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Research and Practice

June 9th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Sorry for lack of regular posts but I am at the JTEL summer school in Ohrid, Macedonia this week. It is an interesting event with some 50 students and 30 teachers taking part and bringing together researchers from technology and from education around a common theme. As usual I think there is too much emphasis on ‘chalk and talk’ (or rather Powerpoint and Talk), but changing that is a long term effort.

Listening to student presentations of their Doctoral research, I am struck by how much focus there is now on social networking and participation. This is a big change from even two years ago when there was much more focus on the use of Learning Management Systems and Virtual Learning Environments. But, I also wonder how much of this research links to the actual practice of learning. Some of the researchers seem unaware of the barrier to using social networks especially in school. And there seems limited awareness in the issues related to changing practice. I talked about this with one of the senior researchers who is teaching at the summer school. I said that whilst I was impressed with the degree of attention being paid to research methodologies, I was concerned the research projects were not being located the wider society. He disagreed with me. Her was concerned that not enough attention was paid to methodologies and felt that research should stand back from those wider societal concerns.

Research is important for Technology Enhnaced Learning. But I still feel it has to be linked to practice. I will return to this issue later this week.

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One Response to “Research and Practice”

  1. Pat Parslow says:

    I think both are true – whether the social networking/PLN/PLE approach can be used to provide benefits to learners/learning has, in some ways, to be done despite the lack of access in schools (assuming we are interested in the answers). Society then needs to catch up and find ways to make the tools available if the research shows that there is a legitimate advantage to using them.
    But notice also has to be taken of the fact that any benefits you might find in a prototype project will be negated by filtering out the tools; if we cannot find a way to allow responsible use in schools, the research becomes purely theoretical, perhaps only serving as a standard against which to measure other results.

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