Archive for the ‘Wales Wide Web’ Category

Where is European educational research heading?

September 25th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

My promised post on the European Conference on Education Research, held earlier this month at the Freie Universitat, Berlin.

The conference attracted some 2200 delegates with hundreds of presentations spanning the different networks which comprise the European Educational Research association. the Pontydysgu team were supporting ECER in amplifying the conference through the use of different social media and through producing a series of video interviews with network conveners. On the one hand this meant my attendance at conference sessions was very limited, on the other hand the interviews with eleven different network conveners gave us perhaps a unique overview of where European educational research is heading.

A number of common themes emerged.

First was that the networks themselves seem to be evolving into quite strong communities of practice, embracing not just conference attendees but with extended networks sometimes involving hundreds of members. And although some networks are stronger n one or another country, these networks tend to suggest a European community is emerging within educational research. Indeed, this may be seen as the major outcome of European funding and programmes for education. A number of network conveners suggested that the search to develop common meaning between different educational and cultural traditions was itself a driving force in developing innovation and new ideas.

Secondly, many of the networks were particularly focused on the development of research methodologies. One of the main issues here appeared to be the development of cross domain research and how such research could be nurtured and sustained. This also applied to those considering submitting proposals to future conferences (next year’s conference is in Seville) with many of the conveners emphasizing they were keen to encourage submissions from researchers from different areas and domains and emphasizing the importance of describing both the research methodology and the outcomes of the research in abstract submissions.

There was also an awareness of the need to bring research and practice closer together, with a seeming move towards more practitioner researchers in education.

The question of the relation between research and po9licy was more complex. Despite a formal commitment by many educational authorities to research driven policy, some network conveners felt the reverse was true in reality, especially given the financial crisis, with researchers being forced to ‘follow the money’ and thus tailor their research to follow policy agendas. This was compromising the independence of research institutions and practice.

I asked each of the interviewees to briefly outline what they considered were the major trends in educational research. A surprising number pointed to a contradictory development. On the one hand policy makers are increasingly obsessed by targets and by quantitative outcomes, be it numbers of students, qualification levels or cost per student. The Pisa exercise is one example of such a development.Whilst no-one was opposed to collecting such data, there was a general scepticism of its value, on its own, in developing education policy. Such policies were also seen as part of a trend towards centralising education policy making

On the other hand, network conveners pointed to a growing bottom up backlash against this reductionist approach with researchers, parents and students concerned that educatio0n is not merely a economic function and that quality cannot be measured by targets and number crunching alone. This movement is being expressed in different ways with small scale local movements looking at alternative forms of learning, a movement also facilitated by the use of new technologies for teaching and learning.

A quarter of young people receive no careers advice

September 20th, 2011 by Graham Attwell
The UK government, whilst launching a new National Careers Service, is switching responsibility for advice to those aged under 19 to schools. And this can only worsen the present situation where advice can be patchy especially for those with vocational qualifications. Do schools really have teachers able to advise students about vocational careers?
However the concern about asking parents reflected in the report of the City and Guilds course seems strange. Our research for the EU G8WAY project shows that parents can often pressurise young people into careers routes in which they are unhappy and which are not suited to them. Equally there is long running research showing that young people tend to follow their parents in careers choices and that this only reinforces the class nature of the education and occupational structures.
clipped from www.guardian.co.uk

The survey of 1,620 15- to 19-year-olds found those on vocational courses were least likely to have been given guidance.

A quarter of teenagers say they have never received any careers advice, according to a poll.

Some 22% of those studying for A-levels and university courses said they had not received careers advice; this rose to 28% for those taking apprenticeships, BTecs and GNVQs.

The survey, conducted on behalf of City & Guilds – an exam board for vocational courses – also found teenagers were far more likely to ask advice from parents if they had been to university.

Just 30% of teenagers would turn first to their parents for advice if they had no more than GCSE-level qualifications. Some 45% would ask their parents for career help if they had degrees.

  blog it

Amplifing ECER 2011

September 19th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Last week the Pontydysgu crew were at the Freie Universitat, Berlin for the European Conference on Educational Research. As last year we were working with ECER on amplifying the conference. This included video streaming the three keynote sessions, filming interviews with 11 of the ECER network conveners and broadcasting three live radio shows. The radio hows are already online on this site and will soon be available on the ECER web pages. We will also be updating the programme information to provide more transparent access to the contents! The videos will take a little longer for editing and post processing.

We also experimented this year with using AudioBoo as a semi live audio stream. I have to admit this was inspired by AltC who had announced a live video station from their 2011 co0nference. i was jealous but also aware that we did not have the resources to emulate this. But AudioBoo requires little in the way of resources, other than an iPod, an internet connecti9on, some imagination and of course, great people to talk to. And we found plenty of people at ECER. There were something like 2300 participants enrolled at the conference from all over the world. And although we only managed to talk to a very few of the delegates, I think the AudiBoos work well in conveying the atmosphere and feel of the conference to a remote audience.

However where the Boos work best is where delegates are explaining their research interests, the things that they are passionate about. Listen for example to Benedicte Gendron from Montpelier University in France talking about emotional capital. In the past we have often seemed to have a split between papers and books being seen as media for serious research with audio being reserved for more popularist versions fo the same. I am not sure this divide is necessary. Indeed it could be fun to try using audio for the hard stuff, with easier electronic versions of papers being provided alongside. Video can be an intrusive media and to do it well needs some considerable resources. Audio is not in any way so intrusive and can be recorded on mobile devices. And I think in future conferences, it could be interesting just to arrange turn up at the end of a session and interview one of the presenters about their ideas.

Anyway thanks to all of our crew – to Jo, Jake, Judith, Klaus, Raymond and Dirk. many thanks also to Angelika, to Herr Goldenbaum and the ECER staff who were so helpful to us and of course to everyone who participated in our media fest.

Another blogpost coming up about content and ideas from the conference.

Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE internet radio from ECER 2011 in Berlin (3)

September 17th, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

Here is the third and final LIVE internet radio programme from the European Conference on Educational Research 2011 at the Freie Universität in Berlin.

The show features the following interviews and guests:

  • Geoff Bright from the Metropolitan University Manchester is organising a   joint seminar of between ECER Networks 7 and 19 on geography, space and education.
  • Jo Turner Attwell talks with a student volunteer at the conference
  • Norm Friesen (Canada Research Chair in E-Learning Practices at Thompson Rivers University, British Columbia, Canada) talks about research and practice in technology Enhanced Learning
  • Rachel Beddow is from the EERA Office in Berlin and talks about her work especially in supporting the Emerging Researchers network
  • Graham Attwell talks to the organisers of ECER2012 from Cadiz

The music comes from the Juanitos and their album “Best of Juanitos” and you can find it on the Jamendo website.

Interviewers: Jo Turner Attwell, Judith Seipold, Graham Attwell; Director: Klaus Rummler; Producer: Dirk Stieglitz.

Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE internet radio from ECER 2011 in Berlin (2)

September 15th, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

This is the second of our jam-packed LIVE internet radio programmes from the European Conference on Educational Research 2011 in Berlin. The broadcast features the following interviews and guests:

  • Tjeerd Plomp from the Univerity of Twente was present at the first ever ECER conference. He talks about how the conference has evolved and grown over the years.
  • Kathleen Armour from the University of Birmingham in the UK is Convener of a new network on Sports Pedagogy and talks about her hopes and ideas for the network
  • Theo Hug, from the University of Innsbruck talks about research and practice in Media Studies
  • Jo Turner Attwell talks to publishers Wiley Blackwell about their publications and why they come to ECER
  • Yngve Nordkvelle from Lillehammer University in Norway talks about technology research in education
  • Lorraine from Australia talks about her research in the use of pedagogical use of ICT in educationL what does being an expert mean?
  • Prof. Johanna Lasonen (University of South Florida, Tampa and University of Jyväskylä) Dr. Marianne Teräs (University of Helsinki) and Dr. Carine Cools (University of Jyväskylä) talk about migrant womens’ access to education and work
  • Benedicte Gendron, from the University of Montpelier talks about Emotional Capital
  • Montree Yamkasikorn from Burapha University Thailand talks about Thai Teacher TV

Music from Dickey F and his album “CROKODILE TEARS”.

Interviewers: Jo turner Attwell, Judith Seipold and Graham Attwell; Director: Klaus Rummler; Producer: Dirk Stieglitz.

Sounds of the Bazaar LIVE internet radio from ECER 2011 in Berlin (1)

September 14th, 2011 by Dirk Stieglitz

This is the recording of the first of our three live internet radio programmes broadcast from the European Conference on Educational Research 2011 in Berlin, Germany.

The programme features:

  • Harm Kuper from the Free University, Berlin and a member of the local organising committee for ECER 2011 talking about the issues on organising the ECER conference
  • Marit Hoveid from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the European Educational Research Association Secretary General Elect talks about key challenges for research in Europe and the role of a Secretary General Elect!
  • Daniel Fischer, from Leuphana Univeristy, Luneberg, Germany, is the best paper winner 2010,  (Emerging Researchers Conference Award) and talks about the theme of his paper, consumer education
  • Leif Moos from the University of Tilburg in Denmark and President of the European Educational Research Association (EERA) talks about the future development of EERA
  • Venka Simovska, also from the University of Tilburg and Convener of a new network on the theme of Research on Health Education talks about her network’s ideas and activities

The music is by Freeky Cleen & Dickey F and the album “Double Feature”.

Interviewers: Jo Seipold, Eileen Luebcke and Graham Attwell; Director: Klaus Rummler; Producer: Dirk Stieglitz.

Social networks, research and education

September 8th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Warning – this article is not based on any reliable research. However it is based on talking to a lot of people over the summer about their attitudes towards social networks and how they use them. Most of the people are working on various educational projects and are based in Europe although some were from north America and the Middle East. So in no way a representative sample but an interesting one.

Firstly there seems to be an increasing number of people who are opting out of Facebook or, if maintaining accounts, merely forwarding posts from Twitter or another social networking service. Reasons vary from Facebook privacy issues, difficulty in managing ‘friends’, social network overload, disliking the Facebook apps (Farmville is often quoted) to just feeling Facebook is a personal network not suitable for business or educational use.

Against that there seem to be a growing number of people who are separating out their use of different social networking accounts, for example using Facebook for keeping in touch with family and friends and Twitter for work.

There seem to be less people who ‘don’t get Twitter’ although against that a growing skepticism about its future with some feeling it will become increasingly taken over by commercial interests.

Many I have spoken too are thinking about the longevity of social networking services, especially free services. This seems to be increasing as so many people have invested time and effort into Flickr which they fear may be in danger due to Yahoo’s financial woes.

Google+ is the big unknown. Firstly its insistence on real names is alienating substantial numbers of social network evangelists. However, many also see its use as a business and research tool, particularly the use of circles and hangouts for project communication. However, many, like me, are struggling to maintain a presence in so many different networks!

And finally blogging. Without wishing to revive the old #F-Alt debate that micro-blogging is killing blogging, I sense a return to blogs, as offering a form and medium which can be used for substantial writing and reflection.

Regardless of feelings and preferences over individual services, there seems to be a general acknowledgement that social networking is here to say and that it is becoming an integral part of research, communication and exchange for projects and education. Probably the fastest growing services being used for project management and communication are Dropbox, Google docs and Skype.

Be interested in any of your opinions.

Live streaming from the European Conference on Educational Research

September 4th, 2011 by Graham Attwell

The European Conference on Educational Research 2011 will take place at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany from 13 – 16 September. The theme of this year’s conference is Urban education and as the conference website notes “Not only are cities burning glasses of societal change and its educational consequences; they also provide remarkable resources to put societal and educational change on the political agenda in order to shape them proactively.”

As in previous years Pontydysgu are providing multi media and ‘amplifying’ support to the conference and if you are not able to attend the conference in person you can follow the event through our streaming of the keynote sessions and internet radio programmes.

Keynotes

Jaap Dronkers

Japp Dronkers is Professor at Maastricht University, The Netherlands. In his keynote he will address the effects of educational systems, school-composition, levels of curricula, parental background and immigrants’ origins on achievement of 15-years old pupils.

Thursday, 15.09, 13:30 – 14:30 Central European Summer Time

read more

Elisabet Öhrn

Elisabet Öhrn is Professor at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In her keynote she focuses on “Urban Education and Segregation: Responses from Young People”
Thursday, 15.09, 13:30 – 14:30 Central European Summer Time

read more

Saskia Sassen

Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair of The Committee on Global Thought, Columbia University She will focus on “The City: Its Return as a Lens into Larger Economic and Technological Histories”
Wed. 14.09., 13:30 – 14:30 Central European Summer Time

read more

Watch this spot for full details of where to go to watch the stream.

Internet Radio

Wednesday 14 September 1430 – 1545 (Central European Summer Time)

Daniel Fischer, Leuphana Univeristy, Luneberg, Germany, Best paper winner 2010,  (Emerging Researchers Conference Award) will talk about consumer education

Harm Kuper from the Free University, Berlin is a member of the local organising committee for ECER 2011

Lejf Moos from the University of Tilburg in Denmark is President of the European Educational Research Association (EERA)

Marit Hoveid from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology is EERA Secretary General Elect

Venka Simovska, also from the University of Tilburg is Convener of a new network: Research on Health Education

Hongmei Ma, from The Chinese University of Hong Kong is an ECER Bursary winner and will give his impressions of the first ECER conference he has attended

Thursday 15 September 1000 – 1030
(Central European Summer Time)

Tjeerd Plomp from the Univerity of Twente was present at the first ever ECER conference. he will talk about how the conference has evolved and grown over the years.

Kathleen Armour from the University of Birmingham in the UK is Convener of a New network: Sports Pedagogy

Melanie Völker is from Waxman publishers who are sponsoring the conference poster prize. She will be talking with us along with the poster prize winners

More guests to be announced

Friday 16 September 1430 – 1500 (Central European Summer Time)

Guests to be announced.

Watch this slot for the address for the radio stream.

We will also update this post as more guests confirm. In the meantime if you are going to the ECER conference and would like to come on the radio programme please email us. And finally if you are at ECER and just want to watch and listen to the  broadcast, we will be situated near the registration desk. Come and meet us.

Designing Open and Linked data apps is not easy

September 2nd, 2011 by Graham Attwell

Over the last two years there has been much excitement about the idea of Open and Linked Data. This is especially so in countries like the UK where there has been a pronounced policy commitment to opening the use of public data for commercial and non commercial use. The UK government open data store boasts links to over 5400 sets of data saying “This can then be used by people to build useful applications that help society, or investigate how effective policy changes have been over time.”

There is no doubt that this data is of immense value to researchers. But despite various hack days, the number of genuinely useful applications seem limited.

We have been working with the data for the last nine months attempting to use labour market data to assist careers professionals and young people in choosing careers pathways. As Leia says in a comment on a recent post on this site “so many of our learners arrive with a complete incorrect (or no) idea about what skills are in demand and what’s realistic to expect in terms of looking for work and training.” We are not saying that labour market data and skills demand alone should guide young peoples’ choices. But it is certainly an important factor especially with university education becoming so expensive.

Why are we finding it hard to do? Firstly as the similar Salami project run by the University of Nottingham noted in a recent report much of the official data is collected for economic purposes, not for social use. For instance, much of the labour market information is collected through the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) which although useful for analysing economic trends, is of limited use for occupational guidance. Instead, we really need Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) data. It doesn’t help that despite the data store which provides links to different data sets, the raw and interpreted data is scattered across a number of different web sites. Most of them are in the course of updating their sites, probably in order to make the data more accessible. But at the same time his is breaking links. And although there are a growing number of on-line tools, these all have their own idiosyncratic interfaces and processes (and often seem just not to work).

I was never very interested in statistics until I got involved in this project. And now I am desperately trying to teach myself SPSS but it is not easy and once more is time consuming.

Even when we have obtained the data it has to be cleaned. much of the data also requires manipulation if it is to be visualised. Visualisation tools are becoming more powerful, but still are not always simple to handle.

Using Open and Linked Data is a design process. And some of the most important people who have to be involved in any design process are the end users. Once more this is time consuming. And of course it is necessary to show them what the possibilities are. each different group of users will have different needs. We have spent a long time thinking about what data we should show to young people and what might be relevant for careers advisers.

Finally we have to remember that data is just data – however well visualised. The use of data has to involve meaning making. meaning making is not a precise science. Different people will make different meanings from the same data. The real added value comes when we allow them to participate in collective sense making through sharing and negotiating meanings.

We have developed the idea of a Technology Enhanced Boundary Object which is able to bring together data and data vidsualisations with a  social software layer to explore meanings. We hope to pilot this in the autumn. And we will provide access to a working version of some of our tools in the next week.

So in conclusion – I remain very excited about the potential of Open and Linked Data. But to design apps which are useful takes a lot of work.

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    News Bites

    Learning about technology

    According to the University Technical Colleges web site, new research released of 11 to 17-year-olds, commissioned by the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, the charity which promotes and supports University Technical Colleges (UTCs), reveals that over a third (36%) have no opportunity to learn about the latest technology in the classroom and over two thirds (67%) admit that they have not had the opportunity even to discuss a new tech or app idea with a teacher.

    When asked about the tech skills they would like to learn the top five were:

    Building apps (45%)
    Creating Games (43%)
    Virtual reality (38%)
    Coding computer languages (34%)
    Artificial intelligence (28%)


    MOOC providers in 2016

    According to Class Central a quarter of the new MOOC users  in 2016 came from regional MOOC providers such as  XuetangX (China) and Miríada X (Latin America).

    They list the top five MOOC providers by registered users:

    1. Coursera – 23 million
    2. edX – 10 million
    3. XuetangX – 6 million
    4. FutureLearn – 5.3 million
    5. Udacity – 4 million

    XuetangX burst onto this list making it the only non-English MOOC platform in top five.

    In 2016, 2,600+ new courses (vs. 1800 last year) were announced, taking the total number of courses to 6,850 from over 700 universities.


    Jobs in cyber security

    In a new fact sheet the Tech Partnership reveals that UK cyber workforce has grown by 160% in the five years to 2016. 58,000 people now work in cyber security, up from 22,000 in 2011, and they command an average salary of over £57,000 a year – 15% higher than tech specialists as a whole, and up 7% on last year. Just under half of the cyber workforce is employed in the digital industries, while banking accounts for one in five, and the public sector for 12%.


    Number students outside EU falls in UK

    Times Higher Education reports the number of first-year students from outside the European Union enrolling at UK universities fell by 1 per cent from 2014-15 to 2015-16, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

    Data from the past five years show which countries are sending fewer students to study in the UK.

    Despite a large increase in the number of students enrolling from China, a cohort that has grown by 12,500 since 2011-12, enrolments by students from India fell by 13,150 over the same period.

    Other notable changes include an increase in students from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia and a fall in students from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.


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