Monday, December 11, 2017

Google Scholar profile - using to extend own research

As a consequence of obtaining a gmail account, through the set up of this blog, I entered the Google eco-system over 15 years ago. Since then, I have gradually worked my way through the various Google tools availed.

Although I do not use Google docs etc. due to my institutions 'microsoft environment' policies, I will be starting to use the various tools on this platform as I ease my way into retirement.

At the moment, I use gmail as my personal email account. Chrome is my web browser of choice as my favourites etc. travel with me across the various devices I access. I have several albums on Picasa (now Google photos), which revolve around personal interests. In particular my continual learning on plants seen on tramps around the NZ South Island. Also maintain a list of books on Google books, use google+ to archive readings for the eassessment project, a play list on youtube of various tedtalks etc., rely on Google maps to get around, google translate and have just started using Google Keep.

The google platform I use the most at the moment, is Google Scholar. Not so much for searching for articles as the institutional databases yield relevant articles etc. but to keep an eye on publishing which is akin to my own.

Firstly, the recommended articles are always pertinent to check out. Then Google Scholar Alerts provide a range of articles 3 times a week to browse. Not all of the 100 articles or so each week will be relevant, but there will be at least a couple  which can be added to my research Endnotes database. The alerts help me to keep up with contemporary work on the topics I am interested in, including apprenticeship, workplace learning, vocational education, occupational identity and practical skills learning. The trick is to put in a key word that is not going to generate lists of 100s of articles every few days, but to narrow the search field down to provide a dozen or so articles in each of the fields each week.

The third important use is to keep track of citations to my work. This is not only a nice to have, as one is able to see the citations steadily mount up across the years, but also provides great connection to other researchers. So far, my Google scholar profile shows 38 articles, of which 28 have at least one citation. The 6 with only one citation are not through self-citation! The citations provide a good range of researchers to follow and an indication of where each topic may be heading.

My reflections on seeing the citations collected are:
- my decision to concentrate on studying apprenticeship and remain in the field of vocational education has been justified. A decade ago, I was also working in the area of mlearning, a largely emergent field. However, there are now a large number of researchers on mlearning. Plus mlearning is now mainstream with  research merging with elearning, making the field even larger. Trying to establish oneself as a researcher in a large field is always going to be challenging. So keeping to a field which is less 'popular' allows for greater visibility and the opportunity to gain a foothold in academia.
- Interest in apprenticeship as a system and as learning approach has and will increase over the next few years. Due in part to many countries grappling with high youth unemployment; the requirement to increase skills and training in specialist technical and vocational occupations; the aging workforce which includes the need to harness the 'wisdom'of an exiting workforce; the introduction of 'degree' apprenticeships in the UK and Ireland; and increase in apprenticeship systems in China and India.
- Selection of journals to publish in is important. Constructing a corpus of literature with some sort of overarching theme is also important. So mine has been a series of articles in Vocations and Learning on  'how apprentices learn'. I am now meeting other researchers at conferences, who are interested in this corpus of work and cite my articles.
- Indications for the future will be to keep working on pertinent scholarship in vocational education, but to avoid a 'scatter gun' approach to publication.
- there is still a great need for publication - not necessarily in text - of resources which will be accessible to practitioners. I will need to work on this aspect going forward.

So, some strategic thinking required over the summer to put together a plan :)

Monday, December 04, 2017

Reflection - a week of conferencing

Two conferences last week provided some time away from the usual busy work routine. Importantly, the week allowed for time to catch up with others practitioners, passionate about helping learners. Always energised after a week away by presentations on applying precepts of good learning, to various approaches and strategies to assist learners.

Things that would be helpful for my own practice as an educational developer and researcher include:

- need to understand the exigencies of teaching from the experiences of teachers and students. For teachers, is to be empathetic with time-pressured and resource lean situations. To build good relationships with teachers and to provide possible solutions which are doable. Thinking through, together (teacher and ed.developer) to agree on a goal and to work towards the objective in small achievable steps. The 'inquiry cycle' as small interventions, each informing another cycle, has been a major plus for the e-assessment project.
For students, it is important to 'make the learning visible'. Too often, students do not know WHY they are having to engage in a learning activity or assessment. Learning outcomes require iteration throughout a course, not just at the start when the course outline or equivalent is waved in from of them, or they are told that the course outline is to be found on the institution's learning management system! Students are time jealous and will only do what is required to 'pass', but many do not actually learn, let alone change behaviours, attitudes or perceptions.

- There is still limited understanding across the ITP and ITO sectors, of the implications of NZ qualifications being graduate profile based. To some, the graduate profiles just add another layer to a complex schedule of atomised and siloed assessments! Moderation, in particular post - moderation of assessments, is still seen to be the checking of content covered :( Hence 'consistency arrangements' whereby qualification deliverers have to rationalise how their graduates meet the graduate profiles, are seen to be another assessment moderation process (aargh).

- Still confusion as to WHAT are assessments FOR learning. Calling them formative may not always be correct. Requirements to have summative assessments for courses, makes it difficult, in time poor courses, which are filled with content, to 'fit in' assessments for learning. There needs to be more work done, to help teachers understand how to 'design' and develop assessments for learning which provide benefit to learners. Exemplars across various discipline areas may be helpful.

So, much work still to be done. However, above provides a tighter framework to report on the e-assessments for learning project. the project 'guidelines' will need to provide:
- connection between assessments for learning and qualification graduate profiles
- examples of assessments for learning across several discipline areas
- comparison of assessments for and of learning for these discipline areas
- approaches to learning appropriate to required knowledge, skills and attitude learning
- links the above to constructivist (intra-psychological) and socio- cultural / socio -material (inter-psychological) learning
- templates for decision making  / design of assessments for learning as connected to approaches to learning
- Learning 'activities' suited to meeting holistic attainment of graduate profiles i.e. problem/inquiry- based, projects, portfolios etc.
- how to match these with appropriate technology to enhance student learning

Above provides a way forward for thinking through over the summer :)

Friday, December 01, 2017

Assessing Learning Conference, DAY 3

Day 3 dawns fine and warm. The weather across the entire week has been very summery. Hopefully a prelude to a good summer.

Begins with supporting colleagues Maaike Jongerius, John Delany and Lyn Williams from the Academic Division at Ara Institute of Canterbury, presenting the ‘assessment health check tool’. This is a moodle resource to support Ara tutors with ensuring their assessments are constructively aligned. Rationalised the pedagogical frame for undertaking the development for the moodle resource. If assessment drives learning then improvement of assessments will be a core objective. The resource had to cover the principles of assessment but not be too basic for staff who have completed teaching qualifications recently. The integrated activities in the health check can be completed online or as part of a facilitated workshop. The moodle site was brought up and examples of various worksheets / exemplars and the reasons and background on how they are used. Evaluations of the resource, the likes and dislikes, also shared. Presented on what Ara is committed to progress work on assessment practices.

Then Dr. Salome Meyer and Nancy Groh, educational advisors in the education development centre from Eastern Institute of Technology / Napier on ‘the changing conversation about early diagnostic assessment’. Outlined background, original premise / benefits and evolution of LNAAT. The tool is one of several developed to support the NZ government strategy to raise the capability of the workforce. Rationalised the need to change the approach to using diagnostic assessments. Matched literacy and numeracy demands in various occupations – what reading or calculation is required everyday at work? Provided a guide to tutors to better integrate literacy and numeracy within situated learning off-job. Addressed the issue of international students and their distinct needs. Developed academic inquiry course(non-credit bearing) to assist international students to orientate to the NZ educational demands. Developed a revised view of literacy diagram to summarise the different concepts.

Last session is a panel with Geoff Scott, Shaima Al Ansari and Tracey Bretag on ‘What will you do on Monday?’ Panel presented their takes on – what is the single key message you will take away? What single thing will you do, or do differently? What would you tell your boss they need to do? A question and answer session followed.

All in a good opportunity to achieve several things. One was the affirmation of my own understanding and application of the principles of learning -centred assessments. The various attended, all provided some templates, exemplars, concepts and tools useful in both my educational developer and researcher roles. Thankfully, many of the sessions I selected, focused on assessment FOR learning, although there was still a thread running through on summative assessments, prevention of plagiarism etc. Many presentations were on problem / inquiry / project based learning but not many examples from the vocational education / trades learning context. Therefore, as always, there is still a need for more ‘structured’ inquiry and study to build an evidence base of how to assist trades learning.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Assessing learning conference - DAY 2

A full day starting a 9am.

First up, Keynote panel – on the student voice facilitated by  Dr. Alistair Shaw with 4 students. As always a very valuable session. In short, students did not know about learning outcomes and how they connect to the assessment. Students preferred authentic assessments  which reflected real-world practice. Each institution has culture of practice and differen priorities. Not all have ability to provide authentic learning but assessments may be a means to bring authenticity into courses.

Andrew Kear with a team from the BCITO with ‘assessment in the workplace: principles for on-job assessment’. Gave out copies of publications relevant to NZ context. Shared the BCITO guiding principles and how they connected to Karen Vaughan and Marie Cameron’s good principles of workplace learning and assessments. A clear purpose for assessment is crucial. Provided overview of BCITO to apprentice support, workplace learning and assessment processes. Philosophy and approach is key with all BCITO understanding the distinct culture of BCITO. Belief in each learner is an individual. Group session to discuss how organisations may be able to support individualised learning programme. Assessments need to gather progressive evidence of learning and also be contextualised to be relevant to the learner. Learners should not be put through ‘hoops’ but have authentic evidence of learning recognised – maximising the use of naturally-occurring evidence. Evidence does not have to be written, could be video, aural etc. important to allow annotation of evidence. Moderation has to contribute to the validity and reliability of assessment decisions. Although time consuming and expensive, still has to take place and ‘communities of practice’ amongst ‘assessors’ and moderators, both taking part in the assessment. Moderation is a second opinion. Entire process requires appropriately recruited, trained and professionally developed people.

Followed by support of Faye Wilson-Hill and Niki Hannan from Ara Institute of Canterbury on their work with OneNote as an assessment tool. Provided background of the programme on why the assessment portfolio tool is used. Not only to be an assessment for learning resource but also to model to other teachers, a platform to support learning. Shared assessment principles – integrated into learning process, draws on learners’ experiences, encourages reflection and allows for multiple points for formative feedback. Moodle did not allow for all of these principles to be deployed. One note classroom notebook was selected as it allowed principles to use. Detailed process – how to start – shifting a word document into Onenote. Begin with familiar and work in the online environment first. Reflective practice has to be scaffolded. Showed example of how the notebooks used and structure of the notebook. Feedback is progressive as the course goes on so student have formative assessment for learning every 2 weeks.Feedback from tutors can be written or oral. Used a video capture (Panopto) for students to share portfolios if there is no collaborative space. Concluded with reflection on the process. Still learning but holds promise.

Then a choice of two plenary sessions after lunch. I select Dr. Eleanor Hawe’s on assessment for learning: A catalyst for student self-regulation. Defined assessments for learning and the second generation conceptualisations. In general, formative assessment research in school sector, formative feedback could be more dialogic; and the need to have explicit focus of pedagogy on preparing students to be independent learners. All assessment should support the advancement of student learning (Carless, 2015); assessment does not stand outside teaching and learning, but stands in dynamic interaction with it (Gipps, 1994); Students are no longer objects of their teachers’ behaviour but animators of their own effective learning (James & Pedder, 2006).
Second generation definition – assessment for learning is part of everyday practice by students, teachers and peers, that seeks, reflects upon and responds to information from dialogue, demonstration and observation in ways that enhance ongoing learning (Klenowski, 2009); Therefore, should be part of pedagogy – should be the formative use of assessment (not formative assessments). Aim to develop students as self-regulating learners who can monitor, regulate and control their thinking, behaviour and motivation while engaged in ‘academic tasks’. Sadler advocates that students need to know what is expected  (quality); sufficient evaluative knowledge and expertise to be able to compare current thinking / learning / performance; and a range of strategies to enable to effect improvement and further their thinking / learning / performance.
**Recommended five strategies. Promote student understanding about goals of learning and what constitutes expected performance; engineering effective discussion and activities including assessment tasks to promote and elicit evidence of learning; generate feedback (external and internal) that moves learning forward Use, notice, recognises, respond – Cowie & Bell, 1999); activate students as learning resources for each other; and activation of student ownership over and responsibility for their learning (Hawe & Dixon, 2017; Wiliam, 2011).
Provided an exemplar to illustrate the way in which 5 strategies are operationalised. Need to ensure contextualised to own discipline and practice. However, all 5 need to occur.

Then I present a short session on the eassessment project. The focus this time around, to connect assessments for learning and feedback opportunities to assisting students ‘learning to become’ as they strive and learn to meet graduate outcomes. Summarised the role of assessment for learning in assisting the student journey towards getting to the graduate profile. Details of the sub-projects and some interim findings. In particular, how to assist student to learn the many ‘qualities’ which are often difficult to describe and to work out where they are at and what they need to do to attain.

Followed by a session with Alastair Emerson from OPAIC on ‘developments in assessments for experiential, student centred and partially self-directed pedagogies’. Otago Polytechnic international based in Auckland’s student cohort tend to have only experienced chalk and talk, paint by numbers assessments and discouraged from forming own opinions. Flip learning has not worked, essays and exams are off limited use to assess capability, current assessments make passing the end goal, designed for a didactic knowledge transfer paradigm to constructive student co-created approach. Using formative assessments are incremental with worksheets and templates. Summative involves problem solving or project completion in a real world context involving actual company. Introduced experiential learning using guided self-directed discovery techniques, with diminished on texts, use templates and worksheets which suggest outcomes but do not necessarily have a set process. Need to make learning outcomes visible. Therefore move into project / problem / inquiry based learning. Provided example of worksheets and projects to encourage personalised learning.

Afternoon tea is followed by Plenary with Emeritus ProfessorGeoff Scott from Western Sydney University on assessing work-ready plus capabilities. Presented on the website flipcurric used to support the work. Advocates – good ideas with no ideas on how to implement them are wasted ideas and change does not happen but must be led, and deftly. Rationalised why bother about assessments. Learning impact is when learning design, aligned support and infrastructure and delivery intersect effectively. Summarised the 6 key components of a comprehensive, integrated HE assessment framework – check on flipcurric website. Focused on correct outcomes and assessments.
Learning outcomes – capabilities and competencies students are expected to demonstrate they have developed to a required standard by the end of a program or unit of study. Include personal, interpersonal and cognitive capabilities and the key knowledge and skills necessary for effective early career performance and societal participation. Shared his professional capability framework. Explained the subscales for each of the competences/capabilities. The Plus refers to future focus – sustainability, change savvy, creative and inventive, and clear where one stands on tacit assumptions driving current society. When through principles of powerful assessments and examples of types including key quality checks for assessment of prior learning and learning from experience.

Then Shaima Al Ansari reports on ‘the impact of PBL on employability skills development: The Bahrain Polytechnic industry project assessment case. Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied – Dale Carnegie. Explained rationale and context (business management studies). Project requires student to take on accountability, work with others as part of team. Assist with application of employability skills to attain professional identity. Summarised details of the industry project. A capstone project in the fourth and final year. Students set up a consultancy firm and are the associate consultants. Work with a real client on an ill structured / complex problem. Full time commitment with weekly 2 hour meeting with the academic supervisor who takes on the role of the HR specialist for the consultancy. Students have an orientation week before beginning. Project process detailed along with examples of guide sheets, assessment plans / schedules etc. Shared positive feedback from 'employers / clients' and  students. 

Networking session closes a busy day. Lots of reinforcement of principles we apply at Ara, the concepts underpinning the e-assessment project and some new ideas and resources to support educational development work and production of e-assessment guidelines.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Assessing Learning conference - Dunedin - DAY 1

Move across from the University of Otago to Otago Polytechnic at lunch time to begin participating in the Assessing Learning Conference. Had to miss first keynote with David Boud.

First up, a workshop with Peter Mellow on effective assessments titled: EdTech in assessment: sinner or saviour? for slides
Presented HoTEL as a grounding framework to inform on pedagogy. However HoTEL does not indigenous knowledge, which has to be woven into the Westernised frameworks. Added the Australian dimension with examples of how indigenous peopled learnt. Also Curtin University e-resource on elearning for processes and approaches. Assessment in the 21st century pedagogy as being the provision of timely and meaningful feedback, relevant tasks, self and peer assessments and clear, transparent goals and objectives. “Good assessment should be a learning experiences”.
Look up sinister 16 – Potter & Kustra (2012) course design for constructive alignment – A primer on learning outcomes.
Reminder on listening to students to find out what assessment strategies do students prefer? Lowest – quizzes, written papers, group projects, middle – audio recordings, open discussion, paired discussion and highest – response to video, twitter summaries, screen casts, field experiences, interviews, work samples.
Need to ensure students KNOW why they are being assessed. Promotes formative assessments as it provides feedback, have opportunities to fail and can be fun (or be a game). Learners need to know whay they are being assessed, how, what rules and the value.
Tools for assessments – organising assessments, grade centres, deployment of assessment (e.g. peer matching, multiple choice quizzes, automate feedback. New technologies not quite there but include grade/analyse/QA/authenticate assessments, automated essay scoring, block chain – authentication, badging / certification, AI, badges / gamification, Learning analytics / assessment analytics, haptics (force feedback).
Solutions to ‘cheating’ include having students pledge not to cheat, sign honour codes etc. Evidence from multimedia evidence has metadata that can be tapped to establish authenticity of data. Use learning analytics to tighten quizzes etc. on LMS – randomise, auto feedback. Revision Assistant can be used by students to obtain formative feedback on essays. Online proctoring is possible, using keyboard recognition, web camera observations and identification of students. So why not make classroom about learning and not testing?? Promoted efficacy of MOOCs – using University of Melbourne examples. Students found in video quizzes (usually questions between slides) useful.
Reommended peerwise as a tool to create a collaborative learning environment. Peermark can be an alternative to turnitin. Perusall – every student prepared for every class – allows students to annotate readings and share with others in the class.

Then support two of eassessment sub-project researchers with their presentations.

First up, Cheryl Stokes from Ara Institute of Canterbury, with ‘developing reflective practice of level 4 cookery students through sensory analysis of food.  Provided overview of her teaching context and background of the project. Especially the shift from unit standards to graduate outcomes and the shift in assessment approach to portfolio instead of exams. Rationalised the research question  - to improve student reflective learning and ability with associated vocabulary to describe the taste, texture of food. Described reflections on who teaching, process and tasting reflective skills could be improved. Discussed challenges – especially how students could improve their mobile learning practices – back up their data on the cloud to access on multiple devices or secure storage in case they lost their device. Showed how research question evolved as project progressed to meet student learning needs. Focused project on improving tasting vocabulary, find appropriate cloud based app to record photos, improve reflective writing. Introduced Mindly as a app to build mindmaps of tasting vocabulary. Allows photos to be linked to text mindmap nodes. But tutors need to refer to the app and how it can be used for students to be engaged. Used google keep to archive notes, add photos, links etc. as a collection tool for their portfolio. Works with various languages, not only in English. Able to be used in tandem with google docs and extension is available on Facebook if Chrome browser is used. Increased integration of the various bits of evidence so collection of evidence can be easier to collate portfolio. Reflected on experience as a researcher working with students in a workroom. Detailed some recommendations – especially support for tutor and timing for introduction of the tools and concepts of reflective learning.

Then James Gropp and Stuart Campbell from Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology on ‘using reflective practice in a technical problem based learning environment’. Introduced research question and aircraft engineering background and student cohort – note more than ½ of cohort were international students from a Pacific Island airforce. Shifted from didactic pedgagogy to problem based learning approach. Most important to focus on the learning and make this visible. Set the task to repair an small airplane as the ‘problem’ to be completed. Used aircraft servicing task cards as the basis of the eportfolio. To begin, reflection was poor. 1st cycle did not produce results as students were not taught how to reflect or think through on what they were learning. Therefore, students were task and not learning focused!! Changed questions to include ‘learning’, provided exemplars, tutors changed from engineers to teachers, honouring the learning from errors. Tutor capability developed with daily reflective sessions. 2nd cycle revealed improvement across the board. 3rd cycle ran without changes and evidence of students’ adoption of reflective learning and problem solving.

Next, Dr. Megan Anakin from University of Otago with  ‘constructing a developmental framework to assess reasoning skills’. Detailed background and need for 21st healthcare practice and the challenges of teaching reasoning skills to doctors. Shared progressions used in NZ curriculum / learning maths concepts as examples of frameworks. Defined clinical reasoning, theoretical underpinnings, expert skills, involving students in teaching and how students learning it. Introduced the cognitive models – dual process – fast and slow and script theory. Senior clinicians tended to have CR as tacit and learnt through apprenticeship as modelled to them by their mentors. Developed a framework for students to unravel how the traditional framework is mapped to the real world. Provided medical students with characteristics and outlines to help them practice and select appropriate strategies. Year 2 students still had to depend on ‘scripts’, year 3 starting to realise the complexity and need to adjust their questioning. By Year 6, students able to hone in more quickly and probe deeper to try to diagnose effectively. Need to follow up on this project as there is much of relevance.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Ako Aotearoa Academy 'talking teaching' conference -DAY 2

Professor Stephen Billett from Griffith University opens the second day with his keynote on ‘integrating and augmenting higher education students’ workplace experiences’. Not possible to separate cognition and experience / practice. Began with rationale for the topic. Discussed kinds of educational goals through WIL; curriculum pedagogy and personal practices shaping WIL; and how work experiences might be augmented. All draws from 3 recent projects carried out across 20 Australian universities. Primary role of tertiary education is to prepare graduates for occupations, and employers expect graduates to be job ready. Sets up difficult educational goals due to complexity and variety of work. To learn for occupations require acquiring canonical occupational knowledge; concepts (know), procedural (do), and dispositions (values); situational manifestations; adaptability of principles etc. Covered the dualities of learning – what the social world affords ad how individuals engage. Inter-dependent learning is required – not independent learning. Integration of experiences associated with learning is personal fact. Stressed importance of learner agency. Role of mimetic learning and critique of zone of proximal / potential development. Summarised studies. First to develop agentic professionals through practice-based pedagogies (2008); curriculum and pegagogic bases for effectively integrating practice-based experiences (2009-2019); and augmenting students’ learning through post-practicum educational processes (current). Detailed variety of approaches evaluated to secure post-practicum outcomes – feedback, learning circles, debriefs etc. Survey of students to find out what they required – preferences were to assist to gauge and further develop their occupational readiness to secure employment; led, facilitated or guided by teachers or experts; low value on peer assistance and feedback; aligned with purposes and preferred post-practicum processes; small group activities which are guided by teachers / tutors etc. Critiqued data, as students’ perspectives counter to current thinking on learner support.

Dr. Karyn Paringatai, Megan Potiki and Professor Jacinta Ruru then present the second keynote on ‘Poutama Ara Rau: He waka eke noa’. One of 17 research themes at University of Otago – project has website. Karyn opened with rationale and background. Goal is to find out how Maori knowledge and pedagogies can transform curriculum and teaching across many disciplines. Jacinta provided an overview of the project approaches. An administrator and a series of summer projects carried out by under and post-graduate students to inform. Plus a host of workshops, guest lectures, seminars etc. to enhance collaboration across South Island. Check out language learning app – Aki / Aki Hauora. Jacinta detailed Te Ihaka, building Maori leaders in law. Megan shared the experiences on the languages programmes. Described vertical integration between all 3 years of degree and the support structures provided if year 1 students become well enculturated as y1 moves into full immersion Maori language very early. Detailed Kainga Waewae vertically integrated assignment (25%) requiring students to create a resource ‘know your own backyard’. Peer evaluation and holistic marking used of communication and facilitation are not usually assessed in language courses.

After morning tea, parallel sessions convene.

I attend the session with Associate Professor Clinton Golding from Higher Education Development Centre at Otago University on ‘educating for thinking: how can we teach and assess thinking?’ Important to build a community – used an interactive activity to begin the session. Recognised need to foster specific disciplinary thinking skills. Covered the challenges of teaching and assessing thinking as thinking is invisble and internal, complex and abstract and tacit. Recommended ‘making thinking visible approach’. First identity –what thinking do you want from your students? How do you do that thinking? What are the tasks to which your apply the thinking? What do you say and do and ask as you engage in this thinking? Apply to thinking routines for students (reflection). Ask students regularly and frequently say and ask so they practise and internalise this thinking? Simplify the thinking to repeatable routines. (what do you mean by…? Why do I think…? What is a example of…? Provided examples for types of learning (clarification, elaboration, justification, alternative) and thinking phrases or prompt thinking.  Declarative knowledge is one step towards moving towards the tacit. Scaffolds placed at the beginning build the frameworks for developing non-declarative / tacit knowledge required for sophisticated creativity and problem solving. In summary, identity thinking behaviours, enculturate students and assess. Check

Stay in the same room to be in the presentation by Dr. Arlene McDowell and Dr. Megan Anakin from School of Pharmacy, Otago University on ‘introducing an active learning approach using IDEA (Inquiry – Design – Explore – Answer) experiments’. Reported on applying Dr. Chris Thompson’s (Monash) work in her own teaching and evaluation over 2 years to improve the process. Provided rationale and process. Watch pre-lab video, complete pre-lab quiz, collaborative discussion, experiment design, perform experiment and report results. Reported ‘tweaks’ to the process to add challenge for year 3 students. Provided examples of how lab converted – lab book, process, need to design the experiment and report results. Shared student evaluations and study to establish if the approach actually improved student learning. Found students appreciated the new approach; had greater effect on students’ knowledge of purpose and process.

Next session is with Dr. Rena Heap on ‘shifting practice through professional learning conversation and communities. Study from a University of Auckland initiative to have one person in each faculty conduct a study on learning. This year’s theme on ‘engaging with elearning’. Rationale for Rena who is in teacher education, to prepare student teachers for digital fluency required in today’s and future classrooms. Need to shift from transmission to modelling approach. Could digital technology be used to help students engage in the type of learning required for the future. Detailed process of forming scholarship of digital teaching and learning circles to support teacher educators. Detailed how to engage staff – email, topics suggested, doodle poll, excel spreadsheet and options selected. Shared models – Salmon’s Carpe Diem – scaffolding model – access and motivation, online socialisation, information exchange, knowledge construction and analysis. Each of the five groups maintained a google plus site. To support the process, drew on Wengers Communities of practice and Cochran’s critical factors for success.

After lunch, session with Nicola Beatsonfrom University of Otago with ‘transformational tools and techniques’. Reporting on a project that has just begun. Summarised background – Universities generally have access to a range of technological transformational techniques. However, uptake is low. Used University of South Australia as example of forward looking institution with a technology learning strategy. So set up project with UniSA, Monash and several at Otago to find out why the barriers are to the uptake of tools and techniques at each of these places. Framed by transformational teaching and social constructivist theory. Approaches / techniques include active, student-centred collaborative with experiential and problem based learning. Study asks academics if they had heard of the tools / techniques, level of frequency of use and their level of comfort. So far, seems to be driven by individuals as no relationships across age, gender, subject and rank (professor, tutor, etc.) Themes include ‘no faith in efficacy’; tried it once but…; own awareness of need or no wanting to change; time; others not using; etc.

Followed by James Oldfield who looks after digital technologies for learning from UNITEC on ‘enhancing teaching through virtual and augmented reality’. Important to match pedagogy to use of VR or AR. They are tools and in education, important to also look into cost effectiveness. Provided example of AR in the trades, overlay of visuals to assist with identification of machinery parts. Use AR or QR codes to assist students to identify authentic examples in their own context. Provided an example for AR (using AURASMA – free app) as used to support student use of technology at Unitec – triggered via QR code on a physical surface – brochure, sign etc. VR requires more effort and is more expensive. However, an immersive learning environment is created. Showed an example of how to help tutors orientate into new teaching spaces. Showed the virtual workplace created by the carpentry section as part of the eassessment project. Detailed the pedagogical approaches. The demonstrated how VR images are caught for use in VR resources using a 360’ camera on a selfie stick. Then demoed a mixed/merged reality (MR) – blends real and virtual worlds in ways though which the physical and the digital can interact’.

Final keynote with Professor Welby Ings, from Auckland University of Technology on ‘the post-heroic teacher: leadership and influence in the age of anxiety’. Advocates the continuance of common sense and optimism in our work as teachers. Perhaps having influence is more important than leadership? Distilled, in his usual way, some gems of thoughts, garnered from his life experiences. Provided us with a few probing questions to encourage us to think about concepts of ‘leadership’. Argued for the need to look at leadership as not ‘heroic’. Change cannot occur if we make enemies with the people who are best able to support change. Nor can force or protest or disruption cause change. Yet, society perceives leaders as singular, visionary, problem solve, fearless, all knowing etc. When we teach, we influence the world around us  - we grow the intellectual capacity of the society we live in. Brought in stories to support themes of the ‘dangers of being admired’, the threats of ego, the contribution of reform from ‘wherever you stand’ and  the need for tenacity and disobedience. The person at the back is the leader, supporting the vanguard. Introduced the concept of the wounded hierarchy – whereby organisational practices block innovation. Features include micro management, risk aversion, low trust, reporting requirements / assessment criteria etc. Distributed leadership possible but not common in the mainstream. So how do ‘disobedient teachers’ keep going? Post- heroic leadership understand there is more than more variable, work with more than one group of people with different perspectives. Need to be able to provide empowerment. So, care for thinkers like you, refuse to relinquish agency (cynicism is the death of hope), use the power of the viral (rhetoric is never as powerful as a prototype) and en theos (passion, hope, agency). Kia Kaha!

Welby provides us with a fitting conclusion to a busy and enriching day.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Ako Aotearoa Academy 'talking teaching' conference - DAY 1

In Dunedin for two conferences this week. As per usual, will take notes and tidy, add links etc. when I get back to office. NOW edited. 

First conference is the annual Ako Aotearoa Academy professional development / symposium - Talking Teaching. This year, it is held, for the first time, away from Wellington. The symposium has been opened up into a conference, with over 150 participants, of which just over a third are Academy members – who are winners of the NZ excellence in tertiary teaching awards, now into its 15th year.
The venue of the conference is St. Margaret’s college, which is a hostel for first year students studying at Otago University.

The conference opens with a mihi whakatau at 1 pm, allowing for participants to travel to Dunedin from the rest of NZ. Mihi is provided for by Hata Temo, who is Ngai Tuhoe and Maori advisor at the University of Otago. Welcome also from Dr. Stanley Frielick, director of Ako Aotearoa, Associate Professor Selene Mize from Otago who is current president of the academy and Tony Zaharic who is on the organising committee. Stanley introduced the changes to the Ako Aotearoa logo and direction which has been outcome of strategic planning from the learning undertaken through the completion of the first decade of Ako Aotearoa.

Professor Jacinta Ruru, sets the scene with the opening keynote. The topic is ‘waking up the law’: my experience of creating a learning environment that makes sense to me.’ Shared her story of how she came into law and the teaching of law. Along with her objective to honour and extend the reach of the Maori perspectives on law, which has a long history. Yet, this perspective is only now, very slowly gaining recognition and integration into mainstream NZ. Affinity for law grew as a student, supported by faculty but also an awakening of the disjunction between her family experiences and how law was used. In particular, how it was used to extend precepts of colonialism. Detailed the effects of the Treaty of Waitangi commission. However, not much permeated  the law curriculum in the 1990s. Described her journey to extend the law curriculum to be inclusive of the bicultural perspective. Provided examples of how she introduces students to the topic and the various learning activities used to assist law students to understand tikanga Maori. Also detailed her work on increasing engagement of Maori students on law and contextualising support to help students complete. Shared frameworks used – Justice Joe William’s framework of Kupe’s, Cook’s and Aotearoa NZ law and examples of the different ways Maori and NZ law interpret law in the environment (can windfarms or roads be built over sacred places?); family (is artwork a taonga and therefore separate property?); Maori land court (can a step-child succeed to Maori land as a whangai?) Shared the ways Treaty of Waitangi has informed and transformed NZ law – e.g. a National park being recognised as a person. However, still much work to be done, to ensure Kupe’s law is honoured.

Parallel sessions that begin across 5 streams. I attend the session led by Dr. Rena Heap with work with Constanza Tolosa, Dawn Garbett and Alan Ovens from the University of Auckland on ‘enhancing feedback within a technology enabled architecture of participation’. Detailed different ways to obtain feedback from students during teaching sessions. Outlined aims of study, design, tools and findings. Four year project to examine a range of digital platforms and tools to assist with obtaining teacher feedback. Feedback sought from students and also back to students. Tools included gosoapbox, peerwise, piazza, google docs and google slides. These evaluated as effective in engaging students. Gosoapbox has a ‘confusion barometer, quizzes to check student progress and a social question and answer forum. Free for up to 30 students but yearly subscription is reasonable. Also possible to set up on-line practice tests. Peerwise more useful for learner feedback on how they are progressing. Able to embed videos into questions and obtain peer contributions. Google docs / google slides used to create collaborative notes in workshops / lectures and undertake collaborative tasks. Piazza is tweeter like platform to gather real-time feedback during learning activities.

After afternoon tea, I attend the session facilitated by Phil Osborne from Otago Polytechnic on ‘being disobedient: poking the beast.’ Phil directed an interactive session on how we should all be disobedient collaborators. Summarised how the premises in Welby Ings book – DisobedientTeaching – helped him better understand and describe his approach to teaching. Assisted participants to reflect on what disobedient teaching means to each of us as teachers and how to apply this form of becoming to our teaching.

Then a presentation with Frances Denz from Stellaris on ‘ SEAD – a practical teaching model’.  Frances shared her teaching experiences and how a model of teaching was distilled. Connected to principles of good teaching – basically start with what learners already know (start), do diagnostic to identify gaps (Evaluate and Anaylse) and help learner build new skills and knowledge (Develop).

I then run a workshop on ‘eassessment for learning: matching technology with learning.’ Another presentation from our e-assessment project. Used the opportunity to try out one of the tools developed as part of the eassessment project. The tool is to help teachers design assessments for learning, supported by appropriate technology, to help students learning how to ‘become’. Well attended and hopefully participants gained better understanding of their own assessment for learning practice and ideas to improve.

Dinner, which is an interactive learning experience, follows.