IT in Teacher Education Research Fellowship Programme- invitation to apply for a Research Fellowship

The University of Worcester is an institutional member of ITTE (the Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education).

INVITATION TO APPLY for a RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP

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ITTE Fellowships worth up to £1000 are available to support a Research Fellow to lead a team in the review and synthesis of existing research on a topic of interest within the field of digital technologies in educational settings. Projects should support ITTE’s main aim which is to enhance the use of digital technology in all phases of education through effective teacher education and training and across the range of any UK curriculum.

Applications for a Research Fellowship are welcomed from ITTE members who are Teacher Educators or Researchers in Higher Education or any related teacher training provider, including  staff in Teaching Schools (Alliances, School Direct, Teach First, Strategic Partnerships etc.).

An application must include at least one team member in addition to the Research Fellow.

To Apply for a Fellowship please complete this application form.

Closing date Friday 25th September 2015

For the 18 month period of the award, the Research Fellow will be entitled to use the title ‘ITTE Research Fellow in <the topic>‘ and use the special ITTE logo. If team members are involved (who are not required to be ITTE members) they will be entitled to use the title ‘ITTE Educational Researcher‘ and use the appropriate special ITTE logo.

Project teams will be supported by a dedicated online collaboration workspace provided by Knowledge Hub.

The final outcomes of the Fellowship to be completed within 18 months are expected to be:

  • a research review to be submitted for publication as an academic article in the Association’s journal Technology, Pedagogy and Education;
  • a summary of the findings of the review published as a MESHGuide and written in a form accessible to practitioners;
  • a presentation about the project at an ITTE annual conference in the year of completion.

The outcome of the Phase 1 application round will be announced in October 2015.

To find out more please visit: http://www.itte.org.uk/kms

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Academic librarian update Jennifer Dumbleton

By Jennifer Dumbleton

Module reading lists are useful teaching tools, but as a librarian I have seen firsthand how confusing they can sometimes be for students. When are they supposed to find the time to read all these books? Are some better than others? How do they even know if the boks are relevant to them?

I don’t think the answer is to spoonfeed students all of their reading, but I think it is important to listen to the student perspective on reading lists and their ideas about how to improve them. This term University Librarian Judith Keene, Primary students Sarah Brewster and Ellie Newman, and I  completed a Students as Academic Partners project designed to do just that. The slideshow below shows the background of the project, how it was carried out, and where we hope the work will lead.

Using the new resource list system Aspire, Sarah and Ellie created their own version of the PITE2001 Professional Studies 2 reading list. I have to say I think it’s a good one; it has a lot of breadth, which is appropriate for the subject, and is current. At the same time, though, it reflects their interest in making sure reading lists are assignment relevant, rather than just providing wider reading around the topic of the module. Next year, the student-generated list will run alongside tutor Joy Carroll’s list, and the library will try to compare usage and feedback for the two lists.

I may be biased, but I hope this is the beginning of a renewed interest in reading lists, how they are used and how they influence reading habits. Both Ellie and Sarah seemed to believe the new, easier-to-find lists created in Aspire wouldn’t put them off investigating further, off-list reading. I look forward to seeing what happens next year.

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“Asking the right questions: A study to explore the means by which professional dialogue between learners and teachers can inform new course design” (Area 7)

Karen Blackmore and Michelle Rogers (IoE)

In an environment of rapidly evolving and competitive Higher Education, it is vital for institutions to be flexible in their provision (Alexandra, 2014). This project aims to support the creation of new programs by raising awareness of existing best practice, and augment this with a “learner centred” perspective. The researchers endeavour to discern the key elements of successful program design using a dialogic approach. Our thinking has been influenced from several theoretical perspectives including self-determinism theory (Ryan and Deci, 2006), which describes how adult learners require a degree of autonomy and opportunities to demonstrate competence, through to grounded theory of high quality leadership programs (Eich, 2008). By analysing empirical research data from interested parties (in the form of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires), we aim to design a suite of questions which can be used to prompt discourse surrounding new course design. The study draws on the work of Dolenceon, 2014 who created a structure to guide dialog and enquiry about curriculum. He identified seven key elements of program design and highlighted questioning approaches that could be used to interrogate these components, e.g. “What objectives do the learners seek?” helps to identify the motivations and learning experiences required by learners. “Who are the learners?” attempts to identify to what extent reciprocity exists between these two delineated roles. It is anticipated to use the findings from this study to inform successful future course design.

“Fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment for male students in undergraduate initial teacher education courses” (Area 3)

Rachel Barrell & Dr Colin Howard (IoE)

Current research has highlighted the significant issues surrounding attracting, recruiting and retaining male trainees in ITE, not only during their training, but also once they have entered the primary classroom. The study outlined will investigate the role that ‘male working in partnership groups’ (Male WiPs) can play in engaging and supporting trainees whilst on their undergraduate teacher training programme. In this pilot year a male focused support group was set up as a mechanism of supporting trainees in their development in what statistically is a female dominated course. Issues explored included the feelings of isolation that male trainees feel whilst on school experience and the limited opportunities for males to support one another not only when training but also in their induction year and subsequent course. The initial findings from this pilot year will be discussed and their significance examined in terms of the role that this initiative can play in fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment within male trainees.

“Take the A train: Articulation, Ambition, Application and Achievement in Collaborative Group Work Assessment” (Area 2 & 4)

Dr Sean Bracken (IoE)

Tensions between the need to focus on the value of collaborative group work and the necessity to incorporate an individualized and perhaps a normative dimension within such work are not easily resolved. In order to ensure that group work assessment items are valid and appropriate, it is important to realize that solutions will be complex and multifaceted. Working collaboratively with students at Level 4, a systems based approach to a group work presentation assessment item has been developed. It incorporates three significant dimensions, which taken together form an integrated process. In the first instance during the research phase, there is an expectation that students will provide evidence of online collaborative support. Secondly, resulting presentations must reflect inclusivity and cohesiveness. Finally, students are expected to critically reflect on their own engagement in terms of process input and presentation engagement. All three aspects contribute to individual student task assessment marks. This presentation draws on evidence from student submissions, interviews with teaching peers and a focus on student achievement to substantiate claims that this integrated approach significantly enhances student collaboration and attainment during group work presentations.

“Exploring the research findings using reflective pedagogical conversation” (Area 2)

Alison Prowle and Jackie Musgrave (IoE)

This presentation will share the findings of an Action Research project aimed at an evaluation of problem based learning to enhance students’ engagement with integrated professional working. As an on-going development of the original research, we consider how using a ‘reflective pedagogical conversation’ as a means of evaluating teaching and learning and sharing practice. The presentation is underpinned by reflective practice theory and in particular draws upon the use of reflective lenses (Brookfield, 1995) to help understand and communicate the outcomes from the research project. Moreover, the content of the presentation draws upon professional and management theory related to integrated professional practice. The ethical issue of reflecting the student voice within the research is explored. We conclude that reflective pedagogical conversations can enhance reflection on teaching and learning and act as a useful vehicle for sharing practice within academic and professional communities of practice.

“Categorising asynchronous discussion threads: improving the quality of student learning” (Area 2)

Presentation and poster

Dr Anthony Barnett (IoE)

This paper will focus on the generative potential of categorising asynchronous discussion threads as one strategy for improving the quality of students’ learning in a blended learning module. The approach to categorisation is based on social network analysis using intuitively simple descriptors of message posting patterns e.g. passive facilitator, dominant facilitator, unresponsive star and formulaic discussion. The intention is to produce descriptively vivid illustrative examples of the categories and to begin to suggest affordances of the different participation patterns. Looking forward to the beginning of the next module, it is anticipated that discussion during the module of approaches to participating in asynchronous discussion will contribute to effective engagement patterns and deeper learning.

Jo Augustus (IHS) “Can apple technology increase our appetite to practice mindfulness: using application based technologies to improve access to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)” (Area 1)

Jo Augustus (IHS)

Mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) is an evidence-based program, used in the treatment of different physical and mental health difficulties. As an intervention, it is designed to encourage participants to develop a greater sense of awareness and acceptance. Regular mindfulness practice encourages present moment awareness, where participants develop ways to engage with the world in a more meaningful way. Researchers are increasingly recognising MBSR as being transdiagnostic in its approach and therefore an effective treatment for common mental health problems. MBSR can be effectively delivered in a variety of different ways, including group interventions. Current research has begun to explore whether MBSR can be effectively delivered through less intensive means, including computer-based programmes. In a world with constantly emerging technologies, there remains a need to increase access to psychological therapies whilst cutting costs. This presents an opportunity to explore the use of application-based technologies, as a means to delivering meaningful therapeutic interventions. Thus, it would be great interest to establish if less intensive methods of delivering psychological therapies are effective in the treatment of common mental health problems. This paper aims to review current research to consider ways in which app technology could help or hinder regular practice.

Enhancing employability through digital literacy

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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.