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Archive for December, 2011

UniSA is a supporting member of the newly established Young and Well CRC.

I had the privilege of attending workshops and the official launch of the YAW CRC in Melbourne on the 9th and 10th December, 2011 with UniSA colleagues Annie Campbell, Sue Luckman and Barbara Spears. I also caught up with co-researcher, Pammi Raghavendra from Flinders University and met Stefan Schutt from Victoria University, who is doing some fabulous work using digital technologies with young people who have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Following is a photo I took of the Indigenous Hip Hop dancers who performed at the CRC workshop held at the State Library of Victoria on the 9th December:

Young and Well CRC gathering at the State Library of Victoria on the 9th December 2011

Young and Well CRC gathering at the State Library of Victoria on the 9th December 2011

You can view more photos from the workshop and the launch the following day via the YAW CRC Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/yawcrc

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In between ASCILITE conference presentations, Julie Willems and I took some time out to go for a long walk and we were given a rare opportunity to tour the anti-whaling ship, Sea Shepherd, which was docked in Hobart at that time. We met several of the Sea Shepherd’s volunteer staff who told us the ship was on standby, ready to set sail to intercept Japanese factory vessels in the Southern Ocean.

The Sea-shepherd docked at Hobart

The Sea-Shepherd docked at Hobart

We subsequently heard that the Sea Shepherd crew had gone to the aid of one of their scout ships, the Brigitte Bardot, which was badly damaged in the Southern Ocean while pursuing a Japanese factory vessel on the 30th December.

You can read the full story in  the Australian article, “Sea Shepherd anti-whaling ship damaged by rogue wave in Southern Ocean”  posted online on the 30th December.

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ASCILITE 2011

Following the AARE conference I moved hotels to the Wrest Point Casino Hotel to attend and present at the ASCILITE 2011 conference.

The conference theme for ASCILITE this year was Changing Demands, Changing Directions, with three sub-themes: equity of experience; engagement; and evidence-based practice. The conference was preceded by workshops on the 4th December followed by the opening of the conference on the 5th December 2011. Professor Gilly Salmon, former Executive Director of the Australian Digital Futures Institute (University of Southern Queensland) presented an inspiring opening address.

Water side view from my hotel room at the Wrestpoint Casino Hotel, venue for the 2011 ASCILITE conference, Hobart

Water side view from my hotel room at the Wrestpoint Casino Hotel, venue for the 2011 ASCILITE conference, Hobart

I co-authored two papers with two of my PhD students. The first paper, titled “Facilitating the ability of graduates to articulate their employability skills through the use of a 3D virtual learning environment“, was co-authored with Frederick Stokes-Thompson (PhD candidate) and Sheila Scutter who is also a co-supervisor of Frederick’s PhD research.

I presented the second paper on behalf of my PhD student, Amal Hanna. This paper, based on one chapter of Amal’s thesis, is titled ” Bridging the gap between OER initiative objectives and OER user needs in higher education” and presents a framework for considering the differences between open access and open content educational resources.

I also had the pleasure of participating in a lively panel presentation with Sue Gregory, Scott Diener, Brent Gregory, Suku Sinnappan, Lisa Jacka titled Myth busting education in a virtual world – changing demands and directions. You can download the presentation from the ASCILITE site if you are interested in viewing our Powerpoint show.

Sue and Brent did a wonderful job presented another paper on virtual worlds, of which I was one of several co-authors, titled How are Australian higher education institutions contributing to change through innovative teaching and learning in virtual worlds?

I finally got to meet my ASCILITE mentee, Maria Spies, who presented a very well attend paper title Engaging the online learner: Student reactions to the use of audio podcasts in off campus courses and also co-presented with me at the Community Mentors’ Symposium.

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I flew to Hobart in late November 2011 to present a co-authored paper with Susan Luckman, Kerry Green (UniSA colleagues) and Pearl Panickar (Research Assistant) at the 2011 AARE International Research in Education Conference, which was held at the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart from Sunday 27 November to Thursday 1 December, 2011.

The conference theme was Researching Across Boundaries and our paper titled “Traditional and new media influences on attitudes to higher education participation in Adelaide’s northern suburbs”, focused on research we are undertaking in South Australia, which is exploring the influence of both traditional and digital media on the higher education aspirations and attitudes of high school students in the northern suburbs. The findings from our research will be used to help inform strategies that can positively impact upon the educational aspirations and attitudes of school-leavers from Adelaide’s northern suburbs. The findings will be applicable to students from other socio-economically disadvantaged populations.

Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart - venue for the 2011 AARE conference

Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart - venue for the 2011 AARE conference

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Following the DPI Assembly in Durban, Rolda and I returned to Johannesburg where we met up with two of our research team (Charles Morris and Gien Varney-Wong). We then travelled to Limpopo Province to continue installation of the 3D virtual world platform on the servers in each of the participating schools and to conduct training of local Education Department staff who are undertaking testing of the children involved in the project.

Training of local Education Department staff in Limpop Province

Training of local Education Department staff in Limpop Province

While in Limpopo Province we supervised the newly trained Education Department staff testing children in the schools including Letaba Special School shown in the photo below.

Conducting testing in Letaba Special School

Conducting testing in Letaba Special School

 

I had to fly back to Australia after the Limpopo leg of the journey, but the rest of the team visited Kruger National Park before driving back to Gauteng Province to continue training of local staff who are doing the testing of children. The team supervised testing of children in participation schools in Lenasia, including children attending Jiswa Special School.

Testing children at Jiswa Special School in Lenasia

Testing children at Jiswa Special School in Lenasia

 

 

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October through to December was a very busy period, so I am only just now catching up on the backlog of outstanding posts!

Rolda Rapotu (Limpopo) and I presented a co-authored paper on the work we are undertaking in special schools in the Limpopo Province at the 8th World Assembly of Disabled People’s International (DPI) in Durban, South Africa from the 10th to the 13th October 2011.

The conference was held at the Inkhosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Center (DURBAN ICC) and included the Opening Plenary sessions on the first day, followed by two days of parallel working groups and  a final closing plenary session on the  13th October.

The conference was well attended with a range of papers addressing the UN Convention on the Right’s of Persons with Disability. Our paper focused on strategies for addressing Millennium Development Goals through the use of accessible information and communication technologies in South African special schools.

Opening Ceremony at the DPI Assembly, Durban on the 10th October, 2011

Opening Ceremony at the DPI Assembly, Durban on the 10th October, 2011

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