Funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation the Open Educational Resources Research Hub (OER Research Hub) will provide a focus for research, designed to give answers to the overall question ‘What is the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices?’ and identify the particular influence of openness. We will do this by working in collaboration with projects across four education sectors (K12, college, higher education and informal) extending a network of research with shared methods and shared results. By the end of this research (September 2014) we will have evidence for what works and when, but also established methods and instruments for broader engagement in researching the impact of openness on learning. You can find out more about the project here.
Visual Learning in Philosophy
Philosophical pedagogies are typically based on abstract discussion of texts, and have remained largely unchanged throughout the history of the subject. However, there is a considerable body of research which suggests that this is unsuited to some learning styles and may discourage some students from prolonged study. Many prefer to learn through visual cues and models alongside engaging with literature resources. Students with learning needs like dyslexia might find the emphasis on the written word to be a considerable barrier to philosophical study. Simultaneously, there are ever greater numbers of websites, apps and mashups dedicated to the study of philosophy which sometimes do little more than recreate printed materials in a digital environment.
This proposal will explore the potential for introducing and integrating visual pedagogies into teaching and learning philosophy by reviewing a number of different styles of visualization and their possible use in educational scenarios with a particular focus on education and the appropriate use of digital technologies. This investigation is guided by the following research questions:
- Can philosophical ideas be usefully depicted in visual representations?
- How might the creation of, (and reflection upon) such images be of pedagogical value?
- Are there freely available technologies which could support visual learning in philosophy?
- What kind of workflow might students/teachers of philosophy be able to use?
I presented preliminary findings at the Visual Learning Conference 2013.
Ethical Mobile Learning
I am currently researching the ethical issues surrounding mobile learning. While many educators are aware that the use of mobile technologies raises a number of ethical issues concerning privacy, security, the appropriate use of public space and the role of technology in education. I’m interested in the potential impact of communications technologies on social interaction more generally construed, on (inter-)subjectivity, and on processes of identity and norm-formation. So far, this has given rise to a conference presentation on ways to understand these issues through the frameworks provided by different metaethical approaches. I’m currently working on a full journal paper and preparing a bid to run a series of national workshops with technologists and ethicists.