Learning in informal settings, Digital technologies in teaching and learning, Emergent Literacy, Early Years, Agency, Interdisciplinarity, Theories of situated cognition and of embodiment
My work at GSoE revolves around digital technologies and learning.
I am particularly interested in learning in informal contexts, and my doctoral research explored young children's experience with interactive digital technologies in the home. I drew on theories that put human communication at the heart of learning: my take on technologies is that they are designed artefacts that can support, or extend, or provide a context for human communication.
I have been working at international and local levels on a variety of projects:
- As a member of the European Network of Excellence, STELLAR, for which I co-authored the Grand Challenge Vision and Strategy Reports. This EU-funded network brought together institutions and projects in European Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) with the aim of unifying a diverse community and to set a mid term agenda for research in TEL.
- With colleagues from the department of Computer Science on a series of workshops for which I submitted a successful proposal to the UoB's Institute for Advanced Studies. The workshop series, entitled 'Exploring The Internet of Things, Creativity and Learning', has brought academics from a wide variety of disciplines together with some of Bristol's Creative Technologists and members of technology hobbyists group Bristol Hackspace to compare and explore ideas, experiences and theories about learning, creativity, material artefacts, and the social and physical environment in which we think and act. Some of the participants have now joined the MIT Lifelong Kindergarten online course Learning Creative Learning for designers, technologists and educators interested in creative learning. My blog for the course is seagleblog.wordpress.com
- With Professor Rosamund Sutherland on an evaluation of the Brunel Institute's five-year project for young people aged 12-16, the Future Brunels. Based at Brunel's ship the ssGreat Britain, the project aims to inspire the next generation of Brunels. In this work I carry forward my interest technologies and learning in informal settings, investigating how experiences of activities designed to support interest in STEM subjects intersect with school but also experiences in family life (for example, the nature of enquiry and understanding that are stimulated/supported by leisure interests and social contact with others in the course of everday life).
- As part of the Research Team for a European project named Co-Creat, funded by the EU's Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency as part of its remit to support work that explores the potential of ICT as a catalyst of social and educational innovation and change. Co-Creat is concerned with technologies to support creative collaboration.
- From Spring 2013, as a member of the Productive Margins research programme. Productive Margins will be connecting communities in Bristol and South Wales to co-produce new forms of engagement in decision-making across politics, policy and the arts. My role is within the theme Harnessing digital space: experimenting with websites and social media to create on-line opportunities for communities to access expertise and develop new skills to engage in policy-making and politics.
I am part of a group organised by the Institue for Advanced Studies currently discussing The Joined-up University? New Encounters between universities, their partners and publics.
My PhD, completed in 2011, was funded by the ESRC and supported by Futurelab through a PhD Student Network. The network supported collaboration between myself and Dr. Andrew Manches at the LSRI in Nottingham whose work also centred on young children's learning with technologies. We produced the papers that form the core of a Futurelab publication, Perspectives on early years and digital technologies, published in November 2008. Andy and I were working in different theoretical traditions and were intrigued by the difficulty we sometimes had when we discussed our work. We produced a conference paper on this subject during our studentships. My interest in the issues, problems and potentials of interdisciplinarity working has developed further since then and underpins the contributions I bring to my work as a researcher for GSoE.
Guest lectures and workshops at Bath Spa University, most recently a lecture and series of workshops on IT and Creativity for the undergraduate Education Studies module 'Creativity, Learning and ICT'.