Archive for the ‘POLITICS project’ Category

Politics and Wales – a glimpse of sunshine

November 11th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

I have been in Cardiff for the last three days, attending a workshop organised by the EU funded Politics project. Pontydysgu are a partner in the project which aims to use Web 2.0 and social software tools for people to learn about politics. Although the subject is great there are as ever problems. How can we get young (and not so young) people to communicate between different cultures and different languages. Some of the partners are schools or working in the school and vocational learning sectors. As such the teachers are using the politics resources and (under development) platform to scaffold learning for young people. Other partners, like Pontydysgu, wish to develop the platform and tools for self directed learning by young people. Is it possibel to develop resources, tools and an overall platform which can cater for such different approaches to learning. In some ways it is more difficult to develop the platform for self directed learning, as the resources and platform need to at least assist in scaffolding the learning. And despite progress in such areas as recommender systems and the provision for supporting peer based learning, I think our understanding of how to use technologies for scaffolding learning is still inits early stages.

Anyway, and changing the subject, yesterday morning we moved the workshop to the Wales Assembly, where we met our Regional assembly Member, Leanne Wood and went for a tour of the Assembly. It was a surprisingly good experience in allowing an international group of project partners to relate the work we are doing on education to the broader field of politics as a whole. And I was impressed by the Assembly building. None of that old fashioned privilege and tradition associated with Westminster. Instead it is a modern, energy efficient building (no need for artificial lighting and heated through geo-thermal energy), based on the idea of transparency. Young people were wandering around, interviewing the First Minister for a BBC programme. The sun may have helped to provide a feeling of hope, starkly contrasting to the gloom an despair t5ha Westminster politic engenders today.

Anyway that was the first three days of this week. If you were at the meeting, please feel free to add your comments on what you thought about our work together and the visit to the Wales Assembly.

How much do you know about Politics?

April 27th, 2010 by Jo Turner-Attwell

In May I will be voting for the first time in the UK elections. This means I have spent large amounts of time researching and discussing the different parties and what they have to offer and I am finding it extremely hard to differentiate between the parties. In discussions with other voters my own age I became very aware what little experience many of us have in politics and within my own experience, aside from the influence of parents, guidance in making this decision for the first time is minimal.
This video from the Yahoo election page shows the extent to which this lack of knowledge can extend and was a real eye opener for me.

I believe learning about Politics is something that should be embedded somewhere within standard curriculums in the education system to avoid this sort of ignorance.
Pontydysgu is currently working on a European project called POLITICS which hopes to increase knowledge of Politics on both a national and European scale.

‘The POLITICS project is built around an e-book “Straight into Politics”. Learners will be invited to form (transnational) teams online and develop a digital and humorous story based on the scenario of a politically active young person who is convinced they can change the world for the better and organizes a election campaign.’

If you’d like to know more about this project this can be found out on the project website at

Using Web 2.0 tools for learning

March 4th, 2010 by Graham Attwell

The EU funded Politics project is using a web based story telling process to encourage ypoung people to explore politcial involvement and develop their own ideas around politica;l issues and events.

The project intends to use social software and Web 2.0 software to develop learning pathways for participants in six different European countries.  One of the first tasks for the project has been to produce a report on Web 2.0 tools for learning. The report has been  written by Pontydysgu intern student Jo Turner Attwell, and and is based on previous work by Jenny Hughes in the handbook on Teachers Aids on Creating Content for Learning Environments (available for free download on the Taccle website) together with more recent materials posted on the Chalkface section of this web site.

You can read the introduction to the report below and download the full (14 page) version of the paper in ODT and Doc format at the bottom of this page.

Technologies are changing very fast. Up until recently Learning Management Systems – systems that help to organise and administer learning programmes for students and store and organise learning materials seemed to be the most important technology for creating and managing content. But since then, we have seen an explosion in the use of social networking applications like blogs and wikis, as part of what has been called Web 2.0. These are tools that make it very easy for people to create their own content in different forms – text, pictures, audio and video. POLITICS aims to provide Web 2.0 tools to enhance the learning experience achieved within the development of the participants own Politics story. The project hopes to improve the participants knowledge of Politics in their country of residence by leading them through a Webquest type pathway.  Embedding these tools into a platform designed to allow communication between participants and collection of resources helps to create opportunities for tasks inspiring creativity within these pathways.

There are currently a wide range of web2.0 tools and programmes, particularly those that are useful in a pedagogical way. Many of these tools are already widely used, such as the microblogging tool twitter, or the video sharing tool youtube. Some systems are simply designed for the sharing of content such as Flickr or Slideshare, however some social networking sites go a step further. Videothreads or PB wiki allows deeper interaction as people can add and contribute to the information or work already there. This means content can be created and edited collaboratively online.

Some of the applications listed below are specifically for creating content, for example, authoring tools, or for storing and sharing materials you and your students have created. Others, like online messaging tools, are essentially designed as tools for communication. Some can serve both purposes, for example blogs. However, it is increasingly difficult to draw a line between them. A Skype text message about the weather may be no more than a simple social exchange between two people but group text chats on Skype by members of a community of practice discussing their ideas can create a rich learning resource. It seems a fairly pointless academic exercise to try and differentiate between them. They are all useful tools and applications for teachers so we are including both.

odt version

Review of existing web20 tools25-1

Doc version

Review of existing web20 tools25-1

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