Monday, 4 October 2010


Laying claim to: clientsourcing

Co-authoship with Megan Juss.

Explanations later

Kindest to all readers


Sunday, 3 October 2010

A study of the use of ICT for teaching and learning in the practice of NQTs – how one ITT provider is attempting to instil good practice in trainee teachers.

“More rhetoric and reality.”

A research proposal for the final module of my PG Cert in HE Teaching & Learning Support:

I have a passion for the use of ICT in education.  Serious investments have been made in ICT equipment, infrastructure and procedures (Cuban, 2001; Steel, 2009; Reynolds et al., 2003; Field, 2000; Morgan, 2001); but I believe we are yet to experience the scale of benefits such technologies can afford.  I propose to undertake a small research project into the use of ICT by newly qualified teachers from Edge Hill – looking at how they are using technology in their practice and where they found the inspiration to use such technology.  I will then look at how Edge Hill provides for the need to train trainee teachers in the use of technologies for teaching and learning.  I envisage a questionnaire to all teachers on the CPD3371 course at Edge Hill: ‘Beginning a Career in Teaching’ – a course that all NQTs are registered for, numbering many thousands of trainees.  I intend to use the survey tool in BlackBoard to assist in the collation of a large number of quantitative results.  Qualitative questions will also be asked, but at this stage will be designed to elicit narrow, focussed responses to facilitate the automatic processing of many responses.  I anticipate the questionnaire will highlight areas that I would like to follow-up with qualitative methods.  To this end, the questionnaire will ask if the NQT would be willing to be interviewed for 30 minutes – to enable me to explore areas of concern identified from the questionnaire.  I envisage four such interviews – the interviewees being ‘cherry picked’ on the basis of being the most interesting candidates for my study.  I also plan to survey the provision of training in ICT for teaching and learning at Edge Hill to our trainee teachers.  Perhaps this survey can be informed by , or take the form of a focus group of staff  who provide initial teacher training at Edge Hill from a variety of programmes from early years to secondary.

Outcomes are expected to include a good understanding of how technology is currently being used in schools by NQTs and how Edge Hill is supporting such initiatives.

Areas of concern for the study include confidentiality, investigating colleagues practice and gathering information that may be commercially sensitive to my employer.

Anticipated additional benefits may include the creation of a crowd sourced knowledge bank of how to use ICT effectively for teaching and learning (similar to the PGCE survival guide model).


Cuban, L. (2001) Underused and oversold: Computers in the classroom.Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Fields, M. (2009) Theoretical perspectives on classroom learning. Blended Learning In Practice, 28-34. [accessed 5th May 2010].

Morgan, A. (2001) Times Higher Education - Education news, resources and university jobs for the academic world - Letter: Some paradoxes of participation 2. [accessed 24/1/2010].

Reynolds, D., Treharne, D. and Tripp, H. (2003) ICT-the hopes and the reality. British Journal of Educational Technology, 34 (2) 151-167.

Steel, C. (2009) Reconciling university teacher beliefs to create learning designs for LMS environments. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 25 (3) 399-420.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Lecture capture, conferences discussions and all from the back of a car ...

One of the main benefits of attending conference is the opportunity to chat to colleagues who have similar interests, issues and concerns. Sometimes informal ‘off-piste’ discussions develop into informal meetings.

I was involved in such an ‘off-piste’ discussion last Tuesday evening at ALT-C 2010. A number of colleagues gathered to discuss the issue of lecture capture, its implementation, and problems such as staff concerns and legalities. We also visited topics such as the future of HE in the UK, and the dangers of expecting too much of the international market for students, and what exactly is the role of a learning technologist?

One interesting point about lecture capture: I realized that the captured lecture doesn’t need to be an hour long, or any uniform period of time. Thanks to Andrew (forgot surname, but I’m working on it) – who suggested that only the ‘nugget’ of content is all that is needed – and that padding to make in up to an hour is ditched.

Off off piste (not a double negative, but further away from the initial topic of our meeting) was hearing about the progress Nigeria has made in its HE system. We also chatted about our roles: are we learning technologists, instructional designers, course advisers, pedagods (don’t ask) or administrators?

If anyone is interested in further discussions about lecture capture, email me – there may be a group starting to chat these issues through.

(posted from the back of a pool car on the way back from ALT-C 2010)

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


I'm looking for a short snappy name as a replacement for 'Lecture Capture' - suggesting something with '...Cast' on the end may be attractive. However, ConCast (Content Cast) seems to be a registered trade mark - so am looking for other suggestions ...

Kindest regards to all ...


Friday, 19 February 2010

Philosophy of Teaching

I’m a 40iiish graduate of a “New” university of the 1960’s (East Anglia), who gained a BSc in Computer Science, worked for about 20 years in industry before training to become a classroom ICT teacher in 2002. After 5 years in the classroom, I joined Edge Hill as a learning technologist (2007). In 2010 I gained my MA in e-learning. Given this wide and varied background, my philosophy of teaching, my “Personal Pedagogy”, should be similarly varied. And indeed it is.

I am reminded of the SOLSTICE model of teaching and learning that requires the practitioner to consider the Purpose of the teaching and the Audience it is intended for – these two considerations will assist in the selection of Form, or in this case, Pedagogy.

For example – consider two courses in health – first, teaching first year students nurses cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and, second, teaching experienced practitioners new approaches to an objective analysis of post-operative patient status. For the first, considering the purpose, to TELL students the ideal way to resuscitate patients and the audience, a collection of novice trainees, the form I would use is an instructivist approach. Further reinforcement of this approach would be to consider:

  • Guidelines: Formal procedures exist and loom large in the workspace. These guidelines have been condensed out of empirical research from health workers and academics, professional associations and government publications.
  • There is little debate on what is the best way of resuscitation – though guidelines can change, they have changed very infrequently.
  • Failure to follow set procedures will make institutions, services and individuals liable for any (real or perceived) damage.

I also wouldn’t want to crowd an already overflowing curriculum with notions of “Let’s explore the best way to …”

This approach has been referred to as the “Sage on the Stage” style (King, 1993), a transmissive, behaviourist or instructivist approach that has been the traditional pedagogy of teaching in HE (Kahn, 1997), though perhaps more at early undergraduate levels than later in students’ university careers.

For the second scenario I would begin with an exploration of the purpose and audience. The purpose of this course is to get the audience (experienced operating department practitioners) to understand the complexities and nuances of post operative patient assessment, and in particular be alerted to the twin dangers of relying on subjective assessment, and, on the other hand, be too reliant on objective assessment systems. The latter concern reminds me of the phrase from the anonymous researcher:

“ … numbers are good, though on their own they cannot tell the whole story …”

The anonymous researcher

Unpacking the audience a little, it should be noted that I envisage not only experience professionals with a wealth of experience to call on, but also more than a little scepticism and reticence perhaps born out of a human trait to resist change (Kanter, 1989).

Given this purpose and audience, the form I would select is social constructivism. The material to cover is ripe for a “Debate”, and I envisage the audience to be similarly ready to “Discuss” the topics. I suggest that facilitating this group of individuals would results in a far deeper and more engaged learning experience than presenting them with a procedure identified by others as “Best Practice” – I see the group being able to create their own “Best Practice” (or perhaps the less stringent “Good Practice”) document, and perhaps the journey to this document being part of the assessment mechanism. Such a journey echoes Connolly et al. (2007) who say:

The assessment focus could be on the learning journey rather than on the ‘summative destination’”.

Unpacking Social Constructivism a little, I view this approach to be one based on the notion of giving information to a group, asking them to discuss and debate around the issues, and as a product of such discussions ‘Knowledge’ (the cognition of the topics being discussed to the extent necessary to be able to deconstruct and reconstruct for different contexts) will be created inside these individuals. To support this pedagogy I would adopt a “Guide on the Side” approach (Hertz-Lazarowitz and Shacher, 1990), where the tutor guides, encourages and facilitates a group of students.

Authors such as Khan (1997:62) emphasise that there is a range between “Sage on the Stage” and “Guide on the Side”, a “ … continuum [that] ranges from didactic to facilitative.

Moving on from the two scenarios and considering a return to the secondary school system and what my “Personal Pedagogy” may be if I was going back into school to teach groups of 30 or so 11 – 16 year olds, I would be taking a far more constructivst approach. I think this may fly in the face of much of the school pedagogy I experienced. My school experience as a teacher was very much the teacher being seen as the subject matter expert, and the pupils being expected to listen to the “Sage”, and input little to the lessons; though to be fair there were small (and growing) pockets of practice where contributions from the pupils was increasingly being seen as an extremely effective learning mechanism for the whole class. I would try to take notions of learner engagement, empowerment, knowledge construction, and moreover social constructivism into the school curriculum. Initial thoughts would be to specify topics of study for a term, and then to get the pupils to decide how best they can learn about these. Alarm bells may be ringing in some heads, especially if one has experience of Ofsted, and is perhaps aware of the damaging attacks institutions like Summerhill School was subject to in the 1990’s (Andresen et al., 1995), being placed on a secret “Hit List” of institutions that Ofsted tried to undermine (but failed: BBC, 2000). Against this backdrop, I would still try to get pupils to design their own lessons, own examples of application of data, own homework, own learning outcomes and, perhaps most contentiously, their own assessment mechanisms. Perhaps this approach may yield a different curriculum, one more in tune with the needs of employers, society, though most importantly the learners themselves in this 21st century.

Perhaps before embarking on this approach, a pre-course history lesson in the attacks and tinkering with the education system (Cuban 2001) has been subject to since, well, since for ever, may be useful. Once pupils have been educated to question the education system, perhaps they may be more inspired to design their own?


Andresen, L., Boud, D. and Cohen, R. (1995) Experience-based learning. Understanding adult education and training, 207-219.

BBC News. (2000) Summerhill closure threat lifted. [accessed 12-01-2010].

Connolly, M., Jones, C. and Jones, N. (2007) Managing collaboration across further and higher education: a case in practice. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 31 (2) 159-169.

Cuban, L. (2001) Underused and oversold: Computers in the classroom.Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Hertz-Lazarowitz, R. and Shachar, H. (1990) Teachers' verbal behavior in cooperative and whole-class instruction. In: S. Sharan (eds) Cooperative Learning. Praeger. 77-94.

Kanter, R. M. (1989) When giants learn to dance. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Khan, B. H. (1997) Web-based Instruction. Educational Technology Pubns.

King, A., Learning, P. A. and Questioning, G. R. P. (1993) From sage on the stage to guide on the side. College Teaching, 41 (1) 30-35.

If I’ve missed a reference, it’s likely to be listed here:

Friday, 12 February 2010

Current reference list

(Updated 22nd September 2016)

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