Wow! Last week I was in Sydney and I feel like it was a fantastically productive and enlightening time.
On Monday & Tuesday I took part in a MindMapping workshop run by Mindwerx (http://www.mindwerx.com.au/) and was amazed at the immediate uselfulness of the information and activities. I've dabbled in mindmapping before but this really opened my eyes in how I could use it. Does anyone else feel like their head's going to explode because there's too much stuff whirling in it? Well, this workshop fixed that problem for me.
I don't know whether it was the concentrated workshop 'thinking about thinking' or something in the water ;-)
We practiced applying the techniques (so I mapped out what I'd still like to do in my FLL project amongst other things) and I've continued on since being back home. Maybe it's just appealing to the girl who likes coloured textas. And they even give a 25% educational discount. Highly Recommended.
Wednesday was courtesy of Terri Connellan who organised a fantastic day's program with teachers and head teachers involved in workplace learning. I met Susan Carter (Business & Admin), Clive Quilty(Painting & Decorating), Dianne See (Frontline Management), Leo Darby & Jenni Harding (ex FLLs)for lunch, Greg Murphy and team (Printing, Pre-press, Graphic Arts) and Connie Hart (Fashion). One common feature - sheer enthusiasm - what they were doing was exciting, client focussed and flexible whereever they could make it flexible. A key message from my day - institutions need to work hard to make sure that these people and their counterparts throughout any organisation do not get disillusioned or dispirited.
Thursday was spent at UTS talking with Geof Hawke - he is a Senior Researcher with OVAL (http://www.oval.uts.edu.au) and I gained some great insights into the 'big picture' of VET and workplace learning. One key topic we discussed was the growing conflict between workers needing to be generalists and their job roles becoming more specialised (underpinned by general skills such as communication or computer user) and what this means for VET - basically he sees it as VET needing to be more strong when negotiating with employers about the skills mix their workers need, which also prepares enterprises for the inevitable changes ahead. Heaps of papers are available on their site - themes are changing pedagogy, urban disadvantage etc. This is the group which did the High Level Review of Training Packages.
Gadget Girl Tips - on past trips I have travelled with a digital still camera, video camera, as well as a Palm handheld and a laptop. This trip I trimmed down and only travelled with my Palm handheld (which can take reasonable quality photos and low qual video) and a laptop (for internet access and video conferencing back to my family). Heaps easier to lug about on public transport! Photos are still high enough quality for my blog, and ok for printing out 10*15cm if I do some retouching.