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Tuesday Jul2

July 2, 2013

145 Key note speakers:

Evaluating the impact of research – Ako Aotearoa and the Australian counterpart.

(Kirsty Weir), Peter Coolbear, Tilly Hinton.

I attended this to find out more about Ako Aortearoa and the possibility of applying for a grant, as this was recommended. However, Unitec takes financial donations and expects you to fulfill contact hours and do the ‘research in your own time’ !!

Criteria – impact goes beyond context and is about people not about publications.

Projects must be evidence based change .
High return for learner and develop systemic change.
Innovation in learning & teaching

ACTIONS:

Be clear in your revisions to include:
1. Think  about a community engagement  activity at the end of each KCIM unit to include impact.
2. Long term usage important – what change are you trying to implement?
3. Benefits to learners:
Academic enhancement
Learning environment and resources
Relationships -actual evidence
Personal developments

Ako Aotearoa research paper on engagement in blended environments

John Milne

4 universities were involved in tracking LMS (learning management system eg Blackboard or Moodle)engagement over a semester.

The most important thing I learnt from this paper was the result of LMS tracking:

All students followed the same peaks and troughs and there was no significant differences between A and B achievers.  C achievers were only a little lower but fails showed a significantly lower trough at week 4 and week 13.

There were some differences between how engagement in the following **10 strategies was manifested between the universities which explained why some failed but the *SLAPS program was instrumental in recapturing these disengaged students.

Fails all started later than other students and although they tracked as high as A passes in week 4 assessment, they were all lower in the troughs.  It was at this point that SLAPS volunteers followed up.  Students felt more at ease talking and negotiating problems with peers than with lecturers and the time for lecturers was released.  WIN WIN

*SLAPS? program is a volunteer student initiative whereby students are screened first, in some cases trained, and follow up personally all students who are failing.  They are given recognition by the institution on their CV as a reward.

**

Engagement – spark curiosity, exploit the knowledge gap and establish personal relevance.  Create a social presence and belonging.

Maintain engagement- give clear content, instructions, guidelines for assessments.   Motivate students with challenging authentic talk/content/problems in safe environments.

Recapture the disengaged – Identify early and monitor (SLAPS), give personal contact where appropriate and support students.

5pm The poster session and pecha kucha introduction

I love pecha kucha and even though a number of the participants did not strictly adhere to the style ie too much text rather than an appropriate image to link the information they are giving, as a means of engaging conference goers it was particularly successful.  All around me I overheard comments like, “I have learnt more in 2 minutes than I did in the sessions!” Only about 20 of the poster booth creators participated but it was enough.  This was followed by a video of a Maori video conference, not live unfortunately as they were in Washington presenting at a conference of native languages under threat. Even though this was interesting and linked to a poster it was far too long – 5- 10 minutes and the impetus gained by the fast pace of petcha kucha was lost.

I am still rather shocked at the number of ‘death by Powerpoint’ presentations there were at the conference.  They were so boring that often I just took photos, did not take notes or just left early.  However, this lead in to the poster session was even more successful than the two minute summary of poster sessions I participated in at ILA 2012.  The added images really made it and the conversations in the booths were animated even after the slow video conference  video by Maori.

This first set of notes is a slightly different repeat of 915 Keynote speaker Alison Phipps – When Learning is placed under seige

I arrived late so I missed the first part where she defined the ‘edubabble’ of institutional managers and  real learning.

What I enjoyed about the speaker was the use of images to convey ideas which were often given in quite academic language and which sometimes needed a bit of unpacking to understand. The images of Scotland also brought back lovely memories of the road trip last year. There was minimal text, a lot of inspiring poetry to illustrate meaning and a time of peace at the end for reflection.  A change from the rush to the next thing on my menu.  (HERDSA2013 is using guidebook app and it is really great!!)

Practical suggestions which may or may not be implementable!

  1. Acknowledge conflict: how to keep going under stress  This does not mean patronise, or dwell on but give practical creative ways to release it in the classroom setting – prose or art which then decorates the place of learning. “Hurt people, hurt people”. Now how to diffuse this tension is the difficult part.  She used her time in South Africa and Palestine to illustrate how strong networks of support are needed to keep going but religion and kinship are not always a possibility for our young male Asians.
  2. Getting students off the grid ie without e-support for a night or two.  Sing, tell and listen to stories, make and eat food together etc  One interesting activity was to ask students to use natural or local materials to make (symbolise) and ideal university.  Although field trips are encouraged in private institutions, teachers in public institutions are loathe to give up their private time to invest in such an activity.  It has been done before though by Advanced a few years ago.
  3. Compassion in the classroom needs to be modeled by the teacher, encouraged by a focus on beauty and creativity and learn the place of quiet.  Now one of the big drawbacks as I see it is the reluctance of institutions to allow blutak or pins for students’ work to be displayed in rooms. The primary school alternative way of using string and pegs holding artwork or prose across a room is a little ‘babyish’.
  4. Invite those in need into your home and accommodate them.  A generous, religious way of offering but I am not sure I am prepared to do this.
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