Thursday, April 17, 2008

Recording available

This incredible blog is kept by Stephan Ridgway, in conjunction or collaboration with many others. Thank you Steph and Robyn for the interview.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thinking, thinking, thinking

Thank you all for your moral and other support for this study tour! The biggest question is "what have you learnt?".

I've been thinking about how to improve the study tour, and learning, and subsequent benefits to TAFE NSW. The learning has been great, but often very intense, and focussed on one sector or another. I'm now spending some reflection time, to get some useful and relevant resources/information for everybody.

The United Kingdom in particular has recognised the importance of innovation as a driving force for economic growth, and that education is a pivotal part of this. Their focus is on university funding for innovation, but Colleges of Further Education also benefit as they often have dual programs. The efficacy of the model is unknown, but the conferences I attended and people I spoke with, are enthusiastic and have achieved outcomes in line with the policy.

The schools sector is also on the path to the integration of ICT and progressing with this.

All education sectors are essential to ensure innovation is supported, as it is a matter more of attitude and supported risk-taking, than lock step learning. In this, or vocational education and training sectors' use of Training Packages may be seen as inhibiting innovation, rather than supporting it, or the Training Packages can be used creatively (modelling the very thing to e taught).

We have the Workforce Capability Development Guarantee for TAFE NSW, another step in the right direction, to ensure teachers and other staff are skilled to innovate in our increasingly competititve (read global) world. Training, per se, and in the traditional sense, is not necessarily the answer.

Having a central "body" responsible for innovation - does this actually defeat the purpose or rather the driving rationale behind innovation? We have the Federal government, State Governments, the Innovation and Business Skills Australia, various professional bodies, research organisations - what is the best way forward with this?

Change is inextricably intertwined with the culture of the organisation.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Martyn Laycock speaks about innovation and Knowledge Management. London 1 April 2008

Wednesday 9th April

So is it possible to teach people to be innovative? The survey results are not yet finalised, but there seems to have been a resounding "not really" response. We can support innovation by having a risk-supported culture, committed leaders, technology strategy in place, and a reward system where possible, but most of the people I've spoken with have commented that it is only possible to give people the framework for innovation rather than the creative spark.

In terms of innovation for education, one of the people I met with, summed it up: "it's the way that tools are used that's really critical. Just as a great teacher can give a great (face to face) lesson with next to no tools, and a poor teacher can make a mess up ... so while new technologies might enable a good teacher to be really creative (& use them appropriately) so a poor teacher mayn't use them that well, and may use them inappropriately, thus alienating students."

Using technology for it's own sake won't work but enabling a culture of can do and supported risk-taking will. Stay tuned for the final results as I make my way home! Some of the outcomes you might be interested in looking at will include:

1. a Wiki (or any platform you would like to try out! - let me know) with resources about creativity in a practical sense
2. A similar resource for Innovation
3. A written report
4. A discussion forum later in 2008 relating to Innovation and Leadership in education
5. An online event in June 18/19 with the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, with guest speakers from the USA

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Like Dan from Future Labs, I think we can help people be creative and entrepreneurial and also set the organisation structures to help that be developed into innovation.

See my next posting for more on this.

Moving from Bristol, through Heathrow, Singapore, and back to Sydney.

JISC conference Bristol

Attended the JISC south west region conference today, and was glad to find a lot of College based people there. For Higher Education, mobile learning was funded with 350,000 pounds and was driven by pedagogy rather than technology. This is something we all need to remember.

A needs analysis was conducted and showed up inequities between faculties. Students feedback used to ensure usefulness. Everybody gets training and support, and the presentations throughout the day reiterated this.

Another important thing that this conference pointed up was the investment of not only money but also staff. The question of providing resources versus providing equipment was raised, just as we've struggled with. The first session was about practical placement, so students also wished for a connection with their university and blogs were mentioned.

Learning is a social activity constructing new knowledge and understanding through collaboration - the starting point for using any technology.

Another person from Wolvehampton, mentioned technology retreats, most importantly led by the Dean, which I think sounded great, and perhaps a little like SWSI's technology showcase.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Monday 7th April

Attitude is everything isn't it. What makes some people see the half empty glass, some the half full? If you know the answer to this, can you comment here? Today was an interesting journey from Portsmouth to Bristol with a big Road Atlas and some very helpful people along the way.

Went through a number of beautiful villages, and Farnham and Farnboro (will check that!) stand out for incredibly helpful people. One man even told me what to see when I got to Bristol. Got something (an insect?) stuck in my eye, and many people were very kind in helping me with that.

The Higher Education Council for Funding in England aims to invest in the British higher education sector, to encourage research in identified strategic areas, as well as funding support for innovation in research into technology. It also has 74 Centres for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), an initiative with two main aims: to reward excellent teaching practice, and to further invest in that practice so that CETLs funding delivers substantial benefits to students, teachers and institutions.