VIEW S Fromthepenof...Mike Sharples
Thismonth in our regular series profiling authors in UK education,we hear fromMIKE SHARPLES,who explains howpedagogy can be applied in the classroomto improve outcomes for both teachers and learners.
For over forty years I have researched, designed and evaluated educational technologies. During that time some technologies such as language labs have come and gone, some like personalised learning systems reappear every 20 years with hypnotic regularity, and some such as virtual reality and artificial
intelligence tutoring systems have never lived up to their early promise.
In the mid 1980s, I abandoned trying to change school education through
technology and instead focused on technologies for professional development, informal learning and higher education. Gradually, I came to realise that the transformational changes to education come, and will continue to come, not from technology but from pedagogy. Research studies in the science of learning, neuroscience, and learning design are revealing how students learn and how to design and manage effective teaching.
An early success was cooperative learning. Until the 1980s, almost all research into effective pedagogy focused on matching teaching to the needs and abilities of individual students. Then we discovered that when students work together in small groups with agreed goals they can gain deep understanding by responding to the ideas of other students and developing shared knowledge. For many students, learning in groups is not a natural process, so they need to learn how to cooperate by arguing constructively and resolving conflicts. The key phrase is ‘positive interdependence’ – everyone in the group should see the benefits of learning together and work to achieve the group’s goals. Around the world, schools now make time for group learning activities founded on principles of cooperative learning through positive interdependence.
I remember the excitement in the mid 1908s when the first workshops on Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning showed how theories of social learning (such as Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development) and group cognition can drive the development of radically new technologies for education. Since then, pedagogy- informed design has informed developments in mobile learning, flipped classrooms, formative assessment, and massive open online learning.My
recent work has been in exploring innovative pedagogy at large scale. I worked with the software developers on its pedagogy of social learning and recently with t the nQuire platform for citizen inquiry – mass-participation investigations that combine citizen science and inquiry learning. For successful education, we need to power up the teachers, not just the technology. This involves communicating to teachers the best available theories of how students learn and showing how evidence- based pedagogies can work in practice.We should develop and test in classrooms new pedagogies such as spaced learning (where the teaching of a curriculum topic is carefully spaced over time to match how we lay down long-term memories), teachback (where pairs of students re-teach recently-learned knowledge to each other) and explore first (where learning a new subj
bject starts by structured
exploration).Most of all, we need to design technology in the service of pedagogy. It’s time to stop promoting new technologies that are based on outdated principles of teaching and learning and to embrace pedagogy-informed design.
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dge http Ways-to-Te ays 9781138599819 July/ y/Augus t 2019 gy, tps:////www.
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racti dagogy by gy-40-New- New- BritishEduca cational SuppliersAs rs Association(BESA) Will our newPMtake
education funding seriously? Regular Education Today contributor Patrick Hayes,
Director of BESA, thismonth calls for the newPMto take a serious look at school funding.
Now there is a leadership contest, it seems that all the candidates accept that schools are currently badly funded and are bending over backwards to say how they will rectify this. Now this certainly isn’t something something to sneer at, but it is striking that many of the candidates have chosen this moment to highlight this issue.Mu
ch of the government rhetoric over the past few years has been to emphasise
supposed record amounts of funding, and misspending by schools – rather than admitting to a (very real) real terms cut in per-pupil funding.
act, wit Even
billion - part of
Let’s hope all this talk does genuinely lead to more money, rather than just more spin. From all the research we are currently undertaking with schools at the British Educational Suppliers Association, it’s clear that a lack of budget is having a direct impact upon access to the right educational resources. And, as a result, children’s education is likely to be suffering.
efficiencies in school and help transform the technology can alleviate teachers’ workload
But over the past three years, we have commissioned the National Educational Research Panel to speak to a representative sample of schools about what the greatest barriers are to the adoption of EdTech in their schools.
In 2017, our research found that only 14%of schools said that
he BBC to design at FutureLearn
awareness of the benefits and teacher unwil “lack of budget” was the main barrier to usi
Now, however, lack of budget is far and away the biggest issue. 40%of all schools cite this as a problem. This means that new EdTech initiatives that could have a transformative impact upon the way children learn, increase standards – and prepare them for an
increasingly digital world – may prove unaffordable to a very significant proportion of schools.
This is one of the reasons why over the past two years, BESA has been running its Resource Our Schools campaign, to help ensure that schools get the resources that our children need to get a world-class education. Hundreds of people have now signed our statement at www.resourceourschools.co
m and shared their views about why additional funding for resources is absolutely essential.
If you haven’t signed up yet, do consider doing so – every signature helps us to ensure that the new PM, whoever it is, is held to their promise of additional funding for the sector.
For info formation fromBESA contact: 020 7537 4997
lingness to use it ranked ng EdTech. Lack of
This is particularly clear when it comes to education technology (EdTech). There is an increasing body of research, spearheaded by the likes of University College London’s EDUCATE programme, showing that when used correctly, the use of ICT in education can have a transformative impact. The use of EdTech has recently been encouraged by the Department of Education in its EdTech strategy, published in April, highlighting the ways that effective use of burden, generate
way lessons are planned
outgoing PrimeMinister TheresaMay is now getting in on the h talk that she may seek to secure additional school funding as her attempts to secure a legacy – rumoured to be around £27 rather than leave it to a successor, like Boris, to get the credit
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