Doctoral and Postgraduate Symposium

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I attended the Doctoral and Postgraduate Symposium on Saturday at Auckland University and really glad I did.   Dr. Rae Si’ilata gave an inspirational speech for the opening address which set the tone for the day.  She was eloquent,informative and outlined all the reasons why you might want to consider doing a Doctorate.    Rae instilled how important is was to believe in yourself,stay connected to your whanau and keep the end goal in mind to help you through those times of self-doubt.

I saw some excellent presentations from both Masters and Doctoral students.  Cheryl Loughton was electric in her presentation Are there metacognitive differences between the sub-populations of secondary school students in New Zealand?  I particularly liked her use of the koru as a symbol for her whole thesis.  It really helped me to get an overview of her comprehensive study of thinking styles,motivations and processes for students studying science at high school.   Cheryl is looking at the benefits of using Betty’s Brain,a computer teaching tool that helps students to learn by putting them in charge of the teaching.  I found a short video (see below) which explains how Betty’s Brain works.

It was the first time I’d heard the term ‘hidden markov models‘which I think is part of the algorithm behind Betty’s Brain that is responsible for tracking students’movements.  This allows the programme to build a profile around how the student learns which would be very useful.

Katy Perry,not the one swinging in the jungle 😉 did her Masters dissertation research on the advantages and disadvantages of using instant feedback via scratch score cards and Socrative,an online app.  Both systems motivated students,cost was a factor with the scratch cards which she accessed online and internet issues were at times challenging with the Socrative app.

Jiansheng Cui embarking on his doctoral studies has been looking at common themes between schools and their BYOD policies.  The second part of his research will be looking into instructional design and how teachers use devices in the classroom.

Investigating fanau engagement in the Manaikilani project was Maria Meredith.  Her Doctoral study is about understanding the ways that digital schooling impacts families.  Maria is only in the early stages of her study but already she had come to understand what a rich resource our parents/caregivers are and by understanding their perspectives we can help raise the achievement and engagement of students.

It was a great day,a chance to meet other students and share the highs and lows of embarking on such intensive study.  Next on the University’s calendar in terms of symposiums is Exposure 2015 which includes presentations,academic posters and a variety showcase,looking forward to that one.

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