Editorial

Pontydysgu SL

Regular readers may know Pontydysgu have been involved in different European projects around the use of technology in education, the training of teachers and trainers and careers advice and counselling (amongst others) since 2000, working with partners from virtually every EU member state. Obviously the decision of the UK to leave the European Union has a major […]

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The threat to research

I just realsied I had not updated the editorial since July last year. Then I wrote a hasty and angry editorial about the threat that Brexit posed to Pontydysgu and to the wider educational community. Since then a lot has happened! For companies like Pontydysgu, along with other small enterprises working in research, we have […]

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Why you should read Sylvia Plath

March 12th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

It is EU funding deadlines week so little time to think, let alone write fuding bids. But I paused long enough to watch this excellent video on why you should read Sylvia Plath. The Open Culture web site has a good essay by Josh Jones, a writer and musician based in Durham, NC accompanying the video.

Noam Chomsky on Language Aquisition

February 27th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

Love this short video produced by the BBC and the UK Open University. If only all learning materials could be as good as this! How is it that we learn to speak and think in language so easily? Philosophers have argued about whether or not we have innate ideas. Whether we are born knowing things, as Plato believed, or rather, as John Locke and other empiricists argued, the mind is a blank slate on which experience writes. Noam Chomsky, gave a twist to this debate in the 1960s. Narrated by Gillan Anderson. Scripted by Nigel Warburton.

Latest from Wales Wide Web

Transferable skills and the future of work

April 9th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

There continues to be a flurry of newspaper articles and studies of teh effect of automation and Artificial Intelligence on employment and jobs. There are different predictions about the scale of the change and particularly about the numbers of jobs which are at risk. One cause of the difference is disagreements about how many new […]

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Automation and the future of work: the Chatbot

April 8th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

According to the Office for National Statistics, around 1.5 million jobs in England are at high risk of some of their duties and tasks being automated in the future. The ONS analysed the jobs of 20 million people in England in 2017, and has found that 7.4% are at high risk of automation. Automation involves […]

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Understanding Labour Market data

April 8th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

The increasing power of processors and the advent of Open Data provides us information in many areas of society including about the Labour Market. Labour Market data has many uses, including for research in understandings society, for economic and social planning and for helping young people and older people in planning and managing their occupation […]

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Empower to Shape Change: Learning and Identities in the Changing World of Work

March 21st, 2019 by Graham Attwell

As regular readers of this blog will know, Pontydysgu were members of a consortium in a project called EmployID, funded by the European Commission. The project focused on changing work identities in Public Employment services and how technology could be used to support Continuing Professional Development, including both formal learning and informal learning. All too […]

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AI and vocational education and training

March 7th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

I have been working on writing a proposal on Artificial Intelligence and teh training of teachers and trainers in Vocational Education and Training. So I’ve spent a few days chasing up on research on th subject. I can’t say a lot of it impresses me – there is a lot of vague marketing and business […]

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Teachers tense and dissatisfied

February 27th, 2019 by Graham Attwell

The UK National Foundation for Educational (NFER) research have published the first of what they say will be an annual report on the state of the teacher Labour Market. The Key Findings are as follows: The secondary school system is facing a substantial teacher supply challenge over the next decade, which requires urgent action. Retention […]

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Latest from Pontydysgu Blogs and Speakers' Corner

Field visit in the region with a group from Namibia – Part Two: Getting ideas for future-oriented training

April 12th, 2019 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I reported of a field visit to regional training provider organisations with a prominent delegation from Namibia. I joined the group partly because I needed to arrange meetings with vocational teachers and trainers from both organisations. With the help of these meetings I wanted to revisit the materials from the training […]

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Field visit in the region with a group from Namibia – Part One: Fresh impressions from the field

April 12th, 2019 by Pekka Kamarainen

This week our institute – Institut Technik & Bildung (ITB) of the University of Bremen – has hosted a study visit of a prominent delegation from Namibia. This study visit is part of a cooperation process that has been started with smaller steps and now there is an ongoing discussion, how to deepen the cooperation. […]

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A Dysgu Decade

April 1st, 2019 by Angela Rees

It’s my 10 year workiversary this month. I started out at Pontydusgu in 2009 as a one day per week researcher on a Leonardo project, interviewing and writing training materials for employers on how to make necessary adjustments for staff with disabilities. Today I manage the projects and funding applications for the UK branch of…

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Catching up with the TACCLE4-CPD project – Part Three: Drawing conclusions for future-oriented training

March 31st, 2019 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my previous posts I have started a series of blogs that present my contributions to our ongoing TACCLE4-CPD project. In this project we are looking at concepts and models for  continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers and trainers with emphasis on promoting their digital competences. In my first post I reported on the document […]

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Catching up with the TACCLE4-CPD project – Part Two: Revisiting the legacy of the prior TACCLE and Learning Layers projects

March 31st, 2019 by Pekka Kamarainen

With my previous post I started a series of blogs that report on my recent contributions to our ongoing TACCLE4-CPD project. As I mentioned, we are looking at concepts and models for  continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers and trainers with emphasis on promoting their digital competences. In my previous post I reported on the […]

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Catching up with the TACCLE4-CPD project – Part One: New version of policy analyses

March 31st, 2019 by Pekka Kamarainen

During the last few weeks – after getting my computer problems sorted out – I have tried to catch up with my duties for our ongoing EU-funded TACCLE4-CPD project. As I have told in my blogs last year, this project is looking at concepts and models for promoting continuing professional development (CPD) of teachers and […]

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    News Bites

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


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