"I think that I would have to come clean with the children, talk to them about the real world, and how it can happen, and then liberate them all to the park for two days to do something interesting". Jude Kelly on Any Questions, and a question on the demise of KS3 testing, Broadcast it October 2008

I would like to liberate students into the park most days, but this is perhaps from my experience of school, with a positive dislike of uniform, that made me feel uncomfortable, to shoes that often actually hurt by the end of the day, tedium, low self esteem. None of these produced a good environment in which to learn.

Recent advances in media technologies are deeply intertwined with an overall shift towards more user-led content production models in a large variety of fields – some observers describe this as the move towards a ‘Generation C’ of active and intercreative users, or towards a hybrid user/producer or ‘produser’, replacing traditional production/consumption models. The increasing adoption of such user-led, community-based, collaborative models for the co-creation of ‘content’ requires current and future graduates to display skills and capabilities which are significantly different from what has been
expected of students in the past, and therefore needs teaching approaches which not only describe these literacies, but live them – modes of teaching which are themselves user- (or student-) led, collaborative, and flexible, and address the needs of Generation C.

If the ‘generation C’ is as much about sharing experience as it is about sitting in front of a machine

while university teachers’ special position amongst their class remains justified to some extent, in many circumstances, it is now a commonplace observation that in a variety of domains students can be seen to be as knowledgeable, informed, or skilled (at least in regard to specific aspects of the topic) as their teachers. In such contexts, the teachers’ role is often to facilitate the development of a more systematic overview of the topic and its situatedness in relation to ancillary fields. In practice it often remains difficult for staff and students to overcome the teacher/learner dichotomy and create the space for a more learner-centred and user-led learning experience. Indeed, the physical teaching space itself can be an issue in this context, as it often privileges teacher over learners by way of simple spatial configuration.

why not a classroom with comfortable chairs, different sized spaces, with a feel more of home than of institution

Arguments to shift to constructivist and authentic models of learning are not new (see for example, Piaget 1972; Bruner 1974; Vygotsky 1978 and Boud 1993). Instructional models have also been refined to leverage ICT within authentic learning environments (e.g. Oliver and Herrington 2001; Herrington and Herrington 2006). However, for the first time learners have the capabilities as well as access to the tools (Jonassen et al. 1999; Boud & Prosser 2002; Brook & Oliver 2003). Moreover, as proposed by Prensky (2001a) and Kaplan-Leiserson (2005) and consistent with Generation C capabilities, students can be active participants in the design and development of courses as co-creators of content, particularly through access and contribution to the increasing number of sharable and reusable learning objects and communication and content generation tools, such as wikis and blogs.

Mobile Learning Technologies and the Move towards ‘User-Led Education’ .pdf dpwnloaded from snurb.info/files/Mobile%20Learning%20Technologies.pdf

user-led education is always what I have aimed to achieve, but there alway

ofcom definition of media literacy ‘the ability to access, understand and create communications in a variety of contexts’

Mobiles are an ubiquitous media technology for the 16-24 age group. Younger people have embraced the enhanced functionality of mobile phones, whilst for older users they remain predominantly communications tools. However, the use of the mobile as a ‘memory device’ to look back at stored texts and pictures is commonplace for all age groups.


the fact that the mobile device belongs to the student is very important, to understand that where we as teachers have a real role to play is not in teaching students how to use the technology, but how to use the technology in a creative and constructive way.

Intergenerational learning - the following is taken from the report of the puente group, looking at intergenerational learning and ICT

Most previous reviews of mobile technologies and learning have been concerned with the use of these technologies to address specific curriculum areas. In this review, we take an activity-centred perspective,considering new practices against existing theories. Our review of the literature reveals six broad theory-based categories of activity, and identifies a number of examples of the use of mobile technology in each of them:

1 Behaviourist – activities that promote learning as a change in learners’ observable actions In the behaviourist paradigm, learning is thought to be best facilitated through the reinforcement of an association between a particular stimulus and a response. Applying this to educational technology, computer-aided learning is the presentation of a problem (stimulus)followed by the contribution on the part of the learner of the solution (response). Feedback from the system then provides the reinforcement. In a mobile learning context, classroom response systems like ‘Classtalk’ (Dufresne et al 1996) and ‘Qwizdom’ (Qwizdom: Assessment for Learning in the Classroom 2003) fall in this category, as well as examples of content delivery by text messages to mobile phones (BBC Bitesize 2003,2004; Thornton and Houser 2004).

2 Constructivist – activities in which learners actively construct new ideas or concepts based on both their previous and current knowledge In the constructivist approach, learning is an active process in which learners construct new ideas or concepts based on both their current and past knowledge. Learners are encouraged to be active constructors of knowledge,with mobile devices now embedding them in a realistic context at the same time as offering access to supporting tools. The most compelling examples of the implementation of constructivist principles with mobile technologies come from a brand of learning experience termed ‘participatory simulations’, where the learners themselves act out key parts in and immersive recreation of a dynamic system. Examples include the Virus Game (Collella 2000), Savannah (Facer et al in preparation), and the Environmental Detectives (Klopferand Squire in preparation).

3 Situated – activities that promote learning within an authentic context and culture Situated learning posits that learning can be enhanced by ensuring that ittakes place in an authentic context. Mobile devices are especially well suited to context-aware applications simply because they are available in different contexts, and so can draw on thosecontexts to enhance the learning activity. The museum and gallery sector has been on the forefront of context-aware mobile computing by providing additional information about exhibits and displays based on the visitor’s location within them. Examples of mobile systems that situate learning inauthentic contexts include the Ambient Wood (Rogers et al 2002), MOBIlearn(Lonsdale et al 2003, 2004), and the multimedia tours offered at the Tate Modern (Proctor and Burton 2003).

4 Collaborative – activities that promote learning through social interaction Collaborative learning has sprung out from research on computer-supported collaborative work and learning(CSCW/L) and is based on the role of social interactions in the process of learning. Many new approaches to thinking about learning developed in the 1990s, most of which are rooted in Vygotsky’s socio-cultural psychology(Vygotsky 1978), including activity theory(see for example Engeström 1987). Though not traditionally linked with collaborative learning, another theory that is particularly relevant to our consideration of collaboration using mobile devices is conversation theory (Pask 1976), which describes learning in terms of conversations between different systems of knowledge. Mobile devices can support mobile computer supported collaborative learning(MCSCL) by providing another means of coordination without attempting to replace any human-human interactions,as compared to say, online discussion boards which substitute for face-to-face discussions (Zurita et al 2003; Cortez etal 2004; Zurita and Nussbaum 2004).5 Informal and lifelong – activities that support learning outside a dedicated learning environment and formal curriculum Research on informal and lifelong learning recognises that learning happens all of the time and is influenced both by our environment and the particular situations we are faced with. Informal learning may be intentional, for example, through intensive, significant and deliberate learning ‘projects’ (Tough 1971), or it may be accidental, by acquiring information through conversations, TV and newspapers, observing the world or even experiencing an accident or embarrassing situation. Such a broad view of learning takes it outside the classroom and, by default, embeds learning in everyday life, thus emphasising the value of mobile technologies in supporting it. An example in this category is the system described by Wood et al (2003) where breast cancer patients are enabled to access trustworthy information about their condition, to communicate with other patients, and to keep track of the issues that concern them.

http://www.gold.ac.uk/teru/projectinfo/projecttitle,5882,en.php QCA E scape project

SXSW 2009 - Tangible Interactions in Urban Spaces

Mentoring Plus, Compass, the Children’s Society

augmented reality? iphone with magentometer

Augmented reality has been demonstrated on the iPhone by Blair MacIntyre, an Associate Professor at Georgia Tech. Basically it enables you to lay graphics over video (or input through the camera). This, in itself, isn't that much of a big deal, after all graphics and video have been together ever since the early days of laser disc. But combining this technology with a video camera, you can overlay graphics on top of whatever is coming through the camera at the time. Blair MacIntyre's demonstration has a miniature dog running around a table. The table is real (displayed via the iPhone's camera); the dog is a CGI animation.

So far, so cute; but real-life applications are far more interesting. There is an early tech app on the Android platform called WikiTude that shows how augmented reality might work in the real world. As you scan the phone around a scene (say, a London skyline) text markers highlight points of interest (Westminster Abbey, Millennium Wheel, St Paul's Cathedral, and so on). These are known as Fiduciary markers.

Moving further down the line it's not hard to look at Google Street view and wonder how that technology could be integrated with a real-world display. Navigating would be much easier if you simply held up the iPhone, and a line on the floor showed you where to walk.

The problem with augmented reality is that you need to know exactly where the camera is, and exactly which way it's facing, and– of course – you need to have a camera for it to have any real use. And what do you know… the iPhone has GPS, a built-in camera, and if rumours are correct, soon it will have a magnetometer.

Proposal for a
concerning the European Year of Creativity and Innovation (2009)

The modern economy, with its emphasis on adding value by means of better use of knowledge and rapid innovation, requires a broadening of the creative skills base involving the whole population. In particular, there is a need for skills and competences that enable people to embrace change as an opportunity and to be open to new ideas that promote innovation and active participation in a culturally diverse, knowledge-based society. P3

The “Education and Training 2010” work programme3 and the Community Action Programmes in the fields of Lifelong Learning and Youth policies, and in related fields such as culture, provide opportunities at European level for exchanging experience and good practices and for deepening stakeholders’ understanding of ways of promoting creativity and a capacity for innovation. In particular, the Recommendation of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competences for lifelong learning4 provides a European reference framework covering eight key competences (defined as “knowledge, skills and attitudes”) which encompass a broad agenda for education and training at all stages of life. Many of these competences are relevant to creativity and innovation in the personal, interpersonal and intercultural fields, including "mathematical competence and basic competences in science and technology", "digital competence", "learning to learn", “social and civic competences”, “sense of initiative and entrepreneurship” and “cultural awareness and expression”. P3

A fundamental quality underpinning creative and innovative capacity is motivation and a sense of initiative. The foundations of such qualities are laid in the early phases of personal development. Creativity occupies a significant share of the curriculum in early school years, but its share diminishes drastically in the course of pupils’ education. One major challenge facing education systems is, therefore, how to keep the spark of creativity alive in children and young people. The responses have included, for instance, putting greater emphasis on creative subjects, developing new approaches to learning and fostering various extracurricular activities. P5

The mounting pressure to develop creative, innovative and critical skills implies that
traditional teaching approaches based on direct instruction or lecturing are no longer adequate. They are being replaced by more learner-focused models that are based on the learner’s active involvement in the process of reflection and interpretation. Learning is achieved together with others, creatively changing social practices and habits. An organisational culture supporting openness and creativity is a vital precondition for successful learning and innovation. P5

From Make Friends with Strange People Peter Jenkinson OBE

Creativity is emerging, alongside culture, as a parallel cure, twenty-first century snake oil, yet it is little understood, not least amongst our political and bureaucratic leaders. When it is understood, with all its potential for rapid individual and collective transformation, disruption and resistance to authoritarian strategies, its development is resisted, toned down or dismissed in order to maintain the status quo.

It has been said of the UK’s education systems that they are based on a nineteenth century model in which 90% of the students were taught to be the ‘workers’ and 10% the ‘management’ and that this is totally inappropriate for surviving and thriving in this century.

From Simon Poulter - AT Risk (Closing the Gap)

Fundamentally, engagement in a short term arts or media project can act as an inspiration or shift of self-esteem to those included, but the question remains as to how much this can turn around existing lifestyles rooted in low educational attainment, criminality and other long term poverty issues.

The artistic work commissioned as a part of a regeneration programme is an opportunity to develop and encounter, not limited to a street bollard or bauble. This encounter can offer both the artist and the community the opportunity to expand their understanding of the ‘whole scene’ and is a two way process. When it stops being an encounter, and becomes an imposition of the state or other agency, then it becomes meaningless and unhelpful.

Kester - “I belive that the artist who chosses to navigate through the highly contested and complex symbolic fields that surround ‘dangerous populations’ such as the homeless, incarcerated, and the urban poor, will need to prepare themselves with something more than good intentions and ‘intuative wisdom’ Grant Kester (1995) Aesthetic evangelists:conversation and wmpoerment in contemporary community art, pulished in Afterimage Magazine

Anthony Seldon (Educationalist and Master of Wellington College) wrote in the Sunday Times last week:

“The lifeblood of British schools has become choked by a regime that frogmarches children through exam after exam, leaving them bereft of the skills they need to get on in the world beyond the school gates. No other country in the world is as obsessed with the external exams as Britain.”

It’s a question… of balance

18th June, 2008 posted by: Emma Agusita

“Teachers who have a vision of democratic education assume that learning is never solely confined to an institutionalized classroom… Embracing the concept of a democratic education we see teaching and learning taking place constantly… Democratic educators show by their habits of being that they do not engage in forms of socially acceptable psychological splitting wherein someone teaches only in the classroom and then acts as though knowledge is not meaningful in other settings. When students are taught this, they can experience learning as a whole process rather than as a restrictive practice that disconnects and alienates them from the world”. (Bell Hooks Teaching Community)

Why is it that practitioners of informal learning can align themselves so closely with the tenets of democratic educational philosophy?

I observe and pose such a question from the perspective of an informal educator and researcher, using media technologies to facilitate learning activities in out of school, informal, community settings.

There are a number of central characteristics evident in informal education practices which reveal a persuasion for socially just and holistic approaches:

* Relinquishing control of the learning process
* redefining the value of what constitutes learning
* encouraging self-awareness & reflection
* facilitating critical skills, freethinking & experimentation
* engaging though innovation and equal access & participation.

In raising the profile of informal learning and understanding its impact, all these elements require exploration. Adopting these in the context of formal education settings marks a distinct pedagogic sea change. I am engaged in projects which bridge the informal/formal educational divide. I recognize the enormous potential of such collaboration in terms of rebalancing the educational skew from a social space epitomised by didacticism, disjuncture and division to one fashioned by dialectic exchange, connection and equality.

To reiterate, balance, is key. Whilst formal education instruction is being increasingly eschewed, some critiques of informal learning approaches continue to murmur about abdication of responsibility by practitioners i.e. the hands-on/participatory yet hands-off paradox. However, working beyond institutional mindsets which stultify learner experiences require generative, flexible and non-hierarchical approaches to learning. These will take time to develop, appropriate and embed in order to be successful. Policy makers and educationalists must therefore be willing to support and develop effectual and truly democratic conditions which will allow these processes to be seeded, to grow and ultimately to the bear the rich fruits of learning they offer.

http://flux.futurelab.org.uk/2008/06/18/its-a-question-of-balance/ accessed 6/5/09

Questions for education

Integrated networks combined with intelligent environments raise a number of questions for educators – not least of which is the question ‘where do schools need to be?’

Where in the past schools, universities and other institutions grew around the fixed resources of libraries and laboratories – if information can be accessed anywhere, if simulations and experiments can be run anywhere, if ‘human’ interactions can be achieved virtually in any location, where does learning need to take place? What sorts of new practices, institutional arrangements and human interactions can be developed to best support learning when we are not reliant upon a centrally organised location for people and material resources, but instead can enable ‘near presence’ interactions between learners, experts, advisors and mentors wherever they might be? P14

Questions for education

The massive processing power of technologies by 2020 allows relationships to develop between users and software which may offer new approaches to teaching and learning. Where complex simulations and experiments were once the property only of those with signifi cant training and access to expensive machinery, now it is possible for anyone to input ideas, sketches, draft notes and, working with the computer, explore the implications of these ideas as simulations. Trial and error, rapid experimentation and evolution of ideas become possible. The challenge for education is to understand how best to harness this increased capacity, how to share ideas and information generated, how to engage with young people’s capacity potentially to act as experimenters, designers and creators. At the same time, as increased processing power enables digital technologies to become ‘more intelligent’ and to offer bespoke and specific information and recommendations in the development of ideas, these technologies come to act more as collaborators than ‘tools’. As such, new concepts of creativity and originality are required and new approaches to the assessment of learning with these tools become necessary. P17

PBL (project based learning) is based upon the idea that students will be most engaged in the learning process when they have a personal interest in what they are learning. Instead of sitting in a teacher-driven classroom all day long, students learn through the exploration of topics that interest them on their own terms, and largely at their own pace. Each students is a member of a team of 12-20 students, managed by an adult advisor who helps to facilitate the learning process. Instead of grades, students receive credit for their work. The amount of credit a student earns for any given project varies depending on a number of different factors, including the time they spent on the project, the learning objectives they meet during the project, and most importantly the overall quality of projects. Student work is evaluated against the advisor's knowledge of the students capabilities rather than against a statistical mean or percentage, making the student/advisor relationship a critical aspect of the learning process.



The real beauty of PBL is that it can work for any student; the process is completely flexible, and can be tailored towards specific learning styles, prior student knowledge, student motivation, etc. After spending some time adjusting to the PBL system, most students are able to create, plan, and implement impressive projects of high quality that frequently go above and beyond the typical secondary school curriculum.


2020 and beyond
Future scenarios for education in the age of new technologies
futurelab paper,
www.futurelab.org.uk/openingeducation accessed online 17/4/09

Our analyses also indicate that when different instructional methods were used to deliver the two courses, WBI was 11% more effective than CI for teaching declarative knowledge. These findings highlight that the most effective Web-based courses were not merely Internet versions of CI, but rather they leveraged the instructional advantages afforded by WBI. These courses tended to incorporate a wide variety of instructional methods and chose activities, such as learner collaboration and tutorials, which require learners to be active during training.

Designing Web-Based Training Courses to Maximize.Learning

Sitzmann, Ely, & Wisher Accessed online 18/4/2009


Research evidence about portable ICT can be found across most subject areas, and across all phases of education.

Key benefits

● General pupil learning gains derived from increased enthusiasm,motivation, confidence and a sense of ownership

● Greater integration into classroom use and across the curriculum compared to other forms of ICT

● Increased independence and self-initiated learning in pupils, and the extension of learning beyond the classroom. Teachers can maximise the impact of portable ICT by:

● being confident in its use and undergoing training where necessary

● recognising and exploiting the advantages of portability

● using portable ICT in an integrated way in teaching and learning, alongside clear pedagogical approaches and learning goals.

What the research says about portable ICT devices in teaching and learning Archived research findings from Becta accessed 15//4/2009 http://partners.becta.org.uk

Portability enables students to take work home to continue working, and this can foster greater feelings of ownership over work (Passey, 1999).