Monday, December 19, 2016

Review of 2016

This year has been rather hectic. There have been ‘peaks and troughs’ throughout the year. As most of my work this year has been focused on getting new or re-developed programmes ready for approval, deadlines have led to times of intense activity, bracketed by less busy weeks. The less busy ‘programme development’ free weeks have been devoted to drafting articles and prepping up for an Ako Aotearoa funded National project to begin next year one-assessments.

Much of my work this year has been to shepherd a degree through the programme approval process. The work will now continue into next year as the programme moves into generation of teaching and learning plans.

The beginning of the year was busier than usual as two of us ‘established’ educational developers assisted new staff into the fold. We inducted and mentored four ed. devs. brand new to Ara and one shifting sideways within Ara. Each of the new educational developers bring with them strong skills and add much needed expertise to our team. My objective has been to nudge out their strengths so that we are able to leverage off these. We also now have an ongoing ‘professional development and learning’ programme for our entire team. This will assist all of us to gain skills and expertise in ‘new’ areas of learning and add to our overall capability. It has been good to have a larger team to work with and I have learnt much from the collegial and collaborative work environment.

‘Research’ has revolved around two evaluative type projects. Both were small and provided information to the wider Academic Division team as to how to proceed with use of technology and the connection of tutors’ research to their curriculum and teaching development.

Publication (see here for updated list) has proceeded as planned with two journal articles published. Currently there is another one in the review and a book chapter in press. The book chapter includes contributions from 5 other Ara staff. I have a couple of articles now in draft and will work through them through the summer, ready for submission early next year. The publication cycle will see these published end of 2017 or into 2018.

Looking forward to some R & R over the Christmas and New Year with a trip up to Nelson to complete most of the great taste bike trail and a foray up to Mount Arthur to continue by learning of alpine plants.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Pecha Kucha presentations - Ara Department of Humanities

Organised by Libby Gawith, chair of the Humanities department research committee. These short show and tell sessions are popular with our tutors at Ara Institute of Canterbury. Presentations are over lunch time with each presenter given 6 minutes to provide an overview of their work. Some of the presentations are based on just completed Diploma in Tertiary Learning and Teaching (DTLT) projects which are based on practical strategies to enhance learning for students.

Andre de Roo from Engineering trades presented on  taking tec to the coal face based on work undertaken as his last DTLT project on programme development. Rationalised through needs of industry with lean manufacturing and CAD / CAM controls, robotic workshops and 21st century pedagogies with needs for deeper learning. Class set of tablets had logistical issues. Created covers and used onenote class notebook in welding classroom to help learning. 

Louise Sheppard  reported on trialling an e-book version of a course textbook within context of anatomy and physiology. Presented rationale, details of the ebook, costs and principles. Ebook comes with a ‘learning space’ which is a trimmed down LMS revolving around the book. Able to select / hide / structure text book, assign reading week by week (and see learning analytics on this), includes quizzes, multi-media content, book-marking etc. Students also able to like, comment, interact and post picture, videos and links.

Adrian Blunt spoke on the concept of "great expectations". Overview of his study leave over this semester whereby he explored the relevance of the work of Professor Jo Boaler – on math mindfulness and Professor ChristineRubie-Davies (Auckland University) on high teacher expectations.  Teachers with high expectations had equitable classrooms, did not lose sight of individuals, encouraged goal settings, effective feedback and communication between students and teachers. Challenged all to consider setting high expectations for our student.

Mary Brett-Kohistani presented on "the digital divide", part of her final paper on a MA with the topic of what is the digital divide and how does it apply to literacy. Especially what the implications for tutors. Have, can and will or nots. Digital divide is focused on socio-economical issues but also generational differences. So digital = access or ownership or not. Literacy = able or not yet able. Practitioners may assist to close the divide using social media aligned to needs of learners.
Ian Patterson – Peer assessment and feedback – reporting on his DTLT project – how to motivate students with lab work if model answers were published at the end of each week. Involved students through peer assessment, students had to figure out the answer and then provide feedback to their peers. Explained the logistics, challenges, some solutions and reflections. Took more time as tutor was the manager of the assessment process.

Hossein Askarinejad overviewed using BYOD in the classroom which was part of his DTLT project. Need to incorporate active learning through real / live practical activities along with BYOD to engage students. Provided an example whereby learning activity encourages students research article online, check against NZ standard and assess the various options. Summarised logistical needs – enhanced WiFI, charging stations, support for software / hardware and having backup available (shared tablets).

David Cooper  presented on Sound 3 M.A.K.E. – musical audio kinetic electronics which anchors his Year 3 course to assist students to learn the HOW and WHY behind their music theory and practice. Based on using Arduino and open source software to extend their parameters. E.g. connecting musician’s heart beat to musical composition. Encourages students to be innovative but within a budget to encourage sustainable practice.

Graeme Harris provided details of his project – Motorsport and how to also assist a group of Indian students on a block course to learn about engineering analysis. Provided background, the Indian context, the needs of the students – what they want to learn and how the course is structured / design to meet the student learning needs.

 Good to see progress in the various projects. Almost all projects have had some contact with our educational development team, with two projects being off-shoots or continuation of the tablet projects begun 3 years ago. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Innovating Pedagogy 2016 report

Via ignatia web, report on Innovating pedagogy for 2016 from a report by Open University and the Learning Sciences Lab, National Institute of Technology in Singapore.

A short (40+pages) report with following (out of 10 proposed) of relevance to eassessment project.
 - Learning through social media
- productive failure (i.e. learning thorough experience and from making mistakes)
- teachback (learning by teaching others)
- Learning from the crowd
- Learning through video games
- Formative analytics (developing analytics to help students improve)

The 2015 report is more traditional, advocating
- crossover learning (formal connected to informal),
- learning through argumentation,
- harnessing incidental learning
- context-based learning
- embodied learning

The 2014 report covered pedagogies now taken for granted e.g.
- massive open social learning
- learning design informed by analytics
- flipped classroom
- learning to learn
- dynamic assessments
- learning through storytelling
- threshold concepts

The older two reports advocate similar recommendations to the annual US of A Horizon reports. Trawling through the innovative pedagogy reports provide a good historical record of how pedagogy has shifted over the last 5 to 6 years.

We will need to mesh some of the above with the work on vocational education pedagogy. There are good synergies across the above and the work of Lucas, Claxton and Spencer. Summaries of the three pieces of work on this blog:

-vocational pedagogy
- remaking apprenticeships and
- practical guide to craftsmanship.

Plus also work from recent 'Learning a trade' project - learning as becoming by learning to do, think, feel and be within the NZ context of biculturalism for example with Maori trades training.

Each of the sub-projects in the eassessment project will integrate at least one if not more of the 'innovative pedagogies' and apply the recommendations from the various international and NZ vocational pedagogy studies.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Microsoft Classroom - interim thoughts

One of the platforms to pilot through a recently approved Ako Aotearoa National Project funded 'eassessment' project will be Microsoft classroom.

This platform was launched in April 2016 and currently in preview ( ie.beta ) mode.Microsort classroom requires access by students to Office 365 and allows teachers to to manage classes and assignment. It is different from OneNote and more akin to an LMS.

There is a website to learn how to use the platform.There is an overview video on syncing microsoft classroom to school data - 12.20 minutes long. In short, the platform allows for bringing custom office tools (OneNote, Word, Powerpoint, Sway etc.) to the classroom.  
The video covers  how the platform runs and overall the visual / user experience is similar to onenote class notebook layout. The process of how microsoft classroom integrates outlook, planner, has announcements, conversations, office mix, sway etc. and cassroom experience also over viewed.

Apps for iOS and Google are also available to smooth the path to BYOD.