Saturday, November 01, 2003

The State of Play - On the Soapbox!

Where will Australian training and education be in 5 years time? What will flexible learning be in 5 years from now?

What will happen with flexible learning communities and the role they play in fostering flexible learning developments?

I was fortunate enough to present to a small group of Thai delegates from the Open University recently and the issues of moving to an online teaching and learning environment were obvious. It was an interesting look backwards, at where we had moved from to be where we are now in terms of providing open, accessible and flexible learning opportunities. What seems always to be the largest bone of contention is the role of the teacher/academic in the uptake of educational technology for flexible learning. Teachers are our education system's bread and butter and without them we are drifting boats at sea!

I feel we need to take some time and space to seriously consider the role of our teachers and academics in the grand globalised educational sphere that revolves around us and our institutions. There is still a substantial lack of commitment by government and institutional management to providing meaningful and relevant staff development and support for the move to flexible learning modes. There is still a gap between the commitment to the provision of such modes and the means by which to resource them!

Okay, so I'm allowed a little bit of time up on my soapbox - try it at EDNA, it's therapeutic! (register if you haven't already).

Discussion as a Learning Preference ...
I think we do learn a lot through discussion, look at how parents talk and interact with their children. It's a negotiation, a clarification not only of what is meant by what is said, but of roles people take in a discussion. Power plays are most often recognised, especially with authority figures and in one's workplace. I'm just thinking of this following the thread on institutional management...! Here's a wonderful article told for teachers by teachers on power plays ...

... May the force be with you!

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Education Sectors are people too!

It's an interesting thing you know, that all my talk about sectors and going from here to there, isn't so much after all, in the grand scheme of things!

It's not that I'm "about-facing", but I've thought lately that it's about people; people utilising place and experience together.

Take Flexible Learning Leaders for example - the program I was involved in last year with 30-odd other talented and motivated Australian educators! Of this group a number have not only moved between institutions, but also between education sectors. This however, doesn't change their motivations and innovative work - in fact it most certainly spreads it around for the greater good. What a priviledge to share knowledge!

Having just completed my reflective report, I've realised that the concepts and motivations I have still remain. Appropriating those concepts for further use (in my case within another sector) is challenging in an intellectual sense. It has enahcned my own theoretical approach to my work - whatever and wherever I may be.

I started my FLL program with staff development in mind. Slowly that changed to how to manage different personalities (emotional intelligence). What became apparent following that was an increase in my own self-awareness and how I was perceiving the work-personal development relationship.

So I talked to others in my workplace about their personal experiences at work. What resulted was a collection of short stories highlighting the workplace experience and how people interact in that 'space'. In this way, the FLL project 'belonged' to others that I worked with, to do with what they thought necessary to keep the organisation developing in a positive and effective way (which, for a country-based community education centre is inherent to its work with community!). As David Bellingham (2001) says:

Stories reveal. Stories motivate. Stories bind individuals into teams. Stories create solutions.

Towards the end of 2002, we ended my official project with a staff day based around the theme of a Web. This denoted online flexible learning, but also the connections we make (and those we need to make) with each other to be an effective team in providing community support and education. The diagram here was presented in Adelaide as part of the Flexible Learning Leaders Sharing Workshop, emphasising the connections that were seen as important to generating an effective team for the purposes of implementing flexible learning strategies.

Friday, September 26, 2003

On the road again ...

Where to start? ... from the beginning!

I want to use this area to explore notions of educational design across the educational sectors in Australia: that is; tertiary, vocational education and training, and community education.

I have experience in school-work programs, undergraduate studies (with distance education students in regional areas) and community education (also includes staff development programs in ACE). I have worked in vocational education settings with people with disabilities and the unemployed.

How do I manage my knowledge and experience across these sectors, and service and industry areas?

I hope this blog will work as a reflective platform to help distill some of my knowledge and allow for open discussion on the concepts behind educational design, change management and knowledge management ...

... because we all have a story to tell!