The impact of technology and collaborative learning spaces on learning design and teaching practice in the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies

Mill, Helena-Anne
Jenkin, Chris
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Master of Education
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Auckland University of Technology

The aim of this research was to determine whether space and place impact the learning design and teaching practice in a contemporary tertiary university environment. The research examines the philosophies teachers hold about learning and their own teaching practice and delves into how these philosophies influence the way in which they design and facilitate the learning activity in their teaching. The question driving the research is: What is the impact of technology and collaborative learning spaces on learning design and teaching practice in the Faculty of Design and Creative Technologies? In addition, the research explores the opportunities and challenges the physical and networked spaces offer teachers in the design of the learning activities to prepare students to step into a highly technology-enabled networked world. In determining a methodological approach for this study, I first considered that a techno-ethnographical approach would allow me to investigate the interrelationships between people and technology and how these, combined, provided an environment where learning and innovation thrived. In considering the ethnographical element of the approach, culture, and in particular my own Māori culture through Kaupapa Māori, became a second critical lens within which to view these relationships. The third part of the approach was to engage a single site case study to provide a manageable sized environment to focus the study in. With these methodological approaches in mind, selecting methods that would reflect not only the teacher perspective but also the tika the teachers bring to their work, was important. The semi-structured interview provided a means of hearing the stories and focusing on the areas of interest for the study. Kaupapa Māori provided the impetus for finding a method that could draw together all the elements of the study. Using Pūrākau as a method provided the focal point needed to gather, sort and re-sow the seeds of knowledge through the narrative form of storytelling. Three key findings became apparent from this study. First, that teachers drew heavily on their experience from both their personal and work lives. Second, they all revealed a strong commitment to developing and improving their practice but felt that teaching was not valued within the institution, and finally, that engagement with technology in their practice was often hampered by environmental factors particularly infrastructure and administrative barriers. The need to address the status of teaching through all stakeholders in the wider Aotearoa New Zealand tertiary sector will mean affecting change from both top-down and bottom-up. Addressing the systemic issues raised, would also alleviate some of the pressure teachers experience in their practice. Teachers, perhaps more than any other profession, will need to be agile and imaginative in order to anticipate what learning will look like in the future. In particular, the range of skills across the various disciplines and knowing what those disciplines will look like requires imagination.

Kaupapa Māori , Pūrākau , Learning technology , Collaborative learning spaces , Teaching philosophy , Teaching practice , Learning landscape
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