Sunday, June 29, 2008

Switching on the **lights** around Employability Skills

We held our first South Australian Employability Skills Community of Practice (SAESCoP) Forum last week and some very interesting things came to light. We discovered that as a Community of Practice our 'common knowledge' about Employability Skills was that:

- the common thinking around Employability Skills within this group, and within the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector we suspect, was that we don't have a common understanding of the current thinking of how Employability Skills are to be delivered and assessed in new and revised training package:
- we have different levels of understanding of the term "Employability Skills" in VET, and have different conceptions of how Employability Skills should be implemented in VET
- some of our trainers will need to have their own Employability Skills further 'developed'
- we agree it is very important to support our clients to develop and assess their own Employability Skills, but developing Employability Skills is a long term, lifelong experience
- there is no 'accountability' in whether Employability Skills are being implemented effectively into VET ie Employability Skills are not audited, so will trainers bother changing what they are currently doing to incorporate them?
- to be truly effective, Employability Skills need to implemented at a systemic, Program Area/Work Team level, and ideally would be driven by the Quality Assurance Group (QAG) in the TAFEs - but they will require adequate time, money, resources and authority to support their trainers in this process
- Educational Managers should be working with their QAG reps, helping them roll out new and revised training models which explicitly incorporate Employability Skills, and not wait for this process to be managed up by the trainers
- the Industry Skills Boards should be taking a collaborative role in the embedding of Employability Skills and working in unison with trainers
- there needs to be a whole of organisation strategy to communicate the importance of Employability Skills to clients (and staff), and how the organisation plans to do this - (see Swinburne TAFE's approach)

In order to effectively and explicitly embed the development and assessment of Employability Skills of our clients VET REQUIRES key stakeholders within our organisations and in industry to provide the leadership and support for a whole of organisation approach to Employability Skills, as this can not by done via a trainer by trainer roll out approach.

Does your Training Organisation have the foresight, and even more importantly, the ability, to manage this change?

The vision of SAESCoP is to switch on a few lights along the Employability Skills pathway in VET.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Notes from the SA Training Forum Sector – 26/06/08

Brian Cunningham, Chief Executive Officer, DFEEST
SA Skill Strategy for the Future

It’s about how change is managed

2006 Statistics for South Australia
Student numbers - University - 51,000 vs VET - 122,000 (of which TAFE SA - 78,000)
20% of VET AQF Levels are Diploma

Required – 2008-2018 an additional 133,000 workers for newly created jobs + 206,000 workers to replace retiring workers = 424,000 potential qualifications over next 10 years

Need a paradigm change in the way we delivery training

Our quality of training is excellent – world class – but break through improvements required to respond to demands of industry

Skills for the 21st Century
- New Training & Skills Development Act (going through parliament as we ‘speak’)
Training and Skills Commission – 5 year SA Skills Workforce Development Plan – which will be updated annually
- Review of Industry Skills Board – ISB’s need to take a lead role in training
- SA Skills Strategy – TAFE SA needs to be more responsive – was created for training needs of the 1970’s. Will be operating in a more competitive market for public training funds.

At any one time in SA:
10,000 job vacancies with:
- 40,200 unemployed people
- 95,100 who want work
- 117,200 who want more work

Federal Government role to fund training - $1.9 billion over 4 years – For SA by 2012 – 17,500 place for new entrants, 29,300 places for upskilling & retraining, $70 million contestable training funding – from 25% to 50% contestable by 2012 – a market driven training model – SA Purchasing Plan = State Non-contestable funding + State & Federal Contestable funding from 2009.

By 2009
Blueprint for Contestability
TAFE SA Reforms

Dr Jane Figgis, Director AAAJ Consulting Group
Innovation in the VET Sector

Why is innovation so important?
“Swampy Lowlands” – the environment where educators need to work
- major influences/drivers of innovation in VET has been Reframing the Future and the Australian Flexible Learning Framework
- Advanced technical skills still required at Cert IV & Diploma, as well as the managerial skills
- the importance of learner controlled/centred environments
- project based learning works with disengaged learners
- RPL – generic questionnaire to draw out skills of learner before enrolling – and then designing the training around the skills gaps
- valuing informal learning in a mix with formal learning
- understanding the ‘cultural’ of a workplace
- tools of technology – the ‘e’ can not be separated from learning in e-learning – all encompassing
- reflective practice or ‘Stop and Think’ – content of learning is changing – concerns about quality of learning – RPL helping to improve individualizing learning – using e-learning tools – need to have recent workplace experience
- take the teacher out of the equation – teacher and student working together to achieve outcomes

Any learning environment has 3 components:

Tasks - tasks for the learner which are real, authentic and challenging,

Support - the support given to the learner through the building of the relationships between the teacher and the learners as well as the learner and fellow learners; - ‘coaching’ the learners; - Mixing the different qualification levels together to undertake learning ie Cert 3 students being mentored by Diploma students; - listening to learner feedback

Learning resources – situational/scenario based learning, role play, technology,

Where does assessment fit in here?

Reflective practice = people being strategic and looking at the big picture

Embedding innovation – local to skills, knowledge and attitude of what’s needed to provide a learning environment for their learners – don’t have a lateral spread of innovation in our educational/training environments.

Critical Reflection is paramount to being innovative – Brookefield

Don’t be afraid to do something new.

What will you be expected to be delivering in the next 4-5 years for your industry? And what will you need to do to achieve this?

If you ask the right questions – you’ll find the answers you are looking for.

“You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps” & the “art of building bridges whilst were are crossing them”

DECS DFEEST “School to Work” Strategy
Tanya Rogers, Jillian Blight, Kim Clayton: DECS

Innovative Community Action Networks (ICANs) and Alternative Learning Option Programs (ALOP)

Career Development is driving the “School to Work” Strategy:
- self awareness
- learning and work exploration
- career building – employability skills

Australian Blueprint for Career Development

Australian Career Development Studies (ACDS)

Personal Learning Planning (PLP)

Problem based and Project based learning opportunities which include contextualized literacy and numeracy skills

Future SACE will commence in 2010, with the PLP unit commencing in 2009

Some thoughts:
- what are the expectations of young people in the workplace?
- workplace systems which are more 'people centred' are required to retain staff
- What role does small business play in career pathways?
- increased need to engage educators to participate in upskilling and reskilling processes
- why are proving your existing abilities so difficult? why don't we value the skills someone brings with them?

This is What We Want! Holistic Workplace Training & Assessment aligned to Business Needs & Values (Enterprise Training)
Rob Conwell, National Pharmacies

- Start mapping skills sets to workplace skills and needs
- individualised training programs
- Keeping good training records for employees helps with RPL processes
- Assess first – Train later = reduced training costs
- The term RPL is not a well received ‘concept’, the term ‘skills recognition’ is better received
- Achieving RPL in one qualification encourages people to undertake training in a higher level
- important to celebrate and recognize when individuals complete their certificate
- moving away from calling workplace training by a qualification title
- industry best practice – units mapped to skills sets; client needs & organizational skills; included employability skills and industry skills; RTO workplace trainers and assessors
- industry want to know how training will benefit their ‘bottomline’- workplace training really does improve the bottomline
- an automated induction and tracking systems has been successful – Manta-tas – Training Administration Software - Prodata Solutions – currently looking at how this system will align to AVETMISS – allows security settings which manages who can see different levels of information

Career Development – what, where, how for SA?
Careers SA – Framework to Facility (SA Works – linking people, skills and jobs)
Ian Buchanan, Drew Thomas: DFEEST

What are the competencies needed to manage your career? – Australian Blueprint for Career Development

What bother with Career Development – benefits – economic, social inclusion, individual

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Do 'curriculums' need to GO to move forward?

A timely tweet from Leo Gaggl led me to a very interesting blog post by Dave Cormier called "Rhizomatic Education: Community as Curriculum". This article relates really well to my previous post called 'Co-op Knowledge vs Collective Knowledge' - but it also highlights the question:

Do 'curriculums' need to GO to move forward?

Are prescriptive curriculum documents holding back educators ability to more forward into a 'social/community' approach to learning - whereby the 'instructor' provides:
"an introduction to an existing professional community in which students may participate—to offer not just a window, but an entry point into an existing learning community"
through the use of online educational network?
"Through involvement in multiple communities where new information is being assimilated and tested, educators can begin to apprehend the moving target that is knowledge in the modern learning environment."
Are we too regulated to develop rich educational environments?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Co-op Knowledge vs Collective Knowledge

A lot of time and money is being poured into the Australian Flexible Learning Framework's (the Framework) Learning Object Respository Network (LORN).

Initially LORN was created based on a 'co-op' model where the States and Territories could share digital learning objects suitable for the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector.

But I wonder whether Learning Object Repositories are still appropriate in a world of :

- web 2.0 technologies and user created content,
- an increased need for 21st Century skills - including digital literacy skills, and
- a move away from teacher centred learning to facilitated learning

Compare a Learning Object Repository to WikiEducator which is "an evolving community intended for the collaborative:
  • planning of education projects linked with the development of free content;
  • development of free content on Wikieducator for e-learning;
  • work on building open education resources (OERs) on how to create OERs.
  • networking on funding proposals developed as free content."
Some may argue that that Learning Object Respositories increase efficiencies:
  • by reducing the replication of resource development, and
  • improved quality (read 'consistency') in training
But compare this to the complexities and expense of establishing and maintaining the Respository, which supports the 'knowledge is scarce' school of thinking around copyright and licensing.

Perhaps there is a need for these respositories in the short term, as a brick in the bridge which will help the vast majority of educators cross into the world of using technology in education and truly understand the power of collective intelligence?

Will LORN be 'obsolete' before it's fully functional?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Digital Education Revolution - where's the PD for staff?

Something which occurred to be whilst I was attending the Digital Education Symposium in Adelaide was that the Federal Government is spending $1.2 billion over five years as part of its Digital Education Revolution (DER) on hardware, infrastructure and resources - but has not really addressed the need to upskill and build capacity of educators in the use of ICT in education.

Part of the DER is:
"Working with States and Territories and the Deans of Education to ensure that new and continuing teachers have access to training in the use of ICT that enables them to enrich student learning."
But there's no real commitment or clear vision to across the board implementation and support of Professional Development (PD) or Training and Development (T&D) of staff.

So why is there a lack of commitment to produce the PD/T&D - the time - the energy - the resources - and the funding - for staff??

Is it:

- out of the Federal Government's 'jurisdiction' - education is a State/Territory responsibility under the Constitution - so does the Federal Government have no 'power' in the provision of training staff?

or is it:

- because this pot is far too hot to handle - thank you very much? Anyone who works in the area of professional development of staff in the area of ICT in education knows what a hard trolley it is to push!!

or is it:

- so much easier to measure how many computers and learning objects there are and how much faster internet connections have become than it is to measure the increased capacity of staff or the improved learning outcomes of students - will a
NAPLAN test be able to measure this?

And as reported by Ewan McIntosh in his account of the 2007 McKinsey Report earlier this year .... It's not about spending more money on resources to improve educational outcomes - it's about improving the abilities of our educators in their delivery of education.

"There are three key points to ... success:
  1. Getting the right people to become teachers
  2. Developing them into effective instructors
  3. Ensuring that the system is able to offer the best possible instruction for every child"
    I wonder if our Federal Education Minister - and her team - have read the McKinsey Report?

    I wonder how similar Australia's version of the McKinsey Report will look like in 5 years time?

    Sunday, June 1, 2008

    Notes from the Digital Education Revolution – 02/06/08

    Realising the Possibilities: Managing the Realities

    Sheila Wilson DEEWR
    Gillian Crack

    The Commonwealth Government Objectives: - Long term productivity growth - Economic Growth - Social Inclusion

    Partnerships – COAG - AICTEC – Teaching for the Digital Age Advisor Group - State and Territory Education Authorities

    Five Key Policy elements:National Secondary School Computer Fund – Objective: to improve the provision of computers in schools where the computer to student ratio is 1:8 or worse to a target ration of 1:2, $1.1 billion program over five years (2008-2012), $100 million to be distributed by June 2008, Announcement of successful schools in June 08, $10 million over three years to develop support mechanisms for schools in the deployment of ICT provided through the Fund
    Fibre Connections to Schools Initiative – Contribute to broadband connections with speeds of up to 100 megabits, Australian schools can become technology rich learning environments, underpinned by sustainable access to speed broadband infrastructure, acquired on the basis of affordably allocation be used to its maximum.Online Curriculum content – Investing $32.6 millions over the next 2 years – access to digital content by teachers and students, ICT infrastructure integrated effectively in schoolsProfessional development for teachers in ICT Web portals for parents participation – Aid parent participation in their children’s education.Better Practice Guide: ICT in Schools

    Mark Pesce - Get off my Lawn
    YouTube, Podcasting, Wikipedia and BitTorrent were non-existent 4 years ago.

    Is the Web 2.0 ‘perfectly normal’ and how do we keep up with it all?
    How Technology is transforming our imagination – the Playful World” by Mark Pesce – looked at the toys which parents are buying their toys – the Furby, the PS2, & lego.

    Constructivism: children learn through continuous interactions with the world.

    Personal, Portable, Pedestrian – Mobile Phones in Japanese Life” edited by Mizuko Ito, Daisuke Okabe and Misa Matsuda

    Co-presence – the need by young people to stay connected via their mobile phones and MySpace constantly.

    You twist the web 2.0 dial one way and you get the Cronulla Riots - you twist the web 2.0 dial the other way and you get Wikipedia.

    The current education structure is based on the needs of the industrial age – the need to be timely and orderly was required and the school system modeled this – but the workplace has moved into the knowledge era and the school system does not reflect the need for flexibility and input

    Hyper-connected technology – mobile phones, DSs & PS2s – how do we use its popularity to improve our current education systems?

    The computer is a window to the world and a whole new way of learning, connecting and collaboration. The classroom is the disruption. The ‘media’ is still portraying hyper-connected technology as the ‘evil’ of our society. People are afraid, as change is happening so quickly, they don’t know how to deal with it. So how do we nurture the change which required for our learners to develop the 21st skills which they require?

    We’re all hyper-connecting together through web 2.0 tools like Twitter.

    The street finds its own use of things. Once the internet became popular, it only took a very short period of time for people to work out its potential as a social networking tool, as a hyper-connectivity tool.

    We are all the change agents – we need to share what we know and what we learn with each other – we need to share what works and what doesn’t – we need to connect with each others – using all the technologies we have at hand. Knowledge sharing is so important and vital to the Digital Education Revolution.

    Hidden Secret to education - How do you teach children to focus in a hyper-connected society? We don’t – we need to harness it and use it to our advantage.

    Giving a child a laptop, is like giving a child a ‘loaded gun’ – it can be extremely dangerous if they are now shown how to use it effectively – as they create their digital identity. The use of ICT needs to be an explicit function in education. This requires the educators to become the students and learn their own mastery of using ICT.

    Sharing is the key to successfully helping educators embrace and effectively using technology

    What is already happening locally
    Connected, interactive learner-centred learning – Catholic Education in SA
    Curriculum Teaching and Learning
    A contemporary approach to leaner centred learning

    Social learning - the common good – strong sense of collaboration and personalization of education + Learning in an online world strategy = Learner centred learning

    Learner Centred: the perspective that couples: a focus on individual learners with a focus on learning – best available knowledge about learning most effective teaching practices.

    Know the learner: a focus on individual learners – their heredity, experiences, perspectives, backgrounds, talents, interests, capacities and needs

    Challenge: to build rich profiles of student learning, progress, achievement and needs, how do we efficiently manage large volumes of data?

    Diverse Repertoires of Practice: differentiated curriculum, personal learning plans, self directed learning, active and interactive, constructive, experiential, collaborative, inclusive and engaging

    How can we efficiently and consistently organise curriculum, teaching and learning in ways that enhance collaboration, customization, personalization and differentiation of learning opportunities for all learners.

    The CESA Pilot Learning Tool – teachers use the learning tool to document all aspects of offline and online learning in which each student participates. Based on a cyclic approach to teaching – based on Action research / inquiry learning.

    Where am I going? How am I going? Where to next?

    The Digital Education Revolution and DECS – Ross Treadwell, Assistant Director, Learning Technologies

    What’s happening? –
    Infrastructure – standard infrastructure architecture (SIA Project), EduConnect, KidSmart – IBM, Interactive Whiteboards (Investing in our Schools), Education Works –
    Need to look at what are we doing – using technology allows us to look improving what we do and doing things differently
    Content and services – The Learning Federation, Digital Learning Bank (DLB), Video Conferencing, Virtual Classroom Works, Microsoft Licensing, Apple Licensing
    Professional learning – EdCap, ICT Coaches, e-Teachers, Modular Programs, Masterclasses, Microsoft Partners in Learning
    Research – DECS Research Sites, Total Cost of Ownership (CO), Value of Investment (VOI), Bandwidth – SabreNet, Scholaris – Learning Gateway; Oracle L360, Intel – Classmate, Subnotebook devices

    E-Strategy Framework – vision and leadership, professional learning, teaching and learning, administration, resources – ICT Strategic Plan 2008-2011

    UK 2020 Vision – Report of the Teaching and Learning in 2020

    Our education system is being negligent by not providing learning in how to use the internet safely.

    Local Schools – What does the effective use of technology look like in the classroom?
    Sharing Innovations @ Aberfoyle Park High School
    Michael Cowling

    Examples of engaging students with ICT:
    Podcasting year 9 student’s poetry – writing the poetry – record the poem – transferable to student mobile phones via mobile phones using Bluetooth – in the classroom.

    Using podcasting with language students.

    Engaging students by getting them to write a response to ‘Should boxing be banned?’ by writing a comic strip.

    Using ‘flash’ to create a story or making ‘CSI’ crime investigation mobile phone movies to teach the principles of Science.

    ICT is embedded into every class, and students do not go to a special room to access computers.

    ICT Mentor T& D Innovations – teacher attitudes to IT, 0.4 Contract – 0.2 teaching, 0.2 mentoring staff – work alongside subject teachers in their classrooms for about 6 months – then available in a ‘consultancy’ role.

    Use student energy with teacher expertise. Value how teachers work and learn. Provide onsite PD. The ethos of the school, and the school culture is very important.

    Aberfoyle Park High School allow students to use their mobile phones if it's related to their learning - well respected by students

    What ongoing support for teacher is there?
    Sheila Wilson - DEEWR

    Australian Government Quality Teacher Program (AGQTP) – in 2009
    AICTEC – Teaching for the Digital Age Advisory Group
    State & Territories Education Depts

    Summing Up and Sending On
    Mark Pesce and Gerry White

    Ensuring a work life balance for teachers developing their ICT skills to be effective 21st educators is so important. The need to develop a distribution of burden is evident – creating collaborative work environments / spaces can help spread the burden.

    Young people don’t use emails – they use Social Networking sites and Instant Messaging.

    Where do mobile phones sit in the Digital Education Revolution?

    Eyre Peninsula Sports Academy utilizing technology to offer local education across a conglomerate of schools – a collaborative approach to offer this education to a wide spread school base.

    The Federal Government doesn’t have the ‘power’ to tell the States/Territories how to manage the professional development of their teaching staff. It’s the responsibility of the State/Territory Educational Authorities to maximize the funding being provided by the Federal Government.

    Notes from mEga 310508 workshop

    Workshop 6 – Developing Your Pitch

    David Griggs

    The Speakers Studio

    What to consider in your presentation/pitch
    Process – the way the content is presented
    Perception – what others perceive of you – happens in the first few moments of meeting
    Permission – allow yourself to do it
    Breathing – state of flow

    What do you really want?
    Who is it that you would like to be pitching to?

    Be absolute clear about what it is that you want from your pitch
    You need differing lengths of ‘pitches’ – 30 sec pitch – 3 min pitch – 30+ min pitch

    What’s in it for me (WIIFM) – and ‘’
    use more ‘you’s than ‘I’s
    It’s not about you – it’s about what you can do for them (the people you are pitching to)

    Re-directing your nervous energy
    What is your audience afraid of?
    What are your audience’s interests?
    Who’s the primary influencer on the panel?

    The more you know about your audience
    Plan, prepare, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse it at least 5 times
    Create cheat sheets or mind maps
    Don’t use PPT as a cue card system – the PPT is there to ‘add’ to your presentation
    Get to your venue early, and become familiar with your space
    Getting into the ‘zone’ – breathing, do warm ups, develop a ‘ritual’ to get yourself into character – clear the carbon dioxide and tension – create a trigger which helps you to relaxed enough to present
    Imagine they’re all naked – doesn’t work for everyone – it’s about creating the right perception to the audience about building a ‘relationship’

    Positive Talk:
    I’m glad I’m here!
    I’m glad you’re here!
    I care about you
    I know that I know

    The audience needs to be a ‘mirror’ of you – demonstrate confidence and passion – and the audience will ‘feel’ this with you

    You need to know the first 3 mins

    The secret of success is to be YOU!!

    When there’s more than one person doing the pitch – the pitch becomes a ‘theatrical’ presentation – ensure you look like you work well as a ‘team’ and ensure there is a ‘clear leader’ in the presentation, the beginning and the end would normally be the same person,

    Think about who you would like to be pitching your idea (if you don’t know who they are – ‘create’ them) and what you want from them and create your pitch around this

    When presenting to a Venture Capitalist:

    Start with WHY does the world need this product?
    Then WHAT is it that you are offering?
    And HOW it works?
    Finish with WHAT IF the VC invests in it?

    Leila Henderson

    Who are you talking to?
    What floats their boat?
    How do you make them look good?
    What’s your idea?
    What problem does it solve?
    How will you protect it?
    How will you make money?
    How much will I make?

    Explain how you’ll become successful
    Describe your market, its size and needs
    Ask for what you want
    Tell them what they will get out of it

    Establish your credibility
    Team qualifications and experience, Strategic Alliances, Customers, Awards, grants, Capital raising

    The Role of Three – the father, the son and the holy spirit; the three little pigs

    It’s all about the ‘opener’ and the ‘closer’ which makes a different. You need a ‘hook’ in the opener

    Feedback to groups’ 1 min elevator speeches:

    Develop the vision and the passion, put it into context, be very descriptive, important to talk about the consumer message but need to kick into the business message, don’t take for granted that the audience knows what you’re talking about, give examples about why they need your product, what do you want and what are you going to give, need to use humour and emotions appropriately, try to get the audience to connect to what you are talking about, emotional connection/hook with your audience as soon as possible is very important, start with an emotional hook then talk about the logical information then finish with an emotional hook – how does your product make them feel better or how does it solve their problem

    David Evans

    CEO – Director & Secretary – In the Chair

    Elevator Pitch
    For (target customers)
    Who (problem)
    (Product) is a (product category)
    That (solution)
    Unlike (competitor)
    (Competitive) advantage
    We require (ask)
    To (use of funds)

    Make sure each part of the pitch has an ‘action’