ALaN WA Newsletter July 2013

Welcome to edition 7 of the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network of Western Australia Newsletter!

Views expressed by contributors to the newsletter are their own and, unless expressly stated, do not reflect the opinions of their employers/organisations.

This contents page links individually to each article enabling you to go immediately to those of your choice. Alternatively, if you go to the main blog link, you can access the articles by scrolling down the page.

We welcome your comments and contributions to our newsletter. If you are an Adult Literacy/Numeracy practitioner in Western Australia or indeed, anywhere in the world, we invite you to subscribe and comment. If you interested in joining the GoogleGroup for our network, please visit our “How to join” page and complete the online form.


1. CAVSS in the digital age.

A great insight into the ever evolving role of the CAVSS lecturer from Lina Zampicelli of CY O’Connor Institute.

2. What can WAALC do for you?

A look at the benefits of belonging to the WA Adult Literacy Council (WAALC) .

3. “What’s in a number?” – about the project.

This project is a WA ALaN professional development project funded by the WA dept of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD).

4. Drowning in information!

Using an online tool to curate and manage links shared with students

5. Professional Development update

Lots of PD available now and in the near future.

6. Conferences update

Conferences “near and far” coming up in the not too distant future!



CAVSS in the digital age

Technology has become an important component of adult education and training.

When I first started delivering the Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills (CAVSS) there was no computer in sight. Over the past decade I have seen an increase in use and need for technology. I teach with a number of lecturers in a variety of industries (Trades, Aged Care, Disability). Much of my work is with Cert III in Engineering (Fabrication). Many apprentices have unrealistic expectations of Engineering. They expect it to be a practical subject and are unprepared for the amount of theory and mathematics involved. And increasingly, we use technology as part of training and in the workplace. Technology has become an important component of their training.

Students access course information and assignments from Blackboard which also has web links, presentations and videos. They use the internet to research and access information and watch videos from web sites such as Miller’s welding video library and YouTube. Some of their assessments are online. They create workplace journals on the computer and upload photos from their mobile phones.

There are learning guides, charts, tables, manuals and drawings to read and interpret. A huge demand for literacy and numeracy skills.


FabricationToolbox 300px A good resource is theTotal Fabrication flexible learning toolbox

Each day, the apprentices use maths skills in their jobs in order to complete projects and other job duties. Maths is used to determine material requirements and costs, interpret drawings and specifications, draw using measurements, and read codes.

There are countless resources on the internet for maths. I will illustrate just one here.

Apprentices learn to draw using only a compass, straightedge and pencil (Construction in geometry). These construction techniques give tools to draw things when direct measurement is not appropriate.

These skills are transferred to marking out on sheet metal using, dividers, steel rule and scribe.

Many of the apprentices cannot understand the written instructions and find a demonstration of the steps easier to follow.

A useful site is: step by step instructions and animations.Example: constructing a 90° angle 90deg angle 300px

The apprentices are required to interpret technical drawings and sketch isometric projections. Many students find instructions in a book are difficult to follow. Students have found the following video useful and inspiring.


Apprentices use a number of Computer Assisted Drawing (CAD) programs. Autosketch is used to create precision drawings. See the simple example to the right. Autosketch eg 250px

Apprentices learn to construct templates using geometric development. They develop the templates on paper or on sheet metal. Lots of maths skills and knowledge required. Reading and following instructions on geometric development is quite daunting for many of the apprentices. The Total Fabrication Toolbox has a section on template making.

Constructing shapes using triangulation is particularly difficult for apprentices to learn. They find a demonstration useful.  I assist with each step, drawing, measuring and calculating. Another strategy is to watch an Animation. Follow link for demonstration on constructing transitional shapes.

 square to round 250px The apprentices use a program, Plate ‘n’ Sheet Development, to generate templates and check their layout and measurements.I needed to learn how to operate this program so that I would be of use to the students.There are a number of mathematical concepts, including geometry and measurement, which students need to know to be able to complete this task.


In addition to providing traditional literacy and numeracy support I am increasingly providing more digital literacy support.

Technology may provide the motivation to learn the theory and mathematics adults need for their training and in the workplace and it may facilitate more meaningful learning for them.

Lina Zampichelli

CAVSS Lecturer

C Y O’Connor Institute




What can WAALC do for you?

The Western Australian Adult Literacy Council Incorporated (WAALC) is an independent association established to support and empower adult literacy practitioners in WA.

As an independent body, WAALC offers the adult literacy field the opportunity to have input into consultation separate from the views of employers and government agencies, allowing positions to be formulated most likely to work for the interests of students and their teachers, rather than having to fit a policy line.

WAALC is affiliated with their national counterpart, the Australian Council of Adult Literacy (ACAL) and is represented on the ACAL committee. This offers an opportunity to develop national positions and have input in areas such as the reference group for the Reading Writing Hotline.

And depending on the stage have reached in your career, there are all sorts of personal opportunities that result from belonging to a professional association.  I will be speaking to the topic: “What can WAALC do for you?” at this year’s state conference.  I have lots of personal examples and will be drawing on a published history from Victoria. However, if you have a great example that you are happy to share, let me know.

Cheryl Wiltshire
WAALC Secretary


Want  to know more about WAALC?

The Annual General Meeting of the Council that will be held at the conclusion of Day 1 of the WAALC State Conference on Thursday 18th July  2013.

Whether you are a current member or not, and whether you can make the conference or not, why not come along to the AGM to hear what has been going on during the year in the WAALC world? And for a more informal opportunity to chat about what WAALC is about, go along to Pie and Pint evening at the Irish Club in Subiaco during the evening after the AGM.

When? 4.20 pm – 5.10 p.m. Thursday 18th July  2013.

Where? Lecture Theatre, Leederville Campus, Central Institute of Technology, Corner Oxford Street and Richmond Street, Leederville



“What’s In A Number?” – about the project

Are you thinking of collecting evidence for the Voc. Grad. Cert. in Adult Language Literacy and Numeracy practice (TAE70111)?  This Numeracy 2013 mini project funded by the Department of Training and Workforce Development may help you gather evidence towards “Analyse and apply adult numeracy teaching practices” (TAELLN702A) – a core unit in the Certificate. The project will also give you opportunities to strengthen and affirm your own skills in numeracy and maths. This might be particularly helpful for you if your focus has been mainly on teaching literacy because the Certificate requires an ability to address numeracy as well as literacy.


If you have you ever looked at a number and wanted to run away screaming or been filled with dread at words like BODMAS or rational numbers? If you know students who have those fears? There is some good news: this professional development project is aimed at eliminating, or at least reducing, your number stress and helping you reduce your students’ terror as well as collecting evidence towards  TAELLN702A. We have had our first webinar but there is still plenty of time for you to get involved because the project runs for almost a year.

The activities will be built around your needs. There will be plenty of chances to ask about any areas of numeracy and mathematics that puzzle you, as well as opportunities to practice delivering your new-found learning to your peers in a positive and supportive atmosphere.

All your questions will be welcomed. It does not matter if the question is as basic as “What is a number?” or as advanced as “How do you derive the differential of this function from first principles?”, though it is perhaps unlikely that people will want to go that far advanced.

Watch out for “What’s In A Number?” posts on the ALaN Google Group for discussions and information about webinars and participation activities.

Phil Hart

Drowning in information?


How do you manage all those links to websites that you come across every day? Even if you don’t currently use very much digital or web-based content in your teaching you probably visit websites for printable teaching resources. There are many printable resources available from websites as well as the truly digital content. I know I was accessing (and printing) masses of such material some years ago, well before my face-to-face students had any computer access in class.

Information curation

Keeping the links that you need and want while discarding those items that are not useful for you is a big problem that is continuing to increase. Information curation has become a major issue for many people. This is compounded by the fact that most of us now access work related links and content on more than one digital device. In my own case I need to be able to regularly access links from at least three different desktop computers, my laptop and my iPad. This excludes classrooms and any one-off situations such as workshops or conferences. Browser “Favourites” are no longer sufficient to keep all those links especially when they are still often lost during updates.

As a general bookmarking tool I mostly use Diigo an online application that enables me to save and tag links and also to share with others. However this is not ideal for sharing links with students as it isn’t very structured (at least mine isn’t) and in my opinion links are easier for students to work with if they are organised in some way.

Using SymbalooEdu with students

My preferred tool for managing links that I use with students is SymbalooEdu. This is easy to sign up to and easy to use. The pages (“Webmixes”) can also easily be made public and shared.



Symbaloo is very visual using coloured “tiles” to which you can add icons and titles. In Symbaloo I create what are known as “Webmixes” groups of links that relate to particular topics. I can then share the “Webmixes” with students to use in activities.

Advantages of using Symbaloo:

  • enables me to give students a degree of ownership and choice in the links they access for activities;
  • allows me some control so that I can ensure that students visit websites which provide appropriate examples related to the activity concerned and are likely to be comparativley “safe”;
  • limits the websites students access for an activity (reduces the number I need to visit when evaluating work);
  • provides scaffolding opportunities from which students can progress to become more independent
  • I can use tile colour, page position and icon to provide clear navigation for students so that they can easily find the links they need;
  • colour and page position can also be used for level differentiation so that I can use the same Webmix for an activity that spans several levels – this makes it easy if a student needs to access higher or lower level links to meet individual needs;
  • I can give students access to the links they need for an activity without “cluttering” up their written instructions with a series of links in the text;
  • if a link becomes inactive it is easy to remove or replace without having to modify and re-upload the activity itself;
  • the visual nature of the tiles works well with literacy students.

This embedded Symbaloo page with groups related to career exploration and resume development is one I use online – the activity I use this with is similar at Certs I, II and III and, depending on standard of completion,  it may provide evidence for aspects of units on Learning Plan and Portfolio, Creating and Engaging with texts (Personal and/or Learning).


SymbalooEdu works well as a tool for managing links that are shared with students, it is easy to update links and manages student access reducing risk to students and potential for lecturer overload.

Jo Hart


Professional development news

Lots of PD news this time!

PD within the WA ALaN network

Firstly, within the ALaN network, some of this year’s projects are getting under way with webinars and workshops.

“What’s in a number!” has made a great start with the first webinar already complete. Webinars will be approximately fortnightly until mid 2014. This project is designed to help everyone teaching maths/numeracy to improve their maths skills and gather evidence for the numeracy core unit of the Grad. Cert. (soon to become Grad. Dip.)  of Adult Language Literacy and Numeracy Practice.

“Adult Literacy and Numeracy Professional Development Workshops” at  Kimberley Training Institute have been scheduled and start with “Teaching Numeracy” sessions in late July and August.

The “Digital Literacy in the CGEA” webinar series is underway looking at implications of, and strategies for encompassing, digital literacy/digital texts in CGEA delivery.

For more information, or to become a participant in any of these, visit the network GoogleGroup (if you aren’t a member see this page on how to join) and check out the posts.

New DTWD events management system

DTWD has a new PD calendar system and you will need to create a user registration before you can register to attend DTWD LLN sessions including.

CGEA part 1 on August 22nd

This workshop for new CGEA teachers is designed to help them orient themselves, and their teaching approaches, to teach literacy and numeracy skills to adults. The workshop will focus on finding ways to establish a teaching/learning environment that most closely reflects the way that literacy and numeracy skills are acquired in the real world, by all of us.

CGEA part 2 on 10th and 11th September

This workshop for CGEA teachers is designed to explore the aspects of teaching adult literacy classes that challenge teachers as they attempt to meet the needs of all their students. The workshop will focus on finding ways to establish a teaching/learning environment that most closely reflects the way we all acquire literacy and numeracy skills in the real world.

Department of Education PD

The “Tracks to Two-Way Learning Induction workshop – replacing the ABC of Two Way Learning and  Literacy workshop is on the 15th and 16th of August. Registration details available soon.

Expressions of interest

Expressions of interest are being sought from those interested in attending any of the following:

  • Face-to-face numeracy workshops with Beth Marr – coming up soon
  • CAVSS training later this year
  • Teach Me Grammar in 2014

Please send a separate email for each one of the above that you are interested in attending to

Conferences coming up!

There are a number of conferences coming up in the next few months beginning with our own WA Adult Literacy Council (WAALC) State Conference “Getting back to our roots: Literacy for empowerment” at the Central Institute of Technology, Leederville Campus on the  18th and 19th of July so if you are planning to attend you need to register soon. For more information and registration visit the Conference page on the WAALC website

Registration is now open for this year’s 2013 Australian Council for Adult Literacy (ACAL) Conference “Local Practices Global Contexts” to be held in Sydney from September 30th to October 2nd

For anyone with an urge to travel registration is also open for the 2013 US Conference on Adult Literacy “Together, leading change” is being held October 31st  to November 2nd in Washington, D.C.

Also coming up – there are no details on the website yet, is the 2013 Australian WELL Practitioners’ Conference in  Canberra on the 21st and 22nd November. Watch the website for further information.