starts now’. Jenn welcomed staff, now standing at 1100 permanent staff. She set the scene by providing background on formation of Ara, the two councils’ work on forming a shared agenda and some ideas for the way ahead. Importantly, advocated the need to embrace change and continual improvement to ensure our learners’ educational outcomes are met. Kay spoke on transforming tertiary education in the Canterbury region. She presented on background to assist with the thinking to contribute to the Ara strategic plan. We are about to complete transitional stage and move into the transformational stage (to June 2018) before we shift into a consolidation stage to end in 2020. Provided rationale of Ara vision and unpacked strategies identified to inform Ara going into the future. Provided list of transformation focus areas. Introduced Ara Te Kahui Manukura, the leadership team. Detailed the expectations for staff to engage with the transformational agenda – to understand Ara vision, provide input to strategic plan, consider the resources and capabilities required and start to plan actions that will take us there. Video of stakeholders from industry, community, local government and students providing views of Ara’s future trajectory. Strong call to assist with regional capability building through access to learning beyond the main Canterbury centres, for people who need upskilling while still at work. Byline – the future is everywhere.

Group work begins with group activity to provide suggestions and input into the drawing up of the new Ara strategic plan. The brief is to reflect on the challenges and opportunities of the future and for participants to use their imaginations and come up with creative ideas to contribute to the strategic plan. We are asked to pick two dimensions from customers, products, processes, engagement, capabilities and sustainability; think about and discuss and use some questions provided to come up with suggestions.

After lunch, an item from the Court Theatre Jesters to get thing moving along into the afternoon.

Then, Diana Law, Manager for Student Well-being introduces another group activity to work on Ara guiding principles. Here the activity is to think of three words that symbolise the principles, values, qualities and behaviours which will underpin our practice and ensure successful implementation of the strategic plan. Our group discuss various approaches and settle on aspire, relate and advance – to assist students to reach their aspirations through valuing relationships with them, industry and the community with the ultimate goal of advancing students’ capabilities.

Ara awards for 2015 are the presented for excellence in teaching in 5 categories with 2 winners in each:
New to teaching: Bernadette Muir and Kylie Short
Excellence in teaching through collaborative practice: Wendy Clarke
Excellence in teaching through integration of technology: Sue Deuchar, Mandy Gould and Steve Tomsett
Leadership in teaching and learning: Lee Ann Powell, Raewyn Tudor

Also organisational awards in the following:
Great Leader: Susan Woods
Star Player: Leonie Rasmussen
Team Player: Rimi Ellis and Marion Peawini
Sustainability: Pacific trades for Christchurch pilot project (Villi Burrow, Mick Cooke, John Kerrigan with David Dixon and Mark Hamilton)
Congratulations to all.

Friday, April 22, 2016

AVETRA day two

AVETRA 2016 day 2

Day begins with keynote from Associate Professor Ruth Schubert who is associate director from LH Martin Institute, with presents on quality teaching in VET. Contents teaching as a skill / craft needs to be taught. Quality teaching is therefore requires support and should be founded on good teacher development. Provided Australian background and summarised June 2015 report on investigating quality teaching in the Victoria VET sector. Evaluated a range of national and international frameworks and decided to develop customised framework focused on teaching and assessments. John Hatties' visible learning principles also integrated. Draft report with Department of Education and a preview of 12 capabilities contributing to the framework. 

Two concurrent sessions follow.
I select to attend one on achieving agreement on competence: collaboration in assessment of apprentice performance with Berwyn Clayton from Victoria University. Reported on work undertaken in 2 NCVER funded projects in competency progression and completion : how is apprenticeship in three trades ( 2015) and industry currency and professional obsolescence : and what can industry tell us (2013). Found connects and disconnects between teachers, workplace supervisors and apprentices with each having different views on what is required, what roles each plays, the language of training and assessment and expectations. Recommendations include developing shared understanding and maintaining open and ongoing communication about training, assessment and decisions. 

Then with Susanne Francisco from University of Technology Sydney on work based learning of novice VET teachers : creating a trellis of learning practices one of the outcomes from her PhD. Provided rationale of topic and covered the theory underpinning model. How, what they learn. Used Kemmis et al (2014) practice architectures on cultural discursive arrangements, material economic arrangements and social political arrangements. Studied relations around the practice that supports learning (PSL).  Connections or divergences can be drawn up to form trellis of practice to reveal which areas require greater support. Nodes include using well prepared resources, interacting with colleagues, informal mentoring, interacting over smoko, team teaching, co-teaching, collaboratively developing assessments or materials, etc. visual of the trellis useful in unravelling the complex nature of learning how to teach by teaching. 

Following are three workshops on research to select from. I attend one presented by Chris Corbel, Leo Gregorc and Kira Clarke on research into multichannel outputs. The workshop focused on how to disseminate research in scholarly, opinion and social media platforms. Need to establish where you want your work to have impact? Channels are scholarly, practice based, public and social media. Work shopped how can social media support dissemination, op-Eds and pitching and scholarly outputs for your thesis. 
Leo presented on Using social media to develop a personal learning network. Design a PLN to suit your needs. Many tools but which one to select? Check out using social media to share research. Hoot suite as a social media dashboard allows syndication of news across your social media platforms. 
Kira workshopped commentary and translating your research into op-ed. (the conversation) to reach practitioners and policy makers. Perhaps target publication you currently read and learn how genre written to prepare. Try to have one page and one idea per paragraph with one concept across entire article. Workshopped In pairs to write a pitch for an article. Encouraged to write proactively and bear in mind you are writing for a lay audience. Use op-ed to promote forthcoming publication or to curate available data. Final statement must reinforce your message and if online, put strong statement just above social media button. 
Chris covered scholarly outlets for disseminating post thesis research. 

After lunch I present on using video to assist with the learning of the sociomaterial aspects of trades work. Covered learning a trade through individual constructivist learning, sociocultural relationships and interaction with the materials, tools, machines etc. AND how videos may assist and their pros and cons. 

A panel convened to discuss putting Vet research to work: motive means and opportunity. panel convened by Hugh Guthrie and panel of Megan Lilly, Peter Hurley, Michelle Circelli, Michele Simons, Peter Noonan, George Mykonos and Robin Shreeve. Began with establishing definition of VET research and meandered through perspectives on what Putting research to work, means. 

Conference closes late afternoon with possibility of next conference being hosted in Melbourne.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

AVETRA 2016 Day 1 afternoon

After lunch, Keynote with Chris Robinson who is Chief Commissioner on quality in the VET sector with specific reference and perspective from the regulator, Australian Skills Quality Authority, ASQA. Reassurance as to overall effectiveness of VET but media tends to pick on bad news stories. over 85% satisfied from students and employers over many years. Only 10% of training organisations have had accreditation cancelled since 2011. Applications to set up RTO have 15% refused and 6% refused re-registration. Assessments seem to turn up almost all the time when RTos are non-compliant. 

Fourth keynote of day with Dr. Damian Oliver with Employers' understanding the role of qualifications: the search for evidence. Used a range of tools. Employer surveys to find out why qualifications used and which ones. Document survey of awards for connections between qualifications, job roles and pay rates. For occupations without awards, analysed enterprise agreements. Student / graduate views from graduate surveys on whether quals. Needed. Relationships between VET enrolments and immigration patterns. From employers NCVER survey, 1/3 have jobs requiring quals. Usually due to legislative or licensing requirements, maintain professional standards and skills required for work And 3/4 satisfied with Voc. Quals. (2005 - 2015). Covered limitations from using surveys and why document study may reveal behaviours rather than attitudes. For awards, 1/3 had no reference to qual. 1/3 had one classification and most fall in between across 122 awards. Similar proportions in enterprise agreements studied. From migration stats, no consistent relationship between skills immigrating into Australia and completion rates from VET. 

Short session from Anne Szadura from Australian Council of Dean's in Education on function of the organisation. 

Short speed dating sessions follow with short 5 minute presentations across 30 minutes. Topics include: VET leadership training through public value theory with Jill Hadley from University of South Australia, Gary Balderson and William Blayney from Central Queensland University on point of sale training voucher hand held tools, Anne Bowden from TAFE NSW on reflective research, Ruth Walker from Independent Assessment Validation on validation and quality, and Leo Gregrkc fro VET Development Centre on  7 virtues of elearning design. 

After afternoon tea, I attend Dr. Melinda Waters From TAFE Directors Australia presentation on unravelling the innovation paradox in VET. Defined paradox as the intersection between two or more antagonistic sets. Australian VET has policy for VET to be central to economic development but practice is about meeting regulatory requirements and founded on competency based education / training. To unpack, drew on McGregor-Wise (2009) the received, contextual and articulated view. Used these three to explain teaching / learning and innovation. E.g. Received = behaviourist or cognitivist, innovation is linear ; contextual = constructivist, innovation is social process; articulated = rhizome learning, innovation is process of translation, multiple articulation and emergent. 4 studies using articulated view found teaching practice to be messy, politicised, relational and non linear. Innovative work is therefore spatial boundary work, affective work balancing work and had critical practices. 

Then with Dr. Steven Hodge and Dr. Ray Smith from Griffith continue theme of innovation with paper on conceptions of innovation among VET staff, students and placement host staff. Reported on phase 1 of a NCVER project on the contribution of student placement process to innovation in host firms. Lots of validation of WIL working well for students but less on impact on firms. There is recent mid 2000s literature on knowledge and technology diffusion with VET serving as vehicle to bring high levels of skill, knowledge and technology to firms (Pickerskill & Edwards, 2005; Toner, 2007). Defined innovation as the development, introduction or implementation of signficantly improved good, services or processes. Findings summarised from f2f semi structured interviews with 13 employers, 10 RTO staff and 7 students. Distilled conceptions of innovation as difference is valued, ceaseless striving, harder, better, faster, stronger - improvements are measurable, imagination and thinking part of the process, market orientation and integrated / cooperative collaborative effort. Considerations on innovation include sites, source, orientation, realisation, substantiation and distinction.  

AVETRA AGM and conference dinner close a very busy day. 

AVETRA conference Day 1 morning

AVEtRA 2016
Day one morning

At the annual AVETRA conference over the next couple of days. 

Day begins with a welcome to country from Uncle Ray Davidson who provided an overview of the area and conference opening from AVETRA president Michelle Simon providing background and setting the scene for newbies to the conference.

First two keynotes start off the conference, setting the scene for the themes - putting VET research to work. Firstly, Professor Joe Lo Bianca from University of Melbourne presents on - collective writing of language and literacy policy, initiatives in peace building in SE Asia. Aim of the presentation is the link between inter generational social capital and outcomes and role of social cohesion, social capital, inclusion and social mobility in establishing a way forward. Summary of 2012 report on social cohesion. Presented two cases, Myanmar and Thailand. Presented collaborative research on sustainable peace building , recognition, representation. Reconciliation and redistribution. With recognition and representation as drivers of conflict and reconciliation and redistribution as legacies. Provided examples of educational intervention in each peace building phase. Very interesting approach used in Myanmar from 2013 on 'writing' the policies to help country move forward in rebuilding access and system of education. Based on shared 'constitution' to write policy based on models from other countries, structured process, shared ideology and priorities. Reports at unicef

Second keynote from Peter Noonan from Mitchell Institute Victoria University on investment in VET, past present and future. Part of a series on tertiary education financing - http:// purpose of paper to establish fact and information base on VET funding system, issues with VET shared funding model, current state of play and future options. Australian centric with some learning for NZ context. 

After morning tea, concurrent sessions begin. I attend session in apprenticeship stream with Dr, Don Zoellner from Charles Darwin on fixing problematic apprentice systems, never a clean slate. Used Foucault as base for interpretation. Shortcomings of apprenticeships via recent study by Wolf 2015 and NCVER. Include mismatch between funding and labour market needs, dominated by major vested interests, public payments to providers, decrease in apprenticeship, increase in age of apprentices, misconceived Voc ed policies. Explored why although UK and Australia similar as per the two reports, both countries have evolved different systems. Propose historical and political realities as cause. Recommends 'new public management' system where path dependency determines who sits where depending on policy / programme decisions / power. Introduce training market and provider choice, wider number of apprenticeships, continual tinkering on who pays. 

Then, with Dr. Steven Hodge and Dr. Tim Mavin from Griffith and Dr. Suzanne Kearns from University of Waterloo in Canada on differentiating the relevance of CBT to occupations in the aviation industry. Competency based Education in Aviation recent book published. A range of occupations with some deemed to be more suitable for CBT. Why some and not all, and why these occupations? Some occupations e.g. Pilot training mandated by international agreements and standards through International Civil Aviation Organisation. CBT CBE tends to be 'accepted' as the method but no research on effectiveness. Research study interviewed all occupations globally. Proposed study of complexity of tasks and to evaluate if CBE suitable. Tipping point when competency not possible to be detailed. Implications to VET of Competency standards not suiting all occupations, qualifications and levels. 

Next up, Professor Sarojni Choy, from Griffith with Dr. Christina Hong and Dr. Anna Daniels TAFE Queensland on a critical participatory action research framework to improve VET practice. Used a model used with teachers to introduce CPAR to VeT teachers. Needed to adjust to allow for complexities and challenges related to VET teaching. Case example of work integrated using CPAR for a renewal, appraisal and change project. Goal to change social practise by changing what stakeholders thought, practitioners did and results expected. Build an understanding about how things are done, and influence on the thinking, saying, doing and relating. Anna provided example of deploying tablets  - iPads and iTunesU into blended learning English learning context. Reports from projects on TAFE Queensland site. 

Then, Dr. George Myconis, Stephanie Yung and Luke Swain from Brotherhood of St. Lawrence on factors enabling entry into and engagement with VET for young, early school leavers. Reported on preliminary findings from Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. Centered on finding out young people's experiences from intention to enrol, through to level engagement and completion. Used an alternative approach that Views engagement as part of a dynamic process and explores micro and macro factors. Framework used via family support sector - McCurdy and Daro, 2001. How Individual, provide, programme and neighbour factors impinge on intent to enrol, enrolment and retention. Individual factors more importNt at enrolment but programme and family more significant in retention. Decision making process detailed based on Bandura,s social cognitive theory and Ajzen 1991 theory of planned behaviour. Factors include self efficacy and cost benefits. From these, key themes for each factor drawn up and survey questions developed for intermediaries and young people. 

A busy morning with many items to work through. A few to follow up with regards to present and future work. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Nature of work - now and into the future

As a follow on from posts over the last month, here is another viewpoint - from American sources of the future of work from knowledgeworks. An overview of knowledgeworks details their objective, to assist school and communities by providing innovative tools, training and assistance to prepare students for the future. The knowledgeworks take on future of education is summarised in their 'exploring the future education workforce' report. Knowledgeworks is also connected to vibranted which connects institutions to educators. The list of jobs and their descriptions currently advertised, makes for interesting reading. Jobs include micro-credential analyst, pop-up reality producer, data steward, competency tracker, social innovation portfolio director, learning pathway designer, learning journey mentor, learning naturalist.

There has been a great deal of ink used to argue the point of preparing students for the future. Some countries mandate introduction of 'coding' into the school curriculum. The way things are going, computers should be able to write programmes to control themselves in the not too distant future. What we need are not coders, but people who can 'read' code, see implications to humanity and modify. So we need people who are creative, with strong ethical foundations and a BROAD education to be able to see the socio-economical-political implications of their actions. There may therefore be 'less' work but the work will be more challenging. Ensuring education assists to prepare everyone for the future is therefore now, even more important. There is space for 'specialist' technical skills but also need for people who 'manage' to be able to solve problems as 'critical thinkers' with a social conscience.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Changing nature of work

As a follow up from the last post, I have summarised some of the NZ links / articles coming out of the Labour Party conference on the Future of Work. A range of options and discussion papers is on the site along with one focused on impacts to education with a case study from Denmark included. The NZ media have latched on to one option - that of a Universal Basic Income for all NZers. There is a supportive article in the Huffington Post providing international background to the UBI. A counter is recorded in the local media from Labour Leader on UBI shows tentative exploration at this stage, so not something to become too excited about yet.

There are some 'repeats' of various policies / discussions from the now disbanded Department of Labour report to the Goverment - 2008 report.

Suffice to say, the above is response to the growing number of opinions reporting the risks to current jobs through computerisation and technology. NZ context reflected in this article starting 46% of present NZ jobs threatened by 'robots'.

As educators, there is an need to find the balance between providing learners with 'generic skills' - some yet to be identified / defined, and the need to provide vocational education to prepare learners for a range of increasingly context-specific and specialised / skilled occupations. We really need to do some work towards 'signature pedagogies' which also prepare learners to be 'flexible'.