The New Zealand Government Tertiary Education Strategy 2014 – 2019 website: http://www.education.govt.nz/further-education/policies-and-strategies/tertiary-education-strategy/
The Tertiary Education Strategy 2014-19 sets out the Government’s long-term strategic direction for tertiary education. This strategy highlights the need to build international relationships that contribute to improved competitiveness, support business and innovation through development of relevant skills and research and improve outcomes for all. The first steps to achieving these shifts are outlined in the strategy’s 6 priorities:
- Delivering skills for industry
- Getting at-risk young people into a career
- Boosting achievement of Māori and Pasifika
- Improving adult literacy and numeracy
- Strengthening research-based institutions
- Growing international linkages
In this section I briefly explore two of these strategic directions: 3 and 5.
3. Boosting achievement of Māori and Pasifika
One of the key legislative issues in New Zealand education is based upon the defining document for the nation – the treaty of Waitangi (Orange, 2015). Based upon the treaty New Zealand has a commitment to a bi-cultural identity, and embedded within education policies is a recognition of the implications of the treaty. These implications are realised in a recognition of culture, equity, and language.
I believe that mobile learning provides unique opportunities to recognise diversity of culture, provide equity through flexibility of access to education, and enable the use of multiple languages through the built-in accessibility features of today’s mobile devices. Mobile device ownership is ubiquitous (International Telecommunication Union, 2015), leading many primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions to explore a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) approach to mobile learning (mlearning). In 2015 undergraduate student ownership of smartphones (92%) exceeded student ownership of laptops (91%) (Dahlstrom, Brooks, Grajek, & Reeves, 2015). These statistics were confirmed for the New Zealand context through the NPF14LMD student survey (2015). The ubiquity of student ownership of smartphones (Dahlstrom, et al., 2015; International Telecommunication Union, 2015) that are essentially high powered computers with small yet high definition screens has created a new era of potential for student generated content and student generated contexts in higher education.
This has been a focus of two of the mobile learning projects that I have led and co-led (Cochrane, 2008;2009; Maori Television, 2010; Frielick et al., 2014;2015):
While it is increasingly obvious that the sustainable way forward for technology integration in education is a BYOD approach, institutions must still make allowances for those students who cannot afford an appropriately specced device or the connectivity costs involved. Simple creative solutions to help include: providing an institutional set of loan devices that can be applied for by students, and providing pre-paid 4G to WiFi mobile routers for student use. Providing scholarship schemes, and providing departmental letters of support for purchasing devices via the government-based student-loan scheme.
5. Strengthening research-based institutions
As a researcher, I have established an international reputation for excellence in the scholarship of technology enhanced learning (SOTEL), with a specific expertise in the area of mobile learning. I have a peer-reviewed research portfolio spanning 38 journal articles, 22 book chapters, and over 100 conference proceedings (http://goo.gl/maps/YxkYP). During 2014-2015 I was co-lead on the national project Learners and mobile devices (#NPF14LMD): A framework for enhanced learning and institutional change funded by New Zealand’s National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, AKO Aotearoa. This two-year six institution project broadly explored learners and mobile devices (Frielick et al., 2014), supported by a collaborative network of practice. Throughout my role as an academic advisor I have also developed a successful framework for lecturer professional development supported by the establishment of communities of practice, production of reflective practice publications via SOTEL, and innovations in pedagogy (Cochrane et al., 2013; Cochrane & Narayan, 2016). These communities of practice have collectively published over 50 collaborative research publications since 2011 (http://orcid.org/0000-0002-0192-6118). As will be obvious in the next section on Policy, there is significant overlap between government policy around strengthening research-based institutions and institutional policies to increase lecturer research performance and impact.
UPDATE 2018: With the change in the New Zealand Government in 2017 tertiary education strategy will undoubtedly change, however the 2014-2019 strategy is still current at this time. One key new Government policy is the introduction of free fees for first year tertiary students, which at this time appears to have had, surprisingly, little change impact upon student enrolments for 2018.
Cochrane, Thomas. (2009). Using mobile web 2.0 to transform pedagogy and engage learners. Good Practice Publication Grants e-book, (5 November). http://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/ako-hub/good-practice-publication-grants-e-book/resources/pages/using-mobile-web-20-transform-pedago
Cochrane, Thomas. (2008). The educational potential of wireless mobile devices and web2. from http://elg.ac.nz/about-nz-elg/project-history?qt-project_history=2#qt-project_history
Cochrane, T., Buchem, I., Camacho, M., Cronin, C., Gordon, A., & Keegan, H. (2013). Building global learning communities. Research in Learning Technology, 21(ALT-C 2013 Conference Proceedings – Building new cultures of learning), 1-13.
Cochrane, T., & Narayan, V. (2016). Principles of modeling COPs for pedagogical change: Lessons learnt from practice 2006 to 2014. In J. McDonald & A. Cater-Steel (Eds.), Communities of practice: Facilitating social learning in higher education (Vol. In print): Springer.
Dahlstrom, E., Brooks, C., Grajek, S., & Reeves, J. (2015). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2015 (Research Study). Louisville, Colorado: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research.
Frielick, Stanley, Cochrane, Thomas, Narayan, Vickel, Moyle, Adrienne, & Oldfield, James. (2015, 29 November – 2 December). #npf14lmd learners and mobile devices: Symposium. Paper presented at the Globally connected, digitally enabled, the 32nd Ascilite Conference, Curtin University, Perth.
Frielick, Stanley, Cochrane, Thomas, Aguayo, Claudio, Narayan, Vickel, O’Carrol, Dee, Smith, Nell, . . . Wyse, Pam. (2014, 12 April 2015). Learners and mobile devices (#npf14lmd): A framework for enhanced learning and institutional change. from https://akoaotearoa.ac.nz/learner-mobile-devices
International Telecommunication Union. (2015). The World in 2015: ICT facts and figures. 2015(April). Retrieved from http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Statistics/Documents/facts/ICTFactsFigures2015.pdf
Maori Television (Producer). (2010). Wireless mobile device learning. 411 Series 2. [Television show] Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vGNWMwEypY
Orange, Claudia. ‘Treaty of Waitangi’, Te Ara – the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, updated 7-Dec-15