Monthly Archives: June 2012

Cluster meeting

Yesterday, we took part in a meeting with our cluster partners. Kudos to Greenwich for providing a fabulous venue for the event.

It was a useful opportunity to review progress (including the videos each project had made), talk frankly about some of the challenges we’ve been engaging with and also to go into more detail about ideas around dissemination, in particular.

Cutty Sark

Project deliverable delivered

Congratulations to Jude Fransman & her partner Jeff, who have just had a new baby. Jude is taking a well deserved break from work, although she’s still managing to keep in touch and keep an eye on how Lesley & I are handling the data.

Not quite the first baby of the programme – Sarah Knight beat her to it by a few days – but pretty close!

Keynote at “Losing Momentum” conference, Oxford

I had the great pleasure of being one of the keynotes at the Losing Momentum conference in Oxford this Thursday. The event was conceived of and organised by doctoral students, who did a great job of it. The quality of presentations was really high; this lot could give many mainstream conferences a run for their money. Presentations ranged from very pragmatic studies of technology implementation to philosophical critiques of Open Educational Resources, taking in theory and methodology en route. Neil Selwyn provided a rousing and challenging opening keynote (10 things Educational Technology research ought to do better), and I was in the post-lunch slot.

My presentation looked at the metaphor of “momentum” and the appealing but over-simplistic idea of linear progress that it conveys. I used this project to illustrate that, taking a slice through the work that focused, primarily, on the design and organisation of the institution’s infrastructure.

Lots of good feedback, and some very interesting questions – including an interesting discussion of whether we were talking about “learning”, when I was using words like “literacy” and “study”.

Highly enjoyable day, and an helpful opportunity to think through this strand of the project in a little more depth, too.

Keynote at EdTech 2012, Maynooth, Ireland

On Thursday, Lesley and I did a double-act keynote at the EdTech 2012 conference. This is the annual conference of the Irish Learning Technology Association, who were kind enough to invite us, ship us over and act as excellent hosts throughout the event. It was an interesting mix of research talks, practitioner reports and some awards for some really stunning learning and teaching initiatives.

The day opened with Doug Belshaw providing a very engaging keynote that included an overview of the JISC digital literacies programme; this was really helpful, as it framed the talk we gave later.

Our talk picked up on discussions during the day about definitions of digital literacies; Lesley suggested “un-defining” as a title to respond to this, framing the way that we’ve sought a grounded, emergent way of engaging with this concept to get out of conceptual knots. We argued for a social and situated account of literacies, and used examples from our data analysis to illustrate how this looked for us. We also talked about the ways in which this analysis led us to change institutional structures and practices, and suggested questions that the audience could ask about their own students’ literacy practices. We also introduced our current, tentative thoughts around stances or orientations (instead of “skills”), and around resilience, and referred to Helen Beetham’s ideas from the Cascade project, shared at a one-day event in Exeter, about developing students’ repertoires of academic practice.

All sorts of interesting discussions have followed, since. Several people commented on the links we’re making between theory and data, and seemed really interested in the links between our studies and institutional policies and change initiatives. I also had some good discussions about some of the theory I am working with around technology, for example.

The slides we did for this are available on slideshare. We’ve been told that there might be a recording of the talk available soon; we’ll link that as and when it’s released.