Friday, May 06, 2011

Ako Aotearoa research in progress colloquium - day 1

The annual Ako Aotearoa research collaquium ran for two days on 4th and 5th May. Last year, I learned much about different approaches /research methods, so looking forward to more of the same this year.

Symposium opened with mini whakatua from Ngahiwi Apanui, Ako Aotearoa's Kaihautu whakawhanake Maori. Followed with brief welcome from Dr. Kirsty Weir, Research manager.

A full day of presentations follow. My presentation not until late tomorrow so I can sit back, listen, record and reflect.

First up, Dr.Erik Brogt, from the University of Canterbury- on transforming tertiary science education. Using the Carl Wieman science education initiative and adapt to the NZ context (biology and geology). Uses evidence (preferably quantitative) to support changes in teaching / learning to increase student engagement. Pertinent issue - observations of student engagement  identify 'weak' points in the lecture for instance, providing examples and linking learning outcomes seem to increase engagement. interventions include using clickers, in-class exercises and academic development for staff.  

Next, success and relational agency in academia: the experience of early career academics with Dr. Kathryn Sutherland from Victoria University. Data collection about completed with analysis from June os report on background. look at what motivates early career academics to undertake research and and variations between organisational and personal aspirations. multi-method approach using interviews, questionnaires and focus groups. Found at early stage there is a BIG gap between external/internal institutional and personal expectations. previous research indicates important factors to be institutional support/resources, prior experience and personal characteristics. leading to better induction, 'academics are learners too. resource on ako aotearoa website.

Patrick Hiki from Kahui Tautoko and started this presentation with Jenny Connor from the Industry Training Federation  and Nicky Murray from MITO on 'Maori learners in workplace setting". In NZ almost 10% of workforce = 190,000 people in 35,000 enterprises involved in industry training. 30,000 identify as Maori but very little known about Maori learners in the workplace. ITOs involved include ETITO, BCITO and MITO although more Maoris in seefood, social services, forestry and food manufacturing. need to find out how Maori workers  learn in the workplace, what works and barriers to success. Using a Kaupapa Maori research approach, focus on talking with and not about Maori learners and a mixed methods approach.

After morning tea, 4 presentations. Starting with Robyn Baker, Director of NZ Council of Educational Research with an overview of the teaching and learning research initiative (TLRI). So far 20 tertiary projects funded between 2002-2010. 14 have been published.

Then, Dr. Elaine Khoo from University of Waikato on "exploring elearning practices across disciplines in a university environment". 2 year TLRI project with 4 case studies in  year 1 and 8 in year 2 across 7 disciplines - earth/ocean science, screen/media studies, history,education, engineering and management. Looked into how lecturers use potential of ICT to support tertiary and lecturers and students. findings include effectiveness of ICT, expands and transforms student notions of subject, develops student professional identity, bridge students conceptual, visual and spatial thinking between virtual and real world and not all students emjoy using technology.

Third up, Matui Ratima from University of Waikato on " factors affecting the development proficiency in te roe Maori for adult learners". Matiu is an Ako Aotearoa PhD scholarship recipient. Used interviews based on ethnographical/ partially auto to try to make sense of the two worlds that exist for Maori speakers in NZ. Emerging points include importance of passion, common strategies used and aspects thought to be essential to successful language acquisition seem to be absent from some proficient participants.

Last on before lunch, "pasifika learners and success in tertiary ed." from Dr.Cherie Chu from Victoria University. process of carrying the project, just as important as formal outcomes of the project. A just commenced National project beginning work to investigate exemplars of success to understand institutional level supports that will enhance pacifika learners outcomes. From learners' perspectives, the internal and external motivational factors that contribute to development and success. institutions include Victoria, Otago, MIT, CPIT & Pacific training institute (Wellington).  Based on the Kakala framework, a metaphor to carry out the research. An inclusive approach using appreciative inquiry.

After lunch, three varied topics. First up, Dr Elana Curtis from the University of Auckland on 'success for all: improving Maori student success in health professional degree-level programmes. An example of using Kaupapa research methodology and update from last year on progress made. Study on the non-lecture aspects of health programmes to find out how to best support Maori students - clinical, non-clinical and MAPAs. Maori and Pacific Admission scheme (MAPAS) offers academic, pastoral support and academic representation.  Use critical incident technique to find out factors that support or hinder success - trigger, action and outcome. Categorise interview data on critical incidents as helpful or unhelpful (usually 2/3 helpful).

Next, 'maximising learning dialogue opportunities in professional field-based experiences with Dr. Andrew Smith, Dr. Marion Sanders, Suzanne Barlow from the Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. Focused on professional preparation programmes for early childhood education and counselling. A collaborative study with Bethlehem, NZ Tertiary College and Wintec. 27 students and their associated teacher/supervisor took part. Found, among usual items, mismatch between what supervisors say and what students perceive happens and between institutions' goal and actual practicum experience. A desire between both students and supervisors to have a relationship but finding common time to meet was difficult. interventions include partnership map, belief inventory, critical incident (most valued) and research article (least valued) to share at each meeting.

Then, 'storybook dads programme evaluation' with Charles Pearce and Jan Bain from the Dunedin Methodist Mission. A worthwhile and interesting project. Actual storybook dads project has been running for some years (a trojan horse project) is to evaluate it's effectiveness in order to evidence the benefits already collected through anecdotes. Data gathered through analyzing progress made by dads when they record first DVD to later one. So far, seems to have a 1 level increase in literacy level after only 20 hours intervention. this research to find out how program has impacted through interviews with prisoners, families and staff.

After afternoon tea, a couple of presentations and wrap up for the day. Firstly, Angela Feekery, an Ako Aotearoa PhD scholar from Massey University on 'integrating information literacy and discovering voice'. A participatory action research (PAR) project working on 'planning' as discipline to improve information literacy. Succinctly overviewed challenges faced by students on how to sift through and critically review information.  Much achieved in first 18 months but more to complete including writing up case studies gleaned from data collected through studying student assignments, focus groups, interviews with lecturers etc. this semester working with 4 courses with some changes to two of the courses worked on from last year. information landscape by Craig Cherie used to help students work out priorities with regards to how to evaluate information. Use Microsoft one note to collate research artifacts into a portfolio.

Last one for today, Associate Professor Mavis Haigh from the University of Auckland on 'making authentic and trustworthy practice-based judgements of graduating student teachers. A TLRI project between University of Auckland and 4 Auckland primary schools. The project aims to identify, develop and test models  of practicum-related assessment processes and strategies used by the 4 schools; then test models of the criteria used when judging student teachers' achievement = ready to teach. The project is 1/2 way through and has captured professional conversations between university  liaison lecturers, school-based adjunct lecturers and associate teachers. Data analysis now commenced. Uses Lens model within Social Judgement Theory (Hammond, Rohbaugh, Mumpower & Adelman, 1977) to give direction for research on judgement through careful identification and  analysis of the context of judgement and the cues that underly the decisions. focus groups, interviews, recordings of professional conversations and meetings and document gathering all form data to put through the lens.

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