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? https://tinyurl.com/yasdsxvp 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 clintongolding.com

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.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Preparing the workforce for the future

Two articles of interest over the last couple of weeks, on the challenges wrought by the rapid move to a 'post-industrial' society and the threats of AI / digital economy to the out current way of life.

These two articles, discuss proposed ways forward to prepare workers for the future of work.

Firstly, an article from Todayonline on 'preparing the workforce for a changing future'. This article, spells out the current thinking of the Singapore Government in working towards preparing workers for the future of work. Basically, an excerpt from a speech by the Minister of Education (Higher Education and Skils) - Ong Ye Kung. Being a small country, Singapore has a history of being agile in meeting the various swings in world economy demands. A key to the country's flexibilitiy is the control over its education system. My relatives in Singapore, who are teachers, bemoan the ever increasing need to be engaged with 'lifelong learning' through mandated professional development programmes. However, all of this continual investment in education, to ensure teachers are well trained (note - not so much well -educated) means the curriculum is continually revamped to move with the Government's interpretation of 'what needs to happen to maintain economic growth'.

So the article, spells out the current and near future plans into the future, for the Singapore Continuing Education and Training (CET) sector. Of note, is the government's funding of all Singaporeans to engage in life-long learning through the Skills-Future Credit scheme. The focus is on courses on data analytics, advanced manufacturing, finance, digital media, cyber security, entrepreneurship, tech-enabled services in logistics and hospitality sectors and urban solutions. So a slant towards increasing capability and skills in the IT / AI / digital integration subjects.

The second article is from the bbcnews on 'how UK must prepare for the fourth industrial revolution. It is a summary of an independent review chaired by Siemens UK, highlighting the benefits of robotics, 3D printing and AI. There is a call for a commission to be formed, to help UK businesses adjust to the shift as large numbers of workers will need to be retrained.

Again, the focus here is on attaining IT / AI and digital literacy type skills.

This morning, a timely report to round off the two above from the NZ Herald. On the topic 'will robots take over the world?' In short, a warning, that AI is perhaps currently over-hyped and there is still much to be done, before robots are anywhere able to take over the world. A good example is the often rolled up example of how Google developed an AI programme to beat the best human player in the game Go. However, this programme is only able to play Go and not able to do much else. Human traits like common sense, intuition, tacit knowledge and emotional attributes like compassion are a long way from being 'programmable'.

Which leads me to think about the concentration in Singapore and the UK on the 'hard skills' and the need for workers of the future to also be really aware of the ethics of implementing AI solutions. AI may be programmed with rules and algorithms to be ethical, but ethics is and perhaps may never be able to sort out the 'grey' as life, as we now know it, is far from 'black and white'.

Food for thought for this week :)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Modern professional learners’ toolkit

Jane Hart's 'Modern Professional Learners' Toolkit, is worth a look. The list is distilled from her yearly list of top 100 tools and provides a good resource for all learners to check through.

Tools include web browsers, web resources, news and curation tools, web courses, social networking tools, blogging, productivity tools and apps and communication and collaboration tools.

Personal information system include evernote, onenote and pebblepad. So will need to check out pebblepad capabilities for this options.

As always, it pays to review the tools one uses, to see if there are other more effective / efficient ones to shift across to.

My list includes:
Browser - Chrome - as gmail account follows one from device to device.
web sources - Google Scholar - not mentioned but my go to page to begin a search for any papers relevant to my research
news and curation - Feedly and google alerts - will need to check out Nuzzel and Pocket.
webcourse platform - Ara as access to Lynda.com, but I also use Cousera
social networks - the usual, linkedin for professional use, facebook for personal / family, Researchgate for researchers
Personal information system - I actually use this blog
Productivity tools - google docs
Office suite - microsoft
communication and collaboration - onedrive for work, gmail for personal, Zoom for work, Skype for personal
Devices - work - Surface 3 tablet and Nokia Windows phone, home - Ipad mini.

Main thing is to find a tool that fits into what you need to do for work / personal, but also evaluate as technology progresses to keep up with the play. Tools and apps are now so much more intuitive to use but many people do not use all the tool/apps capabilities as few will read the instructions. Something I need to improve on as well.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Ako Aoteoroa National Projects in progress colloquium- 2017

Ako Aotearoa National Projects Colloquium 

Wellington turns on a blue dome day for a one day colloquium at Te Papa. National Projects currently funded by Ako Aoteoroa report on work in progress or on their final findings / results.

Mihi whakatua / welcome with Dr. Joe Rito, deputy director and Dr. Beatrice Dias-Wanigasekera, project funds manager. Joe provided summary of work undertaken on getting the various national projects going. Beatrice summarised Ako Aoteoroa’s strategic objectives with National Projects and the goals of the colloquium. In particular, the synergies between various projects and opportunities for projects to work together into the future.

Our project on eassessment is first up. I provide an overview, rationale and methodology. James Gropp from the aviation engineering school in Blenheim provides details of the Nelson Malborough Institute of Technology sub-project. James emphasised the need to ensure learning is a goal in problem based learning, not just the completion of a task. I then close with preliminary themes. 

Next up, Drs. Barbara Kensington-Miller, Sean Sturm and Amanda Gilbert from University of Auckland and Victoria university present on their project - making the invisible visible: illuminating undergraduate learning outcomes beyond content and skills. Used a role play to bring across the message about that students are subject focused when asked to describe their attainment. Yet, completing a degree encompasses not only knowledge but also a large range of skills and attitudes. Framework used as an observation tool to identify attributes considered invisible or aspirational. The details of attributes would then be useful to students,  lecturers/tutors and employers. Provided an example from psychology with empathy as an attribute. Goes through specify, explain, embed and nudge (how does this translate beyond class and course) with examples in learning objectives, activities and observable behaviour. Guides now prepared for students, lecturers and employers. Roadshows, workshops and conferences also used to disseminate model. 

After morning tea, 3 sessions. First up, Neil Ballantyne from the Open Polytechnic and Dr. Jane Maidment from the University of Canterbury on enhancing the readiness to practice of newly qualified social workers. A three year, three phase project. Neil presented background and overview. Phase one was a stock take of current curriculum. Then, find out from stakeholders how competent new graduates are. Then include the capabilities into revised framework. Curriculum would be the declared, taught and learnt. Used a data visualisation platform called Tableau (a free / public version app) to complete analysis of the curriculum documents from 14 institutions. Progressing into phase two. 

Second presentation with Professor Susan Geertshuis and Narissa Lewis from University of Auckland on embedding employability in the curriculum: strategies for the development of employability attributes with advanced and research informed programmes. Detailed background and rationale and the four Es employability model. A simple pedagogical model to guide teaching required. Especially with capabilities like ethical and professional practice, independent and critical thinking, integrity, social responsibility, proactivity, adaptability etc. all of of these are difficult to teach. Four Es are excite, explore, exhibit and extend to underpin transformation teaching. How do you also recognise capabilities students attained outside of studies, for example in their communities, and co-curricula opportunities. Next step is to collect exemplar cases to support four Es. Check www.futurereadygrads.ac.nz

Third up, Dr. Qilong Zhang, Meghan Rush, Tina Mischewski and Jon Sadler from Toi Ohomai Institution of Technology on a cross disciplinary comparison as the approach to developing work ready plus graduates. Talked about the process and the challenges of a collaborative project. Project developed five discipline specific work ready plus models - health studies, creative technology, early childhood, management and construction from level 3-4 to 8-9. Meghan presented on the findings from the level 7 health studies. In particular to make visible how employability priorities are embedded through the programme. Jon presented various issues historical and emerging. 

After lunch, three more presentation beginning with Professor Dory Reeves and Lena Henry from the University of Auckland on Te Whaihanga- preparing built environment professionals to work with Maori. Main goal to develop an online video and supporting material for teaching and learning in planning, architecture, engineering and landscape disciplines. Encompasses knowledge on why professionals need to be able to work with Maori; a learning assessment tool to have values and principals to be embedded; a video and supporting material to assist with how to deal with situations; and to be used in facilitated workshops. The three core values are mana, rangitiratanga and kaitiakitanga. 

Then, Mark Williams, Kylie Taffard and Loretta Garrow from the Building and Contruction Industry Training Organization share their project on - what are the characteristics of an effective learning journey for women entering trades? Kylie presented background and here the items presented fits into the larger project. The other objectives are to understand employer demands and industry needs. The first part to inform further change projects relating to education and industry practices and processes. The project will use data from interviews with women who are successful in the trades, to develop personas. Influencers tended to be intrinsic, included setting goals, challenge themselves, love/ passion of the materials and type of work and knew they had transferable skills. People with influence include family - usually male, teachers and pre-trade tutors, potential employer and WINZ. barriers include needing to defend choice of career, women who had not been successful, difficulty in getting position, training may be challenging and logistical issues with assessments and off job training, special treatment can be unsupportive. Relationships in the job important, along with supportive managers, having a mentor, working with a team, positive responses from other tradies and customers, aspects of the work and satisfaction with work. Events included completing pre trade, respect of peers and others, first pay cheque. They had a plan for the future. Shared drafts of personas for feedback. 

Third presentation is with Mike Styles and Dr. Lesley Petersen from Primary ITO present on their work to evaluate effectiveness of support interventions for dyslexic learners in multiple learning environments. Extended on some of the items presented at the recent NZVET research forum. Included background of the study and rationale for work to extend the work beyond the primary industry context. Detailed the project details. 

Dr. Stanley Frielick, Director of Ako Aoteoroa completes a summing up of the day.

A poroporoaki / farewell closed the colloquium.


Colloquium progressed on to a networking session with Central hub colloquium presenters, running concurrently at the same time. Seven , just completed Ako Aoteoroa national project reports were also launched to celebrate Ako Aoteoroa’s first decade. 

Projects are:
Weaving our worlds - strengths plus evidence based approach to increase academic achievement of Maori Health Sciences students.
Ako whakaruruhau - supporting Maori trades apprentices in the workplace
Learning in undergraduate mathematics - a set of seven guides to improve outcomes for mathematics learners
A pedagogy of Pacific learner success - success factors underpinning the Pacific Bachelor of Nursing and Social work at Whitireia.
Language in the trades - learning and teaching trade specific language for trades
Learning analytics data and teaching / learning design - using learning analytics to inform teaching
Ka whanau mai te reo: kei tua o te kura - support for Maori learners as they transition from Maori schools into tertiary. 


Monday, October 30, 2017

Is NZ ready for the impact of AI?

Here is an interesting article, from this morning's paper. The article provides the argument that NZ, compared to other countries, is well placed to meet the challenges posed to the future of work, through the advent of Artificial Intelligence.

One indicator, is the recent change of government here in NZ. The Labour party, in coalition / partnership with two other parties, NZ First and the Greens, formed the new government last week. The National party, which had governed for nine years, is in opposition. A turning point in the decision by NZers to support a change, was the growing disaffection with the outcomes of 'neo-liberalism'. There has been a growing inequality across NZ which many NZers, with an inherent pre-disposition to supporting the ideals of an egalitarian society, have found to be difficult to deal with.

The article proposes, like many others, the deployment of a UBI -universal basic income - to ameliorate the coming stress on the job market, through the introduction of AI into many types of work and jobs. The Labour party, at least, has been doing some work into understanding the impact of technology and AI on work - see their final report launched last year and summarised on this blog.

The more I read, the more I am in support of the notion that work will not perhaps disappear, but work will change. As argued in this series of articles, summarised recently, mundane and routine work activities may be replaced by intelligent agents, but the less routine and trouble shooting type work activities, will remain. So, large parts of some types of work will change.

In vocational education, the objective is still to prepare people for work. So perhaps, there will not be major impact on many of the occupations requiring long preparation to prepare novices for undertaking specialised work. What is required, is for academic, critical thinking and digital literacies  to be attained so that work with AI or automated 'intelligent agents' provides the enhanced productivity which is frequently sought.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

NZ VET research forum - DAY 2


Wellington turns on the wind yesterday afternoon and a blustery night followed. This morning, a cold Southerly brings light rain, so a good day to be indoors.

Day 2 begins with welcome from Dr. Stanley Frielick, Director of Ako Aoteoroa. Greetings and update on how change of govt. in NZ poses some opportunities for VET research to meet the challenges to the future of work. 

Morning keynote is with Distinguished Professor Paul Spooney who presents on the topic immigration and diversity: preparing for the future. Summarised demographics across the next 10 years, 2 out of 5 live in Auckland but most regional NZ in decline, Asian communities outnumber Maori, more people over 65 than under 15 and major shifts in nature of employment. Work will also be very different. Due to less young people, there is a challenge on future labour and skills supply. 40 to 50% of 2016 will not exist in 2026 but new jobs will emerge. 21st century workers may expect to be in 5 careers and 17 types of work. Immigration is the key source of skills, bringing in young and educated workers. Hyper diversity is the challenge to NZ social fabric. 

Then concurrent sessions begin.

I attend the presentation by Dr. Jenny Poskitt from Massey University on Degree Apprenticeship: is this the future for employer led industry partnerships in NZ? Detailed context in NZ and overseas, benefits and what does the NZ degree apprenticeship look like. Rationale to meet skills shortages in areas like engineering, asset management, IT caused by skills mismatch, ageing workforce etc. university education takes 3-4 years but graduates still require several years to become productive. Summarised the international landscape - Germany, USA, UK. Defined degree apprenticeship as a tripartite employer, provider and learner to combine high quality degrees with on the job and professional pathways. Collated the features as flexible delivery, assessments etc. aligned to work, learning is work and work is learning plus authentic learning with workplace mentor. Benefits are many (Antcliff, Baines and Gorb, 2016; Bravenboer, 2016; Gunderson and Krashibnsky, 2015: Jones, 2011). Reported on pilot funded by e2e to address skill shortage in asset management side of engineering. Described process for deriving the knowledge skills and behaviours required in the degree qualification. Emphasised the need to build relationships, listen to employer and be responsive. Recommended alternative names, mastership, sponsored degree etc. investigating tax incentives, creating structures, aligning policies e.g. learning pathways etc. ended with potential benefits and risks and tensions. 

Then at the next session, a presentation on similar lines in engineering from Brendan Mischewski from e2e on Micro credentials in engineering. In NZ quality services meet needs for millions of kiwis but innovation is not encouraged and the evidence is weak. Reviewed findings of productivity commission which challenged the status quo. Provided rationalisation for the need to have rapid and responsive qualification systems and completions. Detailed e2e response to meet NZ current and future engineering needs. Skills shortage at 6 and 7 which will relieve stress on level 8 engineers to meet challenges requiring innovation. Alternative credentials include work based learning, boot camps. MooCs, professional exams, adult and community learning and recognition of prior learning. Approaches include packages of learning within accredited ed,, activities outside, aspects and teaching and experiences, aimed to provide a bridge. Provided examples of micro credentials as Competenz micro learning, BCITO. Hop on hop off, NZ Dip. Ag.  Self driving vehicles etc. need to work on how to ensure quality and relevance, who benefits, how to leverage, and how to optimise performance. Detailed an initial model for microcredentials for engineering. Future, to developing and expert engineer. Also discussed current NZQA    Pilots -  and e2e ideas  -  rethinking NZDE, fire engineering stream, public works, sustainability bolt on, PD, pathways for Pasifika, and simplifying RPL.
  
A short plenary address with Philip Walker, principal advisor from Stats NZ follows. Phil presented on data in a changing world. Overview of the impact on industries business models. 5 trends include new behaviours, technologies, millennial workforce, mobility and globalisation. Now in a world of rapid and continual change where data my assist us to better understand our challenges. Used agriculture as an example of change. Drop in number of workforce but increase in parts of industry requiring R n D activity to cope with continual market shifts. So decrease in on farm worker but increase in analysts, irrigation specialists, consultants and researchers. Provided details of NZ integrated data set- IDS - (IDI and LBD) which bring together data collected by various government agencies. Longitudinal data provides journey of individuals (generalised) and cohorts. Provided details how to access data and recommendations on skills required to make the most of the data. Also provided information on other initiatives, the data leadership hub, data stewardship and the census. provided examples. 

After lunch, two sessions. Dana Taylor from IPU NZ with Becoming agents in their Vocational learning: English language learners self reflection throughput a workplace training course. Shared an action research project to find out how international students transform their identity through work experience (70 hours). Part of a level 5 tourism program. Provides situated learning but international or ELLs face linguistic, interactional, cognitive, instructional and organisational challenges. Scaffolds required to prepare students to deal with a different work culture, symbols and behaviours and obtain sociolinguistic and sociopragmatic confidence. Confidence required to deal with culture shock and workplace expectations, tutorials on cultural awareness, fluency and self-efficacy. Used short written survey to establish students progress towards meeting graduate outcomes. A good example of using an evidence base to ensure students meet learning outcomes. 

Then, a joint session starting with Mike Styles from the Primary ITO with his ongoing work on evaluating the effectiveness of support interventions for dyslexia learners in multiple learning environments. Stressed the need for people with dyslexia to be better supported. Reported on an Ako Aoteoroa National project which is 2/3 complete. Learners with dyslexia were supported using a package adapted from one used by the Primary ITO. Consists of screening to provide quality info. About their dyslexia. Support them to own their condition and info. To their employers, tutors, training advisors etc. also human and technological support. Reported interim findings. Dyslexia tend to either excel or languish. They have usual problems with literacy, limited short term memory, limits on sequencing skills, longer cognitive and physical processing speed and slower automacity. Positives include better spatial 3D skills, empathy, problem solving and ability to read people and creative / different thinkers. Recommendations include importance in supporting, informing and empowering people who are key supporters; technologies getting cheaper and more effective but require support to use and changes to behaviour; aid learners to share their strategies with their peers; dyslexia friendly resources has value for all learners; apps like dyslexia aid; use dyslexi font. 


Wrap up concludes the conference. Looking forward to next years conference in Sydney :)

NZ VET research forum - DAY 1



Notes taken at the annual NZ Vocational Education and Training research conference. Held in Wellington as usual and my annual opportunity to catch up with NZ VET researchers.

The conference opens with a whakatua and welcome from Josh Williams CE of the Industry Training Federation (ITF). Josh, in his usual style, summarised the intent of the conference and reminded the participants to keep their eyes / ears out any major announcements!

Professor Stephen Billett sets the pace with his keynote on Emerging goals for Vocational Education and responsive curriculum and pedagogic practices. Firstly, build his case, summarising the need to ensure we better understand pedagogy at work due to the ongoing pace of change taking place now in types of work and how work is in turn constituted. There is growing focus on job readiness, contextualisation to local needs, requirements to understand ‘difficult, work and need to have greater self directed learning and lifelong learning. Recommends, job readiness needs to also ensure learners have opportunities to learn different ways the occupation may be enacted. Educational goals include canonical knowledge and situational manifestations. Reiterated that expertise is situational. Defined how hard to learn knowledge, especially as work shifts from tactile to symbolic e.g. mechanical to CNC lathes. Through most of history, occupational learning has been through practice. 
Responsive curriculum and pedagogies assist through provision of authentic, purposeful workplace learning experiences; educational institution based experiences through simulations, story telling, projects, etc.; integrating workplace experiences - esp. before, during and after; post-work experience augmentation; learning of symbolic and conceptual knowledge; and promoting the development of active engagement by learners. 

After morning tea, the concurrent sessions begin.

I attend session with Sean Squires from Toi-Ohomai - Institute of Technology - Tauranga, who is head of Automotive Engineering, on designing and delivering Vocational training programs to meet the need of future workplaces. advocates the need to ensure learners are able to find, evaluate and apply knowledge rather than memorise information. Need to find out what industry needs. Provide students with tools to learn. Flexibility and innovation enables connectivity between learners, trainers and industry. Shift from text to digital and multimedia / multi modal. Trust between employer, trainer and apprenticeship important. Surmises that there is a need to have humans undertake teaching as AI and robots may not be able replicate the individuality of trades learning.

Then, a session with Karen Vaughan and Jo MacDonald on transfer of learning in apprentice development for health and community support work. Focused on helping apprentices attain reflective learning skills to enable workplace based learning to be effectively undertaken. Rationale for the work, changing nature of support work and beginning of a new apprenticeship programme. What was the value of adding an apprenticeship. 21 apprentices participated and they worked in aged care, intellectual physical therapy and case work with disadvantaged youth. Nature of support work includes high unpredictability with need to continually problem solve and reflect on practice, great job satisfaction, team work and the emotional labour. Defined near, further and far transfer of learning. Reported on how apprentices understood their learning and matched to near, further or far transfer. Also connected to and defined as per finding, Schon’s reflecting on / in action. How and when reflection took place and what did apprentices do with the results of their reflective learning. Key finding, changes are personal and professional, guided by underlying principles, there are flexible interactions with clients. Businesses need have confidence for apprentices, client and business, what happens before and after training, challenges are presented by the nature of work, training arrangements and organisational climate and affordances. 

The after lunch keynote is with Dr. Craig Fowler CEO from the Australian NCVER. He presents on from measuring to interpreting: progress in visualisation, analytics and research to inform the Australian VET system. Began with overview on NCVER objectives, funding and purpose. Presented vision and mission of the new NCVER strategic plan from 2017 to 2020. Summarised complexities of the federal system on collection of data and the data products produced. Introduced the new tools for dissemination of data through digital visualisation. Discussed in greater depth the challenges for analysis and advantages presented by data linkage across other government databases. Provided example of data mining of job advertising to work out if currency and validity of training packages. Need to try to collect regularly, skills performed and skills identified as lacking from a job, so individuals, trainers and policy makers better informed. 

**Announcement made of next NZVET research forum to be held with the annual NCVER no frills conference in Sydney from 15 to 17 August 2018. **

Concurrent sessions carry through the afternoon.

I present details on the various sub projects from the eassessment project. This time, more details on each actual sub- project. The common threads are to match the context of learning with the affordances of technology to enable the feedback process to be effective. Learners need to learn how to understand feedback and leverage of it. Tutors need to be familiar with technology affordances to maximise application. Technology needs to be matched to learning goals and context of discipline / organisation. 

Then, Graeme Couper presents on an integrated approach- holistic assessment of NZ dairy farm trainees. Started with background and rationale. Summary of a study towards Masters thesis in Education. Post Troq, more holistic approach possible to bring together theory and practice, aligned to grad outcomes, less assessing and looking into other ways to assess knowledge in practical context. Detailed research design and questions. Interviews recorded on smart pen. Found better integration between theory and practice, more flexible, active and engaged learning, real world evidence used , active assessment interaction between those involved, greater satisfaction and enjoyment of process, and some practical challenges in the change.  Summarised implications towards approaches towards applying knowledge to practice, authentic and robust assessment, and an opportunity to revisit the con pet of competence.

Last session with Averil Coxhead, Jean Parkinson and Falakiko Tu’amoheloa from Victoria University on bilingual approaches to technical trades vocabulary in Tongan and English. Presented on one aspect of the Ako Aoteoroa National fund - learning the language of the trade- project. Began with overview of the wider project objectives and where the study presented fits. Summarised the rationale for the project, why study trades language which has just as demanding a vocabulary as university level learning. Tongan lists derived from word lists for carpentry, plumbing and engineering. 30% technical vocabulary is in the written language but 10% in spoken in the workshops. Seems to be mismatch in words in the glossary between words in glossary and words in the textbook. Detailed difficulties in translating vocabulary. The Pasifika approach to research (Talanoa) to carry out the translations was detailed. Learners need to know there are technical words in Tongan, some are Tonganised and the ones without equivalents require rules to derive. Implications also presented. 

As usual, a busy day and I was unable to be at several sessions due to clashes in the programme. Evening networking continued to allow for catch up with ITO and ITP people with an interest in and supportive of VET research.