W13: Becoming Educational: Our Research Interests

Lecture: Our research interests

Workshops: Looking at Object Based- and Inquiry Based Learning

Peer Mentors: And after Peer Mentors, what?


Social Justice

All of the lecturers on Becoming an Educationalist are also researchers – and we all have our own particular focus – the issue, theory, topic or approach that we are exploring at this time.

Quaco is currently researching how the theorist Sen contributes to a Social Justice agenda for education. I don’t have the link to his Prezi on the topic ATM – but a quick alternative right now might be to explore the RSAAnimate on the Crisis in Capitalism http://youtu.be/qOP2V_np2c0 This offers its own argument as to factors that might be preventing education from enacting or enabling any form of social justice in society.

Transforming educational landscapes

Recently Tom and Sandra have been researching emancipatory practice with a focus on Notemaking – on Government Policy on E-learning – on transforming educational landscapes (with SecondLife) – and the avatars that students use when inhabiting virtual learning spaces (links to papers below). Currently we are looking at Deleuzian theory and its application to us all as educationalists – hence Becoming an Educationalist!Once we all know what our research interests are we can begin to understand even more where we are ‘coming from’ – and also perhaps which lecturer to go to for what advice and guidance.

An object lesson

The workshops were quite poorly attended this week – which was a shame for we had planned an interesting exercise – using a big Mac Box to develop our analytical and critical thinking. A lesson in unintended consequences – our sessions were poorly attended because the submission date for assessments for the Tuesday class was Wednesday. Hmmmm – as one of the Wednesday tutors, colour me unimpressed! Some groups did proceed with the exercise – see Sameera’s great blog: http://sameerasconfessions.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/wednesday-january-8th-2014-900am-100pm-week-13/.

We continued discussions seeded by the lecture. We focussed on the nature of society especially factors that shape how people think. Connections were made with how Hitler manipulated public opinion through the press with the portrayal and cartoons of Jews; to the stories about the undeserving poor, the workshy and the ‘not really disabled’ that followed the ConDem government into office in 2010. With the former, normal ordinary people were manipulated in to accepting the ‘final solution’, the concentration camps and the gas ovens – with us  we have a Government punishing the poorest and least powerful members of society for the failures of the bankers (and, yes, I guess this does show where we are ‘coming from’!).

So what to research?

We also looked more at research. We lconsidered the Notemaking Literature Review (below) as a model – and also as a source of information for our own literature reviews. It has some excellent discussion on Burr and social constructionism and Bourdieu on Habitus – so it is worth reading to support the writing that we are also undertaking on different modules. It all connects. We also discussed the Academic Reading Literature Review (below) for not only is it another model, it was also written as a reflective blog where the student writer reflected on the process of doing a lit review…

It is still difficult to think of do-able research – we tend to spiral off into grand projects – like how gender effects engagement and achievement in HE… which just may be something to leave till we are tackling our PhDs! Still we tried out a few ideas – for example we could ask a random selection of students where they study – or we could ask whether they make notes/why/what sort of notes – we could think about how students learn in a digital age – and Premsky and the concept of the Digital Native was discussed.

Proposals have to be submitted W19 and we are engaged in productive thinking nice and early.

After the Peer Mentors

Only a few PM arrived this week – possibly also because they too were handing in assignments. However it is making us think about what to do with our ‘fourth hour’ once the mentors leave us. Currently the most popular option seems to be that all the students convene in one room and we can have a variety of activities going on: ‘Shut up and write’ time; Peer review of writing; Tutorials with the teaching team; Preparation for Get Ahead 2014 – which is set for Tuesday 4th March!

Related material

Academic Reading – a Literature Review on the topic of academic reading – written as a wiki blog – with reflections on the process: http://litreview.pbworks.com/w/page/18059710/FrontPage

Burns and Sinfield et al (2010) Paper on Notemaking: 


Burns, Sinfield and Holley (2012) – consideration of the freedoms available when creating learning spaces in SecondLife – with a focus on the avatars that students use https://www.academia.edu/3434045/The_shipwrecked_shore_and_other_metaphors_in_Investigations_in_University_Teaching_and_Learning_V8_2012



By K Hoskins – ‎Related articles

attempt to understand the usefulness of different note-making strategies to non-  Thisliterature review however, explores the practice of notemaking as a socio- 

Sinfield, Burns and Holley (2009) – analysis of government e-learning policy:  ‘A journey into silence’:


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