Nearly 80,000 words later…! All collections for the NZCALNE (Voc) are now live on Pathways Awarua.


Screenshot 2017-09-29 14.11.46

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that over the last eight months I have only posted content relating to the new NZCALNE (Voc).

Well… we’re done. I finished the writing a few months back, but I’m very happy to report that all seven collections including all the new and revised content are now live on Pathways Awarua.

If you’re already registered, you’ll automatically have access to all of the new content. If you’re not, you can enrol as a new tertiary educator.

This has been a mammoth writing project with something close to 77,000 words of new and updated content.

I kinda feel like I’ve said everything I want to say about the NZCALNE (Voc). My sincere thanks to the awesome team at Pathways Awarua.

What’s next…? Probably, more of the same, but I’m open to ideas. Let me know.

Cheers, Graeme

 

Four Tools For Building Cool Stuff Online: Or How To Start Thinking Outside The Box


Supercharge_Poster_v6_web-01-11

I went to the Supercharge conference the other day in Wellington. This was a business conference… nothing to do with literacy, numeracy or even education (I know… thank goodness right…?)

Lots of cool stuff. The coolest though was the 40-minute presentation by Justin Wilcox of Customer Development Labs.

At the start of his presentation, he said that in the 40 minutes that he had to speak he was going to do the following:

  1. Come up with a product idea.
  2. Get some customer feedback.
  3. Build a website
  4. Launch the product

Considering that by the time he had said all this he only had about 35 minutes left I think we were all rather skeptical.

But he pulled it off. And these were the tools that he used:

1. Customer Discovery Ninja

Just this on its own was very cool to see in action. The Customer Discovery Ninja is a tool that allows you to connect to potential customers in North America. They sign up because they have time on their hands and get a small reward for participating.

Justin had decided that he wanted to create some kind of Fitness Tracking App, so he had selected various categories and subcategories in the Customer Discovery Ninja. And ended up with something relating to fitness, weight loss, and diet as the key areas.

From there, he opened the phone line and waited for the call. 10 minutes later someone connected and we listened to him interview a guy in New York who was struggling with diet and weight loss issues.

After a few minutes, it was clear that what this guy needed was not a fitness tracking app, but some kind of product that allowed him to track what was working when it came to diet.

So based on the dialogue, Justin switched away from his initial idea to the diet tracking idea. And then he had about 10 minutes left to do everything else.

2. Instapage

And this is mostly what he used: Instapage. Within about 2 minutes, he had built two landing pages for his new product. Instapage allows you to create web pages via drag and drop.

And then he  created an alternate version of the page so that you could do A/B testing. Instapage makes this really easy. I haven’t tried any of this yet, but based on the demo I think it’s all doable.

3. Powtoon

From here, Justin wanted to jazz up the landing page a bit with a short animated video. For this he used Powtoon. Powtoon advertises itself as an alternative to Powerpoint. It;s drag and drop like Powerpoint or Keynote, but you end up with a animation at the end.

So another 2 minutes to create a short animation. And then he imported this into the Instapage landing pages.

4. Celery

Finally, he wanted a button on the landing page to take pre-orders for the product. So he used Celery for this. Celery is very simple. It’s just a button for taking credit card information for pre-orders. Buyers don’t get charged until your product launches.

And then he launched it.

So Justin didn’t actually create the product, but he did something that was in line with the lean startup method: Come up with a minimal viable product idea and then see if anyone would buy it.

From here, he would be able to take pre-orders to fund the development of the actual product.

It was fast and dirty. But it was impressive.

Justin practises what he preaches as well. And you can have a look at his series of books on how to implement this kind of thinking at his website here: The Focus Framework.

This stuff is cool. I wish I knew this when I started in business. Talking to Justin afterwards, he said that everyone wishes the same thing. And that we all come to these conclusions late.

In my field, we tend to be good at what we do. But this is only in terms of our technical skills. We get professional development and training in these areas.

But we are often rubbish at the skills we need to use our technical skills to build and run a sustainable business. We don’t know how to make a buck… to put it in crude terms.

Most of all, I think we need this kind of thinking in education: Customer validation, lean startup methodology, designing a minimum viable product, product testing.

And then quickly pivoting when it’s obvious that something isn’t working. Unfortunately, the regulatory environment (both TEC and NZQA) act in ways that run counter to this kind of thinking.

This is not their fault. But it’s time to start thinking outside the box.

Really thinking outside the box.

NCALNE (Voc): Essential But Not Sufficient


Screenshot 2015-09-21 11.42.18

Skip this post unless you manage foundation tutors or work as a tutor in the adult literacy and numeracy sector.

Here’s the question:

  • Will the NCALNE training help my organisation develop more mature embedded literacy and numeracy practices?

Here’s the answer:

  • Yes. It’s a great start. But it’s the beginning of the journey. Not the end.

The criteria above have been out for a couple of years now. And the NCALNE training and credentials will help your tutors and your organisation move from emergent practices, towards more mature embedded literacy and numeracy practices.

I’ll do a breakdown of this with more detail as to what and how at some stage. But that will be a different post.

Just remember: the NCALNE on its own is not a silver bullet. You need to have full organisations support to get the kind of mature practice that the TEC describe in the table above.

Some further ideas:

  • What about measuring literacy and numeracy gains over a much longer time period.
  • What about measuring changes in what tutors actually do?
  • Think about what milestones tutors have to reach before you start to see improvements in learner outcomes? For example, NCALNE (Voc) plus… stuff: resources, organisational support, ongoing professional development.

The table is here below if you’re looking for a PDF version to share or print.

Hat Tip: Thanks, Damon Whitten for the wording in the heading and some of the ideas here.

Gamification 101: How To Turn The Course I Teach Into A Game


IMG_2903

Technical stuff is hard to teach. This is because it’s… well… technical. As a trainer you have to work hard to make things understandable.

One way to do this is to turn it into a game. Or a series of games.

I’m interested in this at the moment because I’m experimenting with Cashflow 101. This is a game that teaches financial literacy.

My goal is to gamify the course and qualification that I teach. I want to incorporate some teaching of the concepts people need. But I want most of the emphasis to be on the game play.

I haven’t given up on my idea for Tutoropoly or some kind of cooperative board game where players have to work together to collectively win (or lose).

But I thought I’d tackle something a bit easier first. So I’ve devised a prototype. It’s more of a card game. And much easier to design and play.

IMG_2902

The purpose of the game is to get people using the vocabulary that we use when we talk about our stuff. It’s kind of teacher vocabulary. It’s not very interesting to civilians. But it is the language of our trade.

IMG_2901

So far, I’ve produced a paper version of the card game. We’ve had a couple of goes at this at home. The game play is Fish. But the next iteration will incorporate a few rules from Canasta to liven things up.

If I get around the finishing it, I might post the templates here. Anyone interested in a copy? Let me know in the comments.

7 More Designs For the Underground Advertising Campaign On Learning


I just posted 6 designs for your underground advertising campaign on learning. Here are 7 more that I think are even better.

Please share, print, and distribute. Any favourites? Let me know in the comments

1. NOW WITH BACON

IMG_2453

2. THIS IS NOT LIKE SCHOOL

IMG_2449

3. AND NUMERACYIMG_2451

4. EVEN WHEN YOU USE WORDS 

IMG_2455

5. DON’T BE AFRAID 

IMG_2461

6. STOP IT

IMG_2463

7. START A CONVERSATION

IMG_2459

6 Designs For The Underground Advertising Campaign on Learning


Here’s your mission: Start an underground viral advertising campaign for learning. In particular, adult learning. And by adult learning I mean something that includes foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy.

Share these images. Print them out and give them to people. Particularly those doing the education part.

Any favourites? Let me know in the comments.

1. ADULT LITERACY AND NUMERACYIMG_2442

2. I HEART LNIMG_2440

3. LEARN HOW TO LEARNIMG_2443

4. LN

IMG_2444

5. LEARN TO LOVE WORDS AND NUMBERSIMG_2447

6. XXX EXPLICIT ADULT EDUCATION IMG_2448

How To Improve Your Writing? Use the Hemingway App


ErnestHemingway

My daughter told me she’s just started using an app called Hemingway to help her edit her writing.

I’d heard of it before, but never tried it. It sounded like a glorified spell checker.

And it turns out it is.

But it’s cool and I like it. A lot.

I used the free online version to to edit my last blog post. And now I’ve downloaded the desktop app which costs $9.99 and I used it to write this post.

If I was still teaching academic writing, I could think of a dozen applications for this in a computer lab.

What a great little application and I’d encourage you to have a play with it here. There’s also more info available here.

You can toggle the editing functions on and off for a distraction free environment if you want.

I’ve posted in a couple of screen shots below so you can see how it works. The first shot is of this post, which you can see is plain English.

Screenshot 2015-08-19 13.47.10

The second screen shot shows an earlier blog post of mine. You can see  my long winded writing style highlighted in various colours.

Screenshot 2015-08-19 13.50.20

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with this company