Who am I?
I qualified as a teacher and did my NQT year, primarily in philosophy & psychology, and then left to become a research student in Education. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to do an MA in philosophy of education, and now, move into the more empirical and applied side by starting an MPhil in Educational Research Methods.
My interest in both is in what it means to ‘know’, and how people use, and acquire knowledge – particularly in social or collaborative contexts. One of the issues I became concerned with is illustrated by the below cartoon – how technology influences what we know, and the kinds of knowledge we have
http://xkcd.com/903/ (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License)
I wrote my dissertation on that issue, claiming that different skills might be used when we use new technology, but that’s not to say we lack knowledge. This is an issue of particular concern given debates about assessment, and a rhetoric surrounding a “back to basics” approach which seems to be primarily concerned with the ‘acquisition’ of propositional knowledge, or facts. It’s also interesting because there are alternative models of assessment; for example in Denmark students are permitted to use the internet during a number of their school leaver subject exams (GCSE equivalent), and indeed some universities have also experimented with this. The offers scope to give students a poem they’ve never seen – rather than one they’ve remembered, alongside all the teacher notes – and to give them some other multi-media resources, including images from the time, etc., while allowing them to also explore other information that might be relevant to a deeper question than could possibly be asked under the GCSE structure.
This interest translates into my empirical work, which will explore how pupils access information individually and collaboratively, the skills and types of talk they use in such activities, and whether particular types of information retrieval task might encourage pupils to think in about knowledge in more advanced ways.