Monday, December 10, 2018

Npj Science of Learning Journal - article - Learning Strategies: a synthesis and conceptual model

As a follow up from last week's post, here is an article from the journal npj Science of learning, written by Professor John Hattie and Gregory Donoghue on Learning strategies: Synthesis and conceptual model. 

The journal is open access, so all articles are available for download online.The above article is in the first volume and issue (2016), setting the scene for future article from the journal which have a focus on applying the evidence from neuroscience, to practice in teaching and learning.

Back to the article which proposes a model of learning that is made up of various learning strategies at identified stages in the learning process. The model assumes three inputs or outcomes - skill, will and thrill; and three phases of learning as being surface, deep and transfer. As with all of Hattie's work, the model is based on meta-anaylsis of 228 students to identify effective strategies for learning.

The skill that learner's bring to learning is their prior learning / experiences. The will refers to learner 'habits of mind' and their willingness / resilience and persistence. Motivation is the factor the contributing  to the thrill whereby the learner is engaged with learning. As learning proceeds, learning progresses from surface to deep to transfer.

The authors advocate for learning how to learn to be embedded or integrated into all aspects of learner experiences. Divorcing the 'skills' of learning to learn and teaching these separately, dilutes the effectiveness. As humans, we always learning better when learning occurs in context. Situated learning occurs because of what the learner brings into the experience. It is more likely that skills, will and thrills are effective when learners are able to make the connections for learning when learning occurs within context. Vocational education has a major advantage in that most of the skills, knowledge and attributes learnt across vocational education is achieved within context. The challenge is to deepen learning for learners through assisting them to apply learning to learn skills which are relevant to their learning context.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Higher Education Learning Framework - report from Science of Learning research centre - Australia

Here is a report which is relevant to all forms of learning and should be required reading for all teachers. The report is put together by researchers from the Science of Learning research centre (SLRC) who are based at the University of Queensland and the University of Melbourne.

The report is titled 'Higher Education Learning Framework: An evidence-informed model for university learning'. Athough the context is higher education, there is much in the report which summarises the latest in educational research and neuroscience which are also relevant in other education sectors.

There is a summary of the matrix and an overview of the project as well.

The centre also edits a journal - Npj Science of Learning - which is worth a look through.

The report advocates seven themes that support learning. Each of the themes is then extended with an explanation. Then strategies for teachers and students are detailed to maximise the efficacy of these themes for each group. Strategies for assessment and the principle theories / literature review and a list of relevant references complete each theme.

The themes are:
- learning as becoming
- contextual learning
- emotions and learning
- interactive learning
- learning to learn and higher order thinking
- learninc challenge and difficulty
- deep and meaningful learning.

The report is particularly useful as each theme is summarised briefly and the strategies for teachers, students and for assessments, provide good pragmatic examples for follow through.It is not too long, and teachers can dip in and out of the report to mine the ideas for enhancing teaching practice.


Friday, November 30, 2018

Talking Teaching 2018 - DAY 2 morning


The day begins with a fishbowl session. Dr. Margaret Henley from the University of Auckland modelled and facilitated the process to ensure the fishbowl process works. The discussion was on whether the traditional links between Australia and NZ still exists. There was a ‘reflective’ whole group discussion on to identify the range of learning that had occurred for the participants in the fishbowl and outside of it, during the session. A good session on how a well-structured, mediated and supported learning activity works.

Parallel sessions in 5 streams then begin.

I attend Dr. Deb Hill’s (from Whanganui Learning Centre) workshop on ‘how to deepen thinking with a capital D’. Began with an activity to establish whether we considered where we considered ourselves as being shallow or deep thinkers. Introduced the concept of OG – open grade – as a way to encourage students to work through the first stage of a unfamiliar subject. Used the session to obtain feedback on a practical guide to plagiarism. Facilitated discussion on critical thinking and what it consists of – intellectually curiosity, well-read, checking and re-checking, analyse deeply and independently etc. Binaries – deep / surface – not necessarily a good way to approach the nuances of the concepts behind the binary. Introduced the concepts which enhance deep thinking bearing in mind knowledge is a ‘human construct’.

Then, a presentation with Associate Professor Trudi Cooper from Edith Cowan University on ‘engaging teaching, inspiring learning- Universities after Industry 4.0’. A sociological take on the effects of technology on education. Began with an overview of Industry 1.0 – 3.0 – mechanisation, mass production, computing and the knowledge economy. From machines assisting humans, to humans as extensions of machines and where humans manage machines. Industry 4.0 is the era of the internet of things, intelligent machines / robots etc. machines replace humans or machines manage humans. Presented on implications not only to education but to all other aspects of human life. Will it be utopia or dystopia? Postulated some challenges for education 4.0 – critical literacy to strengthen democracy; protect against influence of machines/robots; realise creativity and develop human potential’ strengthen ethical awareness; education for conviviality; meaning and identity (post work, post liberalism / post capitalism). Consequences include purpose change to curriculum; student motivation – greater influence, role of the teaching and implications on policy. Advocates higher education has to make sure humans matter, Barnett and Coate’s domain of being / becoming emphasised; re- emergence of older purposes for education – for the betterment of humans.
Last parallel session for the day, I join the Otago Polytechnic Batchelor of Culinary Arts teaching team’s fishbowl on – I make; therefore, I know – assessing cognitive and creative problem-solving using embodied performances of practice. Presented on the similarities between dance and cooking in a kitchen by using a video to introduce the concepts. The launched into a fishbowl to hammer out the concepts. Robust discussion on differences of embodied practice and the points at which ‘becoming’ can be assessed.

The symposium closes with a keynote from Emeritus Professor ofMaori Education, Russell Bishop from the University of Waikato on ’Teaching to the North-East’. Presented on several problems to be addressed. Equity and excellence in NZ secondary education project – Te Kotahitanga. There is no theory of practice that resonates with marginalised peoples; no real common code of practice or scaling; there is a plague of ‘good ideas’ that masquerade as evidenced-based (Sleeter, 2914); Most PD is effective, open to political positioning and focuses on peripheral rather than central concerns; teachers’ voice is heard more than students; culture is more often seen as customs and objects; rather than a medium of sense-making; leadership is often spoken in terms of actions rather than transformative leadership; and teacher deficit theorising. His work has been based on ensuring teachers establish relationships with learners to improve learner outcomes. Pedagogy is framed by strong relationships between teachers and learners – the discursive relationship model. Sustainability of the project across time is important. Funding tends to be across too short a time frame. Need to explore WHY, once initial funding is stopped, interventions peter out. There was limited capacity building which did not continue beyond the project once funding stopped. Led to limited integration of model across school programme. Model was seen to be too prescriptive. On the whole, there was a lack of collective efficacy to assist the on-going continuation. North East refers to the quadrant for high teaching skills and high relationships – but majority were in South West – high relationships and low teaching skills. Challenge is to ensure the North East quadrant prevail. New model needs to be relationship based leaders of learning profile. Need to create an extended family context in classrooms and schools; interact in ways that promote learning; monitor learners’ progress so that you can improve learning. Need to shift from language of deficit to one of excellence and potentiality.

A wrap up is undertaken by Dr. Angus Hikairo Mcfarlane from the University of Canterbury. Reiterated that we do not only talk teaching, by do teaching. Summarised, in his erudite style, his learnings, the highlights, thanked all the participants and organisers and reminded us of how the conference reflected the principles of the treaty - partnership, protection and participation. Challenged us to continue to live the principles as we leave the conference. 

A late lunch closes a busy but productive conference.

Talking Teaching 2018 - DAY 1 afternoon



After lunch, another round of parallel sessions.

First up, a session with James Oldfield from Unitec with ‘empowering collaborative learning through technology’. James used www.mindmeister.com as a platform and polleverywhere - pollev.com as a platform to obtain initial understanding of collaborative learning from the participants. Provided rationale for his approaches for creating ‘a living curriculum’ and his role in transforming teaching practices, spaces and tools at Unitec. Interactive activity to populate a mindmap on ‘collaborative learning’. Participants populated and discussed mindmap.

The support Lyn Williams from Ara Institute of Canterbury in her campfire session on ‘teachers observing teachers. Lyn introduces the process (the background, the why and how) and shares the presentation with the teacher observers, Mandy Gould (hospitality) and David Weir (computing) who share their perspectives. A discussion session ensued with regards to the items presented.

I then run my workshop on ‘e-assessments for learning – matching digital tools to enhance e-feedback’. Basically to try out templates for the development of aligned e-assessments for learning which support e-feedback.

The day closes with drinks and dinner, Professor Phil Bishop provides the dinner presentation with ‘how to survive in the jungles of Borneo with a bunch of undergraduate students’, music with Jane Nevis and there is the return of the academy quiz game. A late finish to a busy day. 

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Talking Teaching 2018 - Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium - DAY 1 morning

This year, the Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium  - Talking Teaching 2018 - is held at the University of Canterbury. There is a larger than usual gathering due to the event being held in a larger city and an influx of a number of Australian Learning and Teaching fellows.

Yesterday, was an academy only day. The various workshops and discussions centred around the role and impact of the academy and its members on quality teaching and learning. The day concluded with dinner with the Australian Learning and Teaching fellows.

Today and into tomorrow, the main symposium carries through.

The event begins with a mihi whakatau (traditional Maori welcome). Professor Charles Fleischmann who is on the conference committee provides us with the safety and housekeeping briefing. Following on there are welcomes from Professor Catherine Moran, Assistant Vice-Chancellor of the university and Professor Marc Wilson, president for the Ako Aotearoa Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

The keynote address is presented by Professor Juliet Gerrard, academy member and recently appointed as the Prime Minister’s ChiefScience Advisor, She presents on ’beyond the tyranny of content – reframing our teaching using inclusive practices and critical thinking as essential foundations for learners in the 21st century’. Covered the parameters of her new role; the context of a teacher; and the connection between the two. Her current role is to be a trusted, accessible bridge between scientists, society and government. Needs to provide advice on a useful timescale which is rigorous, inclusive, transparent and accessible (from Nature, June 2018 – four principles to make evidence synthesis more useful for policy). Objectives include shifting society to be excited by science; had advice that is distilled from a diversity of thought and approach; earn trust; be proactive; accessible and view science knowledge and approaches to increase opportunities. Summarised her journey as a teacher to shift from content-based to application in a context. From her portfolio, distilled learning as being a ‘coach’, coaxing students out of their comfort zone, and creating a room in which questioning is encouraged. Used demonstrations to engage students and then made use of situated / contextualised learning. Facilitated an interactive Q & A session to work through the main challenges in learning. The challenges were how to create learning environments that support students to constructively challenge everything (using creative thinking); and Inclusive learning.
Parallel presentations then being. There are 6 streams.

I select the ‘technology’ stream, which actually focusses on digital learning and assesments.
First up, Associate Professor Cheryl Brown and Niki Davis from University of Canterbury with – engaging students in blended learning – UC student perspectives. Presented work for the team which also included Valerie Sotardi and William Eulatth Vidal. Began with the difficulty of defining engagement. Although there is a lot of literature and engagement is on a wide spectrum. Resolved to investigate the students’ perspectives. On-line engagement even more difficult to track. Two items are presence and performance. For online – learning analytics are visible but can be misleading. Clicking on a reading etc. does not mean they will have read the paper! What about the invisible. Provided distance student’s viewpoints. Flexibility makes synchronous attendance onerous, especially if presence requirements are required (attendance, forum participation etc.). What is not visible is the reflective learning; peer communications through social media; physical meetings amongst some students; etc. How to bridge the gap between pedagogical design and students’ learning needs and strategies. Suggested ensuring there is space for students to interact with their peers; undertake their individual learning; and work out what works for them from a range of suggested ‘pathways’ from which they can select and be guided through.

Then, Associate Professor Selene Mize from University of Otago with her experiences with computer-based examining. Presented preliminary findings. Ran through reasons for adopting computer-based examining – learner preference; sustainability; occupational health and safety around ‘hand fatigue’; and unreadable writing. Essay based exams are inauthentic as lawyers will never discuss ‘quotations’ in writing at work. Covered potential advantages and disadvantages. Summarised some of the studies around computer-based exams including the aspect whereby written examinations seem to score lightly better than word processed scripts. Detailed the staff and student surveys – law, anatomy, surveying, info science, tourism, political science. Low numbers of students opted in! Presented responses on perceived advantages and challenges of writing vs typing.

Next up, Associate Professor Jo Coldwell-Neilson from DeakinUniversity with ‘digital literacy – a driver for curriculum transformation’. Context is ophthalmology – which is a ‘self-contained’ programme with all courses being compulsory. Defined digital literacy in this context. For example – the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers (Gilster, 1997) –which needs to be updated for the current and future needs. Shared work defining digital skills expectations – digital muggle 9none), citizen user to find info, communicate and purchase), worker (complex platforms) and maker (programmer). There is work from UK JISC (6 elements – ict proficiency, digital creation, problem solving, communication and collaboration, learning and development and info data and media literacies – building an identity and welbeing), Belshaw’s 8 Cs (cultural creative, constructive etc.) and Beetham and Sharpe’s pyramid (I have, I cam I do, I am). Another model from Ireland – www.allaboardhe.com
To assess digital literacy, needs to be in context, can be assessed if integrated well – where it is taught, applied and assessed. Need to match what is required – explicitly assessed when it is an implicit requirement but not ‘taught’ e.g. use video to communicate.

Followed on by Renee Stringer - hospitality lecturer from Otago Polytechnic on ‘assessing assessment – challenging the system by giving students agency to assess themselves’. A focus not only on competencies but to help them become better learners beyond the Level 3 food and beverage students. over 50% move on to further study but have had little experience with tertiary education. Introduced the need to shift students from a standards based system to taking ownership of their learning and assessment. Needed to encourage students to engage with the marking criteria and to develop learning to learning skills. Authentic assessment (practical) was followed by a reflective process to evaluate their performance. Based on Mason Durie's 3 Ws or Es. Whakapiri / engagement, whakamarama / enlightenment to achieve whakamana / empowerment. When through each part of the model. Whakapiri / engagement involves setting up boundaries, be flexible and student accommodating and be in a safe and supportive environment. Whakamarama / enlightment focuses on providing information that meets students' needs by working with the whole person - physical, mental, spiritual etc. This then provides for whakamana / empowerment to be achieved along with participation within society, the Maori worldview, enjoy positive relationships and become self-managing. Discussed challenges including time required to negotiate grades with students and written reflections being less rich than f2f interactions with tutor. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

ob3 - ocean browser 3 - examples of application

For several years now, the midwifery programme at Ara Institute of Technology, have used a platform called OB3 - or Ocean Browser 3 - to keep in contact with their students through a highly blended learning environment. There is an Ascilite paper from 2014, detailing the approach. A more recent 2017 Ascilite paper, provides examples from the opthamatrist programme at Otago University. At the moment, I am working with another programme to embed OB3 into their teaching. This programme will be highly blended as well and have a large amount of text based anchored discussions and learning activities. Approaches which match well with OB3's current capabilities.

Basically, OB3 works well with text based discussions because the discussions can be carried within the content, rather than separately as with other LMS. This ability to bring activities into the content, creates a seamless and user-friendly experience for both teachers and students. One drawback is that the webpages generated can become quite long, requiring scrolling through copious texts. One needs to be part of the whole discussion to be able to keep track of all the threads, springing forth from either teacher embedded questions, or from students adding discussion points through the document.

OB3 allows for quick upload of a range of content, including multimedia - pictures, videos and podcasts. Both teachers and students are able to upload and share these items. This process supports a co-constructivist form of learning. An important aspect is that students need to be scaffolded into the OB3 approach, otherwise, the content becomes overwhelming. However, if students participate through the process, they 'take ownership' of the content, leading to engagement and deeper learning.

OB3 allows students access to their content post-qualification. An eportfolio type add-on will be available next year.

Into the future, it will be good to stretch the capabilities of OB3 and to see how the concept can be applied to programmes which are less text rich.


Monday, November 19, 2018

Countering the rise of robots with "Work experience"

Following the theme across several blog posts this year, caught up with some of the drivers to extend university based learning beyond the 'ivory tower'. Stuff, in June, wrote about three in ten NZ jobs being automated in some way by 2036. Then a couple of articles on the role of work placements or work experience to help students fight the rise of machines and a today online article on the rise of  intelligent machines.

Then a megatrends report from infometrics for NZ with summary from NZ Herald. Basically, the quantitative data indicate the following trends:
economic – automation (31%  of jobs at high risk) – provincial and rural jobs – 44% low skill, 11% high skill; rise of China; need for government to become more hands on and to intervene.
Demographics – multicultural workforce – may worsen the socio-economic divide as low skill jobs tend to be concentrated in Maori and Pacifica populations; aging workforce; North Island northern population increase.
Education – online learning; bite-size learning; tertiary collaboration;


The general consensus to the perceived threat of automation, robotics, AI etc. on work is to ensure the human element trumps. People skill is the main delineator between us and technological threats. With the following summarised by fortune.com with the US of A as context for technology to created more jobs. However, there is a need for workers to have a good background in maths and science, have a life-long learning mindset and maintain curiosity.

This today-online article, summarises the thoughts of a few commentators on how to move onwards into the future. The main theme is the need to be continually flexible.

Leonard Mlodinov – elastic:flexible thinking in a constantly changing world. Some strategies include:
-          Order least popular dish on mehu
-          Start conversation with a stranger and listen to their perspectives
-          Regular challenges to develop curiosity.

Bradley Staats, - never stop learning: stay relevant, reinvent yourself and thrive
-          Write so that knowledge is codified
-          Spot problems that need attention, motivating change and address these problems

Jochen Menges – role of emotional intelligence

Rachael Chong – Catchafire – fear is the biggest reason we are inflexible.

Carol Dweck – growth mindsets - we can continually learn.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub Colloquium 2018


This is one of a series of colloquiums for projects funded by Ako Aotearoa. This one, is for the projects overseen by the Ako Aotearoa Southern hub. Notes from last week's colloquium of projects funded nationally can be found here.

The colloquium begins with a welcome from Dr. Joe Te Rito, Kaihautu matauranga Maori, Helen Lomax, director and Bridget O’Regan, Southern hub project manager. Jennifer Leahy MCs the event. Sessions run for 30 minutes with 20 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes for questions.

First presentation is with Stuart Terry from Otago Polytechnic on Student perceptions of student evaluations: enabling student voice and meaningful engagement. Questionnaire and student focus groups used to gather perceptions on the various evaluations used to gather students’ point of view on teaching and learning. Both Otago Polytechnic and Otago University second year degree students involved. The project still in early stages and follows on from another on teacher perceptions. The objective in the current project is to focus on the student experience to inform the future with an emphasis on enhancement over assurance. Provided overview, rationale and initial findings. Students often aware evaluation is important but do not know how the data will be used and are not aware of the affect. Initial findings – 95% have participated, 57% prefer online but 22% still prefer paper. 92% thought it was important to complete evaluations. Preference of 83% to evaluate each course and 82% feel there is an effect on quality but 94% do not see the results of the feedback!!

Then with Dr. Rob Wass and Dr. Tracy Rogers from the University of Otago with ‘mentor and peer observation to improve / enhance thepractice of casual, short-term teachers’. Short-term teachers play a important role but are often under-supported. Pilot of 6 tutors and 12 mentees participated from education, classics, management and the university college. Video (using a mobile phone) was used to record sessions of tutorials. These were used for reflective conversations which were audio recorded. Mentors and mentees came from different discipline area so that the emphasis was on teaching, not content. TurboNote used to annotate the video. The process and the evaluation was shared in the presentation. Focus groups with mentors and mentees (separately) was held. There was good interest and engagement through the project. Both mentors and mentees learnt from the process.

Followed on with, Work-active- supporting the ‘forgottenlearners’ in their journey to work' is a joint project with John Grant and Tracey Anne-Cook from Skillwise and Dr. Maria Perez-y-Perez from the University of Canterbury. This project works towards trialling a new teaching and learning approach for adult learners with intellectual disability. Shift to facilitated and learner centric focus to prepare learners within an internship based employment programme. Participatory action research project with disability support provider (teaching and employment support), employers (internship) and tertiary institution (teaching resources and research). Focus through the 12 week programme to develop soft skills including team work, communication, planning, taking initiative and problem solving. Data collected though focus groups and interviews, student learning diaries, workplace and class observations and the student presentations. Shared the programme details and initial findings.

The next 7 projects are from researchers at the University of Canterbury and Dr. Erik Brogt provides an overview and shared the strategic considerations for engaging with the fund. The academic development strategy is to utilise a distributed model of teaching development. The goal is to support good teaching and evidence based scholarship on teaching and learning. Discussed challenges including the work towards moving forward after projects end and increasing impact of the findings on teaching and learning.

The presentations from UC begin with Professor Lynne Taylor and Natalie Baird on ‘the making of lawyers: A longitudinal study’ which was also presented at last week’s Nationally funded projects colloquium. Provided greater detail as presentation time was longer. Study collected and analysed data from 4 universities from 2014 and running through 2019. Allowing for the tracing of students’ journey from 1st year to beyond graduation. Data also collected from employers. Provided an overview of the analysis of data from students who completed the surveys for 4 years. Intrinsic motivations remained stable across 4 years but after 3rd year, level of interest in pursuing legal career has dropped. Attendance high, increase of participation in active learning, less time spent and little change in self-study approaches. There was little f2f contact with teaching staff. Grades were consistently good, increased levels of confidence, workload was high and perceptions of knowledge and skills gained did not change. Reported on improving student experiences now put in place and plans for future. Programme and course learning outcomes reviewed. Student well-being plan in place. Changed assessment practices as much as possible within regulatory requirements. Staff development programme begun. Working on Council of Legal Education to make relevant changes. Next year, introduce a first year mentoring programme; introduce capstone skills based course as a bridge between university and work; and work on reducing class numbers to decrease lectures and increase tutorials.

Dr. Julia Wu then presents on ‘optimising complex casestudies as teaching tools in accounting and law education’. The project also involves Sascha Mueller and Erik Brogt. Rationalised the approach, especially the selection of case studies which reflected challenging circumstances instead of the more traditional practice of using ‘ideal’ scenarios. 3 phases so far. Began with literature review of the value of the case study approach and the implementation of ‘messy’ case studies. The second stage evaluated, through interviews with lecturers, application of case study pedagogy and through student surveys, their engagement with the case study method. Shared some of the raw data of lecturer and student perspectives, the barriers and challenges. The third stage was to develop relevant case studies and the teaching practice to support these. Final data analysis and implementation now progressing with outcomes to be completed next year.

Professor Philippa Martin presents on professional engineering cohorts. The project was to support students to develop good cohort support groups and is part of a 4 year transformation project. Presented rationale on the need to change the university culture to be more inclusive. The project was to find out the current ‘non-intervention’ socio-cultural associations for 1st and 2nd year electrical and computer engineering students. Data analysis has just begun. The findings feed into the IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness) initiative set up in August. The goal is to create an inclusive atmosphere for minority groups, women and LGBTQIA+.

Then a ‘BYO – bring your own device – to field class:integrating digital and mapping in the field-based coursework’ with Dr. Timothy Stahl and Dr. Heather Purdie. The context is geology and geography. Drew on his own experiences as a geologist, doing post-doctoral field work, to ensure students learnt the practice of traditional field mapping methods. Need to make this learning visible, and for students to learn the important aspects of spatial awareness and a sense of place. Students used the ArcCollector app to record GPS points with photos and videos, analyse data and track their progress in comparison with their peers. Reports on the 5 field trials to date, student feedback through survey and informal staff feedback. Shared progress of refining the approach and tools and ways forward.  

After lunch, two UC projects with a focus on teacher education.

Firstly, we have Dr. Paul Docherty and Associate Professor Wendy Fox from University ofWaikato with ‘investigating of initial education student views of engineersand engineering practice’. An initiative to improve the perceptions of school students (aged 11-13 – key time for career decisions) of careers in engineering. Sought to try to work on the root cause for low participation rates from females, minorities etc. Apart from family, friends, and culture, teachers play a role in decisions and perceptions. Were there false perceptions from teaching staff that coloured students’ career choices and especially those of female, Maori and Pasifika students on STEM careers. The participants were final year education students. Reported on first phase to determine views of teachers; then provide workshops to address; and hopefully lead to some change in perceptions.

Followed by Dr. Cara Swit and Dr. Christoph Teshers with ‘professional learningopportunities for postgraduate specialist teachers’. The project is to add to pre-service mentoring and to augment aspects of teaching a specialists subject. Data gathering is in progress with analysis beginning early next year. Field advisors are assigned to assist early childhood teachers, completing a post-graduate programme, to develop goals around early-intervention competencies. Presented on details of early-intervention which is one of 6 endorsements being supported at UC and Massey. Students complete a 2 year programme and usually complete this while working full-time as teachers. The programme includes 150 hours practicum which is where this project comes in. The aim is to apply the findings from the project, to develop a coaching framework to support the process.

Final presentation of a busy day with Professor Tanja Mitrovic on ‘supporting engagement during active video watching with personalised nudges’. It is a collaborative college with Otago and University of Leeds. This is a follow up project from a 2016 project which developed a controlled video-watching environment – AVW-space. This project added interactive visualisations and personalised nudges in an adaptive way for students to write comments at certain points through video watching. There seems to be an increase in notes being taken through the use of prompts (micro-scaffolds) which help students learn reflective skills. Then learners allow commenting and to are able to rate comments written by others. Extension in future to study further the connection between learner profiles, personalised nudges and addition of interactive visualisations (comment timeline and histogram) to share with the learner how they are doing compared to their peers.

I provide a brief ‘reflections on the day’ presentation with a quick think-pair-share activity. The colloquium closes poroporoaki / farewell.

Poroporoaki and farewell follows.All in, a good range of projects, each seeking to enhance learning experiences for students. 



Thursday, November 08, 2018

Ako Aotearoa National funded projects (NPF) 2018 Colloquium

Yesterday, I presented at the annual hui of the researchers involved with Ako Aotearoa Nationally funded projects held in Wellington. Each project reported on work in progress with several who are close to or have been completed, providing overview of their projects

Colloquium begins with welcome and powhiri with Dr. Joe Rito. Helen Lomax, Ako Aotearoa Director then sets the scene. Dr. Beatrice Dias-Wanigasekara, research projects manager, also extended her welcome and MCed the colloquium.

First presentation is with Adelaide and Doug Reid from Community Colleges NZ on ‘learner access and pathways: youth guarantees, educational outcomes. Project started in 2015 and presentation covered the surveys of youth guaranteed students. The project sought to find out the profiles and longer term effects of the programme. Focus groups and individual interviews also collected perspectives. Themes identified include: the need for self development; having control; fitting in and belonging; the importance of networks and supports; and provision of direction and stability. Identity development was a significant part of transitions (there were multiple transitions), which were complex and context dependent. Skills (communication, collaboration, self-management, learning to learn and job attainment skills), not qualifications assisted in young people staying and progressing in employment and education. 3 interim reports are on project website.

Next up, ‘Set for life – best practice guidelines for vocational education and training for NZ’ presented by Ken Eastwood, Nigel Studdart and Sarah Rennie from Skills Organisation. Project was commissioned by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and co-funded with Ako Aotearoa. Studied transition in Northland / Auckland. Ran for a year from mid 2016 to mid-2017. Hands on action research with focus on support of young people into work in the electrical and plumbing and the primary industries. Summarised progress to date detailing the complexity of transitions and disconnect between needs of employers / industry and schools. The project bought together the range of networks, industry and providers to improve the transition of school leavers into work. Learners appreciated ‘someone who cares’ and assistance in ‘finding my way’. Families were powerful influencers. Needs for engagement in learning were context specific. Transport to work was a defining factor with regards to continuance. Employers’ viewpoints were collated and included the importance of matching the learner to the right workplace. Schools’ needed to make sense of the transition space which was congested and complex, with some schools focusing more on NCEA credits rather than the learning required to achieve employment success. Funding was an issue for providers and ITO as to how completions could be recognised. ITOs are not funded to work in the transition space but may be effective if this occurred. Developed ‘tools’ including Set4 life navigators and the development of a co-designed programmed between iwi , PTE, Northtec, BCITO, Kaitaia College and the Far North Community.

Then, Pania Te Maro and Liz Kohonui from Te Whare Wananga oAwanuiarangi on ‘Ka nanakia hoki ‘ki’ te numeracy: better than expected’. This project studied the design of a tool to assist with modelling the teaching and learning of numeracy. Objective to test the approach of tapping into learners’ personal experiences to assessments to provide a holistic perspective towards progressing further. Traced akonga’s maths education histories and maths identities and help them to work out what they need to learn and how they can learn these. Pilot investigated so the project is in its first stage.

After morning tea, 7 presentations!! Presentations are 15 minutes each with questions after 3 presentations.

Neil Ballantyne (Open Polytechnic) and Dr. Jane Maidment (University of Canterbury) on enhancing the readiness to practice of newly qualified socialworkers. Currently undertaking the 3rd phase of this project. Phase 1 was a curriculum mapping exercise to find out what was taught from students and educators. Gaps were identified in health as greater emphasis placed on child welfare. Phase 2 then surveyed newly social workers and managers to find out what when well and what did not occur to prepare them for work. Knowledge of mental health was identified by both recent graduates and managers as a requirement. Phase 3 is to construct an inventory of candidate capability statements through workshops with stakeholders. Used the world café approach to gather perspectives of participants on a draft. Feedback and negotiation on the draft capabilities framework through consultation with key agencies will then be undertaken.

Followed by Anne Greenhalgh from Workforce development Ltd. With Dr. Lesley Petersen on ‘establishing communities of practice: a pedagogy development mechanisms for teachers in the NZ private training establishment (PTE) environment’. Worked with tutors in 3 PTEs teaching youth guarantees students. The project assisted tutors to share teaching practice and to develop more effective teaching. Meetings every 4 months to engage in critical reflection on their practice. Used reflective competence as a framework. The aim is to produce a COP implementation guideline which will be useful within the PTE context, COP training workbook and session guide, and reflection template.

Then ‘a cross disciplinary comparison of the approach todeveloping work ready plus graduates’ with Dr. Qilong Zhang and Meghan Ruha from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. This is a project that started 2017 and completes mid-2019. Disciplines involved are Health study, creative technology, early childhood education, management and carpentry. Currently looking into implementation of models as they pertain to each discipline. Focused on finding out HOW the models can be operationalised. Emphasis placed in each discipline area on different skill sets. There is importance in making the expectations visible to learners and in providing teachers with opportunities to reflect on what the actual skills define their discipline.

Mark Williams from BCITO on ‘how employers have influenced the participation and success of women in the trades where they are traditionally under-represented’. This is the second part of a three part project. This phase sought to identify the characteristics of employers who have or have not employed women; the enablers and barriers to participation; and resources that may be useful to break down barriers to participation. Benefits of having women in the trades include ability of women to pay attention to detail, more care with equipment and tempering blokey behaviours. Barriers included lack of physical strength, may become pregnant and not enough women apply. Found the presence of unconscious bias and recommends some changes in employer behaviours and beliefs. These include advertising online, offering work experience, identifying supporters in the workplace, flexible work options, train and mentor staff and embracing both gender and ethnic diversity. Shared video developed to support the recommendations.

Dr. Eruera Tarena, Dr. Porsha London, Sharon Armstrong and Piripi Prendergast from Tokona Te Raki – a Ngai Tahu initiative working on establishing equity for iwi - present on Hutia te punga (lift up the anchor). The project works with 3 providers to co-construct and implement Cultural Responsiveness Professional Learning and Development (CRPLD). Project began this year and is half way through the process. Presented on the frameworks informing the work which is to work at the deeper causes then to just ‘fix the symptoms’. Co-construction involves bringing values and beliefs of students and their tutors to address poor retention of Maori students in their programmes. Need to confront practices as what we say we will do, is often different from what actually takes place. Provided details of the CRPLD programme, initial themes and reflections on what has been achieved and what still needs to be done.

Followed on by Laloifi Ripley from Careerforce and Dr. Nicky Murray and Anne Alkema from the ITF on ‘Hinatore: upskilling Maori and Pasifikaworkplace learners’. The project investigates the teaching and learning processes in workplace learning literacy and numeracy programmes that support successful outcomes for Maori and Pasifika learners. 10 workplaces base in Auckland are involved along with 5 providers. The project works with the tutors. Pre-programme data already collected and now collecting post-programme data. Supporting tutors as researchers to enable them to use evidence to improve their practice. Workplace programme details provided. Discussed the need to be respectful of the data and to not impose pre-negotiated data analysis framework on it. Draft framework introduced to honour the data based on ako, mahi and whanau.

Completed project presentation with Associate Professor Leonie Pihama’s and team from University of Waikato project ‘he tatua o kahukura’ is undertaken. Provided a quick overview of the project which is to support Maori scholars’ post-doctoral pathways. 7 sites participated. Then shared the findings and recommendations.

After lunch, I present on the e-assessment project. The guidelines, derived from case study of the seven sub-projects are summarised, along with the research approach and the frameworks informing the project. The final report is in peer review and discussions with regards to dissemination have commenced. In essence, digital tools provide opportunities to gather, collate and work through feedback for learning, assisting learners to progress their learning. Feedback may be from digital tools, the learners, their peers, and their teachers / other experts.

Four more projects presentations follow.

Firstly, Professors Lynne Taylor and Ursula present on their project ‘the making of a lawyer: a longitudinal study. This is a 5 year study with 5 universities to work out the work readiness of NZ law graduates. Across the years, no difference in motivations and values but drop in levels of interest in pursuing a legal career. Drop in lecture attendance but increase in participation in active learning activities. Less time spent in self-study that expected and little change in self-study approaches. There was a low level of f2f contact with teachers outside class. At the end of year 4, very few students reported their tutors knew them. Students reported good grades, increasing levels of confidence of passing over time. Shared interventions put in place to address the findings from the project.

Then, Professor Cherie Chu from Victoria University and Janice Ikiua-Pasi from Weltec/Whitirea present on their project ’10 habits ofphenomenal educators for Pasifika learners’. Used appreciative inquiry to change practice for tutors to engage with and work well with Pasifika learners. Study sought to understand better, how Pasifika learners learn best. Then to apply these towards informing teaching and learning practices that will support Pasifika learners.

Followed on with Dr. Emma Wolfgram-Folaki and Dr. Hinekura Smith from Auckland University present on ‘He vaka moana: navigating Maori student and Pasifika student success’. Reports on a support project which connects beginner academic and professional leaders in teaching, learning, assessment and research at Auckland University and Unitec. 8 fellows (including support staff and academic) supported across this year. PD workshops covering ethics application, writing etc. provide ongoing support through the year.

The Pasifika learner success theme continues with presentation from Sam U’tai from Ara Institute of Technology and Ashlyna Noa (University of Canterbury). An evaluation was undertaken of a Pasifika Resource kit developed through a joint project with Lincoln University and University of Canterbury. This is the 3rd project completed in March this year. The 2nd project recommended change in academic spaces; student services; and Pasifika visibility and the kit was developed to put into practice, the changes recommended in the 2nd project. Found the kit assisted with transforming teaching and learning; improved support for Pasifika students; promoted and celebrated Pasifika diversity; and provided support for staff to increase cultural responsiveness through implementation of specific strategies.

Summing up and reflections is presented by Ian Rowe.

Farewell and poropoaki follow.

Before the colloquium ends, here is a celebration of 2 completed projects (Taikaka with Professor Jenny Lee-Morgan from University of Auckland and Te Whaihanga with Professor Dory Reeves also from the University of Auckland).

All in, a day packed with many and varied presentations. There was a sense of camaraderie across the researchers. Also, always good to catch up with work in-progress which represents teaching and learning across the NZ tertiary sector. Projects were led by Wananga, ITPs, provide providers, ITOs and Universities with several cross sector projects. 

Monday, November 05, 2018

Jobs will change - some new but most modified

The BBC provides an interesting article on 'driving you career towards a booming sector'

The context is the car industry and its stead move toward automous vehicles. The prediction is that by 2030, over 50% of journeys will be on automous vehicles. This leads to the lost of many jobs, but also the creation of other types of work.The article features one type of new job.That of a person who oversees a number of automous vehicles, taking over when required to bring the vehicle back on track, or to troubleshoot when the vehicle is unable to make the requisite decisions to move on. This job role requires someone who is an expert driver, able to monitor a number of vehicles and control them remotely. The role requires high proficiency to problem solve and cope with the load of monitoring a large number of inputs.

The job concept is not new, drone operators as a job title, are now common. The American military have been using drones for monitoring and actioning operations for a decade. These types of work, use the initiative and expertise of humans which are more difficult to configure into AI. When experts are unable to unravel their tacit knowledge, it becomes difficult to set up algorithms for AI to undertake similar decision making heuristics. No doubt, at some near future state, a solution will be found, but meanwhile, the complex and unplanned nature of our lives, makes it a challenge for AI to be prepared for all eventualities.


Monday, October 29, 2018

Brain facts - interactives for core concepts

Brain facts is my go to site for keeping up with developments in neuroscience which inform learning and teaching.

They now have a series of interactive snippets, to help explain core concepts. These are short activities, to explain some of the core concepts of how the brain works.

There is also a good overview in their 'brain facts book' which is updated regularly. Currently, the latest 2018 version is available and a good resource for finding out how the brain and nervous system works.


Monday, October 15, 2018

Future of Jobs - 2018 report from World Economic Forum

Had a look through the World Economic Forum's viewpoint on the future of work over the weekend. There was a brief summary / overview on the NZ Herald last month titled - Machines to do most work in 2025.


Overall, despite the title of the NZ Herald article, a more optimistic report compared to the last one a couple of years ago.

The four drivers of change are ubiquitous high-speed mobile internet; artificial intelligence; widespread adoption of big data analytics; and cloud technology.

Accelerators of change due to ability to extend on technology as more is learnt. Trends in robotisation including increased use of robots  including stationary, non-humanoid land, fully automated aerial drones etc. and improved AI and learning algorithms.

There are rapidly changing patterns of the geography of production, distribution and value chains.
This leads on to changing employment types – with over 50% of companies expecting automation to lead to reduction in workforce by 2022. 38% expected to extend though.

There will be a new human-machine frontier with existing tasks. The ratio of human to machine tasks in jobs will see the machine proportion rise. Predicts 58% of tasks will be performed by humans and 42% by humans but this proportion will be dependent on job types.

Some work tasks which have always been seen to be human strengths, including communicating and interacting, coordinating, developing, managing and advising, and reasoning and decision making, will begin to be automated.

There will be emerging ‘in-demand’ roles – usual ones like data analysts, scientists, software developers etc. and the ‘service’, human relationship type occupations. New roles revolve around AI, automation, robotics, human-machine interaction designers etc. This will lead to growing skills instability with the accompanying need for re-skilling and sound strategies to address skill gaps.

This morning, today online article brings another dimension (an Asian perspective) on things. The article records an interview with Dr. Kai-Fu Lee, and has excerpts from his book - published this year - AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley and the New World Order. In short, the book brings another dimension into how to think about the future of work and what society and government's role are in meeting the coming challenges. Will summarise this book once I have read it.



Monday, October 08, 2018

Research methods for education in the digital age – book overview


Here is an overview of a timely addition to the research methodology literature.

Research Methods for Education in the Digital Age arrived at the Ara library last week. 

Written by Maggi Savin-Baden and Gemma Tombs 2017 and published by Bloomsbury

After the introduction, 10 chapters. Includes useful glossary differentiating the various methods and approaches referred to in the book and 25 pages of references.

The introduction provides the rationale for the book. Being to fill a gap in understanding about how research is now conducted in the digital age. Has a table providing descriptions and salient literature sources for key digital technologies used in education. Also includes brief overviews of each of the following chapters.

First chapter, introduces ‘issues in researching education in the digital age’. Begins with summarising the change to data types now possible through the advent of digital technologies – the new typology of data. Apart from orthodox data, there is now the possibility of collecting participative intentional data, consequential data (i.e. health records), self-published data (i.e. blogs etc.), social media data, data traces (from search histories for example) and found data (available in the public domain). Introduces the concepts of the internet of things, digital tethering and digital immortality. Switches tack briefly to preview the traditional philosophies that inform research practice, conceptual frameworks and then discusses the challenges wrought be digital data.

Chapter 2 – new methodologies? – introduces potential methods including liquid methodologies (which morph across philosophical approaches); digital and visual methods – visual ethnography, arts-informed inquiry, grounded theory, evaluation, narrative inquiry,

Continues with chapter on ‘ethnographies for the digital age. Summarises the history of ethnography and then describes and discusses a range of possibilities. Ethnography for the internet, netography, sensory ethnography, connective ethnography, visual ethnography and critical ethnography.
Fourth chapter on adapting research approaches for educational research in a digital age focuses on design-based research, design patterns, future technology workshop, actor-network theory and activity theory. These are defined and critiqued.

Chapter 5 on quantitative data in digital context introduces the three main categories of data. Individual, engagement and learning. Engagement data is further sub-categorised as action or activity orientated, network-orientated or content- orientated. Big data, learning analytics and educational data mining are also introduced and discussed. Various modes for data gathering enabled by digital technologies are also presented and pros and cons discussed. These include web delivered surveys, mobile delivered surveys, social media polls, avatar delivered and chat bot delivered surveys. Other types of data including mobile application data,  social media data, geo-location data and the data associated with participation in virtual applications also detailed.

Digital ethics is covered in the next chapter. The chapter begins with an overview of the purposes of ethics in research. Then a discussion on how the advent of digital research methods and data, pose challenges. Solutions are proposed and discussed. In particular, the issues of privacy, consent and analytics in digital spaces, ‘found data’ in education – e.g. data available from participants in the public sphere, consent and learning analytics – who owns the data and issues of transparency.

Then a chapter on digital data creation and collection. Begins with discussion on what is the researchers’ role. Then discusses cooperative research opportunities afforded by digital technologies. Uses observations as an example of how research methodologies have shifted. Observation may now be carried out without research presence, using avatars or concentrate on textual and visual observations.

Chapter 8 covers data management covers the types of digital data – refashioned, re-created, digitally connected and digitally created. Then goes through the various ways for digital data analysis including social network analysis, analytical induction, critical discourse analysis, interpretative phenomenological analysis, narrative analysis, content, keyword and thematic analysis. Most of these achieved through the use of digital tools. Theories for interpreting educational research data in the digital age include cyborg theory, rhizome theory, network society, supercomplexity and digital tethering. Each is defined, discussed and critique.

Then chapter 9 on representation and portrayal in qualitative research. Interesting chapter on how research can now be represented or portrayed through use of digital research methods and tools. Defines each and provides examples, critiques.

Last chapter is on digital impact which is about how research impact can now be measured through mechanisms like h-index and altmetrics. Also introduces the new ways research findings can now be presented including institutional or personal websites, blogs etc. the advent of video abstracts and articles; data visualisations and the role of open access / open data.

All in, a good update for researchers on the potentialities and details for moving from traditional means for conducting and disseminating research, to the methods possible with digital technologies. The book is more of a 'how to' rather than an academic book, so it is accessible and well laid out.



Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Marc Prensky - Public lecture at Ara Institute of Technology as part of Tertiary ICT conference


Tertiary ICT conference – a 3 day conference attended mostly by ICT staff from across the tertiary sector is being held at Ara Institute of Canterbury this week.

Notes taken at the free public lecture this evening by Marc Prensky on ‘Civilisation-level change in education’. he is keynote at the conference.

Advocates for the merger of traditional ‘academic’ education with the older ‘accomplishment’ approach. Discusses why it is important and how we may get there.


Began with brief introduction including having taught at primary to college levels.
Rationalised WHY education has to change. The importance of education but we need to think through what is education and what is the purpose of education.

The third millennium requires a shift, to empower our kids in an exponentially changing world.
Argues, change is on us now and not going to slow down. Technology is not proceeding linearly but information technology has enabled change to be complex. How can people keep up or cope? Maximise the use of technology to face challenges of the future.

Spend some time defining exponential and speed of change. Computational abundance is now here with incredible empowerment. Personal devices (more than number of people), human web (50% now) connectivity and connected things / sensors. Convergence occurring between hard and software, physical and biological, human machine symbiosis etc.
Argues that computational power enable huge empowerment of the individual. Help deal with VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex ambigious), climate change, etc.

What does this mean for the future of work and to be human in an age of intelligent machines.  
“We learn in order to accomplish useful things”. Accomplishment (for others) is not the same as achievement (for yourself). Argues that we have always had ‘the accomplishment tradition” for action, relationships and still practiced in workplaces. The ‘academic tradition’ as about thinking and learning and this occurred in schools.

So, supports the precepts of situated learning. Critical thinking alone is not enough unless combined with effective action, relationships and application.

Education moving from personal achievement – individuals/ grades / rankings and personal success to Accomplishment – real world results.

Current paradigm is kids have to be taught, goal to make them better individuals and best process is with content, tests, rankings and qualifications. Tinkering with educational reform is not effective. Need to change the way people see the world and adopt a new paradigm.
New civilization level paradigm of education is kids empowered to accomplish, with goal to better their world and includes world improvement projects etc.

Goes back to his original premise of kids now needing to be educated for a different world. Reading and writing, researching, translating, thinking (AI) are becoming machine skills. Anything that 2 people can do equally well, can be, and will be, automated (eventually).

Education has been ‘making people the same’ what the future needs is people who can be unique. Teachers need to help kids find, nurture and extend their strengths. Need to see learners as extended brains all networked together. Provided examples of empowered kids and schools around the world (design for change). Proposed a way forward with alternative education as an option as to replace educational systems will be too difficult. Curriculum based on real world learning based on real world projects - people who can get things done. broad lifelong skills the key - effective thinking, action and relationships. Teachers are coaches and enpowerers, not content deliverers. Technology should be used as enablers for improving the world and becoming good empowered people. 

Some of his ideas are congruent with neuroscience of learning – to teach is to learn - see this blogpost on book overview of the secret life of the mind. Get kids to lead, they will learn what is required to solve the problems important to them. Learning needs to be situated, problem / inquiry learning engages and motivates learners. These skills set learners up for the fast changing future.

Monday, October 01, 2018

10 trends for digital learning

Jane Hart's list of top 100 tools is now out. This year, the list is has columns for personal and professional learning (PPL); workplace learning (WPL) and education (EDU). Not only the top 100 but the top 200 tools are listed, along with links to each tool.

Most of the perennial favourites are still going strong. There is an increase in project planning tools, no doubt caused by the rise of "agile' project management.

Additionally, the top 10 trends for digital learning in 2018 were summarised.

They are:

  • Web resources still dominate
  • Social networks, some increased, others down
  • Web courses are increasing in popularity
  • There is a subtle shift from course to content development
  • Learning at work is becoming personal and continuous
  • Team collaboration tools support the real social learning at work
  • Microsoft ecosystem still strong
  • OneNote is preferred digital notebook
  • Video conferencing is in
  • Audience engagement become popular



No surprises across the list or with the trends. Cloud based tools along with microsoft office type applications are now the norm. The use of and access to curated resources (e.g. Tedtalks videos) and platforms for personal learning (e.g. MOOC type sites like Udemy, Coursera, Lynda.com etc.) and personal curation (e.g. Anders Pink; degreed) do indicate the rise of personalised learning environments which are individually bespoked to meet organisational and individuals' learning needs.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Vocational education for the 21st century - Australian context

Here is an Australian report - Vocational Education for the 21st Century -, with much of if of relevance to NZ as we reform our vocational education system. The NZ reviews include the way formalised education is accreditated through the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA) and a review of the institutes of technology / polytechnics (ITPs). See blog for overview of these reviews.

The report is written by Anne Jones, Emeritus Professor at Victoria University / University of Melbourne. She was deputy Vice Chancellor and Director of TAFE at Victoria University from 2009 and was the Executive Director of Academic Affairs at Box Hill Tafe prior to appointment at Victoria. The paper is part of a collection commissioned through theLH Martin Institute, to contribute to the reform and debate on tertiary education in Australia.

The article begins with the observation that the Australian VET system is more that about funding, neo-liberalism's effects on the market and systems design. It should be more about fitness for the current times. So NZ may be on a better track by reviewing the feeder into VET – i.e. NCEA and also the providers of VET – ITPs.

The first part of the paper, sets up the Australian context with an overview of the various reforms since the 1970s. In short, lots of activity, but not much momentum or political will to effect change to the actual system. The major challenges have been not giving attention to core skills, the needs of 21st century capabilities, underdeveloped pedagogies due to poor staff development and minimal investment in the scholarship of vocational education learning and unpreparedness for disruptions in the world of work.

Recommends the need to strengthen the emphasis on core skills, bring qualifications into the 21st century, move into 21st century teaching and integration of the tertiary education sector. So, nothing too new in the recommendations. It will be interesting to see how much the Australians shift towards addressing some of the challenges highlighted in this report.

NZ has moved a bit more due to there being a smaller population and the present government's commitment to seeing that the country if prepared for the coming 'future of work', impacted on by technological advances. The NZ Qualifications framework has already moved towards a more 'core skills' focus with the shift to graduate profile outcomes. This shift allows for specialist occupational skills to be 'quantified' along with some of the occupational characteristics which epitomise practice, many of which are core and generalisable across occupations. 

The next step of aligning the school qualification to VET pathways and outcomes, is presently in progress. The consolidation of a large number of ITPs, many of whom are struggling financially, into larger hubs, will hopefully provide resourcing for broader access to staff development and perhaps funding for the scholarship of vocational learning. 

Monday, September 17, 2018

NCVER no frills and NZVET research forum - presentations and keynote videos

Video of the two keynotes and presentations from the recent joint NCVER 'no-frills' and NZ Vocational Research Forum, held in Sydney in August, are now available.

The link to Professor Lene Tanggaard's video provides for a good overview of her recent work on creativity in VET.

In addition to the summary of presentations on this blog for day 2 am, day 2 pm, day 3 am and day 3 pm (Day one was a series of workshops), here is a brief overview of a few presentations which clashed during the concurrent sessions.

Hugh Guthrie, with Berwyn Clayton presentation on Australian VET policy: processes, stakeholders and issues, summarises the long journey of Australian VET which have been accompanied by short term solutions, poor status of VET and piecemeal reform. Lessons for NZ as we undertake a review of the VET system here.

Michelle Circelli from the NCVER on 'from school toe VET: how do students transition and how can we help them? A complex process with many factors determining student choice and eventual success. Detailed the support factors which support entry, participant, retention and completion.

Another NCVER study by Cameron Forrest on 'measuring soft skills in young Australians'. Defines skills and how they are differentiated -hard / soft and how skills are different from traits. Discussed the various ways to 'measure' soft-skills and on-going work in this area.

Carolyn McIntosh, Yvonne Mosley Martin and Dr. Jean Patterson from Otago Polytechnic with 'video assessment of undergraduate midwifery students' practical skills'. Covered overview of the programme, challenges, recommendations.

Don McLaren and Ian Whitehouse - making a job versus getting a job, the future of work has changed. Good overview of what may occur in the future and a series of case studies which may provide some solutions going into the future.

related to the above presention, is Silvia Munoz from SkillsIQ - with Right skills, right time? The cost of overqualification affecting one in four Australian workers. Matching skills to needs is always going to be complex but even more important now as jobs change quickly. Training / education unable to keep up with the pace of change.

Adelaide Reid reports on a NZ study on Youth Guarantee pathways and profiles.  Detailed background, approach, findings - what were challenges and advantages.





Monday, September 10, 2018

Exploring the theory, pedagogy, and practice of networked learning – book overview



Published by Springer 2012 - so already somewhat dated, as technology enhanced learning and networked learning has shifted. However, the salient principles still apply. 


Introduction and conclusion with 5 other parts – developing understandings of networked learning; new landscapes and spaces for networked learning; dynamics of changing tools and infrastructure; understanding the social material of networked learning; and identity, cultural capital and networked learning through 17 chapters.

The introduction, by the editors, provides ‘a brief history and new trends’ in networked learning’.
Provides a summary of various initiatives from the 1980s to the present including the shifts in understanding and supporting learning. The emphasis of the overview is on various efforts to create platforms for collaborative work and learning. Sets out the pedagogical framework for networked learning as: openness in the education process; the affordances for self-determined learning; a requirement for a real purpose in the collaborative process; a supportive learning environment; collaborative approaches to assessment of learning; and assessment and evaluation of the ongoing learning process. Then provides a summary of the various sections and chapters.

Part 2 – developing understanding of networked learning continues the theme from the introduction with two chapters

C. Jones writes on ‘networked learning, stepping beyond the net generation and digital natives’. Begins by critiquing the premise of current students being different from previous due to their exposure to digital technologies. The study supporting the various recommendations in the chapter were completed almost 20 years ago, so the current advances in mobile technology, were not tested. However, the chapter recommends that an open mind is important in any future work. Depending on informal observations i.e. that digital natives exist, distracts from the important emphasis on learning.

An important chapter by T. Ryberg, L. Buus and M. Georgsen, discusses the ‘differences in understandings of networked learning theory: connectivity or collaboration?’ Discusses the many nuanced and individually constructed meanings of connectivism, collaboration, communities, negotiation of meaning, social practice, etc. Makes links between networked learning and connectivism. Networked learning is used more by European researchers and connectivism by North American, evidencing the roots of these two concepts. Clarifies what networked learning refers to. Networked learning is not only about elearning but about the connections made between people and between people and resources. Learning is a social endeavour, with knowledge and identity being constructed as interactions are undertaken through dialogue and interchange of ideas and perspectives. Networked learning is about the connections and interaction. There are many similarities between networked learning and connectivism. However, connectivism focuses much more on the individual and how they connect with the world outside of their own purview. Knowledge is related more to content than to connections and is seen to be outside of individuals’ minds but accessible when required. There is a good critique of both networked learning and connectivism.

Part 3 has 3 chapters around the theme of ‘new landscapes and spaces for networked learning’. This part provided examples and their empirical outcomes.

Chapter 4 by D.D. Suthers and K-H, Chu is on ‘mediators of socio-technical capital in a networked learning environment’. Example of using wikis and discussion forums, framed by concepts of using these to bridge socio-technical capital challenges.

Then a chapter on ‘collectivity, performance and self-representation: analysing cloudworks as a public space for networked learning and reflection by P. Alevizou, R. Galley and G. Conole. Cloudworks have been around for some time and is a LMS developed to support collaborative learning. The platform is anchored by core learning activities which support constructive and socio-cultural learning approaches. Instead of resources, there is emphasis on using ‘situations’. Students bring their collective experiences and learning to the courses and engage in ‘expansive learning’. The indicators of community are participation, cohesion, creative capability and community identity.

J. E. Raffaghelli and C. Richieri contribute the next chapter on ‘a classroom with a view: networked learning strategies to promote intercultural education’. This is another important chapter. It provides a case study of a programme, to introduce and support intercultural study across several countries. Envisages networked learning as a means for equal-but-diverse people to meet, connect, collaborate and complete projects. Used the concept of ‘a matrix of knowledge’ to frame the sense-making approach for building intercultural dialogue. The metaphor of the ‘networking platform’ as a window into and reflection of one’s own and others’ cultures was seen to be supportive of the process.

Part 4 is on ‘dynamics of changing tools and infrastructure’ with 2 chapters.

There is P. Arnold, J.D. Smith and B. Trayner on ‘the challenge of introducing “one more tool”: A community of practice perspective on networked learning’. Uses 2 case studies of the Workbench A- a community of practice in the Agricultural development field and Workbench b- community of distance learners in higher education as examples. Finds it is just not ‘changing a tool’ or ‘adding another tool’ but the many other parameters. These include how the tool changes whose voice is heard, whose voice can be legitimately brought forward, how competence is negotiated and overall, what matters in the community the tool is being used in. So, many agendas are impacted when a tool is changed as the change brings about a re-negotiation of what constitutes the community.

Then, T. Nyvang and A. Bygholm on ‘implementation of an infrastructure for networked learning’. Human centred informatics, which updates the work of Vygotsky to be relevant to contemporary practice, is used as a framework for implementing infrastructure to support networked learning. Dilemmas had to be unpacked depending on whether goals and technology were certain or uncertain.

Part 5 also has 2 chapters on the theme of ‘understanding the socio material in networked learning’.

T. L. Thompson contributes to the discussion with ‘who’s taming who? Tensions between people and technologies in cyberspace communities. Advocates for the use of Actor-Network theory (ANT) to help understand how aspects of materiality, impact on how people use, relate to and work with technology. Network effects may be unravelled through each of the four ANT concepts – passages, translation, socio-technical constructions and black boxes.

The second chapter in this section is from L. Creanor and S. Walker on ‘learning technology in context: a case for the sociotechnical interaction framework as an analytical lens for networked learning research. Argues for the use of sociotechnically in understanding how networked learning –pedagogy, technology and agency, may be constituted.

Part 6 has 6 chapters around ‘identity, cultural capital and networked learning.

Chapter 11 is by J. Ross on ‘just what is being reflected in on-line reflection? New literacies for new media learning practices. Uses blogging as the basis of study and argues for the need to ensure that new literacies and part of networked learning approaches. In part, due to the ways in which blogging is undertaken.

Then, L. Czerniewicz and C. Brown with ‘objectified cultural capital and the tale of two students’. Uses Bourdieu’s framework – field, habitus and capital – to explore and contrast two cases. The digital elite and the digital stranger.

The next chapter is on ‘how do small business owner-managers learning leadership through networked learning?’ by S.M Smith. An evaluation of the Leading Enterprise and Development (LEAD) integrated learning model for SMEs.

Chapter 14 is on ‘innovating design for learning in a networked society’ by K. T. Levinsen and J. Nielsen. Presents the re-working of Dorso’s model – modes of working across relational and complexity axis, to understanding innovative design for learning. Identified the sharing and uncertainty barriers of an approach (role-play scenario used as an example) and the challenges posed to roles / actors including tacit/qualified knowledge / rhetorics ‘sweet point’. Rationalised the choice of interactive design life cycle model – starting with identification of specifications and needs, design, physical design and test / evaluation.

Next chapter is with J. L. Nielsen and O. Danielsen on ‘problem-oriented project studies: the role of the teacher as supervisor for the study group in its learning process’. Identifies and discusses teacher roles – teacher as expert and instructive supervisor; process supervisor; and social mediator. Uses a case to unpack the nuances of each role.

Last chapter in this section is on ‘life behind the screen: taking the academic online’ with S. Boon and C. Sinclair’. Reports on the experiences of academics, shifting into the on-line environment. How language, identity, engagement and time shifts and how this aligns with the students’ perspectives of projection, performance, audience and content.

The last part, is the chapter concluding the book by the editors titled ‘the theory, practice and pedagogy of networked learning’. Focused on the ontology, epistemology and pedagogy of networked learning. Summarises the pedagogical values that underpin networked learning. Including implications for learning, teaching and the assessment process. There is a bringing together of the themes presented across the various chapters in the book.

Overall, the book provides background and rationale for networked learning. The various chapters, report on the ways networked learning is contextualised across different cultures (albeit, Western perspectives); school / tertiary institutions and workplaces; and technology approaches. The importance of the book is in setting up frameworks for networked learning, including defining the term and suggested models for practice.