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.

The weekend in London, and of course, Portsmouth

Well, what a great time - I did a few hours writing up and sorting out what I'd been doing, and then headed up to Harrod's to buy everybody a souvenir. I even have a souvenir Word document, to keep track. What often happens, and you'll sympathise, I'm sure, is that the people you see first on your return home, take all the good stuff. So there will be no incredible Harrod's chocolates for Liz, nor that incredible Harrod's gold-plated pen for you, and the voodoo dolls from New Orleans are sure to go quickly.

Saturday was cold, but not so bad as Sunday, when it magically started snowing outside my hotel window as I was rushing to get ready to go to Heathrow then Portsmouth. Here is a video, in case you don't believe me, but of course you would have seen the Olympic torch and heard the reports.

On Sunday afternoon I was lucky enough to meet with Emma, who has been to most countries, as well as being involved very heavily in e-learning, after being a Geographer, teaching Special Education, and lecturing in Computing, as well as using technology in her own teaching and learning she is currently Faculty eLearning Co-ordinator. We had a great and ranging discussion about e-learning, and came up with some common themes and strategies we're using. Have a look at ExPERT one of the teaching and learning initiatives funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday 4th April

Today was spent seeing Oxford University, and the surroundings.
I was also interviewed by Stephan Ridgway and Robyn Jay about the study tour. A telling question from Robyn was "what will you bring back from the conferences and interviews"? Innovation and Leadership are a combination of many supporting factors, including the ability to take supported risks, and a culture to do that in, having open collaboration, and having the energy of a number of champions to drive the innovation. Frameworks are essential, but so too is freedom within that framework, both for innovation and excellent leadership.

An email came about the EDNA Groups E-learning Resources and tools website. Have a look especailly at the "Ten web 2.0 things you can do in ten minutes to be a more successful e-learning professional" from Lisa Neal and Stephen Downes, and try one.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday 3rd April

Another great day, meeting two people who may have the secret to change management in the ICT area! Stewart and John are both very modest about the success of the London Grid for Learning but the models they presented, and the anecdotal and other data re the success of introducing ICT into English schools, was very impressive.

Next I went to Greenwich University, pictured below on the Royal Naval College site. I was lucky enough to hear a few rehearsals by students of the Trinity Music College as well as see the Painted Hall - an amazing work of art, video below.

For information about innovation and leadershiop go to the Leaders in London website, and sign up for their newsletter, emailed to you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wednesday 2nd April

Attended conference on distance learning at London University. Enphasis on access, partnerships and measuring impact.

Dr Samba Mboup University South Africa spoke about Africa. Some good pedagogy demonstrated in having breakout groups, very short presentations and excellent speakers, with a good grasp of powerpoint principles, e.g. 7 words x 7 lines and a good use of pictures.

Completion - the question was asked whether this matters. Yes, yes, yes especially when you look at the focus on international capability building and the prohibitive costs for students in developing countries.

Of course, the best times in the conference are those when you have a chance to speak with people, and a photo of some of the people who helped make this so enjoyable and a good learning experience.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

1st: April Fool's Day

No, this is not an April Fool's joke - the time has passed for that.
A resource made as the basis of a trivia quiz - of course the emphasis is on London, and it's a little rough and ready, but it could be used for History or Geography, with a little tweaking. Feel free to use the photos . It also makes the most of my poor photography skills. Not everybody in our family can be as talented as Mike and Elly :-)
Today I spoke with Martyn Laycock, and the recordings are (almost)! available on the Wiki. When you go to the wiki, make sure the menu has the "Side Bar" tab open, and locate Part 6: London Knowledge Network. I think I've got rid of the annoying bits now.
Martyn co-founded and is Manager of the London Knowledge Network, and some key points about leadership and innovation, and in particular the importance of modelling innovation, are on the wiki. He emphasises that technology in itself is not the determining factor in innovation, rather knowledge management is. He kindly talked with me for hours today, and reflects the kindness of people in England. More of that tomorrow.