What literacy and numeracy-related content would you like to see on YouTube?

I’m looking to develop further content to go on our YouTube channel for embedding literacy and numeracy.


  • What kind of video content would you like to see on YouTube?

I’m particularly interested in material that supplements our professional development process, but open to any ideas at this stage. Here’s what I’m currently considering creating or adding:

  • 1 minute video overview for the whole channel.
  • More information around the process for mapping literacy and numeracy demands.
  • Case studies of successful graduates.
  • How to create easy embedded literacy activities especially for vocabulary and reading comprehension.
  • Where to find other literacy and numeracy diagnostic tools online (and how to contextualise them to your trade or vocational training).
  • More infographics and explanations of the content that they summarise and explain.
  • Examples of embedded literacy and numeracy learning outcomes and related sequences of activities for teaching and learning.
  • More information on Maori literacy and numeracy.
  • Other aspects of literacy and numeracy that don’t relate to the current professional development programme, but that are still interesting… such as the connections to “Lean” and “Design thinking”.

You can let me know in the comments or email me privately.

Reasons why you should attend my combined ALEC + Department of Corrections plenary session at the LN Symposium

Just very briefly, we’ve been looking for an opportunity to showcase some aspects of the NCALNE work that we’ve been doing with the Department of Corrections, and I’d like to ask the following:
  • Would you like to come to our plenary session at the Literacy and Numeracy (LN) symposium on Friday 28 June at 1pm at Waikato University?
pleaseI’m doing a joint presentation with Rachel Buliff and three instructors from the Department of Corrections (DoC). I think that if you could attend it would be really great for the following reasons:
  • The TEC initiated this work between ALEC and the DoC several years ago as a special interest project and this is your chance to see how it’s developed.
  • For the last couple of years this work has been funded 100% between a significant contribution from the DoC combined with the regular TEC educator study grants that we get – so it’s the closest to a really good sustainable model that we’ve got for this kind of work.
  • The training has stepped up since we’ve done this. On the one hand we’ve tightened up on many aspects of the training and assessment and we feel that the underpinning knowledge base has really come of age and matured. On the other hand, Corrections have really lifted their game as well and we’re getting a different class of instructor now.
  • The DoC is on the verge of a “tipping” point in terms of embedding LN across the organisation. We haven’t hit every instructor or department yet, but there is a critical mass now.
  • This year we’ve pushed out into Community Probations as well as working with Residential Managers to embed LN into the work that they do in relation to some aspects of training. This effectively joins the dots between training and education outside of prison (Community Probations), into prison (Trades instructors), into the cells (residential managers), and then back out into the community (Probations again). We’ve also started a relationship and conversation with the Maori Focus Units.

The work here is a good “poster child” if you need a model of how the PD and other aspects of the LN infrastructure are working. It’s by no means a perfect model, but it is a great model with lots of good stories.

We’d love to see you and any of your team there. You can register here.

Ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama – Enquiry, experimentation and creativity.

National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Symposium

Registration is now open for this symposium. It will be held at the School of Management at the University of Waikato in Hamilton on 27th and 28th June 2013.

The theme of the symposium is ‘Embedded Literacy and Numeracy in Practice and Research’ and there is an exciting line up of key note, plenary and workshop sessions.

The keynote address will be given by Dr Timote Vaioleti from the School of Māori and Pacific Development, Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato and will address working more effectively in education with Pacific Peoples.

Plenary sessions will be offered by:

  • Robyn Baker, Director New Zealand Council of Educational Research on re-tooling for learning in changing times.
  • Dr Keiko Yasukawa, the University of Technology in Sydney, on embedding critical numeracy in practice and research.
  • Rachel Bulliff and vocational instructors from the Department of Corrections and Graeme Smith, Adult Literacy Education Consulting Ltd, on embedding literacy and numeracy in a unique and challenging environment.
  • Bronwyn Yates, Te Tumuaki (CEO), Literacy Aotearoa Inc. Bronwyn will give the Inaugural International Literacy Day winners address.

Special events include:

  • Re-launch of Literacy and Numeracy Studies – an
    International Journal in the Education and Training of Adults
  • International Literacy Day awards
  • Drink, nibbles, mix and mingle

The draft programme is available on the Symposium website page, click here to go to the website.

In 2013 the Tertiary Education Commission is contributing to the symposium expenses which allows National Centre to run it at no cost to attendees.  This may not be the case in the future.


  • To register please complete the form here Registration Form
  • Registrations close on Friday June 14.
  • Registration is on a first come first served basis.

Invitation to participate in NCALNE research project

The following is a letter from John Benseman requesting help from providers and participants involved with the NCALNE (Voc) over the last few years. Please click through to the relevant links if you are able to complete the survey.


I wrote to you (or someone else in your organisation) about a study of NCALNE providers and students. This is an important study as it is an area in New Zealand adult literacy and numeracy that is severely under-researched at present.

NCALNE is one of the most significant developments with tutors over recent years, with in excess of 2000 tutors from a wide range of backgrounds enrolling since then with about 30 providers throughout the country.

I am seeking your help in undertaking this piece of research in two ways:

  1. Firstly, because I am not able to directly contact any of the students who did the National Certificate through your organisation (I don’t have any names or contact details), I am writing to see if you could send the attached email message (which has a link to their SurveyMonkeyquestionnaire) to all of your current and past students. They can then choose whether or not they want to be involved by completing the on-line questionnaire (or not). 
  2. Secondly, I would like to invite you (or your nominee), as someone who has been involved in NCALNE, to be part of this study by completing an on-line questionnaire about your experience as a provider, with the National Certificate. The link for your provider questionnaire is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H8WBFWG . As with your students, you are free to participate in this research or not.

Brief information about the project:

The aims of this study are:

  1. To identify the characteristics and career progression of NCALNE participants
  2. To assess the value of the NCALNE for the participants in their professional roles
  3. To identify current and future professional needs of NCALNE participants.

You may have some questions about the project, so I have outlined my replies below.

  1. Who is funding the study? – My time in this project is covered by the research part of my position here at Unitec.
  2. Who is covered in the study? – All those who have enrolled in the National Certificates, whether they have finished or not (to ensure that we get as broad a perspective as possible) and their Certificate providers.
  3. What would ‘participating in the project’ mean? – if your organisation agrees to participate, the person responsible for NCALNE will be asked to complete an on-line questionnaire (usingSurveyMonkey) and you would contact all your students, distributing the attached message (you could either include in the body of a message or as an attached file).
  4. How do I know the study will be done in an appropriate way? – Firstly, the project was planned in co-operation with a number of National Certificate providers at a planning workshop in December 2012 and secondly, the study has been approved by the Unitec Ethics Committee.
  5. What do you want from me right now?
  • ask the staff member with overall responsibility for the National Certificate if they would agree to complete the on-line survey [accessed at:     http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H8WBFWG ]
  • send an email (or whatever form of communication is appropriate) to all the people who have enrolled (whether they finished or not) in the National Certificate through your organisation, attaching the file that I have sent with this message.

I would be glad to answer any other questions that you may have about the project if you like to email them to me. If you are interested in receiving a copy of the final report, you can drop me a line at jbenseman@unitec.ac.nz 

I trust that you think this project has merit and that you are keen to help make it happen.

Regards, John Benseman

Department of Education, Unitec Institute of Technology

Email: jbenseman@unitec.ac.nz

Phone: +64 9 815 4321, ext. 8736

How do I map the literacy and numeracy demands of my training or education programme? Part 1

The shortened version of the answer is here:

After watching that you’re going to need some ways of recording your mapping. The easiest way is to have some blank progressions templates, do the mapping visually (e.g. shade in the relevant steps in the grid), then write up your analysis.

Here’s what our template for this looks like below. Feel free to adapt it for your own purposes or email me for a copy.

Mapping your training: Literacy demands – In general

Map your whole course in terms of the general literacy requirements. Think of the big picture here.

Lit Strand


Use the sentence starters below and write up your analysis. Refer to the relevant steps and give examples of contextualised tasks, texts, specialised vocabulary, reading requirements, or anything else that shows how you arrived at your judgements.

  1. In general, the main literacy skill demands for my course are…
  2. Specific literacy progressions and that are quite demanding for my training are…
  3. Some examples of the kinds of tasks and texts that make this work demanding in terms of the literacy requirements are …
  4. This has made me think about…

Mapping your training: Numeracy demands – In general

Map your whole course in terms of the numeracy requirements. Think of the big picture here. Remember: The three knowledge progressions on the right of the Number strand (shaded) are always one step below the highest step from the strategies progressions on the left.

Num Strand


Use the sentence starters below and write up your analysis. Refer to the relevant steps and give examples of contextualised tasks, texts, specialised calculations, measurements, formula, or anything else that shows how you arrived at your judgements.

  1. In general, the main numeracy skill demands for my course are…
  2. Specific numeracy progressions and that are quite demanding for my training are…
  3. Some examples of the kinds of tasks and texts that make this work demanding in terms of the numeracy requirements are…
  4. This has made me think about…

Where do I find all the Strand Charts for the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy?

Unfortunately, the digital versions of all of the Strand Charts for the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy that we use in New Zealand are a little difficult to find.

Lit Progs       Num Progs

The full versions for all Strands and guides are here, but you have to click through to the Downloadable Documents link for each one. Which is far too many clicks…

So here is a list of all of the Strand Charts if you want to print your own versions from the originals online at the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults’s website.



You’re welcome…

How do I get my course online? Using Camtasia 2 and Youtube

Last week I finally did something that I’ve been procrastinating about for over a year. I got a large chunk of my NCALNE (Voc) professional development course online in the form of YouTube clips. I did it without using complicated courseware or authoring tools.


This is part of my drive to open source the training that I do as I find ways of moving beyond the face-to-face training and education business model that we’ve worked with since we started in 2007.

I’m not really sure yet what a more sustainable business model is, but I know that it needs to include an online and blended training delivery model. In order to make all this happen I needed certain tools, knowledge, and other things in place. Here’s how I did it – my list of things to do in a nutshell.

  1. Ensure you have a polished deck of slides: I switched to a Macbook and Keynote over a year ago and I’ve been trying to polish the slide deck ever since. It’s not perfect yet, but I finally figured it was good enough for what I wanted to achieve on Youtube.
  2. Get some really great screen capture software: There are free applications but I purchased Camtasia 2 for Mac. I’m not really a video editing type of guy so it took me a while to get my head around it. In fact, I gave up about five times. Not just because of having to learn a new software tool, but because I couldn’t get everything to come together the way I wanted initially. When I started out doing this I got stressed each time I recorded as I was trying to do it in a perfect take on the audio. Coming back to it this time, I just let the mic run. If I made a mistake I just paused my monologue, and then started again. Then I fixed the mistakes in the edit.
  3. Buy an excellent USB-powered mic: I’ve blogged about this before as I thought that I could get away with lower quality video if I had really great audio. Blue Yeti hasn’t let me down. It’s too large to lug around in my normal laptop bag, but it rocks. The difference between recording via my Macbook’s internal mic versus the Blue Yeti is huge.
  4. Get an extension screen: I’ve got a big extension monitor for my little Macbook. I’ve tried doing all this just on the Macbook, but it’s having the extra screen real estate that makes life so much better and easier.
  5. Learn how to use the least amount of special features: I’m not really big on special video editing features or even on using Keynote much beyond basic slide presentation. However, I needed to know a couple of things in each to make this all work. One was using the presenter function in Keynote with two screens. One screen for the slides, and the other for the “presenter notes”. That way I could read my notes and prompts while the screen capture software was recording the audio over the video on the main screen. The other thing was learning the basics of cutting and editing the audio track once recorded in Camtasia. There are plenty more features to explore but these two things made it work.
  6. Get extra dedicated memory: I bought an external USB drive just to hold the temporary files and finished Camtasia files before I exported them to YouTube. To start with I burned up all my Mac’s internal memory and harddrive. Video files are huge. I had no idea really.
  7. Set up Playlists and then Sections in Youtube: The editing capability inside your YouTube channel is pretty amazing. The things that made the biggest difference for me though were setting up playlists for the particular tracks that went together, and then Sections so they appeared super-organised on the landing page.

That’s it really. I now feel confident that I can come back to this work and keep adding to the 180+mins that I’ve now uploaded. It was far easier for me to record audio over the slideshows rather than drawing on the screen the way Sal Khan does. However, I’m going to have another go at that as well.

My plan is to completely overhaul the ALEC website with a focus on the Youtube content as the main thing.

Anyway, why don’t you flip your classroom today. Have a try at doing your own educational YouTube clips…! And let me know how it goes.