Friday, December 15, 2006

2006 reflections

How has the year gone? Or should I say, where has the year gone? I have just re-read my blog from the beginning of the year to see if I have made any progress on making use of mobile phones and Web 2.0 applications to set up eportfolios. I think that I have made some progress, enough to make a bid with our ITO to set up a pilot for using mobile phones to complete theory of baking units and to collect workplace based evidence with mobile phones. However, the bid has been unsuccessful. My school is now not prepared to support work on mlearning until a review is undertaken to see if there are other avenues we can use to deliver learning & workplace assessment completion to apprentices in the workplace.

I am disappointed at the outcome. Also frustrated at the lack of support for what I can see is an initiative that can have wide reaching application for trades based training. One of the arguments put in place is that the numbers in baking are too small to warrant investing in expensive development time. Point taken but the numbers involved are also ideal for running a pilot plus with a group of young people representative of workplace based training.

The registration of new National Qualifications in Baking has proceeded at a snail’s pace. The new qualifications are now just about to be registered, a year to get them through the ITO & NZQA hurdles! We need to put in place some way of assessing apprentices in the workplace that does not cost us or the apprentice too much.

I now realise the limitations of mobile phones & Web 2.0 applications and am focused on working around these challenges. I am optimistic that most of the limitations will disappear or become obsolete as mobile phone & Web 2.0 applications improve, innovate further and become even more user friendly. However, with no funding support for the interim, it will be a case of chug along on whatever time becomes available.

It also still leaves the question of whether mlearning is the path to take. From the start, we have understood that travelling out to apprentices to complete their workplace based assessments would not be financially viable. A really easy option would be to just have a ‘tick & flick’ logbook type option. Apprentices come to us with a list of products ticked off (by their employer) & they undertake a practical assessment at block course. If they do not make the grade, then they have not met competency. We could insist on photos being added to the ‘logbook’ but the question of authenticity arises when the evidence is being moderated. With mlearning, the date / time the photo was archived would be recorded, our plans were to contact the apprentice at some of these occasions to set up a ‘situated learning’ opportunity. We would know that the apprentice is working with a certain product based on the photos they were posting on to flickr or similar. At our next fortnightly check on them, we could go through the underlying knowledge questions linked to the product to see how well they are actually understood how to put things together.

Anyway, I am looking forward to the summer. A few good tramps will help me recollect my thoughts & reflect on alternative delivery methods to mlearning. I will still continue blogging as many of the tools I have discovered (like personal portals) are useful in my teaching context. I plan to use vox to set up scenarios on competency judgement for hospitality students and pageflakes to help novice bakers build scaffolds that will help them keep up with their learning during their full time programme. Plus, I will still maintain investigation into mlearning as I am ever the optimist!


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Jerry Gene said...

Nice post! Can’t wait for the next one. Keep stuff like this coming.

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