Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Research Week @ Ara - DAY 2

Second day of staff 6 minute presentations. 

Wei Yu is a visiting scholar from Chengdu University to Ara’s Department of Engineering and Architectural Studies. He is today’s guest Speaker and presents on his institutions research direction. Began with quick overview of his institution - video. Summarised the rationale and objectives of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship – with cutting edge –electric cars etc. disciplines. University is in close proximity to industrial area which has multi-national IT and engineering companies (e.g Foxcomm, Lenova, Pepsi etc.).  Applied research in environmental technology, intelligent manufacturing and UAV and robot applied technology. Summarised some of his work, with AUT, on smart monitoring and diagnosing of anaesthetic monitoring processes. Mazharuddin Syed Ahmeh – Ara engineering tutor - presents on a collaborative project between Ara and Chengdu University – healthcare precision engineering. Through management of data from internet of things, to help people keep healthy.

Taka Yokoyama summarises a section of his PhD on ‘Should native English speakers complete teacher training before teaching English in Japan’. Overview of the ‘job satisfaction’ section – match = satisfaction and mis-match – frustration. How does having training increase job satisfaction for assistant teachers of English in Japan. Only if completed more than 20 papers or have had practicum, then satisfaction higher.

James Murray from Commerce, presents on ‘equity crowdfunding in NZ’. Summarised definitions of crowdfunding – from charity through to peer2peer and equity (selling shares). Legally available in NZ since 2014 – selling shares of a company on line. Caveats apply as ‘disclosure rules’ do not need to be met. Generally 60% successful, so not guarantees. Used textual (AI) analysis to find out the ways equity crowdfunding work.

Lynda Roberts speaks on ‘problematising youth policy’ which is part of her PhD. Provided rationale and overview of her research question, methods and frameworks. Looking into policies related to policies on youth transitions. Using a bio-political lens to see how educational policy construct and govern ‘disengaged youth’. Framed by Foucoult’s concepts of power.

Then Gwyn Reynolds provides an overview of the ‘Sumo jazz album #2’. Currently in progress and a continuation of work completed 5-6 years ago. Each staff / graduate writes one work and the group performs the work. Played an example. Album now recorded and mixing currently occurring.

Tracy Kirkbride from medical imaging presents on ‘educating MARS’. Detailed what MARs is – adding colour to xray images – Medipix all resolution systems. The systems needs to be taught how to turn signals into colours associated with organic materials. Seeing ‘different’ materials is important – eg. Difference between bone, cancer, gout crystals.

David Hawke presents on ‘detecting lab mistakes in stable isotope analysis’. Presented background and rationale for work. Use ‘control’ (try tea bag for plant samples) as part of sample delivered to lab for analysis and if results return with different result, then need to re-look at analysis. Ways to undertake quality control always important. 

Sam Uta’I – presented by Margaret Leonard - gives us an update on ‘implementing the Pasifika success toolkit with 3 Canterbury tertiary organisations and evaluating its effectiveness in practice’. An Ako Aotearoa Southern Hub funded project (original project here). Detailed the research process. Currently, the project is implementing a tool-kit which is an outcome of the project. 3 areas are in academic – more contextual relevance; student services; and Pasifika visibility. Tool kit includes definition of success from student POV; exemplars for practice; to be put onto Moodle for staff access.

Bronwyn Beatty presents on ‘access radio for the long term’. Used Plains FM 96.9 and experiences beyond 2010 / 2011 earthquakes. Detailed the struggles experienced by staff and volunteers to disseminate information crucial to ethnic communities. No funding availed for information to be translated, checked for accuracy before it was used. Plains sourced funds for off-site capability and timely translation of messages from Council / Civil Defence – Samoan, Tagalog and Hindi. Participated in advisory / advocacy groups – CLING – community language information group / Multi-cultural Strategies into 2018. Renegotiated relationships and forged new agreements to ensure access radio continues. Increase awareness to 12 access radio stations in NZ.

Ryoko de Burgh-Hirabe on ‘the current trend of reasons why tertiary students study Japanese in NZ’. Drop of students 48% over last decade. Some reasons provided but many are beyond teachers’ control. Collaborative across NZ (5 institutions) using on-line questionnaire with 300 plus replies. Reasons include to be able to communicate in Japanese, interest in language, pop culture and travel to Japan. Obtaining work was not a top reason. Japanese majors generally would like to live / work in Japan but students doing Japanese as an elective usually interested in visiting.


Another interesting range of presentations. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Research week @ Ara - 2017 - DAY 1

The annual research week runs through the whole of this week. Over today and tomorrow, staff present short overviews of their work. On Wednesday, there is the popular Great Debate. This year’s topic is “A robot will do your job better than you do!”. Students present their work across Thursday and Friday with ‘Pitch a project’.

Today’s presentations include:

Guest Speaker Associate Professor Craig Bunt from Lincoln University talks about the ‘collaborations between Lincoln University and Ara’. Began with overview of research scene – has 456 undergrad enrolments in Agricultural / Environmental Science. 220 full-time PhD students (75% are international) with 50% in Ag/Env Science. Presented examples from his projects including 3D printed darts to inject steroids into animals; alternatives to 1080 –  stabilisation of a toxin used in pest control now registered for commercial use; electron spun nanofibers that can be holders of fungicides etc. to be used on plants; and analysis of dog biscuits collected from Antarctica to find out how they were made 100 years ago. Each came about from trying to understand a problem, funded in different ways and reliant on networks of other researchers and goodwill across science community.

Staff follow with 6 minute overviews of their work:

Cameron Pearce from the Jazz School shares ‘Symposium X – original works for jazz big band. Provided background on the group, made up mainly of current, ex- Ara staff and graduates, which has been together for 10 years and provided a snippet of the groups’ original work. Described the creative process involved in composing a piece of work. Using a piece of art work by another Ara staff, John Maillard, as the inspiration.

Tony McCaffrey presents an update on his on-going work ‘we will look after you’: the radical promise of the time after’ in a recent theatre involving actors with intellectual disabilities. As usual, reads an eloquent presentation on his work. Tony’s work continually develops through the production, direction and support of actors, not normally seen performing theatre. Tony is currently working on a book to disseminate his PhD thesis.

Mary Kensington then presented collaborative work (with Rae Dallenbach and Lorna Davis) and with the Universities in Aberdeen and Glasgow on ‘rural midwifes making a difference in NZ and Scotland: achieving a sustainable model of rural practice. A quick overview of a larger presentation – see ASL presentations from a couple of months ago for summary.

Allen Hill from Outdoor Education and Sustainability presents on an externally funded project - ‘Policy practice gaps sustaining unsustainability in schools’. How policy gaps have made it difficult to include sustainability into school curriculum – hence ‘Steven’s Gap’ which is difference between rhetoric (Policy) and reality (Practice). We can express in curriculum documents but teachers do not know how to actually integrate into teaching.

Joy Kuhns presents work (with Julia Wu and A. Habib) on ‘living through uncertainties as the norm: lessons from NZ regional family businesses’. Provide overview of rationale – the uptake of accounting and management systems by family businesses. How did they use these systems and why. Used a responsive interviewing technique. Summarised findings – little use of formal use of accounting systems; agile through continual learning required to keep their businesses profitable and sustainable; learnt by doing, from mistakes and through networks.

Kerstin Dofs updates her on-going work on ‘autonomous learning in the world – Rio and Ara’. Presented on experiences as convenor of the conference in Rio. Themes of conference also detailed and Ara’s approach to autonomous language learning. Detailed current work on PhD and how there is a continual need for learners to be even more adept has self-directed learning.

I (Selena) provide a quick overview on ’eAssessments for learning: examples of innovative practice’. Go over the rationale and objectives, detail the 7 sub-projects and benefits for learners and teachers of e-feedback’.

Ian Williamson from engineering presents on ‘how to save money on your electricity / energy needs’. Provided overview on NZ context. Presently, information from various companies etc. is confusing, difficult to access and understand. Not all options available in every part of NZ. Discussed implication of going off-grid (recommended if now building), solar (not recommended in city), install monitoring equipment, check how house is wired to maximise ability to go on specific plans, being efficient and using less power, is the most important achievement.

Then Dorle Pauli from Creative Industries presents a summary of ‘the work of Michael Reed’ – ‘Feeling blue and Seeing Red’. A distinguished printmaker who has just retired from Ara. Presents the challenges on writing a biography of an artist who is still living, including the ‘collaboration’ that eventuates and the voice/ role of the biographer. The biography will be based on conversations. Shared some of Michael’s work archived at Ara.

Brendan Reilly from Broadcasting presents on ‘sports news on commercial music radio: diversity or disappointment’. Why is rugby the main sport covered? Looked at ZM and The Edge to see what was reported. Rugby, league, cricket and netball – made up 70% of stories. Although females are main audience, male sports still dominate. Presented on some of the reasons why.

Heather Josland (with Kay Milligan, Maggie Meeks, Phillipa Seaton and Julie Withington) from Nursing presents a project which is in collaboration with Otago University on ‘do we need to start earlier: undergraduate inter-professional simulation’ in the context of doctor / nurse communications. Introduced various tools used to help students learn the intricacies of communication, the language differences between doctors and nurses and how to work together.

Then Gareth Allison from Commerce, presents on ‘justification in wWOM – Electronic Word of Mouth’. Seeks to find out how consumers make decisions based on what they find on-line. Described how the move to digital has changed marketing. Many of the past methods, now no longer effective. However, e-advertising is fragmented and still relatively new. ‘Word of Mouth’ seem to be a form of ‘informal’ information used by consumers. Studied a website  - as an exploratory study - with discussion forum to see efficacy of product recommendations.

Grant Bennett from Science on ‘Survive on Mars’. A project that arose from his work on finding how to get probiotic bacteria to last on breakfast cereals. One application is to prepare cereal for astronauts travelling to Mars. Set up student project to find the best type of cereal, that will still taste good and last.

As usual, synergies between the work of several of the presenters to be followed up :) 




Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A decade since attaining Supreme Excellence in Tertiary Teaching Award - a reflection

In 2007, I was awarded the Prime Minister’s award for excellence in tertiary teaching. Yesterday evening, the 2017 award winners join the select group of NZ tertiary teachers recognised for sustained excellence in teaching. All awardees automatically become members of the Ako AotearoaAcademy. The Academy is a community of practice for award winners, they have a mandate to  advocate within their own institutions, nationally and internationally, for support of excellent teaching. The Academy also organises a yearly symposium, always a wonderful, supportive and enervating professional development opportunity. This year, the symposium - Talking Teaching - will he held at the end of November in Dunedin. The first two days will be an open forum for all tertiary educators to share practice. 

In 2007, I was on the cusp of shifting from being a trades teacher, teaching baking into a ‘staff development’ position. Since 1999, I had proportional (0.2 or one day a week to 0.4) positions on various ‘elearning’ projects. Mainly supporting tutors in a diverse range of discipline areas, to shift from being f2f to on-line or blended learning facilitators. In 2008, I shifted full-time into a shared role as a teacher educator and ‘staff developer’. When the then CPIT Centre for Educational Development came into being, I was one of 3 other people, horizontally shifted across to be part of the Centre. Since then several internal organisational changes and a change of institutional name to Ara has seen my role morph and evolve over time. My current role as an educational developer / ‘learning designer’ in the Learning Design section of Academic Services Division at Ara Institute of Canterbury includes about 3/5 of programme design / development, 1/5 of supporting staff in a range of teaching and learning and 1/5 as a researcher and scholar in vocational education. The role has its challenges but is always rewarding and interesting.

When I received my award, I was one of very few non-university staff to attain the award. For many years, I have been inspired by the life of Sir Edmund Hillary. He not only was the first, along with Tenzing Norgay, to climb Mount Everest, but also founded the Himalayan Trust.  The trust raises money to assist the Nepalis to build schools and hospitals and through its almost 50 years have contributed to the betterment of the lives of many people in Nepal. Therefore, Hillary made use of his status, to better the lives of others.

My aspirations are more modest but greatly inspired by a need to foster better teaching and learning capability within NZ vocational education. I was lucky with the timing of my award. Ako Aotearoa, the NZ Centre for Tertiary Teaching excellence, was set up at the same time. The award provided me with networking opportunities with the new organisation, assisting me to build sound relationships and to participate in a range of Ako Aotearoa activities. To date, I have been able to garner funding to undertake two Nationally funded projects and seven smaller projects, funded through the Southern regional hub (see Projects page on this blog for list and links to project outputs). My post PhD scholarly journey has therefore been largely ‘learning by doing’ through the completion of externally funded projects which require results. In line with my goal to build capability within the vocational education sector to carry out ‘practitioner-led’ inquiry, both the National and four of the smaller projects involved other trades tutors or ITO staff. For most, the projects were the first time these tutors have had the opportunity to complete an in-depth study into the efficacy of their teaching innovations.


There has now been a decade of contributing to the ‘evidence-base’ to assist the improvement of vocational learning. There is still much to do, and my contribution has been small but hopefully a start at building awareness and capability. The current project on e-assessments brings together many of my learnings from previous projects. In particular, the project also builds capability with a team of tutors who have a mandate to undertake some research as part of their teaching roles. I am hopeful some of this team will go on to lead other projects as vocational education research is still sparse. Modest beginnings are always better than no work at all :) 

In so doing, I hope some of the following quote, attributed to Lao Tzu, has transpired.

“A leader is best
When people barely know he exists
Of a good leader, who talks little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
They will say, “We did this ourselves.”


Monday, July 31, 2017

Stephen Billett - Learning through practice - overview of work and bibilography

I prepared this list for a colleague of mine, starting on her PhD journey. She is researching practice-based learning. As many people find Billett's work to be 'dense' and as much of it is now considered the seminal articles on workplace and practice-based learning, I looked into providing her with a smooth introduction into his work.

Firstly, there is a short video (under 4 minutes) which provides a good overview.  As Stephen was my PhD supervisor, I had the opportunity to gain familiarity with his work over a period of time. His first seminal articles on workplace learning were published in the 1990s and early 2000s. I advise other scholars, interested and beginning in the field of workplace learning, practice-based learning and learning through practice to at least read 3 to 4 of Stephen’s articles from the 1990s. They set up a good background for his current work.

The seminal papers on various topics include:

Workplace learning – including concepts of affordances / interdependencies
Billett, S. (1996). Situated learning: Bridging sociocultural and cognitive theorising. Learning and Instruction, 6 (3), 263–280.

Billett, S. (2001). Learning at work: workplace affordances and individual engagement. Journal of Workplace Learning, 13(5), 209-214.

Billett, S. (2002). Toward a workplace pedagogy: Guidance, participation, and engagement. Adult Education Quarterly, 53(1), 27-43.

Billett, S. (2002). Workplace pedagogic practices: co-participation and learning. British Journal of Education Studies, 50(4), 457-481. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8527.t01-2-00214

Billett, S. (2003). Sociogeneses, activity and ontogeny. Culture and Psychology, 9(2), 133-169.

Identity – subjectivities
Billett, S. (2006). Constituting the workplace curriculum. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 36 (1), 31-48.

Billett, S. (2008). Learning throughout working life: A relational interdependence between personal and social agency. British Journal of Educational Studies, 56(1), 39-58.

Billett, S. (2008). Subjectivity, learning and work:Sources and legaciesVocations and Learning, 1(2), 149-171.

Billett, S., & Somerville, M. (2004). Transformational work: Identity and learning. Studies in Continuing Education, 26(2), 309-326.

Billett, S., & Pavlova, M. (2005). Learning through working life: Self and individuals’ agentic action. International Journal of Lifelong Education, 24(3), 195-211.

Practice based learning
Billett, S. (2009). Personal epistemologies, work and learning. Educational Research Review, 4, 210-219.

Billett, S. (2010). Learning through practice. In S. Billett (Ed.), Learning through practice:Models, traditions, orientations and approaches (pp. 1-20). Netherlands: Springer.

Billett, S., & Choy, S. (2013). Learning through work: emerging perspectives and new challenges. Journal of Workplace Learning, 25(4), 264 – 276. 

Cleland, J., Leaman, J., & Billett, S. (2014). Developing medical capabilities and dispositions through practice-based experiences. In C. Harteis, A. Rausch & J. Seifried (Eds.), Discourses on Professional Learning: On the Boundary between Learning and Working (pp.211-230). Drodrecht, Netherlands: Springer.

Mimetic learning
Billett, S. (2014). Mimetic learning at work. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.




Monday, July 24, 2017

Skilling for tomorrow - overview from Australian context

Anne Payton from the NCVER has provided a good overview, within an Australian context, pertinent to vocational education in NZ. The key points are well-summarised. The report was launched at the recent 'No-Frills' VET research conference held in Hobart. 
Within the Australia context, the effects of technology, social and demographic changes and these factors contributions to economic and labour market changes are discussed.
Future skills are extrapolated. Some of the findings are very pertinent to NZ although OZ is much larger and has a different economic base.

Some pertinent items of interest from citations –


The report proposes 7 ‘job families’ or clusters obtained through analysis of 2.7 million job advertisements – the generators (retail, sales, hospitality, entertainment), artisans (construction, maintenance, technical customer service), carers, informers (information, education or business services), coordinators (repetitive admin and behind the scenes process or service), designers (includes STEM), technologist. In a way, similar to work in NZ on vocational pathways
Carers, informers and technologists considered to be growth clusters.
If one trains for ONE job, one also attains skills relevant to 13 other jobs. In some jobs, switching to another job may only require retraining in one skill to obtain one of 44 jobs.

Another pertinent report is from Canada - another Commonwealth country with similar social, historical roots to Australia and NZ. The report on future proofing – preparing young Canadians for the future of work – 2017 The report has similarities to the Australian report above but also summarises the technological disruptions in to the near future.

Majority of the 42% of jobs impacted on by automation are currently done by people with lower income and less education. Although only 5% of jobs are fully automatable, 50% of jobs have a percentage of automatable tasks. Therefore, perhaps jobs are NOT eliminated but changed considerably. Increasingly, part-time, contract per project (gig economy) type work are ascendant.
Therefore, preparation for work includes the need to equip graduates with a broad range of technical and soft skills – digital literacy, entrepreneurship, social intelligence.
Most telling inforgraphic on page 15 – when asked ‘are Canada’s youth adequately prepared for the workforce?’ educational providers = 84% Yes whilst Youth only concur it at 44% and employers at 34%!!
Proposes the need for all sectors – public, private and non-profit – to work together. In particular to develop work-integrated learning models which are applicable across all sectors; explore digital literacy programmes for youth; identity and address potential barriers to youth entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship; provide timely labour market data, career planning and mentorship support to youth; enable lifelong learning and rapid, job-specific upskilling and training; and develop data strategy to build a stronger evidence base for policy and programme solutions.





Monday, July 17, 2017

Horizon report – 2017 – for higher education

The Horizon Report always makes for good reading. This year's report is no different.

A much more international aspect to this year’s Horizon report. The report is also available in Chinese, German and Japanese. Good to see a less North American centric version, providing a wider overview of possibilities across a wider range of cultures.

As per usual, the report provides an update on to Long, medium and short term trends driving technology development and adoption across the higher education sector. 

Short term trends are already well along the way - these include blended learning design and collaborative learning approaches - something Ara has had in policies in place for over a decade.

Medium term trends include the growing focus on measuring learning, which is mostly driven by Government funding models. Hopefully in NZ, there will be some shifts as per the 'Productivity Commission's report on Tertiary Education'. The other trend is the redesign of learning spaces, something I am totally steeped in at the moment through supporting our tutors as they shift into a brand new building for architectural and engineering studies.

Long term trends include advancing cultures of innovation and an emphasis on deeper learning approaches. Both have been ongoing work undertaken at Ara by the learning design team.

The Solvable challenges are still significant - improving digital literacy is an ongoing task for tutors and students; and the integration of formal and informal learning is always on the agenda as many of Ara students are part-time, working towards a qualification. We also have large components of work integrated learning in our programmes.

The difficult challenges are both interlinked. Closing the achievement gap between students and advancing digital equity. In NZ, it is centred on closing the rates of course completions between students of Maori / Pacifica ethnicity and students from low socio-economic backgrounds.

The wicked challenges are managing knowledge obsolescence - with the need to support life-long learning due to the 'threats' of AI and robotics on work and rethinking the role of educators- as education shifts more from a 'one off post-school' to a continual process.

Developments seen to be important are adaptive learning technologies and mobile learning (current), the internet of things and the next generation of LMS (2 - 3 years) and implementation of AI and Natural user interfaces (4 - 5 years).


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Internet of Things - and Entrepreneurship

Attended two presentations by AlexandraDeschamps-Sonsino yesterday. Each with a different message. Alex has, since she graduated from design school, been working on developing, launching and support structures of a product based on the internet of things - the Good Night Lamp. She runs the consultancy designswarms which earnings support the entrepreneurial Good Night Lamp company.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around for a long time, holding lots of promise but most people tend to think of as applying to the 'smart home'. 

First presentation was at Signal - the post-graduate school for IT which is a joint venture between Ara, University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic and Otago University. The title of the presentation was "Harder, better, faster, stronger – a case study in internet of things entrepreneurship". She covered how to account for IoT when developing ‘products’. Sharing her experiences to assist us to leverage off her experiences and learning.

Provided overview of her education and experiences since graduation. Has an industrial and interaction design education. Was the first UK distributor of Arduino. London IoT meetup organiser since 2011 – 11,000 members on virtual site and usually 40 or so people at f2f meetups. Writing a book on smart homes for Apress.

Founder of Good Night Lamp – easiest way to sync up with your global friends and family. Provided an overview of rationale, development since 2005 and future plans. Challenges of working with cutting edge tech – in 2005 IoT was still just a concept. Especially working with existing corporations who may be unable to see how a new concept fits into their existing portfolio. Also academic systems not available to protect IP.

Experiences as distributor also provided learning – how to balance a service company with a development division. (2006 – 2012).

Set up company to revive and develop the Good Night lamp after registering trademark in UK.  Detailed development, technical, design and marketing etc. required to work together. Also challenges in finding funders, who envisage tech investment as software, apps etc. and unfamiliar with IoT. Kickstarter was an option but also struggled. Cautions on using crowd sourced funding as often, after initial funds used, there is no backup plan to keep refining and increasing market.
Found a partner – eseye – who had technical expertise – which worked out OK. Important to establish a viable customer base – used Shopify. Then worked with an industrial design studio to produce the ‘holder’ for the electronics. Detailed challenges with production, the design (types of clips, LEDs), technical (shifting from 2G to 4G), material and production (differences in craftsmanhip and quality) issues and how these had to be resolved. Took time to trademark in US to protect IP. Stressed importance of customer service – ensuring all customers had a good product experience. As product is IoT, data from each item sill available and usable for customer service improvement and future enhancements. Plans to go through IndieGoGo to finance shift from 2G to 4G.

Being an early entry means the product is mentioned in various books on IoT. Shared the many lessons learnt and recommendations for support at the early stages, affordable on demand talent and specialised entrepreneurship education and training – which needs to be trans-disciplinary – engineering, design, business etc.

Advice to entrepreneurs is to be ‘driven’ to get ahead with their project.

Second presentation was across lunch time to at Ara tutorial staff.
This time around the emphasis was on how education is able to support the development of entrepreneurship, in particular, around the IoT.

Large number of failures in ‘start-up’. Therefore, a place for support, development in the educational sphere and curriculum for inclusion of aspects of entrepreneur preparation.
From her experience, IoT products require designing a consumer product people will want to buy (product design, pricing, marketing); offering solid web connectivity electronics, firmware and backend design); and designing a universal user experience (ux, web design and e-commerce).
Product design includes product, accessories, packaging and shipping box. Can be done by self, hire industrial designer or most costly option of hiring an industrial design company. Working it out on your end now more possible with hacker/maker spaces, learn CAD online, use laser cutting / 3D printer. Need to account for the supply chain.

Pricing requires selling whole sale price being 4 times of costs which include bill of materials (use Dragon standard BOM google sheet), labour, shipping, tax, cost of returns, IP and other registrations etc. Allow for certification of your product if there are legislative / regulatory requirements – e.g. connected product. Actual prices to consumer will then be marked up 50 to 65%. Is it competitive?
Marketing requires press release, short video on social media, spare units to give away and conventions / trade shows etc. Currently, Consumer Exhibition showcases 50% of products with connectivity, rest a mixture of AR, VR and cars. Build list of websites and magazines and their editors contact details. Consider Christmas editions.

Cloud funding not the only way. Angel investment for lower amounts; If under a million, try a group of angels; above a million is very difficult. Incubators have a role but can cost and take time. Try government and academic grants if looking for under ½ million.


Ability to work across disciplines is important. Helps to understand how each discipline sees the world, what is important to them and how they approach a problem. Much of entrepreneurship is relationship building, resilience and ability to work through large challenges. 

Provided resources for further exploration. List of books via iot.london and her blog.

Monday, July 10, 2017

How long before a robot takes your job?

Here is a bbc article on how long it takes before your job is automated. The stats from from this report. Buisness insider predicts the timeframe for when AI will be able to exceed human performance - using much the same data and graphs as the bbc article. In short, jobs like truck driving will be replaced soonest, but full automation of all forms of labor within a hundred years from now. For truck driving, perhaps OK where there are straight roads (Australia's long haul trucks?) but NZ conditions may be a greater challenge! It will be interesting to check this prediction in 2027.

Another report from Harvard business review  takes the position that AI will help us do our jobs better and that we should leverage of this - as per previous post on book overview - we created AI and must take responsibility for how it unfolds. I think using AI to enhance how humans work is perhaps the most acceptable position. Using robots or mechanical aids and AI as mental augmentation - see this article - provides for transition and help humans understand the affordances and challenges of blending human, machine and digitally derived 'intelligence'.

Monday, July 03, 2017

From Bacteria to Bach and Back - Daniel Dennett - Book overview

I picked up this book from the ‘new book’ shelf in my local public library a couple of  weeks ago. 
Written by Daniel Dennett and published this year - 2017 - by Norton Publishers. The Guardian offers a comprehensive review 

Timing was just right for a wet weekend which allowed for two evenings of concerted reading. The main argument in the book is the role of evolution in producing the human brain. In short, evolution does not need to be ‘smart’ or to understand where it is headed. It just needs to ‘be’ and time will weed out the physical traits and ‘memes’ which will not last. There is an interplay between what is availed in the brains of individuals, with access to social learning affordances. Language, writing, apps, social media are seen to be things invented by humans, to further the development of their species. 

Its a longish book - 400 plus pages with helpful index, list of further readings and 20 plus pages of pertinent references but worth the effort to get into. The book is written for non-academic readers.

Examples and analogies are based on computers and other items familiar to a general audience, help to make clear, the more complex concepts.

The book has 15 chapters categorised into 3 parts. Part one sets the scene, going through the rationale for the argument to be sustained through the book and an overview of the foundational theories. Part 2 – from evolution to intelligent design – contains the main content of the book. There is an overview of the biological evolutionary process with the parallel cultural evolution’s role in forming human thinking. The two chapters in the last part, brings the various threads together to argue support the argument and contains some insights into the future.

The last chapter is perhaps most important. Here, the argument is for humans to be cognisant of their inherent ‘power’. Artificial intelligence may now have arrived, but it the humans, who have invented it, to understand the implications, to leverage the advantages and to ensure the worse implications do not come into fruition.

Overall, a good summary of Dennett's work, reiterating his scholarship into the 'mind' and how we should use our brains better. All in, a worthwhile read with pertinent learning to further / reinforce my understanding of evolutionary psychology.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Future of work - the predictions continue

Here is another take on the future of work. From a Commercial businees real estate point of view, the report - fast forward 2030 - summarises various reports with a handy 4 points of relevance to the real estate industries, with bullet point extensions.

One approach to the challenges of the future of work, to educational institutions is reported in a Channel News Asia advertorial.

The PSB academy pitches the need to prepare their students for the collaborative workforce. Of note is their approach. They  engage with their students to have them provide input into how the curriculum is developed. Stakeholder input is also sought. The institute that provides customised programmes attuned to the market.

Pluses and minuses to the approach. We (educators) risk becoming 'fly by nighters' in meeting every trend that makes itself visible above the parapet. There is still importance in ensuring the 'signature pedogogies'  are learnt so as to be able to proceed beyond to deeper and more innovative ways of approaching problems. Making the right decisions with good leadership is the key.




Monday, June 19, 2017

what will schools look like in 50 years time?

You have all see the same ppt slides. A photo of a classroom circa 1900 or earlier side by side of a photo of a contemporary classroom (especially in the post-school sector). Both will show pretty much the same arrangement of desks, facing a board and a teacher.

In this article, posted last year on the Australian Business insider, Jonathan Rochelle who is product manager for Google Apps for Education, provides some insight and direction.

The headliners in the article are - collaboration will be the norm, leveraging off 'machine learning' to provide for differentiated learning opportunities and the importance of teachers to lead.

So, the apps availed through Google, are developed to enhance collaborative learning at all levels - early childhood through to tertiary and lifelong learning. Learning analytics require better understanding by teachers, especially to use information on individual student's learning to help them proceed through individualised learning pathways, and teachers need to be enabled to learn how to best use technology to enhance learning.

The two products promoted on Rochelle's website are Jamboard and GSuite for education

Jamboard is part of the overall Gsuite. US$4999 provides 1 display, 2 stylii, a eraser and wallmount. There is a US$600 annual support fee. Therefore, the product is pitched at the corporate market and an alternative to other types of smartboards currently on the market.

Gsuite for education is free and includes core services for organising class activities etc. through 'classroom', sort of a learning management system, gmail, google drive, calendar, vault - which archives emails and charts, sharing of docs, sheets, forms, slides and sites and google hangouts for video conferencing.

There is a version for higher education with case studies of universities who have adopted Gsuite and an emphasis on security plus links to the Google research tools.




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

SEED - Sharing Experience in Educational Design - Ara tutors presenting teaching practice


Bernadette Muir on ‘Design Jam’. On project-based learning in architecture to assist students to complete authentic learning project with vertical integration of the students from all 3 years of the Architecture degree.
Revolves around the living building challenge – whereby sustainable buildings are designed. Small one day event whereby students have to find solutions based on relationships between the place, availability of energy and water. Industry experts and people working in the sustainability area were invited to support the student teams. Provided rationale, details and feedback from students. Students appreciated the authenticity of the project and the experience provided them with the opportunity to learn not only from the experts and tutors, but from each other. Also important to follow up beyond. Third year students now build a scale model of an exemplar contemporary timber building and then present the feature as if they were the architect. Students also visit recently constructed buildings in Christchurch to connect theory to practice.

Cheryl Stokes on ‘To Kahoot or not to Kahoot’. Provided a practitioner’s point of view and how she uses the app to engage students. Cheryl has always used a series of apps to help students learn. Ran a Kahoot to show examples. Provided rationale and learning advantages for using from both tutor and student perspectives. Also detailed the various ways Kahoot used, their advantages and disadvantages. Important to reinforce the learning that has occurred while students use Kahoot. Important to help students become aware of the learning potential of using Kahoot, so they are able to leverage off the learning achieved.



Monday, June 12, 2017

Sensemaking: the power of the humanities in the age of the algorithm - book overview

Worked through a short book last weekend, which was wet and non-conducive to outdoor activities of any kind.

The book, by Christian Madsbjerg, is published in 2017.

The main argument of the book cautions on relying too much using quantifiable data to make decisions for solving complex problems. There is a need to ensure humans retain their uniqueness and ability to draw on tacit knowledge, acquired across life experiences. Machines, artificial intelligences and robots do not have the biologically sourced ability to tap into individuals’ idiosyncratically acquired knowledge, to make decisions requiring creativity and insight.

Some parts of this book do not quite work and most of the argument is well laid out and sound. Madsbjerg heads ReD Associates, a strategy consulting company which uses social researchers (anthropologists, sociologists, art historians and philosophers) to assist corporates to attain better attuned information to eventually improve their company’s reach. There is some irony in this.
Humans’ sensemaking is not just based on quantitative data. We are embodied beings. We collect, collate, evaluate and act on multi-modal inputs. All of these, end up being drawn on when we intuit insights which are sometimes at odds with what quantitative data recommends.

The five principles of sense making are detailed:
Culture – not individuals – focuses on the need to understand the socio- historical -political arena we live in. So consumer surveys based on surveys of individuals, requires reading within the larger social framework various consumers spent their lives in.
Thick data – not just thin data – uses George Soros, at the time of the early 1990s as a case study to unpack the need for data beyond what is provided by formal means. That is, the data coming from individual’s life experiences combined with collaborations with each other. Therefore, the socio-cultural. Understanding not only the numbers, but how the individuals who make decisions (politicians, bureaucrats etc.) make decisions which in turn affect entire country and world economies.
The savannah – not the zoo – again brings in the need to see the big picture beyond data streams. Heidigger’s concept of ‘being in the world’ is used as the main framework in this chapter to explain the importance of a thing and understanding its position in the world.
Creativity – not manufacturing – encourages the need to not just make something for its own sake, but to make it well. In essence, this chapter argues for the need to adopt precepts of craftsmanship, although the word ‘craftsmanship’ is not used. In particular, this chapter critiques the move in many corporations to ‘design thinking’.
The North Star – not the GPS - uses three stories to support the need for human input into meeting complex goals. How a facilitator draws on her finely honed EQ to get the most out of participants when they are in workshops to improve their ‘managing’. The need of a negotiator who works in international hostage crisis to understand deeply, the ethos and culture of his adversaries. The embodied understanding of a winemaker, at one with the terroir, working towards making the best wine from the grapes she grows.


Overall, the book advocates for the need to better appreciate what humans bring to the world. Machines are constructed and developed by humans. They should be tools, not oracles. Education, especially a humanities-based education, assists humans to better understand the diversity, complexity and challenges inherent in our world. Technological innovations require balancing with the needs of humanity. Our lives maybe enriched and enhanced by technological tools, but in the end, humans are here to make a difference - not all of which can be measurable.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The meaning of work - article summary

Here is an article discussing the need to rethink the meaning of work. The article was originally written in Dutch by Rutger Bregman and the translated English version is on the World Economic Forum webpage. The article may be read as a promotion for Bregman's book - Utopia for realist: How we can build the ideal world.

The paragraph on 'what is work' is worth looking through. In short, many highly paid and usually sought after jobs do not stack up as being fulfilling, interesting of worthwhile!! In large surveys carried out recently, over 70% of the respondents - who are consultants, bankers, managers etc. do no like their jobs and / or think their jobs are useless. All in, a really worrying statistic.

Then, only work which pay money are deemed to be count towards GDP. This is not a new concept. In the 1980s, my emergent interest in finding more about the world found me reading the book - Counting for Nothing - by Marilyn Waring - now a Professor at Auckland Institute of Technology. This book set me on the path I now walk - one in which it is important to question expectations and look beyond the norm. The book also influenced by nascent inquiries into feminism, sustainability and the need for individuals to take responsibility and to play a role - no matter how small - in trying to ensure we leave the world a better place for others who will follow us.

The article then sets up an argument for a universal basic income - UBI - similar in slant to the investigations taken up by the NZ Labour party and summarised in recent blog. The byline at the end of the article is apt - jobs for robots and life is for people.





Monday, May 29, 2017

Future of Jobs and Jobs training - Pew report, OxfordMartin report,McKinsey report, bbc article

A collection of reports etc. read over the last few weeks on the future of work, education and impact on jobs.

First up, via Jane Hart's Modern Learning in the Workplace newletter, the Pew report on the future of jobs and jobs training.
The report is a longish read covering a range of concepts across 8 webpages. The overview on page one, introduces the challenges and discusses implications. The FIVE main themes are introduced and following pages expand on each. The themes are:
- Training ecosystems will evolve, with a mix of innovation in all education formats.
- Learners must cultivate 21st century skills, capabilities and attributes.
- New credentialing systems will arise as self-directed learning expands.
- Training and learning systems will NOT meet 21st century needs by 2026.
- Job? what jobs? Technological forces will fundamentally change work and the economic landscape.

Second, a report from the oxfordmartin group, on the future of employment, which is the source of the much quoted statistic on number of jobs that will be replaced by technology. The report tries to identify which jobs may be at risk. There is a  a good overview of how far computing has come and the progress made towards computerising non-routine cognitive tasks. The study identifies social intelligence, creativity and perception / manipulation as classes of algorithms able to replace humans in roles.
""The model predicts that most workers in transportation and logistics occupations, together with the bulk of office and administrative support workers, and labour in production occupations, are at risk.
a substantial share of employment in service occupations, where most US job growth has occurred over the past decades (Autor and Dorn, 44 2013), are highly susceptible to computerisation.
Therefore, for workers to win the race, however, they will have to acquire creative and social skills.""

The third report is from McKinsey on technology jobs and the future of work. 60% of jobs will have 30% of activities that can be technically automatable. Highly skilled workers working with technology will benefit. Low skilled workers working with technology may experience wage pressure as there will be less demand for these occupations.

Lastly, a good overview via the BBC on how automation will affect you, summarising opinions from a range of experts on the topic. As always, the solution is education.  In the near future, people will have to put in 60% of their time working and  40% of time in learning. Fewer than 5% of jobs can be automated with existing technology but 60% of occupations could see up to 30% of tasks being done by machines. Robots should complement, not replace you. We need to learn how to work alongside robots. There will be an accompanying increase in demand for creative, social, interpersonal skills. 

All studies point to the importance of educational systems in preparing and re-training / re-skilling people.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Inge de Waard's blog

I bumped into Inge de Waard at several mlearning conferences in the past. The last one at least six years ago. Time flies! At that time, she had just started the PhD journey and has now just completed her viva.

Inge's blog - @IgnatiaWebs - has been a good way to keep in touch with happenings in the mlearning research scene. Especially since I have had to put my energies into vocational education research with mlearning as an adjunct.

Her posts always lead to extra exploration of various concepts, resources and the work of other leaders in the field. So, a good 'go to' place for updates and to keep up with the ever changing mlearning scene.

One of the real gems with technology focused blogs, is the historical recording of how various types of technology evolve. In the case of @ignatiaWebs, the history of mlearning is archived. Mainly due to the Inge keeping a focus on the topic. She posts strategically with posts around here various presentations and publications as well.

So, always something to learn from others. This blog meanders across several topics as my research interests shifts horizontally across 'learning a trade' type topics. I need to start putting up overviews of recent presentations and publications as well. Something I will start doing this year.








Monday, May 15, 2017

Academic Study Leave presentations - Ara Institute of Technology - May 2017

Notes taken on the reports from Ara staff on their 2016 ASL. This 'sabbatical' is used in various ways by staff . Some update their discipline specific pedagogical understandings, others complete their PhDs or other research projects. I enjoy listening to the range of reports, encapsulating what makes Ara an interesting place to work. Our staff bring much passion into their work and ASL presentations provide a window of opportunity to 'see into' their professional lives. 

4/5
Adrian Blunt – teaching maths –
Listed the various activities undertaken and his learnings from each. Was grateful for the opportunity as he had never, in all his teaching career, been able to put time into reflecting on his practice, work on resources informed by the latest findings on how people attain a ‘mathematical mindset’ and compare / evaluate how other institutions teach or embed maths or numeracy into programmes.
Recommended the book – mathematical mindsets by JoBoaler as required reading for all maths teachers.
Undertook to doing all the exercises required in engineering programmes and engaged – electrical trades - to strengthen his skills in ensuring maths teaching and support was ‘authentic’.
Developed short videos, socrative quizzes, testmoz to support his teaching.
Updated on current ideas, strategies and resources in teaching numeracy and mathematics in the UK.
Classroom learning in schools – back to traditional. No real embedding in FE sector as students attend Maths / English classes outside of discipline studies. OFSTED requires ‘progress for ALL students’.

Anna Richardson from Nursing
Recommended to pre-plan well before starting to garner the most benefit from ASL.
Met with nurse leaders in UK, Canada and US of A. presented at all of these places, largely with undergraduate students. Topics varied but matched to Anna’s research interest and the NZ context.
Completed 2 publications.
Reported on meetings with the institutions to learn how they approached the teaching of nursing. Provided examples of the use of simulations in nursing. Findings inform curriculum review at Ara.
Proposed possibility of aiming for setting up a centre of excellence in NZ family nursing at Ara.

Marg Hughes from nursing
Completed writing up of PhD while on ASL and just about to complete vivo. Shared an overview of the methods and findings from her thesis – How do registered (RN) and enrolled nurses (EN) communicate within the delegation and direction relationship.
Summarised rationale and background for the project. For over 30 years, RN only workforce but ENs reintroduced in 2000s. Described and defended choice of narrative inquiry as the methodology. Shared findings with ENs showing understanding of their responsibilities but RNs struggling with aspects of delegation and direction.

9/5
Social work and community development in post-earthquake Chch. Schools – part of her PhD thesis which is in progress and submitted by end of 2017.
Provided the contexts with focus on social workers based in low SES. Numbers of social workers in this scheme were increased after earthquakes to middle SES along with 3 funded by Red Cross for higher SES. How would social workers contribute to assisting in the post-earthquake recovery process and how did their practice shape the schools.
Rationalised and explained the discourse analysis process as research process.
Two major discourses – community as recovery (encouraging of community self-help but target vulnerable groups) and community hub (schools as significant places of belonging).
Therefore, important to offer spaces for alternate community practices e.g. channelling kids who are disruptive into community work to increased self-esteem, awareness and confidence.

Rural midwifery practice in NZ and Scotland: a collaborative study.
Provided the background, evolution, contexts and challenges on the project involving, Ara, AUT, University of West of Scotland and Robert Gordon University.
Presented similarities between both countries.
Overview of the ASL and need to align research process to the requirements of the ASL. For example, obtaining ethics approval across two countries and large number of health boards took much longer than planned.
Summarised the various data collection tools and processes. Findings on joys and challenges of working in rural midwifery practice. Collated perspectives on what was required to become a midwife – skills, qualities and professional expertise – with emphasis on ‘courage’ / fortitude, preparedness, resourcefulness and the development of relationships. To prepare midwives for rural practice important through rural midwifery placements for students, developing confidence to practice autonomously, having rural specific education in the under-grad programme so continued numbers of midwives able to undertake practice.

11/5
Effectiveness of a newly developed Masters pathway for RNs
Overview of how ASL was structured around teaching and admin commitments for 2016. Planned to use ASL to develop up to 4 projects related to the new Masters pathway into becoming RNs. Students exit in 2 years with masters at University of Canterbury and a Bachelor of Nursing with opportunity to sit for nursing registration exams.
All 4 projects now approved. Provided overviews of all the projects.
1)       Demographic characteristics – why they enrolled and students’ rationale for a change of career and intentions for going forward. Project involves collaborative team between UC and Ara.
2)       Men in nursing – qualitative approach – specifically why men select Masters vs traditional programme and reasons for selection of nursing as future career. Has underlying objective to build research capability with Ara staff. Two key themes – in search of a satisfying career / answering a calling? and ‘the time is right’.
3)       Investigating perspectives from key stakeholders (key drivers, challenges and risks) on the programme – was is right, viable, fit into current challenges. Small UC and Ara team using a historical case-study approach.
4)       Career progression – longitudinal study of 5 cohorts from 2017 to 2020 – critical analysis of RNs on career planning, commitment and satisfaction.

Sustainable housing for the elderly
Investigated the homestar and lifemark ‘tools’ used to rate housing with regards to environmental and energy efficiency (homestar) and intelligent design rating (lifemark) improving usability, safety and access.
Housing options for older people summarised – staying put, adaptation, sheltered or retirement housing, retirement villages and care homes. Studied the first 3 option as ‘aging in place’ seen as advantageous.
Summarised the tools as compared to NZ standards and explained how the rating systems work and what criteria used.
Overviewed application of this learning to teaching practice.
www.superhome.co.nz - visits in May 2017 to homes build to sustainability principles.

12/5
Dr. Michael Edmond’s presentation - not on ASL but a staff sharing session also open to students. Michael provides his take on "how to to be happy at Ara"

Described his interest on ‘eudaimona’ – how humans flourish which informs this presentation.
Presentation shares his journey and how the interest informs his work as an academic, scholar and Head of School
Covered neuroscience underpinnings of how we reason and the role of emotions – do we actually have control?
A successful or happy life is about how we take control of what we do and how we perceive the world.
Summarised the range of Western philosophy informing present understandings. Free will is a key to how individuals cope with things they may not have any power to change. Therefore in life, “you cannot control the wind, but you can adjust your sails”.
So question – does this really matter? And find meaning / purpose – why are you here? What can be done to make a contribution? What is important?
Begin with asking – what are your core values? Is what you now do, aligned to these values?
Reassess these core values regularly and also forecast 5 to 10 years ahead. Offered participants the opportunity to work further on these next Friday.
Shared several examples as to how individual action may be ‘diverted’ e.g. bystander effect, social protocols, deference to authority.
Provided some evidenced-based ways to influence others – reason, inspire, ask questions, compliments, reciprocal negotiation, favour via social capital, peer pressure, authority and force! Reiterated the importance of the power of language and the concepts of word bombs, hot buttons and triggers.
Need to be empathetic and be kind J
Provide examples of experiences with having challenging conversations. Structured approach works better. If raising an issue, focus on a solution, own the problem, be specific, understand their perspective, negotiate a solution – be genuine.
Summarised his understanding of effective learning. Encouraged the ‘growth mindset’ approach. Motivation is important. Effectiveness is improved with better learning to learn skills. Provided study skill tips for students.  








Monday, May 08, 2017

Mike Rose's blog

While away just after Easter to support my aged parents, I managed to catch up on several blogs pertinent to my work. These will form the basis for the next few postings as it is important to match my perceptions with those of others who are also working in similar fields.

To begin:

It has been sometime since I checked out the blog of Professor Mike Rose - author of the book 'the mind at work - summarised here.

Professor Rose's work advocates for the recognition of vocational education as a valid pathway and his blog provides rationale for the adoption of 'pathways' and better funding and support for American community college. Also for schools to provide better alternatives to the academic track.

His blogs are usually long but well thought through and structured. Most are therefore 'essays', bringing together his thoughts on each topic rather than short bursts of commentary and links. In a way, the blogs summarise his viewpoints, albeit from an American perspective, of the state of play with vocational education.

His latest blog, posted mid- April, provides a good overview of the effects of the recent election of President Trump and its effects on the American psyche.

Of note is the blog of  21/3, on re-reading vocational education and the new world of work, which fits in well with my recent readings and blog posts on 'the future of work'. From Professor Roses' point of view, there is a need to raise profile and esteem of vocational education and ensure vocational education is widened beyond occupational focuses to prepare people for the 'gig economy - see examples from Channel Asia News on 'the sharing / collaborative economy'. Trades work, would I think, be the original 'gig; economy as historically, 'journeyman' craftspeople would obtain work as they travelled to learn more about their trade before attaining 'master' status. Many trades occupation require 'in-situ' work and are less threatened by 'outsourcing'. Although 'pre-fabrication' as per Dr. Philip Alviano from Master Builders Association Victoria from presentation at recent AVETRA  examples may well change the nature of even more trade occupations. So, as with all occupations, there is still a need to ensure workers attain skills to continually retrain, re-skill or up-skill to meet the challenges represented by AI, automation, robotics and technology-enhanced everything.


Friday, April 21, 2017

AVETRA 2017 - Day 2




Day 2 begins at 9am after a late night conference dinner.

Practitioner research is showcased with a series of presentations. Dr. Melinda Waters sets the scene. Shared two projects - scholarship project, association  of colleges UK and applied research model - Canada for guidelines and models.
Details also in paper - Waters, Simon, Simons, Davids and Harreveld (2015). New practices for new times: a case for scholarly activity in Vocational Education in Australia. Journal article.
Provided rationale for practitioner research and its importance along with advantages of implementing practitioner research. Capabilities include critical professionalism (Bathmaker and Avis, 2013). Shared examples of innovative pedagogies in VET, including spatial work, Affective  work, balancing work and practices of inquiry and research.


I attend the following two.
Firstly with Robert Brodie from Swinburne reporting on his International Specialised Skills fellowship to Canada and the US of A to investigate models of training in carpentry. Provided background and reasons for selecting the focus of his fellowship. Need to upgrade the range and depth of skills across his industry as 'specialised skills' survive the 'second machine age (Brynjolsson and McAfee)' when compared to 'ordinary' skills. Warns of disappearance of high skill craftsmanship if challenges of globalisation, skill depreciation and aging trades teacher workforce. Summarised the various institutions and systems visited and learning distilled from each. Especially impressed by Canadian system with training system allowing for focus on heritage, sustainability and / or journeyman. Provided examples relevant and applicable to the Australian contexts. Concluded on need for a journeyman or RedSeal type qualification to raise standards. 
Final report available ISSI site.


Secondly, is maintaining industry currency in a time of change With Dr. Philip Alviano from Master Builders Association Victoria. Rapid changes include energy efficiency, BIM, 3 D printing and prefabrication. Report on construction technologies summarised. Prefabrication include cross laminated timber panels, cassette flooring, prefabricated pods and closed panels. Current technologies picked up on ISSI fellowship in Germany last year. Especially impressed with Craftsmanship approaches. 
New construction technologies require funding for VET development centre, trainer upskilling and skills analysis through interviews, informal discussions with management, design and shop floor. Summarised feedback on skill analysis. Findings to include need for more people's skills to work in collaborative tasks. Might need Blended skills qualification bringing together carpentry and civil construction.


Melinda and Linda Simon then facilitated a session on 'what does it take to do practitioner research?' practitioners shared their experiences and challenges. Support structures detailed to assist the process. The difference and movement between scholarship, quality assurance processes and research was raised. Each may support and feed into the other. Nudging scholarship and quality processes into research requires capability building perhaps through community of practice/s and support.


After morning tea, I attend Professor Stephen Billett's session on 'towards a comprehensive account of adult learning and development'. Overview of adult learning and developmentand elements of a framework to address the lack of a solid and empirically grounded theories on adult learning and development. Many accounts are descriptive and speculative and compares poorly with theories of children's learning and development. Examples given on reflection, transformative learning, what are its scientific basis? Does it exist? How are they constituted? What are they constituted? 
Feye and Nylander review reveals majority to be qualitative methods and based on social theories. Elements of a framework for adult learning and development influenced by institutional or social, brute and personal factors (Searle, 1995) includes micro-genesis, ontogenetic development, distinction between learning and development, phylogenetic development and transitions in societal roles. Proposed the ways in which these focuses interrelate and interconnect. Summarised the precepts of microgeneses. Therefore theory needs to accomodate inter and infra psychological processes, fresh consideration of socio genesis goes beyond ideation and procedural and societal. Must be grounded and empirically informed.


Then Ronnie Liu completing his PhD from Griffith University on 'understanding practice based learning in small business Chinese restaurants: a practice theory perspective. Argues for richness of learning undertaken in the ethnic hospitality context, not currently recognised or accredited. Used a practice based theory lens to find out the features of learning characteristic of this context and it can the workforce be better supported. Used workplace learning theories and practice architectures as investigative framework. Detailed method. Findings included enacted pedagogies, special practice based learning and sayings used. Pedagogies include declarative - know that,  procedural - know how, experimental - know why knowledge and observation, rectification, internalisation - explicit to tacit, enculturation and synchronisation. Special features of this learning are to participate in purposeful and progressive, participatory activities, relational interdependence between individual and social world, aesthetic grounding, chain of actions with cultural coherence (workplace, regional culture), tacit and explicit knowledge conversions, intuition as expertise, critical reflection and embodied prevalence. 
Practice architectures studied on the sayings, doings and relating for the learning and work activities. So how can these practice architectures be enhanced and how have they been constrained? Practice based learning can be better supported through better communications between stakeholders, listen to voices of workers / learners and considerations of the enabling and constraining factors.


Two sessions after lunch. 

Jennifer Miles from Monash and Jane Court from Chisholm Institute with 'locating and practicing authenticity in VET. Early findings from Jennifer's PhD. Presented on how training packages are both the box and a means to keep people in boxes. How do we help VET teachers to critique and challenge the instrumentality of competency based training. Both presenters teach Cert 4 adult learning teaching qualification. Argued for importance of ensuring VET educators able to be critical thinkers. Used a team teaching approach to frame Diploma in VE5 to enable learners to improve their teaching practices. Begins with the learning of self and then to develop their strengths. Need to foster spaces as transformation and space to transform. Finding self includes remembered, ordered and imagined self (Brady).


Warren Guest from Holmesglen TAFE and Mike Brown from La Trobe present on 'providing pastoral care in apprenticeships: increasing retention rates through provision of mentoring and social support arrangements'. Reported on a pilot study to provide support services to apprentices. Now run 6 months and although many encountered significant hurdles, 86 % retention has been a good result. Pilot now funded by state to continue for 3 years. Background includes low completion rates, complex system, role of teacher, employer, parent, apprentices have changed, quality mentoring and pastoral care lifts completion rates, there are multiple stakeholders and competing functions. 129 case studies undertaken along with 6 apprentice support coordinators (ASC) interviewed and large forum also conducted. Pastoral care main intervention 54%, 13% mentoring advice, 16% for financial support and 17% academic support. ASCs with trades background believed their experiences and networks assisted with their role and their work often overlapped with pastoral roles of trainers, mediating role of field officers, mentoring role of employers. Proposed the need to reframe the apprenticeship system, less complicated, requirements for ongoing support etc. continual project across next 3 years to inform construct of better model.


Conference closes mid afternoon with conference overview.