Open Thinkering


Month: July 2006

Research Methods & Interactive Whiteboards

As part of the Research Methods course we have to work in a group criticizing a research paper. Basically, it’s a collaborative dry-run of what we’ll do individually in the assignment for the module.

My group has settled on a paper by a Middle School teacher in the USA which was published in 2001. How it got published I don’t know. It’s not very good, but then that’s good for us as it means we’ve got lots to criticize! :)?

As regards Interactive Whiteboards and my thesis, I might want to include the research done by a team at Newcastle University last year which found that IWBs have little or no effect on the achievement of primary school children. We didn’t study it as a group as it runs to 73 pages…

I think I’m going to need to do some kind of analysis of quantitative data in my thesis, if only to show that I’m able to do it. Looking at, and analyzing, papers such as that one will help me to that end. At the moment there’s not a lot of research about the effects of IWBs as the rationale and justification for their use is largely anecdotal based on motivational factors. I’m not sure that’s my focus, however – I want to somehow look at how ICT in general can lead to organizational change and a shift in the teacher-learner dynamic. All within a wrapper of policy implementation. Not entirely sure how I’m going to do that!

Tentative area for thesis

I met with my Ed.D. course director this morning (haven’t been allocated a supervisor yet) and the exchange left me feeling a bit more sorted regarding the area of my thesis. After having my words quoted back at me by (the man, the myth, the legend) Stephen Downes, I decided that I’d like to do something on the way that those in charge of education policy have the wrong kind of conception of knowledge in the 21st century. However, I also want to link that to organizational change and the implementation of ICT in secondary schools.

The result is that I’m going to start off by looking at ideas about what future western societies will look like and then the concomitant educational needs resulting from societal change. I’ll do this by looking at OECD, UNESCO and WHO projections and reports, amongst other things.

From there, I’ll look at how policy makers have tried (or could try) implementing ideas which will lead to the skills needed in 21st century society. I won’t have space (or, in fact the inclination!) to go into the politics behind it all, but I shall attempt to analyse to what extent policy-makers’ conceptions of knowledge are based on political considerations.

Finally, I hope to analyse this through the lens/filter of ICT implementation. My Ed.D. course director suggested an analogy with the Renaissance and paradigm shifts in the way of thinking around the world. It seems like a good idea and I’m still processing it… 🙂