Research Justification

I’ve been re-visiting an essay written for a recent charter teacher ‘E-Learning’ module (ouch .. it hurt bringing back the horrible memories of actually puting it all together!). Thinking from that module led me to want to research the area further, so I’ve picked out just a few of the points made during the essay:

  • A recent HMI Report on Improving Scottish Education includes a section on ‘ICT in Learning and Teaching’ (2007). In the introduction to that report, Graham Donaldson (HM Senior Chief Inspector of Education) states that :

Information and communications technology (ICT) has transformed the means by which we inform ourselves, remain up to date with world event and areas of personal interest, and further our learning. For many, books and journals are no longer the first or primary source of information or learning. We now regularly rely on images, video, animations and sound to acquire information and to learn. Increased and improved access to the internet has accelerated this phenomenon. We now acquire and access information in ways fundamentally different from the pre-ICT era. The findings outlined in this report confirm that Scotland is well placed to build on current strengths in order to realise the full potential of ICT to improve learning and achievement. The challenge is to make that happen.

Feedback from teachers shows that pupils are generally more eager to take part as they use ICT equipment to engage with learning.

  • In The Paper, ‘A Digitally Driven Curriculum’ by Buckingham and McFarlane (2001-sorry I can’t find a direct link to this!) remind that today’s children know much more than the majority of adults and that schools need to engage with, and build upon the new kinds of informal learning that are developing around these media.
  • Many pupils are using sites such as ‘My Space’, ‘Beebo’, and MSN. Maybe we need to monopolise on the online communication skills already being developed in the pupils’ lives outside of school.
  • Blogs and wikis are not unlike the social network tools already being used …. can they be adapted to incorporate e-learning to occur successfully? A community of learners?
  • Etienne Wenger who, along with Jean Lave, coined the term ‘Community of Practice’ . He believes that:

……..the school is not the privileged locus of learning. It is not a self-contained, closed world in which students acquire knowledge to be applied outside, but a part of a broader learning system. The class is not the primary learning event. It is life itself that is the main learning event.

  • Bob Godwin-Jones of Virginia Commonwealth University writes in ‘Emerging Technologies that blogs and wikis offer powerful opportunities for online collaboration for learners
  • Steve O’Hear wrote in The Guardian that:‘The web’s shift from a tool of reference to one of collaboration presents teachers with some rich opportunities for e-learning’

    He also writes that many believe that the web has entered a second phase where new services and software – collectively known as web 2.0 – are transforming the web from a predominantly “read only” medium to one where anyone can publish and share content and easily collaborate with others. He also explains that the “new” web is already having an impact in class, as teachers start exploring the potential of blogs, media-sharing services, and other social software, which, although not designed specifically for e-learning, can be used to empower students and create exciting new learning opportunities.

  • The next point is to do with motivation. The report by the Scottish Parliament Education Committee emphasises the need to introduce pupil centred learning and to cater for multiple learning styles. The new web 2 tools certainly cater for a variety of learning styles.

OK! I think it was worth the pain! Is that what I want to look at here … the ‘motivation’ factor? Maybe that’s the crucial thing – I need to try to make sure that they don’t lose interest because they see the use of blogs as less motivating than their own social on-line experiences.

4 thoughts on “Research Justification

  1. Hi,

    I find it uncomfortable replying to an ‘anonymous’ comment but I’ll have a go anyway:)

    I’m not sure why I would want to add things here to interest kids – this is my blog for my thoughts about my research ………… and I happen to like the black font colour 🙂

    It sounds like you have some great ideas for making a blog more ‘readable’ – do you have your own blog?

    A link to it would be great 🙂

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