Archive for the ‘chalkface’ Category

Welcome to Chalkface

February 2nd, 2010 by Dirk Stieglitz

Chalkface is an area where we are planning to collect together all those posts that deal with stuff to do with classroom practice.

There are several reasons for doing this.  One of them is that I am basically never going to get it together to write a blog.  If I have something to say, I just squat on Graham’s blog whenever I feel like it and so far he seems quite happy with the arrangement. I think it’s pay-back time for all the nights he has squatted on my sofa.  Despite peer encouragement, I just know that the pressure (real or imagined) of having to write regular entries would freak me out. My life is just not that interesting for goodness sake.  So this is a place where I can post stuff occasionally.

Secondly, the reality of Pontydysgu is that we dabble in a lot of areas. As you can see from the rest of the site, sometimes we just play with ideas – blue-skies stuff that may or may not lead anywhere and may or may not be useful. We also do proper grown-up research that people pay us to do and where there are clear outputs in terms of books or papers or conference presentations. Most of this will be behind the tabs on ‘projects’ or ‘publications’.  But, unlike a lot of education research organizations, we are also lucky enough to be involved with sharp-end delivery work.

Like most people in Pontydysgu, I work across all these areas. However, the place I feel most at home is working directly with teachers and kids in the classroom and I thought maybe our web site should be a bit more focused in the way we reported on these activities.

Lastly, I am a bit fed up with all these websites which are purportedly targeted at trainers and teachers but which are actually for researchers talking about trainers and teachers.  Wrong – trainers are totally shallow – I should know, I am one of them. The reason trainers look at a website is to get ideas that they can use in practice.  Preferably with Yr 8 tomorrow morning.

Yes, there are loads of brilliant resource-rich websites out there (would be interested to know which you rate and for what) so why are we establishing another?  Well simply because I’d like practitioners to realize that the PD site is for them as well as for the researchers. The other reason is that despite the sheer number of these swapshops for teachers,  e-technologies is still a bit under represented and good, open content, open access ones are even more thin on the ground.

So – I’m going to post the occasional entry here but if anyone else wants to add a post, please send it to me, jenhughes [at] mac [dot] com or to anyone else on the PD team and we’ll stick it up. Regular contributors can have their own password.

We are interested in actual ideas for ‘Things To Do”, reports on stuff you have tried, what worked and what went pearshaped, your favourite resources, other great websites, personal classroom problems looking for a solution. All these may involve e-technologies and social software or they may not. I am also keen to cross sectors and disciplines as most ideas can be scaled up or down or adapted for different age ranges with a bit of imagination.

Jen Hughes

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    Innovation is male dominated?

    Times Higher Education reports that in the UK only one in 10 university spin-out companies has a female founder, analysis suggests. And these companies are much less likely to attract investment too, raising concerns that innovation is becoming too male-dominated.


    Open Educational Resources

    BYU researcher John Hilton has published a new study on OER, student efficacy, and user perceptions – a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018. Looking at sixteen efficacy and twenty perception studies involving over 120,000 students or faculty, the study’s results suggest that students achieve the same or better learning outcomes when using OER while saving a significant amount of money, and that the majority of faculty and students who’ve used OER had a positive experience and would do so again.


    Digital Literacy

    A National Survey fin Wales in 2017-18 showed that 15% of adults (aged 16 and over) in Wales do not regularly use the internet. However, this figure is much higher (26%) amongst people with a limiting long-standing illness, disability or infirmity.

    A new Welsh Government programme has been launched which will work with organisations across Wales, in order to help people increase their confidence using digital technology, with the aim of helping them improve and manage their health and well-being.

    Digital Communities Wales: Digital Confidence, Health and Well-being, follows on from the initial Digital Communities Wales (DCW) programme which enabled 62,500 people to reap the benefits of going online in the last two years.

    See here for more information


    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.


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