Posted by & filed under Education policy, Flexible learning spaces, mosomelt.

The New Zealand Labour-led government that came to power in November/December 2017 signalled several areas of change, and education is one of its key priorities. One area within education that did not seem likely to change, however, was the policy of pushing ahead with the construction of purpose-built, flexible learning spaces, and the construction of schools as Innovative Learning Environments. The Budget, released today, saw education as one of the ‘winners’, with a total increase to $12.26b, up from $11.85b in 2017. This allocation to Vote Education includes well in excess of $300 mil to build new schools and classrooms.

It is of some interest to note that the performance of the education appropriation will be measured against three criteria, one of which is the “percentage of State school buildings with property-related elements of Innovative Learning Environment assessments showing functionality score of ‘3’ or better”. The ‘assessment’ referred to is a Ministry of Education ‘Innovative Learning Environments assessment tool that Boards are required to complete before a school’s ten year property upgrade.

This tool is one I have previously analysed as being an exercise in manufactured consent – that is, “here is a range of colour options, look at them, and remember you can have any colour, as long as it’s black”. It provides questions such as:

“Does the classroom design allow teachers to work co-operatively with teachers from other classrooms or specialist disciplines e.g. are there moveable walls between spaces or access to a shared space?”

The so-called FLS standard or criteria items are ranked as ‘Core’, ‘Moderate’ or ‘Advanced’, with the latter two representing the desirable situation, as evident in new builds in New Zealand and in examples internationally. The item quoted above ranks as ‘moderate’, thus indicates where the Ministry wants its schools to be. As this document is compulsorily completed by schools when having their buildings evaluated as part of the ten year property plan of each state school, the contention that consent is manufactured should now be clear.

Now returning to the explanation in the 2018 Vote Education document: it indicates a score of 3, 2 or 1 as desirable, where a ‘1’ is a school that meets the “requirements for Designing Quality Learning Space (DQLS), Health and Hygiene (H&H) and Flexible Learning Spaces (FLS)”. Precisely what the FLS standard is may be understood by reading the ‘assessment tool’, and includes flexibility, transparency and the potential for collaborative work (in addition to other physical building requirements). So, money will be considered well-spent when more schools conform to the FLS criteria than those that do not.

The take-home message is that the new government looks set to continue the schools’ building programme that was getting into gear under the previous National-led government, and teachers, parents and broader community stakeholders who may be less keen to support this approach to school design may find their position steadily narrowed.

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

 

 

“Don’t you wonder sometimes
‘Bout sound and vision”

I’ve always looked up to David Bowie for his originality and individuality and now I can safely say that we have something in common- we both have been wondering about sound and vision.

 

I don’t need to look too far back in my WordPress posts to find my reflections on using the Voice Thread recording tool within the Blackboard suite of tools. Last year I had used Voice Thread for an online assessment asking students to record an audio reflection on the implications of their learning on their future decision-making. I gave my feedback in audio form too.

It was a real mixed experience. It was challenging for some students to navigate what I had thought was relatively straightforward technology but at the back end there were some glaring limitations. The tool loads super slow for larger classes (I had 150 students) plus there is no timed release of grader feedback. This latter point is a particular irk of mine as ethically I want to release all grades to all students simultaneously. However, I’m also mindful of the need for students to develop speaking /audio skills given this is the way most will communicate in practice. Who ever met a nurse that only communicated by writing everything down? Of course, they talk and listen a lot!

I don’t want to repeat all my previous blog post – but I guess I am writing here, while trying to work out why I am persevering with this tool, especially this semester with around 200 students. It is all rather like childbirth – “Never again” at the time but the bad memories soon forgotten. Having spent a lot of today setting up Voice Thread for this semester’s students some of the frustration has returned.

With thanks to the learning technologist I have been able to address the loading issue by allocating students to smaller groups, but then in class today they asked what are the groups for, how do I know what group I am in, etc. In reality it is all behind the scenes work that they don’t need to worry about but when you are encouraging critical thinking, it is perhaps to be expected and for many, the smallest technological issue can suddenly seem a huge barrier.

I think incorporating sound/audio/voice is really important. Many students see that too:

“I liked the use of mixed media in the assignments. Recording audio samples and putting them into our portfolios was challenging but a useful and practical skill… very in touch and relevant” (Student, Sem 2 2017)

It is good to feel challenged – both as a teacher and as a learner. Having vision means that sometimes the harder road needs to be taken. Having the students respond in written form would have taken almost no time at all to set up. Students would have been very familiar with what to do and grading would have been straightforward. By adding sound to the assessment I am adding what some may argue are unnecessary extra burdens for myself and students alike. Yes, some will moan, and at times I will too, but to learn and to grow means we must challenge ourselves and sometimes take the harder route. 

All there is to do now is wait for my students to submit, hope all my set up has been successful and the majority of them see benefit in trying something different.

“I will sit right down, waiting for the gift of sound and vision”

Songwriters: David Bowie- Sound and Vision lyrics © O/B/O Apra Amcos

 

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under mosomelt, SOTEL.

http://Publons.com provides a way to create a personal record of academic peer review and editorial activity – this is useful as this activity is usually largely invisible and un-recognised! Publons also provide direct interaction with your ORCID profile to add review activity to ORCID. There is also a Publons Widget that can be embedded in websites, as below:

PublonsWidget

https://publons.com/author/1391664/widget/embed/?width=640&height=460%20width=640%20height=460

Posted by & filed under mosomelt.

It’s been nearly two months now since Bambuser disappeared from my phone, my teaching, my digital world…and I think I’m almost ready to talk about it.

Capture.PNG

Bambuser home page: https://bambuser.com/  Accessed 20 March, 2018

While the Bambuser team in the photo look pretty happy, I’m not. To those of you unfamiliar with this App, Bambuser offered a free, live broadcasting service; easy to use, easy for students to access, no need for them to sign up to anything- just click on the link seamlessly generated from my live mobile recording.

I used this App for all manner of things.

Every Monday I give my online students a quick “hello!” just to keep connected and share with them the topics being covered that week or anything of interest in the world of ethics.

As part of their assessment prep I’d use Bambuser to create a series of short broadcasts that they could watch live or later (the App automatically recorded each broadcast) and these always got a good number of views and positive feedback.

WP Bambuser capture

Bambuser was perfect. OK, there are video alternatives and some other live broadcast options but none are so easy or agile as Bambuser. 

I’m trying to tell myself that there is an upside. I guess I have a new opportunity to find a replacement, to test things out, to connect with others to seek Apps I’m unaware of. Plus, of course there’s that opportunity for reflection- to reflect on the transient nature of the digital tools we use and how this keeps us learning, keeps us nimble.

I have also been reflecting on all the years of lost broadcasts, many I would never view again but others I had been using again and again in my teaching resources. I guess I was in denial at first, ignoring their kind notifications that after it’s terminal date of 2 January 2018 all data would be lost unless saved elsewhere…

But again- was losing everything really all bad? The digital world allows us to be compulsive hoarders and with a few extra dollars comes increased hoarding capacity with any number of willing cloud-based systems offering almost unlimited space. Perfect for people like me who can never quite find time to tidy the piles of junk on my desk and all round my office, let alone tidy anything online. Having an enforced de-clutter has to be a good thing – I think?

So while the feelings are still raw, I’m trying to move on.

Bambuser. Gone but certainly not forgotten.

“Some sunny day-hay baby
When everything seems okay, baby
You’ll wake up and find out you’re alone
Cause I’ll be gone
Gone, gone, gone really gone”

Songwriters: Donald Everly / Donald I Everly / Phil Everly Gone Gone Gone lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

 

 

 

Posted by & filed under #cmaltcmooc, #sotelnz, mosomelt.

We plan on launching the CMALT cMOOC again next week starting 19th March and it will run for 7 weeks until 4th May. The cMOOC is completely free and is aimed at participants sharing experiences as they explore developing CMALT eportfolios, and gaining a professional development experience.
We aim to have a G+ Hangout as an intro for anyone interested in the cMOOC 16th March Friday morning, 12 noon. There will be one for UK participants Thursday 15th March 10pm NZ time.
We use a G+ Community, Twitter, and WordPress to facilitate the cMOOC
The Signup form is on WordPress at https://cmaltcmooc.wordpress.com/contact/
And the weekly activities are at https://cmaltcmooc.wordpress.com
We us the #cmaltcmooc hashtag for Twitter and any other social media
You can find out more about the CMALT cMOOC at our ResearchGate Project Page: