Tag Archives: Literacy & Numeracy project

New report shows 20 years of environmental inaction threatens NZ’s natural heritage

The WWF’s report reveals NZ  is falling short on important commitments made at the 1992 Earth Summit. Commitments were made on greenhouse gases, water quality, land and marine biodiversity, fisheries and education for sustainability.


We are FALLING SHORT in our commitments to Education for Sustainability. This is a disgrace!

On a more positive note, I was very impressed with the posters I saw in the corridors of D block at Otago Polytechnic

The BIT students were obviously being encouraged to focus on environmental issues in their studies. Well done Sam et al!


Strong sustainability and what this means for us as educators.

Strong sustainability recognises that society and the economy function within a superset; the Environment. The Economy is a subset of society. This model places the sustainability of the environment as more important than the sustainability of society and the economy, because if the environment cannot be sustained then neither can the other two. This model is preferable to the Triple Bottom Line model which gives all three equal value which in reality means the values sustaining the economy tend to dominate (http://nz.phase2.org/what-is-strong-sustainability)

What does this mean for NZ? The site referred to above lists 6 essential conditions for a sustainable New Zealand. I will highlight the one I think is  most important:

Enabling condition 5
Strong sustainability understanding is deeply embedded in all of New Zealand’s governance, economic, legal, and educational systems, and all applications of these systems.

All other enabling conditions should flow from this. To achieve this it places great importance on our elected governments to get it done. This means it places great importance on us, the citizens of this country to elect the right government and keep them on the path we believe is right.

I think perhaps  what this means for us in our role as educators is to not only teach ecological literacy but also political literacy. Young people have the poorest turn out at elections and who can blame them? How many of them have a clue what the various political parties stand for?  We had an election recently (last year in fact) and yes I was aware of talks occuring on campus (usually after hours) from some of our electoral candidates, however I was dismayed to find the very small audiences present at these events.Perhaps some of these events could be included in our course curriculum/assessments?

Otago Access Radio 105.4fm  and Sam Mann and Shane Gallagher are doing a great job with their sustainable lens programme. Here are some podcasts:http://www.oar.org.nz/browse-podcasts/#

The last podcast begins by discussing fracking. Did you know 4.4 million Ha of NZ land has been approved for fracking? Apparently the so called impermeable rocks are not impermeable at all!!

Web Development  (Web1) in the BIT at Otago Polytechnic taught by Sam Mann is a good example of how education for sustainability could look. Check out the latest podcast in sustainable lens 2012-05-03- Sustainability Show   (59 mins) to find out more. The notion of ‘Sustainability’ has been broadened  to include productivity in the workplace. The discussion about social networking and gaming addiction was interesting from the point of view of was it actually off the topic? Is it part of “strong sustainability’. Personally, I think (in a wobbly kind of way) we are far too early into our journey of educating for sustainability to extend the definition of sustainability to workplace productivity. The discussion on recycling old computers was much more on the mark.

There is also an Eco Living In Action Show on access radio. These programmes look at positive and fun ways to bring people on board with sustainability. I am reading Niki Harre’s book, Psychology for a Better World: Strategies to Inspire Sustainability (which can be downloaded for free from www.psych.auckland.ac.nz/psychologyforabetterworld   and she warns against scaring or bullying people into changing their behaviour.

So what does strong sustainability mean for me in my role at OP – I think my best course of action will be in awareness raising and rallying for positive action. This can be directed at both staff and students. I will shortly be circulating a petition against assest and I am thinking about sharing resources – land, equipment, gardens etc and taking the ‘Living Campus’ off campus and into the suberbs. (I have done this on an individual level already, but I should extend it to the community level).

TED Talk – Google filters information to personalise searches.

Personalisation of the internet


Trying out new pencast technology

I have used an Echo Smartpen from Livescribe to create this pencast:

If you click on the writing anywhere on the page it will replay the video and audio from that point.

Here it is as a PDF with audio:

Survey monkey

Click here to take survey

This is a list of workshops offered by The National Centre.

Adding flickr image with CC license

This image is licensed as CC Atribution which means:
to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
to Remix — to adapt the workUnder the following conditions:

Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

rationale for blended delivery

The following paragraphs are quotes taken from Owston, R., Wideman, H., Murphy, J. & Lupshenyuk, D. (2008). Blended teacher professional development: A synthesis of three program evaluations. The Internet and Higher Education, 11(3-4), 201-210.

These statements provide the rationale for choosing a blended delivery model for this module.

“This research shows that blended learning provides an
effective model for meeting the needs and learning styles of busy
teaching professionals because it allows for a more flexible study
schedule than a lectures only course (Swenson & Curtis, 2003).”

“Blended learning offers more flexibility to learners because some of the
learning takes place at scheduled face-to-face times, while other parts
of it may occur online at their convenience.”

“With blended learning, the collaborative possibilities are numerous.
For example, teachers within the same school can collaborate in face to-
face sessions that focus on “hands-on” material development or
review, and then share their thoughts and experiences online as they try out the materials. The online discussions could be with their
colleagues in the same school or beyond their school with other
teachers engaging in similar activities. The blended model would also
appear to support the “critical friends” approach to professional
development that aims to increase student learning by creating
school-based teacher communities whose members carry out practice
centered collegial conversations” (Curry, 2008; Dunne, Nave, & Lewis,

“Blended learning programs can be designed to extend to
a full school year or even longer because teachers do not need to be
removed from classrooms for extended periods in order to participate.”

“Face-to-face sessions can coincide with professional development

“Similarly, if teachers from other schools and school systems are brought into the online conversations new ideas and suggestions can be introduced and discussed.”

“Some aspects can  be dealt with online and the more hands on activities
which with face-to-face interactions. An added advantage of blended
learning appears to be that teachers are able to immediately try out ideas
in their classrooms that are proffered in the online community rather
than waiting, thus providing the opportunity for “just-in-time” professional
development” (Northrup & Rasmussen, 1999).

(Voogt, Almekinders, van den Akke & Monen, 2005). Their study suggested that blended programs can help teachers better understand and implement technology into their classrooms and, to a lesser extent, adapt exemplary materials for their own settings.