About

By background I’m a physics teacher, on loan to some areas of learning that I’m currently interested in.

Update: June 2014

Update: January 2012

  • Have been back teaching at High School recently.  Lots happening of interest, but you can’t always put this in a blog.

As of January 2011: just a few fragments of my life at the moment

  • This blog. An itinerant process only, coming and going in fits and starts along with Twitter and Facebook.  (Blog, Twitter, Facebook: pick 2)
  • Moodle 2+. A huge part of things at the moment.  Workshops, some writing or training materials, some staff training.
  • Learning Design. What’s best in Moodle 2+ (especially at the High School level, and vocational learning)
  • Bangladesh and China: I still have some contacts there and will be visiting China again in May
  • Teaching Strategies. (My focus has moved OFF learning strategies for a while.  The question is: what can teachers DO to aid learning?)

All with a constructivist, learner centred, community approach.  I am busy, and sometimes a little unfocused and distracted by the butterflies. Most of these things are a work in progress.

A little history

This all started when I went through a rough patch during the early 1990’s when teaching at Shirley Boys High in Christchurch: a bit bored a bit frustrated (why are the kids not learning?). I ended up taking a paper in the then new Masters in Science Education at the University of Canterbury. Prof Phil Butler and John Longbottom (later to be Dr) introduced us to a few papers in science education research. One of the little pieces I wrote was “Why didn’t anyone tell me about Vygotsky?” I videoed myself teaching, interviewed my students, and my attitude to the teaching and learning process was revolutionised.

The irony: I left full time classroom teaching soon after, and have been involved in teacher professional development in various ways since then.

In 1998 I was a visiting teacher at the University of Canterbury (in Physics).

Distance Education. In the distance education side of my life I am indebted to Prof Mike Wells (now Professor Emeritus, Montana State University-Bozeman) who taught a distance course I was part of in 1998 (“Real World Problem Solving”, via First Class)  Here he modeled many of the practices I later adopted as my own.  I was ready for 2001 when the courses at the College moved to having a serious online presence with the development of Interact, our home grown learning management system.

In 2000 (after the demise of the wonderful Riccarton Project) I fell into a role at the then Christchurch College of Education.  Educational Designer.

In 2002, while trying to understand online learning, I encountered the concept “Community of Practice”. In 2004 I became a member of CPsquare, the community of practice about communities of practice.

In 2007, after a wash-tumble-spin dry cycle the University and the College of Education merged, with me moving to the University Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Just a few past fragments of my life  . . .

  • Communities of Practice. In 2002, while trying to understand online learning, I encountered the concept “Community of Practice”. In 2004 I became a member of CPsquare, the community of practice about communities of practice.
  • Moodle 1.9 Shifting 700 academics and 17,000 students (depending on how you count) from Blackboard and StudentNet to Moodle.
  • Akowiki.  Yes I know, the stuff should be on WikiEducator.  Coming.  This is kind of a dumping ground for things I need to follow up on.  I think the only use is when I send a person a URL.
  • Bangladesh, Korea and China: short term teacher professional development programmes at UoC.  I have presented on Teacher Reflective practice, Interactive teaching Strategies, Teacher professional development concepts, Active Learning and mentoring.

Dead Links

  • iCommunities.org – an online community space based on Interact.  I still have the domain name, but the idea has passed.
  • Interact – an online community support platform. Free and Open Source.  Support has ceased.

The inevitable disclaimer:

This blog is me talking.  Helps clear my head.  In the past (and now) it did not represent official policy at my place of employment, although sometimes by chance  it did coincide.