Monday, 11 April 2016

Flat out: Effects on things we like to do and contribute....

There come times in educators' lives when there are perfect storms. The hiatus and/or dearth of posts in the recent weeks is a case in point. Since this blog is a voluntary choice Dianne and I have made, it is often the first casualty of workload.

So this is my apology for the delays, and a window on the kinds of tasks we undertake in initial teacher education while we also support the wider sphere of learning with, through and about digital technologies. 

Both Dianne and I are currently heavily into teaching - for Dianne, completely online and for me, a blended format of face to face and online. I teach a paper that has three versions to accommodate students' learning contexts. It is face to face in Hamilton (HAM), and theoretically face to face in Tauranga (TGA) at the same time. The third version is NET - for students who are truly studying at a distance. To accommodate these three versions, Those of us teaching in the paper (which I co-ordinate) decided to upend it and try something new. We created a meta-Moodle version, where all three versions are in the same space, and, while we present the instructional part of the class to the HAM group, it is being broadcast live and also recorded using Panopto, the tool the University uses for such purposes. This has been no mean feat to co-ordinate and establish. And together, there about a 100 students to cater for. This is one of the things that has been taking up my thinking time, for, to complicate matters, part of the paper is being taught by two people who are completely new to it. It's like juggling hand grenades. I never know when sometime will drop and we have a situation on our hands! So far, students have been remarkably sanguine about it, and have been very positive, which is a great outcome so far. Fingers crossed it persists!

Concurrently, Dianne and I are also involved in the hosting of a conference in two weeks. Dianne has blogged about it here. She is providing one of the keynotes that will identify the innovations the faculty of education has enacted Waikato in its teacher education programmes. My role is co-convening the conference with a colleague Dr Elaine Khoo, and I'm principally responsible for editing the proceedings and creating the conference booklet about the programme, as well as being Elaine's right-hand-person for dealing with issues of conference organising. Immediately after the conference, Elaine and I are editing an issue of JOFDL for conference presenters who submitted expanded articles. That will be a great extension for presenters and support the dissemination of their ideas.

Also underway is the annual round of funding bids for TLRI, The Teaching and learning Research Initiative. It is one of the few channels available for funding education research projects in New Zealand, so it is hotly contested. I have to say, that although there is a LOT of work in putting one together, it can be a really useful experience, for there is a great peer review process administered by WMIER, also my workplace.  I was commenting today to my boss that the most recent review feedback to search out more adaptive learning behaviours. Through that search, I came across perfect-fit article from way back last century by Rohrkemper and Corno (1988) which discusses the necessity of learning stress and coping with challenge. It's a gem.

To add to the list of things to do right now, Dianne and I are co-editing a Special Issue of Elearning and Digital Media, which we have also blogged about. We are in the throes of handling the reviewing process, and working our way through those processes to finalise the issue.

I'm also involved in researching two new schools.... Somewhere in all of this I also have to find time to do my own writing, for publishing your work is the bread and butter of academic life.
Oh yes - and a have a private life squeezed in there somewhere. So you can see how these blog posts go down the chain of to-dos.