“Developing a Teachers’ Resource Webpage” (Area 6)

Branwen Bingle (IoE)

After a course presentation done by LGB charity Stonewall, our Primary Initial Teacher Education trainees identified a need for more support and resources to help them create inclusive learning environments. In order to support our trainee teachers in tackling prejudiced-based bullying and support a wide range of pupils (and teachers themselves) in the classroom we developed a SAP project to create a UW website in order to support trainees and newly qualified teachers (NQTs). A team of students identified themselves as participants and collated resources and sources, judging their suitability and evaluating content on the webpage, supervised and guided in this role by a staff member from the UW IoE Primary centre and a director from an LGBT charity. This presentation outlines the process undertaken, from students’ motivation for becoming involved to the launch and reception of the webpages, from the perspective of the participants themselves.

The digital student

As we continue to talk about developing the digital literacy of our student body, a few quick links on the topic in the wider UK and international context.

Oxford Brookes make direct reference to digital and information literacy in their graduate attributes (including postgraduate) at https://www.brookes.ac.uk/OCSLD/Your-development/Teaching-and-learning/Graduate-attributes/ . Further resources are available on their wiki https://wiki.brookes.ac.uk/display/GAA/Digital+and+Information+Literacy

Leeds Metropolitan University have a thought-provoking document: Embedding Digital Literacy as a Graduate Attribute- refocusing the undergraduate curriculum at https://www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/partners/files/UG_Embedding_Digital_Literacy.pdf

For an international perspective, Deakin University in Australia http://www.deakin.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/38006/digital-literacy.pdf

Jisc projects relating to the Digital Student can be found at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/rd/projects/digital-student . The Jisc 7 elements model can be explored at  http://www.jisc.ac.uk/guides/developing-students-digital-literacy

Twitter for CPD?

Twitter for CPD? What are your experiences?

I have recently become a convert and feel a much greater connection to my academic counterparts out there than I probably did 3 months ago. I promise I don’t tweet about my life, but try to follow some interesting people and retweet their posts if they seem pertinent to what I have been considering.

@moira_savage

I’m still learning the protocols so please forgive me- I’m very much an experiential learner

A couple of links to ponder…

A few MOOCs that may be of interest

A few MOOCs that may be of interest to primary educators- via Coursera https://www.coursera.org/courses

Enhancing employability through digital literacy

book cover

Following Moira and Anthony’s recent book Digital Literacy for Primary Teachers, the authors have commenced an 18-month project to explore the relationship between employability and digital literacy from multiple perspectives.

This page will provide an overview of the project’s four stages and outline progress so far.

We will also focus on how we will use these insights to improve the experience of trainee and experienced teachers with whom we work. In particular we will report on phase 1 in which we re-examined the drivers including the Computing National Curriculum Programmes of Study (DfE 2014); the Higher Education Review Group Themes for 2015-2016 (QAA) and institutional measures to embed student digital literacy development opportunities within courses.

We will then match particular elements of our previous work using a simple model of values, dispositions and capabilities to underline the limitations of viewing digital literacy as a narrow set of skills to be attained.

We will exemplify the model with an employability focus which includes scrutinising elements implied (or not) in the Teachers’ Standards, inspection guidance, graduate attributes and popular digital literacy models from the UK and global context related to ‘the key tools a 21st century teacher needs’.

This is very much an open and practice-based project and we welcome collaborators- leave a comment and we will get in touch.

Putting equity and justice at the heart of the educational agenda: Lessons from the AERA Conference in Chicago

Post from Sean Bracken
The weather in Chicago in April is notoriously unpredictable. The Windy City, chosen as the site for this year’s AERA conference, can one day deliver bitter lake driven winds, a day later the balmy and beautiful warm breezes of summer are served. Taking advantage of the latter halcyon days, I walked from my hotel to the site of the conference situated among the various big named hotels in the midst of the breathtaking skyscrapers some three miles south from where I stayed. On my walks, I’d encounter teachers from early years settings leading groups of children who held onto hand loops on a rope ensuring that no one strayed from the group. A responsible adult led the group to the fore and one held the last of the loops to ensure that all the children were accounted for. Whilst attending many of the conference sessions, it struck me that perhaps our educational systems both in the USA and in the UK might also be in need of careful stewardship particularly in times when dangers to inclusion and equity abound.

Of particular interest to orienting ourselves towards a more just based educational engagement in the UK was a panel presentation of papers which provided a foregrounding analysis to the development of BERA’s manifesto for a Fair and Equal Education for all children. In his response to the various papers informing the manifesto, the eminent Professor Michael Apple called for a resurgence in critically engaged scholarship to counter powerful discourses of performativity and individualized competition in education which hinder equity and justice. There are significant implications for learning and teaching, both at the micro level of the classroom and at the more systematic level of the university and in wider policy development and interpretation. Apple has suggested that as educators there is a need for a more strategic and systematic approach to guide our work. Drawing on some of his more recent publications, he does not shirk the necessity to contribute actively to what he terms a ‘bitter epistemological war’ within which educators must play a critical role if education is to be seen to have a positive impact on shaping our future.

Positive change in the educational landscape can be wrought at many differing and intersecting levels, from students and lecturers working together to envision the type of learning communities they would wish to replicate in wider society, as well as being exemplified by leaders who provide tangible visions for how practices might become more inclusive. Paramount to realizing lasting change is the need for people to working collectively, which may be challenge some existing cultures that reify individual and hierarchical achievements. Whilst working together, Apple identifies some key areas where action can be targeted. Firstly, students and teachers within schools, universities and wider society can bear witness to, and seek to counter, the discourse of negativity, challenging some of the strong narratives which undermine the role of a university education and which seek to reduce the role of teaching to performance indicators. Open debate and awareness raising is critical in this process. If there is a grander epistemological war afoot, there should be consideration given to the nature of the battles into which resources are deployed.

Advancing the concepts of critical dialogue to ensure that an ever wider cohort of colleagues are engaged in meaningful discussion about the directions for university and school-based education is also core to countering non-democratic agendas. These types of discussions can build upon and extend existing critical traditions. For example, at another seminar based on the premise of justice in education, colleagues shared insights from a collaborative Masters in teacher education programme between Waikato University in New Zealand and Boston College in the U.S. Both parties are placing explorative concepts of justice and equity at the heart of the curriculum and areas such as literacy and numeracy orbit this core concept. Additionally, we should benefit from research being shared from within emerging schools which seek to explore how existing taken for granted pedagogical power structures (dare I mention ‘differentiation’ and streaming) may in fact perpetuate and deepen systems which disable access to equity in education.

Apple argues that concern for educational equity is too important for learning and teaching to be the sole preserve of teachers and scholars. There is a corresponding necessity to extend the capacity for others to contribute to discussions in critically aware, meaningful and informed ways. The toolkit required for sharing insights about the equality agenda needs to be extended beyond the preserve of academic voices, so it will include, but should not be restricted to, peer reviewed journals. Using tools for discussion such as Blogs and Twitter may extend the democratic discussion as to how public education contributes to the public good. There is a moral requirement then to carefully extend the writing craft to disseminate a message as to where education can impact on community practice and to ensure that the wider community also participates actively in formulating and sharing ideas about what is good for them. This is especially important while addressing the needs of those who have traditionally been marginalized from active engagement with educational agenda setting. Such initiatives may be disquieting for some of our more entrenched habits as academics to view our work as highly individualized and personal. The argument put forward by Apple is that by illuminating the dynamic capacities for wider collaboration and action we then become models of practice for our students.

Even as climate change makes our own weather patterns ever more unpredictable here in Worcester, I feel having listened to some of the many inspiring collaborative seminars shared in Chicago over the past week, that the young children who sought guidance from their elders as they walked through the city will be assured a more certain and caring future. It appears to me that there is a growing body of educators who are genuinely concerned about the need to take charge of policy and practice agendas by putting equity meaningfully to the fore of learning and teaching. There are indeed reasons to be hopeful and engaged.

JISC Project

Anyone interested in being involved in this JISC project?
“Are you using mobile technologies to support inclusive practice?
Jisc recently completed an update to its mobile learning guide, involving 20 institutions across HE and FE. Contributors were able to showcase their use of apps to enhance teaching and learning through case study examples and share these with the wider community. For many, it provided them and their students with the additional opportunity to enhance their digital skills and be part of an invaluable process.

As a follow on piece of work, Jisc are again inviting proposals from learning and teaching staff working within HE, FE and specialist colleges for video case studies around app-based learning and inclusive practice.

The submission deadline is Friday 8 May 2015 and if you’re successful you’ll be invited to attend a free video production workshop scheduled for 21 May at our Bristol office.

For further information about how to get involved see our blog post.

To find out more or if you have any questions please contact Tracey Duffy on 0203 697 5871 or tracey.duffy@jisc.ac.uk“.
Moira