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University of Canterbury research papers

U-learn 2011
Breakout 1
PDFs of the talks are available?

Too Much Information (TMI)
Craig McDonald-Brown talks about the need for research into online behavior of NZ youth.

Facilitating online communities of practice as an integral part of effective professional learning and development
Hazel Owen talks about the ability for online communities to expand possibilities for professional learning and development. Showed the possibility of online collaboration by using Eric Whitacre

  • VPLD – personalized learning
  • Choice is connected to motivation and learning

Hazel Owen presented results of the pilot.

nb: the leaders of the project or community need to be quite active

Driving teacher change through brokering in an online community ecosystem 
Jocelyn Cranefield, Pak Yoong, Sid Huff
Victoria University, Wellington

Niki Davis and Darren Sudlow
Achievements of the Southern Central Divide schools in implementing personalized blended learning
1. Institutional reviews for all schools
2.  Online forum discussion of readings on a topic
3.  Blended learning pilots
4.  Literature review
5.  MyPortfolio site with reflections
6.  University of Canterbury Post-grad Certificate

‘Star Trek’ teaching ‘going where no one has gone before’


October 19, 2011 Posted by | pedagogy, Professional development, research | , , | Leave a comment

Innovation: Lamborghini or lemon?

Graeme Aitken
Dean of Education, University of Auckland

Open-mindedness key for educators
Innovation is costly.
Select innovation that has a high performance

How to judge Lamborghini vs lemon

Lemons (according to GA)

  • Learning centers and large classroom spaces not working (lemon)
  • Interactive whiteboards
  • Mathletics (lemon)

How do we measure an innovation to determine whether or not it will be high performance?

Grant Wiggins, what’s my job
Teachers have an obligation to cause three things

  • Successful learning (achievement)
  • Greater interest
  • Greater confidence

Only one at a time is not enough.
Where the three intersect, that is effective teacher time

Ways to waste students’ time, to waste teaching time

  • Misalignment of effort
  • Disengagement, no sense of social engagement
  • Lack of success, repeated failure

Need to measure innovation against this, how much effective teacher time is replacing time wasted in misalignment, disengagement, lack of success.
Effective innovation can be measured by increase in alignment, engagement, success

Howick College
Teacher (Steve) using Yaplet and Voicethread to create conversation within and without the classroom. If students don’t know, they can ask each other on the chat room (yaplet)

Goals? Yes
Success criteria using SOLO taxonomy
Monitoring through Voicethread
Time to monitor and support in person
Receiving immediate feedback from peers

control of content
Working at own pace
Determining own direction
Setting level of challenge (beyond teacher expectations)
Clear goals (success criteria)
Working collaboratively

Less public questions (Yaplet)
Reveals hidden experts
Supports peers
Teacher has time to assist
Manages cognitive load
Clear goals
Working at own pace
Determining own direction

Both innovation and sound pedagogy

Manages teacher workload
(a fourth criteria)
Set up from home
Front ends the work. Set up takes time, but frees time later
Yaplet, students helping each other, less disruption

What else do we need to know? And judge its effectiveness?

Also need student results. Did the students learn about the this they are supposed to know?
Do the students think they have learned what they need to know? Ask them.
Asks a bunch of questions based on Noel Entwistle, Teaching for Understanding at University (2009)

Rating system
Bandura (2006) Guide for Constructing Self-efficacy Scales, Chapter 14
Give the students a list of items or activities
It’s a good way to get at things which had the biggest impact on them

Make similar scales to above, but about confidence statements.

Uses NZC to finish. Inquiry learning

October 19, 2011 Posted by | pedagogy, Professional development | , | 1 Comment

Tools for learning: mobile phones, mobile learning devices 

Keynote 3
Jan Herrington
University of Perth

Look at ‘funky school’ on Google

‘We need to tear down an education system built for the 19th century and build one for the 21st century’ Rupert Murdoch

Some principles for mobile education
Real world relevance
Mobile contexts

We teach about technologies and to technologies
Not with technologies

‘Teach carpentry not hammer’ Oppenheimer 1997. In other words, don’t teach the tool; teach the practical use of the tool.

Need to use cognitive tools, so students have to think deeply about the concepts.

Authentic task
Practical product
Able to be used as model for others

October 19, 2011 Posted by | Mobile devices, pedagogy, technology | , , | Leave a comment


One of the things that concerns me about education these days is the place for creativity versus regurgitation. This artist, Austin Kleon, has some ideas that I think link not only to that idea, but also to Habits of Mind. In particular, I like what he has to say about your ‘digits being the original digital devices.’

April 3, 2011 Posted by | Habits of Mind, pedagogy | Leave a comment


In preparation for the upcoming LOOP session on e-portfolios, here’s an interesting blog post about the E-Portfolio Forum in the States. Reading the comments, it seems that these are becoming widespread in tertiary education in the USA.

Two of the aspects which are of particular interest to teachers New Zealand:

  • the on-going incorporation of reflective practice for students
  • the difficulties of buy-in, which I would argue is influenced by the use and valuing of traditional assessment, rather than portfolios.
  • March 8, 2011 Posted by | e-portfolios, pedagogy | Leave a comment

    Professional judgement and teaching

    This is an interesting talk about the regulation and control of institutions like education. Barry Schwatrz is talking about ‘practical wisdom’ which is what we term ‘professional judgement.’ He is discussing the difference between following rules or standards and doing the right thing.

    And here he talks about the improtance of teaching character and using practical wisdom in teaching. He also makes the interesting point that rules eliminate the need to think, since all you need to do is to use the rule in any problematic situation.

    March 2, 2011 Posted by | pedagogy | Leave a comment

    What is worth paying for in schools?

    This is an interesting article from the States. It’s asking questions about spending in schools, and I think, taken along with Scott McLeod’s keynote speech, it’s pretty important to think about the trend.

    March 1, 2011 Posted by | pedagogy | Leave a comment

    Genius cafe – PD using Google Apps

    Genius cafe
    Professional development using Google Apps

    Presented by Nelson cluster – 7 schools
    Isaac Day

    ‘None of us is as smart of all of us’ Ken Robinson CROWDSOURCING

    Have a chance to see every other school in cluster. This could work in Wellington.

    Genius Bar is basis for this. Walk in IT support? From Apple.

    Document started with title and national goals
    Then TASK table, columns which tracked completion

    Important basis for this was that the teachers led the cluster, even within the parameters of the normal school day. Also, based on student leadership.

    The process looks like this:
    -Contribute to shared doc
    -Develop plan

    Get a space and divide it into sections
    Creativity centre (sandbox and Geniuses and FOOD and COFFEE)
    Innovation centre (trade centre)
    Play centre (have a go playing with technology)
    Learning centre (run by students, specifically targeted learning, 3 minute sessions)

    Asked vendors to come along
    Brainstorm ideas for each section, each centre
    Allowed an hour and a half per session in the sandbox.
    The idea is to give teachers a chance to try out and play

    Geniuses were told to deliver info short and sharp and not to do it for the teachers.

    Nelson handed out laptops, no need to bring own, had power cords available, etc.

    Genius cafe will probably be running on the 15th of April 2011

    Asked students the question: what do you know that teachers need to know?

    Then they picked the best three. Put them on a big card next to the genius. Ask me about…
    Gave students GENIUS t-shirts
    Students would offer their services to teachers.
    Intention was for teachers to be able to choose from the posters.

    Geniuses were selected from all the schools through applications.
    Chose students based on social skills.
    Students found it a little difficult to fill out a CV.
    Next time, would choose a team of four from each school so they can go back to the school and give back there too.
    Had two training days.
    Told TWO things
    -Our hands off, their hands on
    -3 minutes maximum
    -Send them away, preferably to the sandbox to play with the idea

    What about kids teaching kids? Slightly different focus than this project. Practice day was with other kids.

    Had a morning and afternoon sessions. Reached 82 teachers.
    Released teachers with cluster funding.

    Ewan McIntosh ‘Don’t tell people what they need to do; pitch to them.’
    And choose carefully, you could pitch to the students instead.

    Have a keynote speaker via a video. Make an area where people could watch it.

    February 24, 2011 Posted by | Learning@schools, pedagogy, Professional development, technology | 1 Comment

    The future of technology-mediated teaching and learning

    The future of technology-mediated teaching and learning
    Scott McLeod

    How do you bring the big ideas into the classrooms

    Leaders must be proactive, to prep school organization for what is in the near future (3-8 years)?

    Lots of schools are looking at applied knowledge. How do we measure that?

    College workforce readiness assessment
    Computer delivered assessment, 5-6 tasks to complete
    About 90 minutes to answer each task

    Based in problem solving skills and presenting information in a very different way than typical writing required in secondary school.

    What does success look like?

    Remission, game that helps kids deal with effects of cancer?
    Serious games about social consequences, etc.
    Find shelter for the night, UNHCR 
    Conspiracy code

    Florida Virtual School http://www.flvs.net

    Virtual environments

    Technological deterministic, it IS coming. These online virtual game-like environments are in the future. (Did look mostly like a game-like version of Blackboard)

    However, simulations work by knowing every parameters? Can students really learn about unexpected or flawed outcomes within the realm of everything being known?

    Because the software is doing certain aspects of the job, we have to figure out how to fill the other hours. If the basic stuff is being done by software, then skilled teachers will create rich, divergent project-based possibilities to add to these.

    Environment needs to be created where at least half the time there are rich interactions with teachers. Must not allow those policymakers to replace all teaching with software and accept mediocrity as ‘education’

    School of One
    What problems are there with this sort of thing?
    What about higher level thinking?
    How do you account for qualitative marking, higher level thinking?
    Sylvia Martinez – ‘Orwellian’
    -Confused vocabulary in the video.
    -Delivering content is not teaching and it is not learning.
    -basic skills drilling is not good for kids who don’t get it.
    -Through these sorts of tasks, basic skills, the idea that there is a secret answer that everyone else knows is confirmed.
    -Kids can be trained to test better, but it is not applied or confirmed or real knowledge.
    -Giving kids more tests is not the answer.

    Electronic essay grading? Can judge mechanical aspects of essay.
    Matched with physical teacher, sitting side by side.???

    It is important to know that this is coming down the line and to grapple with it. And to come up with good answers and opinions based on real research and not just instinct, which is often based in fear, desire to preserve our current state of being. To be involved with the initial discussion about it.

    E-books, can we still call it a book?
    Innovation comes from the edges, rubbing against each other
    Traditional path of innovation of core and it spreads out is reversed?
    And what implication does that have for education

    Chris Anderson of TEDtalks on video driving innovation

    Science of visual experimentation?

    February 24, 2011 Posted by | Assessment, Learning@schools, pedagogy | 2 Comments

    Sylvia Martinez-the 92% Solution

    Sylvia Martinez 
    The 92% Solution 

    The 92% refers to the students. They are about 92% of the school population 

    Generation YES
    Students work with technology to bring new skills to their own schools. Sort of like Tech Angels but on a much bigger scale?
    Integration of technology for a particular purpose

    smartinez on twitter

    (ramifications for an aging population. Really important to capitalize on this I think)

    Include students in the process of using technology to make education better
    Value their contribution
    Provides support for technology use outside of formal PD

    Hoping that 8% of the school population has enough time and knowledge to use technology effectively for everyone.

    Technology ecology
    Waste nothing (talent, energy, passion)
    Multiple purposes and uses
    Raise the bar
    Grow your own

    You have to create more competency within your own ranks

    Tech support can encompass more than just fixing broken things

    Media Smart Day
    About students teaching students about cybersafety, media literacy, etc, planned by the students

    Allow students to have knowledge of the standards and objectives, let them in on it. Make them allies.

    Report that analyses students based on being ‘nonconformist’ students
    Somewhat self-selected, self-identified, hackers
    Traditional influentials

    These are the kids you need to get involved in things in order for other students to listen

    Create a system to keep track of what the students do, by hours, by number of teachers, the applications, etc. As well as anecdotal evidence, videos, etc.

    This sort of programme has better results than standard, formal PD.

    Student leadership models
    1. Train and support staff
    2.Provide tech support
    3. Developing resources and communicate for school
    4. Mentor peers

    Also, can reach out to community
    -Make websites for local businesses
    -Run courses for local groups of people

    Authentic problems for student support
    1. Tech support
    2. PD support, in and out of classes
    3. Student technology literacy

    If there is peer support for advanced algebra, why not for technological literacy?

    Take the most important problem that you have and figure out how student scan help with that.

    Student projects are used as basis for assessment.
    Peer mentors help to answer additional questions.
    Students are taught how to mentor, to ask questions, to help people.
    Both parts are used to assess students. The actions of the peer mentors can be assessed against criteria and the actions of those completing the projects are too.

    February 23, 2011 Posted by | Learning@schools, pedagogy | 1 Comment