Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Access & Equity - Diversity & Inclusivity

Access and opportunity with in New Zealand
To provide access and equal opportunity for flexible learning at OP we need to look at what is already available. First up we have a government student loan system that provides funds to allow the purchase of course related items, as going on-line is one of the keys to flexible learning we can include a computer as course item, as a teaching institution we can arrange for suitably priced computers through a provider (Apple or Microsoft) This would be around the $400 to $500 mark and to complement this a small digital camera also, Op through a provider $100 - $200 mark. Up and running with a student loan of $700 max.
OP would provide jack points to plug into or Wireless (already up and running) or we have the use of the library, set up for computer access. OP has Moodle to facilitate the course and if we use Google Docs. (Free to sign up) we have a cloud where students and facilitators can blog, create/perform assessments and share content and ideas. Digital camera can capture whiteboard writings and images for portfolio or assessments; this can also be placed in the cloud for sharing.
I guess at this stage, for my own course access comes from open Entry, but opportunity means attendance at classes.
 Diversity and Inclusivity
At the start of each course I conduct an entry assessment this is to gauge the level of my students foundation knowledge, the basic elements of reading, writing and Arithmetic. I also issue the VARK questionnaire to better understand their learning preferences. The On-line literacy and Numeracy Assessment tool is used to confirm the entry assessment information and map their progression. With this information I am able to tweak my lesson plans to engage my students within the course, structure the course in a way in which they like to learn, once engaged I can then introduce other modes of learning to broaden the students learning potential. The way I introduce different modes of learning is through classroom configuration, rearranging the furniture encouraging team work and dialogue, having a number of whiteboard around the room to stimulate posture and focus and encourage the students to write, use a range of material delivery, power points, computer search, video’s, discussion groups and course material. These are the tools of students centred learning and is that not Diversity and Inclusivity?
Fred   evil    

1 comment:

  1. Fred indeed you mention many factors to support access and equity for your students. Assessing literacy and numeracy and learning styles is very important definitely.

    How does this exercise and the learning styles exercise assist your students' awareness of their learning abilities and preferences?

    I am particularly interested any students who appear to be on the outer, even with all your strategies in place - whether it is for learning or social reasons. Can you identify any students like that in your classes? People who don't appear to interact in class, or engage in the learning activities in or out of class, and fail to keep up. How do you encourage the 'shy' ones and does the group approach do this naturally?

    The digital camera could probably be excluded unless you were planning to get students to do videoing or portfolios of work where image quality is important - wouldn't their cellphones do just as well for clicking the whiteboard? If they have remembered where the cord usb connector is located they can download them or if they are willing email pics directly to somewhere like Flickr.com. A bit of a cost but I am not sure what it is.

    Have you ever thought of negotiating learning contracts with your students - enabling them to choose how they learn and get assessed?