Volume 2, Issue 3, May, 2016
Readiness for School Reform
David Lynch and Richard Smith, Southern Cross University, Australia (Pages 1 to 12)
This paper is about school reform for the purpose of improving student academic achievement. More specifically the paper provides an insight into the concept of ‘School Readiness for Teaching Improvement’ by providing an account of an underpinning theory complete with an examination of an associated process and report format. The paper concludes with a sample of an associated ‘Readiness Report’ and an explanation of its key elements and how such a report is read for key points of reference.
Technology and Education
Richard Smith, Southern Cross University, Australia (Pages 13 to 26)
This paper is about technology and its association with education. More specifically the paper provides an insight into contemporary views about technology and education and raises a couple of issues about learning and teaching that seem important to education , especially in a context on disparate innovative forces which are occurring globally in society and the economy. The paper seeks to propose a way forward with technology and teaching.
Reforming Teacher Education: From ‘Partnership to ‘Syndication’
David Lynch and Richard Smith, Southern Cross University, Australia and Ian Menter Oxford University, UK (Pages 27 to 40)
In this article, we describe a teacher education program that attempted to deal with a teacher quality agenda by changing both the content and mode of operation of a pre-service teacher education program. We first describe the program and its differences from the standard BEd model, and then comment on research conducted into the program. We conclude the article with the proposal that robust, syndicated partnerships between schools and universities are the most likely arrangement to foster significant changes in teacher education.
Humour: A Platform for Blended Learning in Mental Health Promotion
Millear, Prudence .M. R., University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia (Pages 41 to 56)
Blended learning has transformed the delivery of education and health programs in novel and interesting ways. For mental health, therapies have become more affordable, convenient, and flexible, and expanding the places and people who can be involved. Self-guided study around health promotion can be effective to reduce depression and symptom severity in health conditions. Humorous activities are important for persistence with blended learning. It is also an important outcome, as humour helps individuals to manage stress and strengthens their interpersonal relationships. The current review proposes a humorous approach to stress management through a combination of web page and companion book. Readers can reformulate their problems as different breeds of Dogs (from manageable to threatening) and consider ways of managing these problems, as ‘How to train your Dog’. Having fun with the inevitable challenges of life is expected to shift their perspectives on problems and possible solutions, increasing their mental health.
Sustainable Happiness, Living Campus, and Wellbeing for All
Catherine O’Brien, Education Department, Cape Breton University and Chris Adam, Community Recreation and Leadership Training, Dawson College (Pages 57 to 70)
There is a definite and heartening movement afoot in many education circles. The widespread recognition that formal education is destined for sweeping changes begins with redefining its very purpose. This, in turn, is leading to innovative practices that are demonstrating new possibilities for education to become a more prominent change leader towards a sustainable future. However, there is a risk in squandering the very real potential for substantial education change if schools latch onto just one or two progressive recommendations. An education vision of wellbeing for all, sustainably has the breadth and depth to incorporate diverse proposals for transforming education. Sustainable happiness and Living Campus align with this vision and have the capacity to accelerate the transition of schools and society towards wellbeing for all.
The Potential Benefits of Divergent Thinking and Metacognitive Skills in STEAM Learning: A discussion paper
Marisha McAuliffe, Queensland University of Technology, Australia (Pages 71 to 82)
In the wake of an almost decade long economic downturn and increasing competition from developing economies, a new agenda in the Australian Government for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and research has emerged as a national priority. However, to art and design educators, the pervasiveness and apparent exclusivity of STEM can be viewed as another instance of art and design education being relegated to the margins of curriculum (Greene, 1995). In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, there have been some recent calls to expand STEM education to include the arts and design, transforming STEM into STEAM in education (Maeda, 2013). As with STEM, STEAM education emphasises the connections between previously disparate disciplines, meaning that education has been conceptualised in different ways, such as focusing on the creative design thinking process that is fundamental to engineering and art (Bequette & Bequette, 2012). In this article, we discuss divergent creative design thinking process and metacognitive skills, how, and why they may enhance learning in STEM and STEAM.
Responding to changing landscapes in social work education in mental health: Possible ways forward.
Margaret A Carter and Abraham Francis, James Cook University Australia (Pages 83 to 95)
This paper commences with a definition of mental health and wellbeing, followed by a snapshot of mental health, with particular attention to the evolving landscape of social work education in Australia. A discussion of strength based practices and recovery orientated approaches to mental health and wellbeing sets the scene for contemporary social work practice. The response of higher education to changes in the social work field is highlighted with reference to blended pedagogy as a mode of delivery responsive to both changes in the profession and the shifting demographics of the 21st century learner.
Assessment of Teacher Education Curricula in Nepal: An ICT Perspective.
Rebat Kumar Dhakal and Binod Prasad Pant, School of Education, Kathmandu University, Nepal (Pages 96 to 107)
Schools and colleges in Nepal face a growing number of challenges when it comes to information technology, and few are more pressing than the need to prepare teachers who can promote effective use of digital technologies. In this regard, this paper assesses Nepali universities’ teacher education curricula from the perspective of safe, effective and responsible use of ICT. Using a desk based approach to curricula review in the first phase and drawing on the perceptions of teachers and students in the second phase, this paper presents a realistic assessment of the status of teacher education curricula in Nepal. The paper underscores that safe and responsible use of ICT is not just teaching about ICT; it is a culture that needs to be cultivated to help create a learning environment involving responsible use of open educational resources.
A Straight-jacket for Conceptual Breakthroughs: (The Appraisal in Science as a Brake on the Progress of Knowledge)
I. Why New Ideas Get Dashed to Pieces on the Rocks of Evaluation
Armen E. Petrosyan, Institute for Business Consulting, Tver, Russia. (Pages 108 to 135)
This paper outlines the main defects and flaws of the current system and practice of appraisal in science. First of all, ‘closedness’ and non-transparency of the procedures of evaluation expand the arbitrariness of experts and lower their responsibility. Further, standardization and formalization lead to depersonalization and, there through, to emasculation of expert judgments. And finally, monopolism in holding the “control sticks” and “communalism” of professional life bring almost to naught the personal dimension of science, subjecting it to the organizational hierarchy. In the issue, experts turn out to be fundamentally dependent and driven into the framework of bureaucratic order. Under such conditions, it is hard to reckon on unprejudiced evaluations. As regards the systematic support of radically new ideas, their effective boosting and growth, that proves to be an idle groundless fancy.
Full Steam Ahead
Tina Doe, Education Consultant, Australia (Pages 136 to 149)
As we approach the second decade of the 21st century, a true technology era, what is essential for the learner, regardless of age, is how they can leverage technology to access them to subject matter while engaging and activating higher order thinking skills. The pedagogical geometry is no longer vertical, it is horizontal. Rather than seeing the Arts disciplines and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics realm as disparate, as discreet elements on a vertical line, we need to see them as entwined, as a transdisciplinary or horizontal approach to access all types of design, make, appraise, thinking: to problem solve. We are all learners and teachers in a world where we must anticipate the product to generate the solution, we have to learn to use a meta-map to think our way through the hyper-scale infrastructure accessible to us - do we know how? This chapter sets the scene for the current debate re the place of the Arts in the horizontal agenda and proposes a STEAM focus in education into the 2020’s.