Monday, October 03, 2022

Handbook of Philosophy of Education - link

 This book, edited by Professor Randall Curren and just published by Taylor and Francis, collates a range of chapters pertaining to the philosophical underpinnings on education.

The book has 35 chapters organised into 4 parts. As provided by the abstract:

Part one covers the fundamental questions on aims of education, the role of values and questions on human cognition, learning, well-being and identity. Part two brings chapters related to 'virtues of mind and character' with a focus on educational formation of various attributes. The third part, education and justice, covers the important aspects of educational justice to support equity of access. The last pear collates chapters around educational practice. 

The context for almost all the chapters is on the formal education sector but chapters provide good grounding, definitions and discussion on the fundamental frameworks and philosophical grounding for all sectors of education. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022

The future of learning: 10 key tools and methods - Stephen Downes presentation

 Here are notes taken of a presentation made by Stephen Downes on 21/9/2022 on 'The future of learning: 10 key tools and methods'. 

Has access to the video (1 hour ++), slides and transcript. Stephen Downes provides an overview of the computer science frameworks which impinge on the future of learning. 

Focused mainly on technology and trends in technology, not on AI, learning analytics, metaverse, blockchain, AR/VR etc. These are now here but all still emergent.

In the presentation, focus is on future beyond the above centred around how technology can support learning inclusively allowing for issues of diversity, equity, access and social justice to also be in the forefront.

What we can do now:

Web of data – shifting us from storytellers and narrators to explorers and guides. Important to consider open data, data literacy, data ethics and how data is designed.

Visualisation – allows for multiple ways to present information, allowing for learners to make diverse meanings from the data, encouraging co-creative learning.

Graphs – similar to above. Requires learner literacy to understand the foundations of graphs and allow then to manipulate the data to create different interpretations and bring in diverse perspectives.

Distributed resources – allows for access to a wide range of resources from many sources. Again, skills to synthesis is the key and learners need to attain the skills to sift, prioritise, find connections and gaps etc.

Consensus – provides many ways for communities to come to together, discuss, share, collaborate etc. Includes tools to enhance the ways teams can collaborate, for cooperatives and networks to co-create and distributed autonomy to be afforded.

Digital identity – importance of this going into the future. No longer dependence on passwords but creation of decentralised idenifiers (DID), issued and verified through distributed networks.

Creative experiences – all the above pushes learning towards a shift from content delivery to teachers modelling and demonstrating successful practice (aka practice-based learning!!) – through open working (studio model), job shadowing, apprenticeships etc.

Recognition – credentialization needs to shift to authenticity – actual public performance or personal portfolios.

Agency – shifts to the individual, the collective community. Tools are for automated publishing, algorithmic stock training, content alerts etc. provide access to the large amount of content being generated.

Infrastructure – moves towards sustainable focus to address climate and environmental change to address the gaps in social fabric, allow for emphasis on individual and collective capacity and support greater resilience in scientific and industrial infrastructure.

 Basically, the tools are already there for constructivist, connectivism to occur. Needs to be more collaboration between computer scientists and educators to tap into the affordances so that technology is a tool, not a barrier, towards supporting learners to be critical and creative thinkers.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

APAC TVET 2022 - panel on microcredentials plus Leesa Wheelahan - critique and NZQA interim report on microcredentials

Three items on microcredentials. The first with various international perspectives on microcredentials, the second, some critique on microcredentials and link to NZQA report on work to date on microcredentials.

A panel from the recent APAC TVET forum discusses micro-credentials. The panel includes Lagaaia Lealiifano Easter Manila-Silipa, director of the Australian Pacific Training Coalition, Frances Valentine, founder of the Mind Lab in NZ, Jenny Dodd, Chief Executive officer of TAFE Autralia, and Li Yunmei, vice president of Tianjin Light Industry Vocational Technical CollegeStuart Martin, the micro-credentials specialist from Skills Consulting Group moderates.

Jenny Dodd begins with an overview of the Australian context. Microcredentials are not new in the VET landscape, although other terms used to described it but is new to the university sector. 

Frances Valentine then provides the NZ context. NZ being an early adopter (see below for more details), used across all levels and allows for 'stacking' even at post-graduate qualifications. 

Lealiifano Manila-Silipa then summaries the Pacific experiences. Relative new innovation but stressed the importance of the opportunities availed and details of how they are integrated into the larger qualification system. 

Li Yunmei provides the Chinese perspective. 

2) Leesa Wheelahan 

Leesa Wheelahan has been a constant critic of various pedagogical and curriculum structures imposed on VET across the world. In this video, she summarises the purpose of tertiary education as it evolved from elitist to mass and universal education. Microcredentials are mainly used to support the 'skills' focus on education and contribute towards the current precarity of work for a range of occupations, the placing of the onus of 'upskilling' on individuals who may have to continually do so at ongoing personal costs, with an endless cycle of study required to attain and maintain some forms of work. 

Two recent articles provide the argument and deeper discussion.

Wheelahan, L.  & Moodie, G. (2021). Analysing micro-credentials in higher education: a Bernsteinian analysis, Journal of Curriculum Studies, 53(2), 212-228, DOI: 10.1080/00220272.2021.1887358 

Wheelahan, L., & Moodie, G. (2021). Gig qualifications for the gig economy: micro-credentials and the ‘hungry mile’. Higher Education..

3) NZQA updates

Two insight papers into the reasons for the provision of microcredentials and early results from the introduction of these into the Aotearoa NZ education system. The first summarises the rationale and background for the introduction and implementation of microcredentials within NZ; and the second provides a summary of the 'pilots' with examples from across the educational sectors. 

The ways microcredentials are introduced and the underpinning rationale for the adoption, development and ongoing progress of these, are generally not 'learner-focused' but based on meeting the rapid changes in economic and social needs. It is important to ensure microcredentials are not 'isolated' but are well integrated into national qualification systems. 'Stacking' must be availed to allow microcredentials to 'count', otherwise, the microcredentials become 'pick and mix' and do not perhaps lead to better outcomes, in the long term, for the learner. All accreditated learning draws on a finite amount of resources be it time, financial, or opportunity costs. Therefore, if they are to be useful, beyond the short term of attaining specialised skills and knowledge, they have to be an integral part of the qualification ecosystem. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Measuring professional knowledge - book overview

 This book provides a good in-depth outline of one European approach to better understanding vocational learning. The authors are Professor Felix Rauner and Professor Martin Ahrens. 

The book has 11 chapter, bracketed by an introduction and conclusion, organised into two sections.

The first section has 6 chapters centred around 'professional knowledge'.

The first chapter, 'competence development in vocational training courses and action contexts' rationalises the importance of vocational education. In particular, how vocational education is now only based on the subject/theory component but has contributions into how work is practiced. The differences between practical knowledge and practical concepts are discussed.

In the next chapter, the work of Matthew Crawford who philosophised about the value of work in 'Shop Class as Soulcraft (see here for my summary), is used to discuss the concepts of craftsmanship and professional knowledge. 

Then chapter 3 describes and critiques the current development of school curricula by the German Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMM).

Then the chapter ' methods of occupational scientific knowledge research' provides the framework for how various proposals / models / frameworks are developed through the book.

Chapter 5 then focuses on professional scientific knowledge and work process studies, carried out within the German context.

The last chapter in this section, sets out the details of the COMET competence and measurement Model. 

The next section has 3 chapters on 'knowledge as a dimension of professional competence'.

The section begins with discussion on the 'competence diagnostics and competence development with the COMET method'. Provides a summary of work, carried out over the last three decades on using COMET to trace how it has been applied to vocational education practice. Subject/content knowledge is replaced with the 'learning field' concept (similar to graduate profile outcomes but more detailed).

The next chapter provides examples of applying the KMK framework curriculum to vocational training programmes/.

The last chapter in the section, looks at the evaluation of the validity and robustness of the COMET method.

The book concludes with acknowledgement of the work undertaken thus far and the continuation of research and evaluation of the COMET model.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

APAC TVET forum - Day 2

 Day 2 begins with a karakia with Ed Tuari - the Chief advisor Māori for Education NZ. Explains the purpose of the karakia before he begins with the karakia. There were over 1600 attendees yesterday. Ed also provided a brief overview of the day.

Tony O'Brien from Waikato Institute of Technology introduces  Chen Dali - deputy director general for the Department of International Cooperation and Exchange of the Chinese Ministry of Education who provides the opening address today. Begins with acknowledgement and thanks to organisers, sponsors, key people in the conference and attendees. Connected with the work of Rewi Ally and the first VET conference run in China this year, attended by Minister Hipkins. went through an extensive list of joint educational connections / linkages etc. on VET between China and Aoteoroa and wished the conference well for the day. 

Ed then introduces today's first keynote with Grant Macpherson, the chief executive of Education NZ. Covered the global shortage of skill, RoVE details, the current landscape and the NZ international education strategy. Despite threats of robots taking jobs, it is human skills that is presenting an ongoing challenge to economic and social progress. Demographics plays a role due to aging populations. Technologies changing the nature of work and shifting to greater specialisations which are highly complex. 75% of employers across the world, have difficulties finding the talent they need. In NZ, RoVE is at the heart of NZ's approach to meet these challenges. Detailed the integration of workbased and campus based learning to create a unified and sustainable system. Presented the various ways RoVE brings work /employers / industry and learning together. Included details of the WDCs, RSLGs, CoVEs and Te Pūkenga. Then detailed the ways Internationalisation and VET can work together. Exampled the work now undertaken with China to share policy development, deliver educational services, exchange programmes, to provide cooperation between staff and students between the two countries. Currently over 20 connections betwen Aotearoa and China through joint programmes, relationships with key TVET colleges/universities, and exchange initiatives. Discussed the important processes required to sustain and grow the relationship. Increased cooperation and relationships, help both countries meet the challenges of the post-COVID and future educational needs. 

Ben Burrowes that answers questions as chaired by Ed. Firstly on microcredentials - detailed pilot in hospitality and NZ qualifications has allowed this to happen. Then detailed the process to develop world credentialisation of qualifications which are valid worldwide. Globalisation also important and programmes developed to allow for this to occur. Provided examples of how ENZ works with other countries to ensure the export of NZ programmes does not require students to come to NZ for the entire time. Discussed the pathway for international students post study. A 'Green list' has now replaced the old 'skills shortage' list and learners who graduate from qualifications which have occupations on the list, are able to apply for residency. One point of difference is the uniqueness of Aotearoa in how it integrates matauranga Māori. Wananga (Māori tertiary institutions) provision a range of programmes for all, not only for Māori. Provided examples across Asia. Emerging industries like 3D animation, gaming, cybersecurity are disciplines which NZers have expertise in. Of importance are the 'soft' skills which align with these and highly required by industry. Innovation in delivery is important going into the future. 

A variety of presentations in the breakout sessions today from Aotearoa NZ, Fiji, and China.

I attend the update by Helen Lomax, the director of Ako Aotearoa

The presentation shared Ako Aotearoa's work in providing professional development to VET teachers. Covered the role of Ako Aotearoa, rationalised the need to prepare and develop  VET teachers, policy pointers, sharing of resources including for Māori/ Pacifica engagement and cultural capability, dyslexia, and online learning. Shared the results of a survey undertaken in 2021 to find out what was required across the sector for capability development. Learner engagement and retention was frequently identified with in-house workshops and support preferred. Investment in professional development was challenged in the current economical climate. OECD 2021 policy pointers for preparing and developing VET teachers shared.  

Ako Aotearoa  for Māori and Pacifica (Samoa, Fiji. Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Tonga and Tuvalu), the 'dyslexia friendly quality mark', a reflective tool to build capability- Tapatoru to integrate culturally integrated learning - resources are freely available and often lead to badges. 

Tony O'Brien introduced the second keynote for the day with Dr. Leon Fourie, who is chair of the Te Pūkenga group on International education. This picks up from the opening keynote by Grant Robertson. Leon provided a Te Pūkenga slant on VET and international education. Leon covered the Te Pūkenga international education strategy. Began with an overview of Te Pūkenga, its very short history, values and charter. Across the network, there are 163 delivery sites. The key focus areas for the international education strategy include skilled and culturally competent learners, significant value to NZ communities, meeting needs of employers, valuable strategic partners in and outside NZ, and giving expression to the Tiriti o Waitangi. These have important implications exampled by a move to a more  balanced and sustainable portfolios of inbound, outbound, offshore and online international educaiton. Enable strategic investment with a preference for value over volume. Focus on exporting our experience and expertise in the design, development and delivery of education and training outcomes. Partnering with Māori to provide a unique bicultural bicultural experience. A committed focus on equity of access to indigenous and disabled learners. A high degree of flexibility and seamlessness between on-campus, in-work and online learning. commitment to matching our regional mix of provisioning and delivery of high value and long term skills shortage. For agents, expansion of collaboration and newotk. Creating greater physical offshore presence to key regions. 

Asked the audience how Te Pūkenga will be called overseas. NZ Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST) and its translation will be used. Covered logistical and financial issues around applications/ enrolments etc. For the moment, enrolments etc. remain with each institute in the network. From semester 2 there will be standardised fees across the network for international students. 

Josh Williams introduces the final keynote from Dr. Dee Halil from Future Skills at Microsoft. He presents on creative approaches to skill our future workforce. Provided the reasons for the need to have better and more equitable/accessible approaches to ensure a pipeline of talent for the tech sector. Skill shortage in the sector is a major challenge in progressing the digital revolution. Discussed the roles of employers, providers, education, industry, government in working together to 'empower every learner on the planet to achieve more'. There is no one solution and creativity is a key towards achieving the 'future state'. In Aotearoa, tech skills are more important than ever. Data centres are being established in various regions and this requires skilled people. over 100000 jobs will be created by 2025. 51% of employers think graduates are not prepared for work. However, people with industry recognised qualifications are still needed. Jobs may be the same but require a wider range of skills, some of them are new and require professional development. Some of these are due to digital disruptive skills which reshape how we work. Shared and detailed some Microsoft initiatives - Microsoft learn for educators, intensive bootcamps to build Microsoft skills leading to jobs within the corporate ecosystem, partnering with Māori and Pacifica to drive diversity. Used cybersecurity skills as a case study to illustrate how skills development in an emergent skill need. Partnering with iwi, educational and industry partners is an important focus. Microsoft Philanthropies partnered with TupuToa to co-develop a cybersecurity skilling and employment programme which emphasised uplifting and supporting diverse candidates. Also shared case study from Canada - the Coast to Coast community-led model to create a community of impact and engagements around digital skilling, Encouraged a rethinking of current approaches and what can be done, based on feedback from partners, customers, etc. to co-create how to enable learners to reach their potential. 

Then a panel discusses micro-credentials but I have an AVETRA meeting and will get back to this when the recordings of the sessions are posted.. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

APAC TVET forum - DAY 1

 At the second Asia and Pacific Technical and Vocational Education Forum running today and tomorrow. 

The conference has a mix of presentations, mostly on policy and governance. The China-NZ Higher Vocational Education Summit is also one of the streams running through the conference.

The conference is fully on-line and starts after lunch time in Aotearoa, to allow for time differences across Asia. 

Here are notes taken from today's keynotes and presentations.

The conference begins with a mihi whakatau (traditional Māori welcome) with Mila Tupaea, who is Chief Te Ao Māori advisor for the Skills Consulting group. He is supported by Nancy Purvis also from SCG who provides an overview to all on the purposes of Māori language week, summarised the history of Māori language's struggle through the last century and the current revival of the language in Aotearoa. 

The opening address is with Hon. Chris Hipkins, the NZ Minister of Education. Extended welcome to all, especially participants and institutes / organisation from overseas. 

Summarised the rationale and status of the reform of vocational education (RoVE) including the integration of work-based and institutional training through Te Pūkenga. The role of Work Development Councils (WDCs) and the Regional Leadership groups (RLSGs). Stressed the need for Te Pūkenga and all providers to uphold the crown relationship with Māori. The integrated system provides ease of movement between work-based and institutional learning. Wished the forum well.

Josh Williams from SCG introduces the first keynote with Akustina Morni, Senior advisor for the International Organisation for Employers (IOE). Summarised the role of IOE - promote and defend business interest at the United Naitons, International Labour Organisation (ILO) etc. established since 1920 and thousands of members across the world with many international partners and organisations. Presented on the ILO apprenticeship standard setting process to provide for quality apprenticeships and the general perspectives of employers on TVET systems, challenges, common concerns and policy recommendations. 

Began with a quick overview of the future of work - tech and digital transformation, changing demographics, climate change, globalisation and skills shortages. The pandemic exposed structural issues with impacts on the way we organise work, the employment status of workers, the evolution and expansion of industry skill needs, employment impacts through digitization and automation, the gig/platform economy, the nature and dynamics of dialogue between employees and employers etc.

ILO considers the importance of governments, employers and workers on the many items listed above. Detailed the background behind the evolution and details of the ILO standard setting for apprenticeships. Presented on the advantages of apprenticeship for all groups and shared the critical issues for employers. In general these were around rigid regulations, no incentives/guidance for employers, the lower status of apprenticeships, be inclusive, a lack of coordination across separate government bodies, difficulties. etc. 

Recommendations for the standards include: the removal of traineeships and internships and to only use the term apprenticeship, support through national laws and circumstances, stronger language on promotional approach to remove negative connotations, nuanced language on classification of apprentices - not just employees, and incentives.

Common challenges include skills mismatches/shortages, talent mobility, underuntilisation of skills, imbalances between supply and demand, government ministries working in parallel rather than (together) lack of financial resources, investments, qualified teachers/professionals, and each sector - employers, governments and workers have specific challenges. Examples shared.

The ILO recommendations found here.          

Continued with the need to evolve 'skills' as the top skills of the future are about asking 'why' / 'why not' rather than rote learning of what and how. Skills which are not easy to quantify are more important than technical skills and knowledge. Stressed the need to also support skills for jobs in the green economy. Used the example of Singapore as a 'future ready' country with some good practices. Other examples include the WorldSkills forum, Accenture - new skills project, Microsoft - imagine academy, GAN, UNESCO Institute of Lifelong learning etc.  Check Deloitte report for 'future skills'  Encouraged all to engage with employer and business membership organisations so that their viewpoints are collected.                        

Breakout session across 5 streams begin, with presentations from Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, the China-NZ Higher Vocational Education Summit, and from Fiji. I attend the session by Afiq Redzuan, group chief executive officer for Multimedia Technology Enhancement Operations (METEOR) presented on lifelong learning in Malaysia and thriving in the evolving digital economy. Began with rationale, especially in the Malaysian context, of the importance of lifelong learning. Defined lifelong learning as the 'acquiring and updating all kinds of abilities, interests, knowledge and qualifications from pre-school to post-retirement. Shared the blueprint for success in lifelong learning and the 11th and 12th Malaysian plans to shape and support lifelong learning. Impact of the outcomes of TVET has been good with most graduates moving into work. Status of TVET still poor but TVET graduates are in high demand. Disruption due to Covid increased unemployment and had impact on work culture. Raised opportunities for open and distance learning and the promotion of lifelong learning. Over 61% of companies want to continue with hybrid work arrangements now. Digitalization of learning increased with higher intake in the ODL university. Shared learning design of OD through online interactive activities, assessments, e-lessons, online exams, and online grading. Post -covid the quality of education needs to remain intact - regardless of delivery method, systems and processes require enhancement, move towards micro-credentials and work on enhancing reputation of ODL for adult learning. 

Two panel sessions convene, before DAY 1 comes to an end.

Panel 1 is on the future of apprenticeships with presentations and discussion from Garry Workman (GAN - Global Apprenticeship Network, Australia), Josh Williams (GAN NZ), Erik Swars (Switzerland - Swiss Federation University VET), Josē Oberson (MOVETIA - Switzerland) and Nazreen Mannie (GAN) who is the moderator. 

Nazreen introduced the panellist and the topic, including the key need now for ensuring apprenticeships remain relevant and effective in a post-pandemic world. Each updated on current initiatives in their country around apprenticeship systems and skills development.

Gary provided the Australian perspective which has an all-time low unemployment rate and the challenge of engaging the people who really need skills to move into the future. The new government has convened a 'jobs and skills summit' to discuss the many challenges. The main ones with apprenticeship are completion (still hovering around 40 -50%)l support of small businesses which often are under-resourced to support apprentices, and a new government grappling with high inflation, low unemployment and high skills demand. Overview of Australian group training system here.

Erik provided the Swiss experience which has a well-respected VET system with 60% plus students take up. Unemployment is very low. Collaboration across the cantons is always a challenge. Important to ensure there is a clear pathway post apprenticeship, so that the apprenticeship is a first step into work and career. follow up paper here on the Swiss system.

Josē reiterated and supported Erik's summary and added the view on mobility between sectors etc. at least once during formal education and its importance in providing learners with a wider / broader education during apprenticeship.

Josh provided the Aotearoa overview. With NZ being in the middle of RoVE, it is important to learn from others. Often workplace training is not recognised or accreditated. There is a need for the formal system to understand better, the workplace learning approaches and to integrate work and formal study much better. Like the other countries, unemployment is very low. Dual systems with their dynamic relationships between corporations and providers provide a model to learn from.

Next question revolves around how to support and engage companies in training.

Gary has similar challenges and the green sector along with health/care sectors do not have a pathway for apprenticeships - usually relying on universities. Small businesses without the capacity or the variety/continualty of work and support for these will help. Initiatives are being increased and worked through to support more sign ups of apprentices including bringing in more women, diversity into traditional male occupations. 

Erik discussed the ways Europe has to adapt to current and future challenges. The energy shortage has required innovation as Switzerland has no natural fuel sources. The curricula for VET is being reviewed to ensure that labour market needs are met. The outcomes are quite broad which helps allow companies flexible in meeting the needs. Small enterprises are also the backbone of the Swiss VET and systems and processes must be robust to support these.

Josē reiterated the role of 'mobility' to help Swiss economic development. In particular, contributes towards development of 'soft skills', adaptability, and flexibility with learners. An example provided in the health system, with many workers coming from other countries and adapting to the Swiss system.

Josh acknowledges that it should not be VET vs academic, but another pathway which has a clearer connection with work. Encouraging  young people, about to complete schooling, should have opportunities to try a range of work, to affirm their affinities. Employer and school connections are important. 

There is a conference (shifted from this year) in 2023 organised by all the panel members. 

Panel 2 collates 'The youth voice:Stories of impact in VET, with representatives from Ivy Chen (China), Josh Nicki (Australia), Le Ngoc Ling (Vietnam), Momman Nattapon Aunhabundit (Thailand) and moderated by Jim So from Skills Consulting group. As with last years segment, an uplifting session :) Once a affinity to a vocation /occupation is found, passion bolsters resilience, confidence and success.

Thursday, September 08, 2022

Notes taken at FLANZ (Flexible Learning Association NZ) - innovating pedagogy - presentation

 A presentation by Dr. Simon Atkinson on future opportunities for flexible learning. Based on a recent Open University Innovation Report #10.

Summary of the report found here

Presentation discussed the report on innovating pedagogy with the assumption that participants have read the report before attending.

Overview provided – quite conservative actually!

Proposes a range of approaches – hybrid models, dual-learning scenarios (connecting classroom and work), pedagogies of micro-credentials, pedagogy of autonomy, watch parties (watch videos together), influencer-led education, pedagogies of the home, pedagogy of discomfort (emotions as powerful tools of learning), well-being education and walk-and-talk (combining movement and conversation).

Categorised these into ‘context-aware curriculum design’; skills-orientated curriculum design’ leveraging non-formal and informal learning and human centred learning design.

Discussion revolved around how some of the approaches are defined and categorised. used to collate feedback and understanding from the participants. The voting tried to establish how impactful each approach could be and how much effort is required to put the approach in place.