HERDSA Tues July 2 until lunchtime

3 Jul

Keynote Alison Phipps – When learning is placed under siege:

I arrived late but here are notes:

She first explored the notion of edubabble from management vs language of real learning but I missed a lot of this. Her metaphors were nature and gardening which I could relate to though.

I enjoyed this keynote because she wove poetry, images in a petcha kucha style and knew how to use Power point – ie not overloading with text.  There were moments of quiet at the end for reflection, which was also a welcome change from information overload.

There were some practical bits of advice that were valuable:

  • model compassion by bringing refugees into your home and put yourselves into their shoes- a very noble Christian act but not sure I could do it
  • take students off the grid -overnight if possible (without any cellphones etc) tell, listen to stories, be creative eg  ask groups to create an ideal university symbolised by materials in the environment around you- this has been done before and tends to be relegated to tour operators in conjunction with private or public schools/institutions.  How much do teachers really want to give up of their own free time.  The compassion factor again?
  • surround, where possible, the learning environment/place with beauty (perpetually) and creative output.  With more and more institutions not allowing blutak or pins to be used on the walls this is difficult to reconcile and the ‘clothesline’ alternative approach is a little ‘primary school’ in look and not very satisfactory for tertiary level.
  • if love and compassion are to flourish then it needs to be modelled by the teacher.  How do I reduce my ‘off’ days??
  • support networks sustain those students in current conflict (the university in Palestine was her example) or who have come from a background of conflict- refugees.  Religion and kinship figure high in this but a lot of young Asians are excluded from these two networks if they are international students here in NZ on their own and many are not religious.

Displacing preconceptions and replacing capacities: Capitalising on learning places in an Australian university

Mike, Geoff, Patrick Danaher, and their mother Phyllida Coombes

Spaces – settings, sites, locations eg VLW, blended learning, library, informal and life long learning, practice place

Places – value in promise and achievement (powerful place for activity and achievement)- not based on deficit views (recoding and ongoing)Often preconceptions for learning are seen as needing to be replaced by institutions with more enabling strategies.

Two case studies:

1. STEPS for prep into academic curriculum- evidence of preconceptions esp with international ss

2. Environmental Geography ss -undergrad ss who will probably go on to be tchs

  • learning how to think geographically  was important
  • national curriculum
  • method deployed is community based approach (Capricorn Coast Queensland)

Preconceptions: conceptualise one-dimensionally, location for work and recreate w/out past, ecology, cultural markers, site of competing interest,narrow vision – trees, sustainability, interconnections

PLACE- enhance concepts relationships, imp. of environmental awareness, (value) losses

Often uses photos, eg history -past 1920, of Yeppoon coast, people and values

CONCLUSION – community based approach allows broadening of understanding, sense of place, enables learning place to be the student’s own locality.

I did not stay to the end of this workshop as it was not really relevant for me

1145 Creating spaces to play in Digital learning -Mark O’Rourke Vic Aus

This short paper had interesting ramifications for the Building and Design schools and you were shown a video of the game and how it worked at the end.

There were two games for construction and engineering – students  become the person on the job on the first day and engage in dangerous activities in which they can die if they don’t take appropriate precautions, take risks and don’t ask questions.

There were rewards were to see all the gore in a sequence at the end, learn in a controlled repetitive way and to have fun.

The educational advisor mapped curriculum aims against risks to take in the game.  Game scenarios and consequences were aligned with  content of curriculum. Students stayed inside the game and did not leave to do multiple tests , some stumbling blocks involved interaction with peers or teachers, there were levels of game play to achieve, age was not important as tutorial guides showed how to play and context eg building site and safety.

A commercial game company was engaged because it was found to be 3x faster than teachers or undergrad IT gamers.  It cost AU$70 000, there were 2 developers and an educational advisor.


1. Students found it non-intimidating, engaging and suited for more visual and hands on learning, preferred style of learning, successful from pre and post tests so learning was taking place.

2. Teachers (non e-literate) had to learn to facilitate by monitoring but it was empowering for them to realise that they were still needed for answers and their experience was valued.

I am not sure how long or how much of the curriculum is replaced by games and was it value for money but Mark claimed students were staying in the classroom long after the end and were learning just by repeating their mistakes in a nonthreatening environment.

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