Monday, December 09, 2019

On writing and future VET research possibilties

I am about to complete almost 4 months of academic study leave. Most of this time has been devoted to getting a book completed. This period of intensive writing has been productive. I have also submitted a book chapter on tacit knowledge and drafted the structure and initial plans towards several articles. Along with the writing, has been the opportunity to catch up on reading. Some of the books read will now appear as summaries in blogs across the next few months.

I have been inspired over the years by other bloggers - one of which  - brainpickings.org - has been motivating and stimulating. She encourages reflection on the process of blogging and uses the process to work through how to blog and to use the process of writing as a springboard for collating and ruminating on thoughts and initiatives.

My challenge going forward for next year, is to try to maintain mometum with scholarship. How to fit into a busy work programme, the time to read, reflect, think and write. At the moment, there are no official 'research projects' in the pipeline. Although I have several ideas, it will be best to await the outcomes of the current reforms on vocational education (ROVE) in NZ to better gauge possibilities and potentials. I have learnt it is best to 'go with the flow' in times of change and some of the outcome of  ROVE, will create opportunities for better collaborative VET research efforts. However, there is need to allow for the initial settling in period as the new 'mega polytechnic' entity, finds its feet.

I will put aside at least 1/2 a day a week towards 'writing'. In part, to keep up the number of 'outputs' expected to maintain research capability and to ensure currency with the contemporary VET literature. The other objective will be to keep a close eye on the outcomes of ROVE and network sufficiently to be able to put forward the right kind of research proposal, the the appropriate funding body, when the time is ripe. Noting that the 'new entity' is focused on VET and that it will be an opportunity to ensure appropriate and useful 'research' is undertaken to inform and challenge VET teaching and learning.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

PISA 2019 results - some reflections

The latest Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) results are out. Carried out every 3 years since 2000, the number of countries participating has increased at each iteration. The assessment was carried out with 15 year olds in 2018 for 3 subjects - reading, maths and science and included survey of student attitudes to study and their school experiences.

Various countries reported on their country's results, most defending their results and offering critique of the type of assessment process being used to quantify school students' learning.
China, pipped Singapore  for top spot. NZ schooling has always fared quite well  but there was a drop in the ratings across all three subjects, similar to the results from other similar countries - Australia, Uk (slight rise) and the U S of A.

Mass hand wringing from parents and 'teacher blaming' ensue as a result of the PISA results, leading to some governments working towards supporting policies to improve results. In NZ, the top students perform at as high a level as in other countries, but the difference between the strugglers and the top strata, is wide. Closing this gap across the almost 20 years PISA has been running has been a challenge as social equity has declined across many countries across the same timeframe.

PISA results also do not account for the wider emphasis in many countries on wider competencies and skills required to be learnt. There is a place of 'drill and repeat' processes in the learning of fundamental skills but PISA does also test beyond these with questions that challenge students beyond 'set answers'.

However, the future of work does not depend on school leavers being able to be exam savvy or able to perform well in a test environment. Future workers need the skills to be resilient, flexible and able to continually learn, un-learn, re-learn and innovate. Having good reading and maths skills provide a good foundation. Reading, especially the ability to quickly understand, interpret, evaluate and operationalise (if that is the case) processes, concepts and complex information is a key to future success. So, as always, PISA ratings need to be taken circumspectly and are not always good predictors of future learners' success. 


Monday, December 02, 2019

Design of Technology-enhanced Learning - Integrating research and practice - book overview


Bower, M. (2017) published by Emerald Publishing Company.

After the preface (rationalisation for the book and summaries of chapters), acknowledgements and foreword (by J. Hedberg), there are 12 chapters.

1)     Technology integration as an educational imperative
Begins with setting up the broader context for the need to design learning with supporting TEL. Introduces, rationalises and details the role of ‘design thinking’ and the field of learning design and argues that teaching is a design science (as per Laurillard’s work). The work of Laurillard, Siemens and Conole are compared, discussed and critiqued. The six approaches of learning design are introduced – technical standards, pattern descriptions, visualisations, visualisation tools, pedagogical planners and learning activity management system.

2)      The Technology Pedagogy and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework and its implications
Here the TPACK framework is introduced and critiqued. Provides examples of TPACK in practice and recommendations on how teachers are able to develop the capacities for applying TPACK. There is a comprehensive literature review of TPACK as well.

3)      Pedagogy and technology-enhanced learning
Provides an overview of the relevant pedagogies. The pedagogies include the usual – behaviourism, cognitivism, constructivism, socio-constructivism and connectivism. Pedagogical approaches are also overviewed, including collaborative learning, problem-based learning, inquiry-based learning, constructionist learning, design-based learning and games-based learning. Each is described with examples and brief critiques. The role of the teacher in applying the relevant pedagogical approaches is summarised.

4)      Technology affordances and multimedia learning effects

In this chapter, the two frameworks applied to the use of TEL – affordances and the learning effects from multimedia are introduced, detailed and discussed. The focus with ‘affordances’ is to understand the potentialities of the multimedia with relevance to the learning objectives to be achieved and matching both to maximise learning. With learning effects, the different ways for using text, images, audio, video etc. and their impact on understanding and learning are introduced and discussed.

5)      Representing and sharing content using technology
Applies the taxonomy of learning, teaching and assessing (Anderson & Krathwohl, 2001) towards how technology may be used to represent and share content. The representational requirements of core subject areas – English, maths, science, history, geography, IT) are presented.

6)      Design thinking and learning design
Introduces and substantiates the principles of design thinking, design science and learning design as ways forward to integrate TEL into teaching and learning. The educational design models of Laurillard, Siemens and Conole are revisited.

7)      Design of Web 2.0 enhanced learning
Reviews the work on Web 2.0 and its impact on teaching and learning. Defines, Web 2.0, defines opportunities and presents a typology to assist with matching the benefits to learning outcomes. The advantages and challenges are also presented. Two case studies are provided to underpin the typology.

8)      Designing for learning using social networking
A review of social networking in education from a design perspective us provided. The various benefits, issues and implications for using social networking are presented through the chapter.

9)      Designing for mobile learning
Mobile learning is rationalised as one forward to engage learners. Examples in school and higher education are provided. Benefits are summarised along with issues. Recommendations are synthesized towards the development of mobile learning. Examples from school and higher education are provided and recommendations for learning design, implementation are provided.

10)   Designing for learning using virtual worlds
Virtual worlds are defined and contrasted. These virtual worlds include Second Life, Active Worlds, Open Sim and Minecraft. The benefits are distilled from the literature along with other forms of virtual worlds including 3D simulations, role-plays, construction tasks and immersive learning. Examples from school and higher education are provided and recommendations for learning design, implementation are provided.

11)   Abstracting technology-enhanced learning design principles
From applying learning design to the design of learning through Web 2.0, social networking and virtual worlds, design principles are synthesised.

12)   Technology-enhanced learning – conclusions and future directions
Brings the various discussions through the book together through presenting some future scenarios for TEL.

The book fills a gap and brings in academic research across the last two decades, to inform the deployment of TEL into teaching and learning practice. Research and teaching and learning inform each other and one should not take place in isolation from the other.

The book is well-structured and readable with pragmatic application of research towards the integration of TEL for the improvement / enhancement of teaching and learning.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Talking Teaching - DAY 2


DAY 2
After a late finish yesterday which included the conference dinner, the day dawns fine and warm. I follow the sessions in the stream ‘learning outside the classroom’.

First up, Timothy Lynch from Otago Polytechnic, Food Design Institute, with ‘the inevitability of change in work integrated learning’. Drawing from his work for from his professional practice studies, he reflects on ‘reflection’ and ‘reflection on teaching’. What is the role of teaching when the discipline has requirements which are at odds with ‘reflective learning’. Hospitality industry has emphasis on regulatory compliance, speed of production, cost and accuracy! Summarised his philosophies towards ‘product design’ and overview of principles of design informing his work. There is a clash between design driven work integration and traditional work-based product development. Design work is fuzzy and has many iterations but industry generally more linear. Traditional ‘work-integrated learning’ has a power relationship skewed towards the employer. Proposes a design driven integrated learning so that learning takes precedence over productivity. Therefore, helping to convert the ‘push’ system of supplier driven production to ‘pull’ system for custom driven needs. Overviewed a student’s project as an example – developing cocoa husks added value products – including sustainable process of developing a range of short term (immediate, low cost, no training required), medium term and long term (higher development costs, production changes required etc.) Future work demands higher range of capability and skills to cope with more changeable markets etc.

Second with Dr. Linda Kestle, Kath Davis and Neil Laing from Unitec and Alysha Bryan from Hawkins on ‘balancing the seesaw – the ups and downs of delivering vocational education’. Developed a programme at 3 levels – project delivery staff – managers etc. and cadets at year 1 and 2. 4 years of shared delivery so far. 5 – 6 modules per year – 150 staff. Work-based learning with assessment event for each module (group and individual) and final capstone presentations. Challenges for cadets include range of educational attainment. For managers was range of years of experience in the industry, some working for Hawkins and other were sub-contractors. Focus of group work with discussions situated in projects and practice drawing on the experience of students. Delivery now shared between Unitec and Hawkins. Continual need to work closely with industry partner, leadership, co-developed course outlines / content and input from domain-knowledge experts. Challenge between academic vs industry expectations. Assessment submissions an ongoing challenge and there are continual industry needs. Encouraged others to accept the challenges as there are benefits both for provider and industry based on continued goodwill and generosity from both parties.

Followed on by Rashika Sharma from Unitec presenting on ‘sustainability learning opportunities through campus research projects – when student (trades students) involvement matters’. Rationalised the importance of integrating sustainability into the learning of TVET as skills, productivity and economics take precedent. However, ‘green TVET’ now a requirement to address environmental concerns. Curriculum in TVET still deficient in sustainability content. Australia has Green Skills agreement implementation plan and ‘skills for sustainability standards framework. In NZ, even after post TROQ (review of qualifications) sustainability skills are still not visible. Need for TVET institutes to create the change in the absence of govt. intervention – green campus, green curriculum, green community, green research and green culture (Majumdar, 2011). Good range of topics for green research in TVET for students – waste minimisation, alternative energy, sustainable garden, sustainable housing design etc. provided example with carpentry students on ‘waste minimisation’. Survey and focus group with students, also interviews with academic leader and institute sustainability manager. Found that there is a need to ‘make visible’ and formal, the sustainability initiatives. The learning sessions are too busy for students to notice the modelling being availed on waste minimisation. Emphasis must be put on and students’ attention drawn to sustainability initiatives. Teachers need to be actively involved and be champions of sustainability. Inclusion into curriculum will be ideal.

Last presentation in the stream from Peter Mathewson from Unitec on ‘social work and poverty theory and practice: challenges and proposed research’. Defined social work as proposed by the International Federation of Social Work. Also defined poverty as condition characterized by sustained or chronic deprivation of resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of adequate standard of living. In developed countries, there is relative rather than absolute poverty, In NZ, 27% of children live in poverty and 7% in severe poverty. Summarised the intersection between poverty and social work. Historically, there was a individualised / moralistic approach. Moved on to influence of counselling. More recently, neo-liberal dominated practice focused on individualised or family risk factors and behaviours. Summarised the approach of poverty aware social work. Make poverty visible, work together – practitioners and poor, more egalitarian relationship between social and material needs, active part to challenge the system. How about social work students? Survey reveals high levels of need compared to average in NZ. Need to align with radical/critical social work to assert social justice. Poverty is not necessarily the fault of individuals but social structural issue. Casework not adequate, needs to be individually orientated. Proposed personal/ political strategies to support the radical/critical approach. Look into anti-poverty practice framework for social work in Northern Ireland. Summarised potentialities in NZ. Shared some proposals for his own research.

After morning tea, I follow the sessions in the ‘lucky dip’ stream.

Firstly with Pavitra Dhamja from Toi Ohomai (Rotorua) and Mary Cooper (ditto) on ‘seeing is believing – facilitating realism and recreating experiences’. Demonstrated VR using anko Hololens VR box/goggles. Presented on advantages and challenges of using AR. Hands-on learning as pairs of participants try out VR box with phones running YouTube videos. 360 tour of cell, earthquake simulation etc.

Support colleague Jane Bates from Ara Institute of Canterbury with her presentation on ‘programme design and development – from zero to hero’. Introduced rationale for and details / including the team involved, for the Ara programme design and development process. Presented an overview and then detailed each of the 4 phases – approval, design, development and delivery. Emphasis is on learning and how to support the learner. Philosophies underpinning the process were shared.
Followed by session with Dr. Wang Yi from Wintec on ‘its about THEM – exploiting learners’ stories for adult ESOL beginners’ literacy development’. Covered ‘who are our learners’ and rationalised the use of students’ stories. Learners range in age from late teens to 70s, educational backgrounds from nil to degree level in their home language. Generally, only have elementary English. Objective to help develop life long learners. Provided examples of how stories are created from templates and by using students’ experiences. Also examples of ‘back up’ and spontaneous stories drawing on daily activities.

The Yusef Patel from Unitec with ‘design studio – collaboration with Panuku Development Auckland’ with third year Batchelor of Architectural Studies Students. Covered the process of ‘finding common ground’, working with students towards their objectives, timeline and outcomes. Detailed the parameters of the agreed ‘project’. Opportunities to ‘stretch’ students and work on items not normally covered by Architects (e.g. roads). Detailed principles (Unitec and Panuku) to be followed as students proceeded with their design.  Described critique process from Panuku, tutors, peers, past students and other industry representatives and students allowed to address the critique in their final presentation. Shared reflections on the positive aspects of the collaboration.

After lunch, there is a plenary address with Dr. Te TakaKeegan from University of Waikato on ‘using humour in teaching’. Provided examples of how he used humour in his teaching of computer science. Encouraged audience to find their own path and create / develop their own approach. Humour is useful in establishing a connection and to engage. Humour activates the dopamine reward system assisting with long term memory, increases attention and interest, breaks down barriers, provides avenue to connect, relaxes and reduces stress. Appropriate topic related instructional humour can be very effective in topic retention. Provided guidelines as to when humour is inappropriate and presented strategies for incorporating humour.

Audience discussion followed.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Talking Teaching - Day 1 afternoon presentations


After lunch, I run a session centred around the sociomateriality and the possibilities of supporting the learning of these withe-assessment approaches. Introduced the background conceptualisation of learning as becoming. In this workshop, we concentrate on the sociomaterial aspects of learning, required to attain occupational identity, a goal of vocational education. Digital tools may be useful in accessing, archiving nuances of and reflection on the learning of the sociomaterial. Matching the most effective tool to harness the feedback from others to help learn better the sociomaterial is an objective of the workshop.

Dr. Peter Mellalieu from Peer Assess Ltd. And Patrick Dodd from Unitec present on ‘digital tools for enabling developmental feedback and teamwork grading by peer assessment’. Defined teammate peer assessment. Demonstrated tool (Peer assess pro) – supported by Ako Aotearoa funding – from the student and the teacher viewpoint. Compared this tool to alternative tools in the market. Presented criteria for selecting peer assessment platform. Sprague, Wilson & Mckenzie (2019) advocated that students are less likely to take a ‘free ride’ when they know that their contributions are considered towards determining their grade. Propositions also that awarding all team members the same grade is not valid, fair or motivating. Students have to receive training in teamwork and the assessment practices they will use. An effective peer assessment platform identifies inflated self-assessment and outlier team ratings. There are 10 other similar platforms and each fits a distinct purpose. Discussed the criteria for selection. 

Then last session of the day with Dr. Angela Feekery from Massey University and Carla Jeffrey from Ngai Tahu/ Massey with ‘enhancing students’ information evaluation capability using the Rauru Whakarareevaluation framework'. She teaches a large class on 'strategic business communication for first year students and Carla is the project librarian. The course is to prepare students for the information context they are studying /working with. Information literacy is a requirement for all aspects of academic literacy, disciplinary literacy, digital and media literary, adult and professional literacy. Information literacy includes skills of research, problem solving, transition, ethics, critical analysis, study skills, search skill, evaluation, social media, connectedness, creativity and innovation. Therefore involves the processes, strategies, skills, competenxies, expertise and ways of thinking to engage with information to learn across a range of platforms to transform the known, and discover the unknown. Shared resources used with the course to assist students to attain the information skills. Overviewed the framework - Rauru Whakarare - to be used holistically rather than just as a checklist. 

Talking Teaching - Day 1 morning

In Auckland for the next few days for the annual Ako Aotearoa Academy symposium. Yesterday was an academy members only day, followed by two days of the Talking Teaching Conference 2019.

Academy day
The main objective was to move the strategic vision of the Academy forward. Initial document created by executive has been workshopped last year and this year, time to refine and complete. Also, an update on the year and changes occurring along with up and coming future changes through our relationship with Ako Aotearoa.

Day 1
Day one opens with a powhiri and the plenary address by AssociateProfessor Faumuina Fa’afetai Sopoaga from University of Otago – winner of the Prime Minister’s prize for teaching excellence last year. Spoke on the theme ‘our past shapes the journey into the future’. Began with a song, learnt in her childhood, followed by welcome in Samoan, Maori and other languages. Used her personal history to weave the theme into the challenges of today and the future. Articulated the collectivist Pacific culture and how these have influenced her. Used an example from her early days in NZ, to illustrate the challenges of adjustment into new culture expectations. These influenced her approach to helping medical students learn cultural inclusiveness through immersion into cultures they are unfamiliar with. Encouraged conference participants to ‘step up’ their efforts to help learners connect with and attain empathy with other cultures.

After morning tea, there are 6 streams. I stick mostly with the ‘technology’ stream as I am facilitating a workshop after lunch.

First up, Dr. Lydia Kiroff and Taija Puolitaival from Unitec, on ‘digital natives and digital technologies in construction education’. Presented the initial results from a action research to support students to transition from simple online apps to full professional apps. Defined digital natives (Prensky, 2001) with extensions on this to account for Gen Y and Z, and digital technologies. Overviewed the evolution of construction digital technologies from manual drafting to 3D / VR building objects. For purposes of study, Level 5 construction communication (emphasis on online/freeware) and Level 7 BIM (desktop apps for CAD/BIM) courses were selected. Pre and post diagnostic questionnaires were used, along with lecturer diary, assessment results and formal course evaluations.
Findings indicate younger students use more apps more often. Desktop apps familiar to all. Installation of online apps tended to be easier for younger students. Older students more confident with desktop apps but hesitant with experimenting. Initial thoughts on how to help students become familiar with app interface and encourage experimenting with the different functions. Perhaps through online tutorials and encouragement of daily use through exposure across all courses.

Then Kim Watson from Toi Ohomai, on ‘gamification of quality management’. An encouragement for the introduction / integration of gaming into tertiary learning. Shared his experiences in ‘gamification of a lesson’ and then opened up the session to a discussion. Encouraged the development of the approach and the game does not need to be digital, but a form of simulation of a process. Through ‘doing’ the process, concepts and deeper learning occurred.

Move across to a workshop / discussion led by James Patterson from Toi Ohomai and Adrian Woodhouse from Otago Polytechnic on the ‘review of vocational education’ ROVE – affecting all polytechnics as they will all become one entity come 1st of April next year.  The session's theme is 'more questions than answers'. James reflected on experiences from the formation of Toi Ohomai which was a merger between Wairiki (Rotorua) and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic. Stressed the importance of building good relationships between all partners. Adrian provided some background and challenged participants to 'construct the future' rather than allow ROVE to be done to them. Look to supporting learners through their work life, from novice to expert (Level 10 qualification). 
Opened up the conversation to the session to share opportunities perhaps provided by ROVE. Discussion revolved around the need to share practice from ITOs, be more formal about collaboration across the new entity, PTEs, employers, regional governments etc. There are experiences within the ITP sector of shared qualifications - exampled by the Bachelor in Engineering Technology and the NZ Certificates in Engineering - whereby innovations are shared and improved through collaborative efforts. Discussion then revolved around ways to record student learning so that learning becomes more transportable across NZ. Important to be cognisant of who will have the power - for instance the Work Developments Councils (WDC) whose role as standards setting bodies seems to also include the moderation and development of assessments.Important to value teaching and to put teaching and learning at the centre, not just as a service to industry. Definition of 'assessment' is important. Need to not take our eyes off the main goal, to be positive changeagents and supporters for learning.Important to keep in touch with the various working groups and to take the opportunity to provide feedback / submissions when they are invited.



Wednesday, November 20, 2019

NZ Institute of Skills and Technology - NZIST - establishment unit

The 'establishment unit' for the merging of all of the current NZ polytechnics and institutes of technology (ITPs) is now up and running.

The establishment board is made up of a group of people with backgrounds / interests in the ITP and Industry training organisation (ITO) backgrounds along with representation from the Tertiary Educaiton Union (TEU) and iwi.

The Day One Deliverables have been identified and there are 10 workstreams to prepare for the April 1st 2020 launch date of the new entity.

Plans include those required to ensure the NZIST is up and running at the planned date:

  • selection of a Chief Executive
  • establishment of implementation plan
  • transitioning ITPs into subsidiaries
  • Day one operational requirements --- etc.

Seven workstreams have been formed to work through the complexities of the merger. These are:

  • student journey ma[
  • employer and community engagement model
  • education products and services
  • work-based learning development
  • new academic architecture
  • online delivery model
  • international education
Chair, facilitators and principal advisors for each of the workstreams and workstream members (10 people) have been set up (as of beginning of Ocotber). 

“The prime role of these working groups is to provide advice to the incoming permanent NZIST Council in April 2020. The new Council will consider the suggestions and recommendations of the working groups as it makes future decisions,” says Barry Jordan, Chair of the IST Establishment Board. “Co-designing the work programme outputs with wide ranging stakeholders and educators is an important foundation for the long-term sustainability of NZIST.”

Now a bit of a 'wait and see' if there will be 'reports on progress' before Christmas.


Monday, November 18, 2019

31 coolest jobs in the world

This came up on Stuff a couple of weeks ago.

Many of the jobs listed did not exist a few years ago and over half are in the craft / design/ technical specialist industries. Almost all require fine manipulative skills, high degrees of innovation and attention to detail.

Many of the jobs are related to providing niche services or products to the educated and affluent of the world's consumers. Included are jobs like bonsai tree horticulturalist, fugu chef, vehicle customiser, surfboard / guitar maker and cheese maker / parmesan taster.

Therefore, many jobs cater for the needs of consumers seeking self-actualisation beyond their paid work! Included are also jobs to assist consumers to 'move up' in the world - like etiquette trainer, interior / fashion designer.

Also, jobs to support the leisure industries like designers of 'letters', movie sets and figurines, motion capture actor etc.

What the article misses, is the mass of technologies required to support many of these 'cool jobs' including the infrastructure, technologies and other services. However, the existence of these jobs indicates the increase in the services industries and the need for people to be able to 'transfer' skills, perhaps learnt in other contexts, into the niche / specialist roles exampled by these types of work. These kinds of work are also supported by trends and many will morph or be extended as markets needs shift. So, there is still the need to ensure education prepares people for the future of work which will be always subject to change.


Monday, November 04, 2019

The body in professional practice, learning and education - book overview


This is a broad overview of the book - The body in professional practice, learning and education, published in 2015 and edited by B.Green and N. Hopwood. It is volume 11 of the professional and practice-based learning series published by Springer.

There are 4 parts across 15 chapters.

Part one – introduction -  has two chapters.

The main introduction by the editors provides rationale for the book and summaries of each chapter. The origins of the book are from a research programme developed over the last decade at Charles Sturt University through the Research Institute of Professional Practice, Learning and Education (RIPPLE). Networking opportunities afforded the extension of the original group to include researchers from Canada and the University of Technology, Sydney. This book continues on from work published from 2008 onwards and is the fifth in the series.

Then a deeper introduction to the concepts, also by the editors is in the second chapter. The chapter re-introduces the concept of ‘the body in practice’ and in particular, the influence of the work of Schatzki on understanding the holistic intermingling of the body, mind and movement. The three dimensions of ‘bodyness’ as outlined by Schatzki are: being a body; having a body; and the ‘presence  of’ the instrumental body. There is a critique of how Schatzki sees the body as part of the material ‘lived’ world and discussion on how the body is represented, and how practice, when the contribution of the body is accounted for, takes on different connotations.

Part 2 has 6 chapters on ‘thinking with the body in professional practice’.

Chapter 3 by M. Somerville and K. Vella on ‘sustaining the change agent: bringing the body into language in professional practice’. Here, the authors apply feminist philosophies to understand how people develop and cope with organisationally imposed change. The relationships between the body and language are explored as there is a challenge in articulating bodily sensations when there is a lack of precision in language to allow for the nuances to be described.

Fourth chapter by N. Hopwood on ‘relational geometries in the body: doing ethnographic fieldwork. This chapter follows on well from the previous as it presents on how humans can better notice and understand the role of bodies in professional practice. He uses an auto-ethnographical approach to study his own movements (body geometries / bodily positioning) and those of the participants / spaces of his study.

Next chapter by M. C. Johnsson with ‘terroir and timespace’: body rhythms in winemaking. In this chapter, the context of a wine yard is used to understand practice patterns and body rhythms. How these impinge on practice is unravelled.

Chapter 6 with J-A. Reid and D. M. Mitchell writing on ‘inhabiting a teaching body: portraits of teaching’. Here the ‘habitus’ of being a teacher is explored. In particular, how the social practices, expectations, space/time etc. are learnt as they are influence the ways teachers’ attitudes, gestures, vocalisations and dispositions are ‘displayed’. A comparison is made between a highly effective ‘expert’ teacher and a novice to unpack the many ‘undescribed’ and ‘undefined’ characteristics that contribute to the ‘habitus’ of teacher.

Followed by D. Mulcahy on ‘body matters: the critical contribution of affect in school classroom and beyond’. Here, passions, emotions and desires are the focus. The study is undertaken in a school context using video case-studies. Actor-network and post-structuralist theories are used to analyse the data. Teaching and learning practices impinge strongly on the embodied and affective areas of ‘being a teacher’.

Last chapter in this section by B. Green titled ‘thinking bodies: practice theory, Deleuze, and professional education’. A philosophical discussion on the precepts proposed by Deleuze – affect, virtuality, multiplicity etc. on ‘thinking the body’.

Part 3 has 6 chapters focused on the body in the contexts of health professional education and practice.

Chapter 9 by S. Loftus is on ‘embodiment in the practice and education of health professionals’. Uses the concepts of ‘embodied narrative knowing’ or Todres’ ‘embodied relational understanding’ to better understand how health professional come to know and act.

The tenth chapter is by E. E. Katzman presenting on the topic ‘embodied reflexivity: knowledge and the body in professional practice’. Here feminist and post-structural literature, inform the study of ‘embodied reflexivity’ in the context of being an attendant health-care worker. There is a focus on the power relations and the ‘lived’ politics of knowledge, through the article.

Chapter 11 is by L. L. Ellingson on ‘embodied practices in dialysis care: on (para) professional work’. This chapter follows through from the previous, with a focus on vulnerability of patients and health professionals within the context of an out-patient dialysis treatment unit. The communicative aspects of embodied practice are analysed to understand the many facets of relationships and communication required.

Next chapter on ‘(per)forming the practice body: Gynecological teaching associates in medical education’ by J. Hall. The aspect of intimacy is the main focus of this chapter. How does the body react to and act, in the teaching of a specialised aspect of health studies.

S. DeLuca, P. Bethune-Davies and J. Elliot write on ‘the (de)fragmented body in nursing education’. Continuing on from the previous chapter, the ‘body work’ required to learning how to nurse are presented. How ‘phronetic practice and ‘practical wisdom’ are learnt and applied is the main focus of this chapter.

Last chapter in this part is by S. Denshire on ‘looking like an occupational therapist: (re)presentations of her comportment within auto-ethnographic tales’. Here, the ways in which the body is represented are unpacked through auto-ethnographic work. A personalised account is made of practice and how this constant interaction between what the body brings into practice, influences and must be continually reflected on to ensure the relevance and efficacy of practice.

The last part concludes with a reflective chapter by E. A. Kinsella with ‘embodied knowledge: towards a corporeal turn in professional practice, research and education’. This closing chapter, brings  together and summarises the many threads presented through the book.

Overall, a good introduction to the precepts of 'embodiment' and the implications of bringing in the myriad senses / feelings / perceptions from human activity. The continual work towards better 'knowing' is not only cerebral, but also bodily. One cannot be separted from the other. Yet, to date, there has been little emphasis on trying to understand the contribution of the body to learning. The book is therefore, a good introduction to considering the importance of understanding how humans live, through more holistic and integrated study.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

NZ VET research forum - presentations now available

Most of the presentations from the recent NZ VET research forum - see here for summary of day one morning - are now available via this link.

Of note are the keynote presentations from Dr. Marco Pagcanella providing a more global overview of where NZ is at with regards to work skills through the PIACC data, and Professor Jane Bryson's analysis of availability of professional development for workers in NZ.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Flavor - the science of our most neglected sense - book overview

Presently, drafting an article on 'learning to taste' as an output for one of the eassessment for learning sub-projects.

The book -  Flavor:the science of our most neglected sense. Holmes B. (2017). W.W. Norton and Co.
I worked through the book - borrowed from the local library - over the last week or so.

The author's home page  indicates his experience as a science writer, so the overall tone and style of writing is accessble to the layperson.

The book has gathered positive reviews - from a chef's perspective and from the processedfoodsite.

There are 8 chapters in the book, covering the essentials of understanding how humans (and mammals) taste. There are some good insights across the book, as the author explores the history, science and sociology of taste and flavour.

The central arguement is of the complexity of flavour and its role in enhancing human's quality of life. Visits to wineries, restaurants, flavour compound industry producers and food sensory laboratories are described and connected to the 'science of taste and flavour'. There is discussion on why we enjoy certain foods and why we find some to be unpalatable - the contribution of nurture is just as important as nature. The many dimensions of taste - including mouthfeel, smell and sound are introduced and extended. The various aspects of flavour - salt, sweet, sour, bitter, umami are all explored.

In summary:
- we eat with our eyes - so the colour and complementary presentation help enhance our eating pleasure.
- Smell plays a large role in taste and may consist of smell and 'flavour'
- holistic presentation help - therefore seafood tastes better when we are by the seashore or if the dish is presented with the sound / and smell of the sea.
- much of our taste preferences are cultural and learnt although there are some underlying biological foundations for individual's taste - some people do not have as many taste buds and do not taste the intensity or spectrum of flavours. People who dislike brocolli for example, are often 'super' tasters and need to surmount their initial over whelming of their taste senses to appreciate brocolli!

All in, the book is essential reading for anyone seeking to better understand the mechanisms and quirks of one of the least understood and underated of human senses.




Wednesday, October 16, 2019

NZ Vocational Education and Training (VET) research forum - DAY TWO after morning tea


After morning tea, three concurrent sessions are presented.

Firstly with Helen McPhun from LEARNPLUS on ‘will shifting the goal post improve the game?’ Shared a subset of her study ‘is the current benchmark the cause of poor assessment practice?’ Some moves to remove the unit standard 4098 which prepares people to assess competency standards. Assessment processes and behaviours seem to have flaws? Do we blame 4098 and shift to a more difficult unit? Interviewed across the private tertiary providers and ITOs – assessors, academic managers and moderators. Variables to explore include assessors, assessment documents, context, conditions and support. Shared findings. Assessors have preferences, standards and values and these colour our assessment decisions. Design, clarity and ease of use of the assessment documents play a key role in ensuring assessments are valid, reliable and fair. Therefore, not 4098 preparation but the assessment documents themselves must be solid and the behaviours of assessors in making assessment decisions.

Second concurrent session with Dr. Glenys Ker (with work with John Gualter) from Otago Polytechnic with ‘facilitating for transformative learning – innovative ways to support learners (and their organisations’. Provided background, context and rationalisation on a Doctorate of Professional Studies study of the Independent learning pathway (ILP i.e. recognition of prior learning) process. Usually enables people to attain a degree over a year. These people are engaged at work. Also the Partial Independent Learning Pathway (PILP) for people in an organisation. Here, the learner completes a project, identified with their organisation. Provided details of the process along with examples. Begins with ‘looking back’ to reflect on their knowledge and skills, then ‘taking stock’ to work out what they have and if there are any gaps, leading to a ‘summing up and looking forward’ step to bring together the evidence / case study for presentation. Shared 4 principles for effective facilitation. Needs to be fit, build relationship, understand the skills, knowledge and attitudes required and putting the learner first.

Next up, Mark Cox and Konrad Hurren from BERL on ‘modelling alternative post-school pathways’. Presented research to look at returns post-school dependent on where and how people move through life. Data was from the integrated data infrastructure from Statistics NZ. Project was concerned with checking a NZ Universities stat on earnings if degree was complicated (i.e. a million over lifetime). Shared the problems with the stats which did not consider many parameters. The study presented modelled alternative pathways for people leaving school with at least NCEA L2, account for earnings and across different skills / disciplines. Population who completed an apprenticeship / degree in 2003. Tracked back to 1999 and to 2018. This allowed for 4 years of data from time leaving school. Allowed for average student loan, household economic survey, mortgage, house prices etc. For degrees B Com. BSc, BA with technology based apprentices (building, engineering); commerce and other apprentices (personal services, society and culture). Used model to calculate ‘net financial position’ for average person in each group. Made assumptions as to 20% deposit and 20 year mortgage of half a house; saving through kiwi saver, are frugal and try their best to live within their means. Results indicate between BSc and technology based apprentices, by 10 (14) years, degree holders take over but apprentices earn more at the start. B Com and commerce based apprentices, in year 5 -6 and BA and other apprentices also similar but earnings are lower. After 15 years, technology based apprentices have earned more across 15 years and BA the least. Apprentices tend to have capability to purchase house earlier and be able to accumulate assets earlier.

After lunch, we have a keynote from Dr. Damon Whitten from Ako Aotearoa and Mike Styles from the Primary ITO on two upcoming Ako Aotearoa Research initiatives. Mike presents on ‘A NZ dyslexia friendly quality mark’ funded by TEC and overseen and managed by Ako Aotearoa. Internationally 10% of adults with dyslexia generally underachieve in education and choose not to engage in education. Dyslexia is not a disability but is best thought of as a different way of seeing the world. Is not related to intelligence but struggle with text. Quality mark is based on model developed by the British Dyslexia Association. Need to contextualised to a bicultural NZ setting and standards for education management, delivery and inclusiveness. Summarised advantages for learners and providers. Good practice for dyslexic learners also good practice for all learners.

Damon presented on ‘exciting new frontiers for literacy ad numeracy’. Shared the Adult Literacy Practice Model – know what has to be learnt, know the learner and what to do to help learner do the learning. Need to integrate learner agency – problem solving and self-learning skills. Summarised study on ‘how do lower skilled adults deal with novel problems and learning challenges?’ need to help people move from ‘fixed thinking’ to become more flexible, especially to stop using established or experienced ways to do things. Engaging learners in novel problems that they do not know how to solve, provide them with heuristic method and they can use this to help them solve the problem. Emphasised the importance for developing self learning skills – self-regulated learning, effective learning strategies and ongoing practice. Shared several learning strategies relevant to L & N.

The ‘Women in the trades’ session follows with a panel discussion on ‘employers’ perspectives of the benefits and barriers to women in trades and what they are doing to lead change’. Presented on the benefits to employers; perceived barriers of employing women; current behaviours and beliefs; and changes that can help employers and industries become more gender diverse. Erica Cummings (BCITO) Mced the session with 4 employers (1 female) on the panel, providing their perspectives. Each provided background on their company and their perspectives. 
Mark Williams then provided overview and summary of the project. Included how the various parts of the project inform and connect across. Presented the research objectives, methodology and findings. Generally, female employers, large companies, companies with females in leadership roles and automotive engineering tended to employ comparatively larger numbers of women. Women brought 'attention to detail' and 'softening of workplace behaviours' but barriers included lack of physical strength and 'might get pregnant'. Many trades jobs come about through word of mouth, advertising the job seen as a useful method to open opportunities for women. Offering flexible work arrangements, partnership with schools and widening circle of people they talk to about a job all assist. Proposed strategies for assisting businesses to employ more women in the trades.

The conference closes with thoughts from Josh Williams.

NZ Vocational Education and Training (VET) research forum - DAY TWO EARLY MORNING


Professor Pat Walsh, the Chair of the ITF opens the second day of the conference. A drizzly, grey and windy day in Wellington, so good to be indoors enjoying the conference and the company of kindred spirits.

Day two then begins with a keynote from the Honourable Steven Joyce, former Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment and author of an Australian report ‘Strengthening skills review of Australian VET sector: Skills training reform: a Trans-Tasman view’. Provided background on the Australian review and using this to comment on the current RoVE in NZ. The review is now followed by putting into place, the recommendations. From his viewpoint, Australia had viewed the NZ VET process as beening successful! And yet NZ is in the process of a major change. Both countries challenged by the rapid changes in the nature of work / employment and skill needs. All countries experience cycles of rise and fall of student numbers. When employment is high, there will be low in enrolments in ITPs. Australia has school leaving age of 18 and a very strong university sector, putting the squeeze on TAFEs with regards to potential students. Asked the question, what is skills training and if it did not exist, would we invent it? Yes. Common sense tells us that ‘learning by doing’ / ‘earn while you learn’ involving experience and applied learning are required. If we have VET, what are the attributes of the system. Most important to have support of employers. NZ has taken 30 years to have growing numbers of trainees and apprentices. Important to ensure the things that work are supported and enhanced. VET must provide clear pathways for learners – i.e. school to VET and then training to work. Always a challenge to start apprenticeships in new industries. NZ has Skills pathway and better accessible information on careers. Strong industry voice still required in schools. Pathways from study, whether uni or VET, into work still a challenge. A good VET system must provide the skills required by people to get a job. Flexibility and agility in updating qualifications is important. Addition of ‘academic freedom’ into VET system argued to perhaps not be required?! Moving to just one monolithic provision, may stifle choice and eventually quality. Regulation across the sector still important. Substantiated why NZ VET should not go through change as the system is not broken and reasons for change are to shore up the public VET sector, rather than enhance VET for learners and employers.

Then concurrent sessions begin and I attend the presentation by Mandy McGirr managing director of McGirr Training, on ‘helping youth to develop employability and to signal what employers seek--- soft skills, transferable skills and work experience’. One of the purposed of education and qualification system is employability development. Employability development can be envisaged as a short or long game focus. Short game is getting a job and can be any job, mostly low pay/security. Long game focus is to provide greater mobility / progression / security (i.e. career managing). Asks the question ‘ what are the employability development support roles (or potential roles) of the NZ public education / qualification system and its players? What is the role or ‘value add’ of the VET systems? Who will do what role and how? Defined for the purposes of her work, soft/non-cognitive skills, transferable skills, work experience, signals and employability development. One resource – UK based – what do employers seek when hiring young workforce entrants? In general employers seek past experience and a range of soft/non-cognitive abilities. Signals are important to connect the skills potential workers have with the perceived required work /occupational skills. Third party signal senders (training providers, referees, other verifications – drivers licence / badges / micro-credentials) are part of the loop. Implications for supporting employability include that gaining skills is only part of the challenge. Individual signalling capability is an important contributor. Work experience provides one key signal for suitability especially providing affordances for learning and practicing soft skills. So what is the role of VET in the provision of employability development?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

NZ Vocational Education and Training (VET) research forum - DAY ONE AFTERNOON


After lunch, Dr. Karen Vaughan presents a keynote on ‘border crossings and vocational thresholds’. Karen has now moved across to Royal NZ Council of General Practitioners from the NZ Centre for Educational Research (NZVER). Summarised learnings and experiences through 17 years of doing VET research. VET research was very ‘industry-led’ and thought to be ‘for industry’ rather than for education. VET is about using experience to learn an occupation, not just the accumulation of knowledge. Shared the story of ‘learning how to be’ a researcher. Summarised some of her key projects. In the pathways project, the space between school and work was explored and the important finding of people caring more about who they were to be and not what. Shared ‘highlights’ and ‘lowlights’ J Important to not make assumptions and to explore the obvious – as this will sometimes bring up insights. Also to learn from ‘missteps’ and ‘mistakes’. Looking across fields / discipline areas can be productive – ‘knowing knowledge’ project. Provided overview and how the concept of ‘vocational thresholds’ was derived through studying the learning of General practitioners, carpenters and engineering technicians. Reinforced the importance of dispositions in learning an occupation. Karen.vaughan@rnzcgp.org.nz

Concurrent sessions continue and I attend the presentation with Laliofi Ripley (Careerforce), Anne Alkema (ITF) and Dr. Nicky Murray (ITF) on their project (also with Cain Kerehoma (Kia Ora consulting) – Hinatore:upskilling Maori and Pasifika in the workplace. The project explores why programmes work for Maori and Pasifika employees through the context of literacy; to what extend were culturally responsive pedagogy incorporated; and how learners continued beyond the programme. Context of the workplace literacy and numeracy fund to provide 20 – 80 hours (around 7000 employees a year) delivered in the workplace in work time. 8 workplaces, 100 participants – learners, facilitators, employers and whanau – used observations, focus groups and video. Visits occurred at start, middle and end of programme. Shared videos of students’ perception of the programme. Key findings on teaching and learning (ako – reciprocal learning), the learning that had occurred (mahi – workplace / situated learning) and the sense of community (whanau – being part of a family).

Followed on by Amber Paterson from Otago Polytechnic on ‘Learner capability framework (I am capable) and research’. Shared research and implementation of their learner capability framework. Still a work in progress with full integration in 2020. Also trialling with 4 partner secondary schools and 2 primary schools (used by teachers for their PD and students). OP have identified 25 capabilities for example critical thinking, communication orally/ written/ bi-ligually. Which ones would industries identify as being relevant? Outcomes include the aim of ensuring students are able to articulate and evidence the capabilities required. E-portfolio used to showcase their capabilities over and above their formal qualification. Shared resources used to support (on issu – search OP learner capability). Used focus groups across disciplines to identity the industry specific capabilities. Shared one of the videos (of 3 on Youtube). Demo site available on request.

Afternoon tea is followed by one concurrent session and a keynote. I chair Dr. Antje Handelmann’s (Leibniz University) session on “I was like, wow, I wanna be a chef” – the biographical meaning of apprenticeship. This is a qualitative study as part of a PhD- recently completed. Provided background of study – school to work transitions in Germany and NZ. Then summarised and rationalised research method – biographical narrative and case study. Argued that social chances have let to processes of de-structuralisation and placed responsibility on career to individuals in a society challenged by rapid change in the nature of work. Selected Germany (employment centred) and NZ (liberal / market led) due to the major differences between the two countries. Carried 14 interviews in Germany and 7 in NZ – apprentices who had withdrawn from an apprenticeship. Comparisons were made between individual apprentices’ biographies, not with countries. 3 types for searching for occupation – institutional-orientation, recognition-orientated and self-actualisation. Provided examples from each. Shared the conceptualised framework / model derived. Concluded that social changes lead to different life courses with an intersection between individual and society. School to work transition is complex, young people aim to find the ‘right’ path and is a permanent process of searching.

Then key note from Dr. Rose Ryan from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment on ‘A research agenda for the NZ labour market of the 2020s’. She is a manager for the workforce and workplace evidence and insights team. Important to bring the various pieces of data from different Ministries to ensure data is not viewed in silos and analysed across disciplines etc. Need to think about the labour market and skills needs differently due to the global megatrends – technology, globalisation, demographics, climate change etc. NZ has dynamic labour market with high levels of participation, a highly skilled workforce and continued growth in employment – especially for those in skilled occupations and across service-based industries. Challenges are to manage diversity and inclusion, responding to future skill needs / changes, utilisation all the capability and capacity of all the population and understand better how work contributes to well-being. Currently, demand for employment is still high, labour market participation is high, medium to long term employment is steady to 2028.
Managing diversity important due to demographic shift with higher numbers of Maori, Pasifika and Asian replacing Pakeha as they retire. There is a high underutilisation / under employment of the population’s capacity. 11% if people who are in work would like more work. NEET rates are still higher than desirable. Underutilisation tends to be short term; young / female (particularly mothers) and in community, personal services, sales and labouring occupations and retail, accommodation and food, education and healthcare industries.
Need to prepare workforce for high skill occupations which will increase into 2029 when compared to elementary and skilled-semi-skilled jobs. Crucial to understand the effect of automation, digitisation and AI. Who will be affected? How will it affect occupations and jobs? Non-routine work, managing people, unpredictable work, work requiring judgment etc. least likely to be impacted.
PIACC shows mismatch between qualification / field of study and current occupation. NZ have highly skilled workforce but not much known about how employers make decisions as to who they employ and how they select. Still much work required in this area.
The contribution of work to well-being also requires study. What is job quality in the NZ context. Job Quality include physical environment, social environment, work intensity, skills and discretion, working time quality, prospects and earnings. If NZ wants to focus on high quality jobs, what are they? Survey of Working life (2018) indicates job quality includes employment relationships / multiple job-holding (more than one job); non-standard working relationships; work related training; skills matching; job security and tenure; and workplace autonomy. Important to develop workforce wellbeing – develop human capital, invest in skills for the future, encourage lifelong learning, leverage technology to generate opportunities for decent and meaningful work, strengthen labour/employment/income protection.

Josh provides a brief overview of the day.

The day closes with a networking function to celebrate the completion of the ‘Women in the Trades’ research project, launched by the Minister of Women, the Honourable Julie Ann Genter.

NZ Vocational Education and Training (VET) research forum - DAY ONE MORNING


In Wellington today and tomorrow for the annual NZ VET research forum. This is the 15th year this conference has been convened and sadly the last. One of the outcomes of the NZ Review of VocationalEducation (RoVE) is the disestablishment of Industry Training Organisations (ITO). This conference has been organised by the Industry Training Federation (ITF) which has been a convening community of practice for the ITOs.

The day begins with a welcome from Josh Williams, the Chief Executive of the Industry Training Federation. Began with a video summarising the 15 years of the conference, the diversity of research topics, researchers from across the sectors (industry, polytechnics (ITPs), universities, ITOs, private training providers etc.) and the contribution from international experts. Called for contributions to provide ideas for ‘what shall we do next?’ Overviewed the challenges presented through RoVE but to park this and to make the most of opportunities presented at this conference. Presented a crystal ball recommendation to ‘learn from the past’ and some guidelines for skills learning moving into the future.

The first keynote is with the Honourable Chris Hipkins, Minister of Education. The minister began with how 15 years ago, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) was formed. The world has moved rapidly on and there are now many new challenges. Significantly, there is a need for all workers to continually re-train / develop their skills to keep up with shifts in workforce needs. Call to ensure school learning is not only focused on the 30% who will go directly into university but the 60% who will move on into VET or work. However, outcomes from attaining a degree are not always guarantees for continued material success or work satisfaction. Rationalised the key approaches as proposed through RoVE. Continual post-education development is now a standard requirement. Barriers to VET need to be broken to provide flexible and accessible opportunities where and when required. On and off job learning/training have to be seamless. Emphasised that the advantages in the current NZ system will be drawn on and supported. Encouraged continuity of VET research and the importance of application of findings / recommendations etc. to practice. NZ has to build a uniquely NZ solution to make work, work for all NZers. Updated on progress on RoVE including formation of the NZ Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST), Work Development Boards (WDB) and Centres for Vocational Excellence (CoVEs).

Second keynote of the day is from Dr. Marco Paccanella, who is the Director of the Department for Education and Skills at the OECD. He presents on ‘the changing role of TVET in the international policy discourse’ as based on data from PIACC. Slight change of gear from the Minister’s address! VET across countries are often very different, so comparisons can be challenging. Covered the changing role of VET. Used to be something for (disadvantaged) youth, to upgrade from low to middle skills etc. – see 2010Learning for Jobs OECD report. However, skills beyond schooling are now of greater importance – see Skills beyond school OECD report. Therefore shift from VET to post education training (PET) to ensure continued education and training for populace as the future of work is impacted on by technology. Now, - see Future-ready adult learning systems 2019 OECD report. Shift from initial to continual training due to skill obsolescence (Deming 2017), skills displacement actually impacts predominantly higher-skilled workers McGuiness, Pouliakas& Redmond, 2019)! See Nedelkoska & Quintini (2018) who used PIACC date to look at variations between sectors with regards to impact of automation on industry sectors. High risk to manufacturing, agriculture and low skilled services but hard to automate include social intelligence, cognitive intelligence, perception and manipulation. Shared data of the mismatch between people who would like to participate in continual training and availability /access. The workers who need it most, are most likely to NOT participate! Shortage of time, lack of financial resources were main reasons blocking participation. Shared policy decisions that may assist. Foster mind-set of learning among firms and workers, lower barriers to training, make training rights portable, align to work skill needs. Presented on WHERE NZ stands. Employers unable to recruit staff with required skills at the going rate of pay. Shortage in hard to find skills but surplus of easy to find skills. Check Skills for Jobs indicators on the OECD website. Also shared the priorities for adult learning dashboard. There are 7 dimensions and 7 synthetic indicators. Urgency (NZ stands well), Provision (high from employers and organisations), inclusiveness (good), flexibility and guidance (more average), alignment (average), perceived impact (high for usefulness of training and average wage returns), financing (average – could be better support). In general, NZ performs pretty well but this is not a reason to NOT reform.

After morning tea, concurrent sessions begin. I attend the session with Associate Professor Jane Bryson from the Centre for Labour, Employment, and Work, Victoria University on ‘collective voice and access to training’. Workers in NZ do not actually have guarantee to the provision of training, unless it is stated in the employment contract or legislation requires (e.g. construction industry). Getting a say in training is impacted on power relationships present in organisations and workplaces. Relevant now as per need for workers to continual training to upskill for future of work requirements. See ILO (2019) –work for a brighter future and OECD (2019) Getting skills right – reports. Meeting learning opportunities for workers is usually low priority for employers. Collective voice may be one approach towards attaining on-going training and development opportunities. RoVE and update for Tertiary Education strategy are opportunities for workers to be upheld. Presented on recent research on whether collective workers’ voice would impact on access to training. Studied the collective contracts database to find out if training provisions written in. Then analysed if the entitlement was meaningful. In 2015, 87% of collective employment agreements have training of skill development provision. Public sector workers more likely to have training. Industries with fewer collective agreements, tend to have less provision for training. Did workers who had training provision entitlement, use them or were satisfied with the provisions. Used Fuller and Unwin expansive vs restrictive approaches to workforce development as a way to compare collective agreements 25% were expansive and 75% restrictive!! Interviews with union officials to establish a deeper understanding. Identified key conditions for success expressed by the officials and strategies they used to try to make training provisions in collective agreements more expansive. Important to ensure that entitlement and opportunity also includes supporting workers’ agency to access and making use of the potentialities.

Then I present on details of the seven sub-projects from the e-assessment project. Presented overview of the project including the research methodology and how the guidelines were derived from the inquiry cycles undertaken to develop and deploy e-assessments for learning. 

Monday, October 07, 2019

The righteous mind - book overview

Worked through this book, picked up from the Ara library, over a wettish weekend.

The Righteous mind: Why good people are divided by politics and religion, by Jonathan Haidt. Published by Random House, 2012.

There is an overview on wikipedia.

Reviews are in the main, positive with examples from The Guardian and the New York Times.

The book is written in an accessible prose, using metaphors to illustrate his argument through the book.

The central theme is that we are the product of evolution. As such, our thinking (and intuition) are flawed as they are based on biological agents, which rely on making patterns from gathered through our experiences and perspectives.

The book, sets out to explain, to 'liberal' readers, why the mindset of conservatives is as it is. The 'moral foundations theory' is proposed as one way to compare the differences between people's moral foundations.

The 6 are:-
Care - cherishing and protecting others from harm
Fairness or proportionality - the provision of justice according to shared  understanding of rules
loyalty or ingroup - ones standing within your group, family, nation etc.
authority or respect - submitting to tradition and authority
sanctity or purity - how certain foods, actions etc are percieved, based on societal ideas
liberty - how above affects the domination of one group over another

The above are proposed to have evolved through human history especially once hunter/gatherer groups began to have to liaise to form larger groups as the agricultural lifestyle took root.

The methods used to undertake the research are interesting. Based on using narratives as starting points by interviewers to collect interviewees' impressions. There is some cross cultural basis as the initial work was undertaken in Brazil, US od A and in India. Studies replicated recently in Korea, Sweden and NZ also show similar trends.

In a nutshell, conservatives take a stand on ALL six of the moral foundations. Liberals tend to be sensitive to Care and Fairness. Which makes sense as the nature of being a 'liberal' is not to take things at face value, but to weight up pros and cons and justify ones decisions.

Haidt proposes the need for liberal politicians to better understand how conservative voters think as without doing, they will never 'appeal' to these voters.

All in, a worthwhile read.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Heutagogy - workshop with Dr. Steward Hase at Ara

Attended an afternoon workshop with Dr. Steward Hase, one of the theorist behind the concept of heutagogy. 


The session touched briefly on aspects of the science of learning and the principles of self-determined learning. Then moved on to introduce some ways to can apply the science and principles in designing exciting learning experiences thorugh leveraging off enhanced learner agency.


The princples of heutagogy was modelled through the workshop, with lots of interactive learning through group work and opportunities for low level inquiry learning.

He used group activity to go through definition of heutagogy, the relations between pedagogy and androgogy, and the PAH (pedagogy, andragogy and heutagogy) continuum.

The need to support learners was stressed. Learning through self-determination requires learners to be confident in working out what they need to learn and how they can go about it.

In turn, 'learning leaders' (aka teachers) also require a new skill set to 'let go' and be true 'guides on the side'.


Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Ako Aotearoa - Funded projects colloquium - Southern Region

I facilitated 'reflective sessions' at the annual Ako Aoteaoa project colloquium for the Southern region. As always, good to catch up with projects’ progress and to find out about the newer ones. A good gathering on a cold and wet Christchurch morning keeps the group consolidated.

Dr. Joe Te Rito – Kaihautu Matauranga Maori provides the Welcome, followed by Helen Lomax – Ako Akotearoa Director and Jennifer Leahy, Sector Services Manager for the South Island.
The event MC is Melany Tainui from the University of Canterbury. I assist by doing a ‘wrap up’ activity after every two presentations.

The first two presentations are Nationally funded projects:

First up, Hutia te  Punga (pull up the anchor stone) – presented by Dr. Porsha London, PiripiPrendergast and Dr. Eruera Tarena from Te Rununga o Ngai Tahu – Tokona raki. This is a collaborative project between Ako Aotearoa, Ngai Tahu and three South Island tertiary education providers (BCITO, Otago Polytechnic and Telford). The project is developing, through an action research approach, a co-constructed professional development programme for staff to build culture competency capability. Both Piripi and Eruera provided background and rationale for the project. In particular, the larger objective, to work on the socio-political constraints towards supporting the development of Maori youth. Maori are  a young population and contribute significantly to the workers of the future. One solution is to undertake responsibility for shifting the larger system (structures, systems and mindsets) through targeted development to transform the industry and educational leaders to take cognisance of the importance of supporting the potentialities for Maori. Piripi provided details of the background for the development of the professional development sessions. Focus is on the ‘self’ to challenge mindsets. Porsho detailed challenges especially in a sector undergoing continual change. This leads to high turnover of staff and shift in mindset takes time. However, building of relationships between learners and staff was found to be one of the key factors to support Maori learners. Resources to support the ‘levers of change’ require contextualisation to settings – as per the project – industry training, classroom learning and residence-based trades training. Shared framework (poutama) –ekea te taumata tiketike’ for self-evaluation and moving forward with development of cultural competency. 

Second project, an update on the Youth guarantees pathwaysand profiles project lead by Doug Reid from Community Colleges NZ. Doug provided an overview and updated on progress on date. Longitudinal project to try to find out if the Youth Guarantee fees free scheme is having a longer term effect on cohort of students from 2015. Educational partners included YMCA, Unitec and Community Colleges NZ with research expertise from ‘the collaborative’ on youth research. Final report just out now. Findings indicate young people experience multiple transitions; these transitions are not linear; complex and difficult to plan or predict; identity development important; and skills – not qualifications – are the most important. The main themes were a desire for self-development; control of their own transitions; belonging and alignment to their contexts; importance of networks and support; and direction and stability (i.e. in personal life) to help guide transitions. Summarised a range of implications for policy, revolving around the need for flexibility in supporting and funding due to ‘messy’ and sometimes difficult transitions of youth. Summary report now available.

The first wrap up was on identifying the items presented which are relevant to their own context.

Dr. Tracy Rogers from the University of Otago presents on progress on the project – teaching and learning circles – a framework for enhancing teaching culture and practice. Overviews the application of peer observation of teaching project and ways forward beyond the project. Objective to enhance teaching and learning culture and provide a supportive, sociable environment for teachers to talk about their craft. Teaching and Learning (circles) of 3 – 4 teachers did observations of each others teaching and discussed / reflected on feedback. Positive effects occurred as the TLCs provided the opportunity to engage in collegial conversations, reflect on teaching, gain non-evaluative feedback, and in turn enhance their teaching. TLCs continue and supported with the appointment of a TLC coordinator. Trailing with an on-line programme. Undertaking comparative study with Victoria University – who use a different model.

Followed by Professor Lynne Taylor and Professor UrsulaCheer from the University of Canterbury with their work on ‘the making oflawyers’: a longitudinal study. Study across all the universities in NZ offering law degree. Good to catch up with this study as the students move through their study. Fifth year data collected 2018 with some from law graduates as some students would have completed in 2017. 2018 findings similar to the other years. Class attendance drop, half of cohort through only 20% of teachers knew them, self-study time low and majority indicated preference for individual written assessments. Social interactions higher than study interactions with peers, majority reported positive academic outcomes , psychological wellbeing continued to be lower than for general community, For final year students – generally rated themselves highly in terms of work-related skills and attributes, only minority reported being prepared to join workforce, majority di not have employment arranged after law school, and over a third did not have employment arranged or were confident about finding a job. 49 graduates – 90% completed or intending to complete legal professionals course, 58% saw themselves as working in law, 69% employed (47% in law firm), 68% employed used their law degree in their work. A last survey will be undertaken this year. Outcomes have included review of degree and course learning outcomes; implementation of well-being plans; changes in assessment practice; staff development to support changes; and introduction of a first year mentoring scheme. Plans into the future include revision of the second and third year programmes and to also introduce a capstone course. Capstone course to apply knowledge and attain work skills to provide confidence for graduates.

Reflection #2 focused on analysis and application.

After lunch, we have a joint university (Canterbury) and community (Skillwise) project with John Grant and Dr. Maria Perez-y-Perezupdating on their “work active’ project to support ‘forgotten’ learners intheir journey to work. The project worked with adult learners with intellectual disability to develop a programme (including an internship) and a teaching/learning toolkit to improve learning outcomes and employability prospects. Small cohort of 6 learners who all engaged well with the various activities. Details of the learning programme was overviewed. Learners were co-constructors of the tools developed. Draft teaching and learning guidelines completed. The project intends to keep in touch with the participants’ journeys as they continue in or into work. Maria summarised the research approach (participatory action research) and the data collection methods (focus groups with participants, employers and skillwise staff; student learning diaries; workplace and class observations; class presentations). Shared some of the findings including efficacy of both the ‘classroom’ and internship aspects of the programme.

Dr. Timothy Stahl and and Dr. Heather Purdie from University of Canterbury then presents on the BYOD to field class: Integrating digital and community mappingin the field-based coursework. Work on progress reported. Also used an interactive activity to demonstrate the approach with Samsung tablets provided to participants. Summarised rationale for WHY BYOD now. Firstly leveraging off increased capability for digital mapping in most digital devices with increased acknowledgment of ‘novelty’ of devices. Also, shared a video and case study of student field trips. Main objective to ensure the technology must make sense and be aligned to the learning outcome. Important to ensure technology works at the initial workshop; field trip has to have clear objectives; and follow through post processing also supported. Used the app ArcCollector. Explained the BYOD teaching framework being developed to support the concepts being developed.
Reflection 3 was on evaluation and creating solutions.

Short afternoon tea is followed by the final presentations.

Associate Professor Erik Brogt from the University of Canterbury presents on – professional engineering cohorts. An update on the project. Summarised overview of Engineering programme at UC. In general, after Y1, the students are usually the same cohort through the next 3 years. Project studied ways to ensure cohorts were technically well trained, cooperative, and inclusive. Y1 mentoring programme set up to ensure foundations for the next 3 years coordinated and structured (i.e to consciously build a effective cohort). Support for ‘non-traditional’ engineering students targeted. Presently working on Y2 and 3 to assist with community building, enhance belongingness, and cooperative behaviours. Activities used to build respect for diversity; work on and agree to a code of practice for the entire cohort; reorientation at semester 2 Y1 to reinforce key skills and behaviours. Staff were mobilised to model complementary approaches. Shared plans going forward into the future.

Then, Stuart Terry from Otago Polytechnic and Dr. Jenny Mcdonald from Quantext update on their work with student perceptions of studentevaluations: enabling student voice and meaningful engagement. University of Otago are also included. Summarised rationale for project. Surveyed over 4000 students in 2nd year of degree. 21% polytechnic and 27% university response. 95% had participated in evaluations. Online mode was preferred but uni students had higher preference for paper. Students perceived it was important to complete evaluations with most completing 5 -6 of an expected 6 – 7 a yearn – which they felt was about the right number. Reasons for non-completion were predominated by time constraints. Students still wanted evaluations at the end of each course. Discussion on the purposes of students evaluations ensued.

Last reflection and wrap-up to have participants identity ONE change and provide reasons.

The colloquium closed with poroporoaki – official farewelling.All in, good to see projects progressing through and adding to a building corpus of work supported by Ako Aotearoa.