Friday, October 01, 2010

National Teaching & Learning conference 2010 - day 3

Last morning of the conference, with two keynotes and a workshop (where I have a ‘round table’ session to extend on keynote presentation yesterday).

First keynote of the morning from Dr. Kirsty Weir, the research manager from Ako Aotearoa who spoke on ‘enhancing learner outcomes through evidence-based teaching’. How can research be used to build up a evidence base to improve outcomes for students. She began with current state of play in research (agenda, methods, dissemination). Challenges – researchers working in isolation leading to use of a narrow range of methods & dissemination to small / academic audiences. Need to improve quality and impact of research to educational change. At the agenda stage, need to engage practitioners, researchers and policy makers together to work on research questions which will help to drive policy. Methods can be improved by embracing diverse methods (need to match research question to method not just use method most familiar to researcher), systematically measuring (measure actual change not just perceptions) outcomes (e.g. as proposed by Sir Mason Durie on day 1) and employ inferential analyses (to judge if interventions are effective). During dissemination, need to ensure research goes to practitioners and policy makers (using most appropriate channels) by making research accessible, actively target audience (e.g. practice focused summaries for practitioners), scale up application (share key points and work at generalization to applications beyond research context). Used the Carl Weiman based improving the learning of science project as an example. Therefore research agenda needs to have collaboratively set priorities, methods include providing Ako Aoteaoroa funding to build research capability and developing improved mechanisms for dissemination (e.g. Ako Aotearoa good practice publication grants).

Important pointers in Kirsty’s direction to planning towards future projects :)

Workshop session followed with a small number of keen participants. I managed to garner feedback on the presentation I have been working on for an Adult Learning Symposium in Singapore at the end of October. The overall approach to link the metaphor of belonging, becoming and being (b3) to help students learn ‘judgment’ and importance of feedback in the process. Participants also worked on using the b3 metaphor to assist with development or evaluation and re-development of curriculum and teaching plans and staff development.

Closing keynote from Dr. Billy O’Steen from University of Canterbury, assisting as to work out ‘where to from here? Applying your conference learning journeys’. Based his presentation on having the conference participations work out what they have gained from the conference based on the 4 keynotes : Where have we come from (Tamati), where have you been during the conference / motivations (Mason), what will you take from here (Kirsty) and where to from here – the continuing journey of becoming and being a teacher (Selena). A good session to unpack the large amount of learning that takes place when one engages with conference activities. Particularly, how to apply new ideas to enhancing student engagement (can be defined from student behavior or systems institutions use to help students learn and measured by surveys like AUSSE).

Conference proceedings will be archived on Ako Aotearoa website in a couple of weeks. Conference closed with a poroporoaki. Next year’s conference (early October) will be organized by Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).