The World Transformed

I volunteered at The World Transformed festival in Liverpool.  This has rapidly developed into one of the most exciting events in the UK political calendar, and has put ‘political education’ back on the agenda.  About 6000 people attended over the four days of the festival.

What I like so much about TWT is not just the range of speakers and topics that are covered, but the way in which it involves different kinds of political discussion, deliberation, and agenda-setting – alongside cultural events and social activities.

NLC 2018, Zagreb

St Mark's Church

The biannual Networked Learning Conference took place this year in Zagreb.  NLC is a small but very high quality conference where the emphasis in not on technical issues but on critical perspectives and theorisation of the role of technologies in learning.  This year there seemed to be particular emphasis ‘on the political’, broadly defined, with papers discussing the ways in which technology trends like big data and learning analytics aligned with surveillance and control, and how educators might respond to and resist this.  My colleague Fran Tracy and I presented a paper on Student Inquiry, Networks of Knowledge and Linked Data which discussed how our experience of developing semantic web applications, and how critical digital literacies might underpin broader politicised inquiry.

The picture is of the Church of St Mark in Zagreb, with its rather splendid tiled roof.

Algorithmic Cultures

A new publication by Fran Tracy and myself exploring semantic web technologies, enhanced publications and student assessments through the theoretical lens of Ted Striphas’ ‘Algorithmic Cultures’.  Here’s the abstract:

Disrupting the dissertation: Linked data, enhanced publication and algorithmic culture

This article explores how the three aspects of Striphas’ notion of algorithmic culture (information, crowds and algorithms) might influence and potentially disrupt established educational practices. We draw on our experience of introducing semantic web and linked data technologies into higher education settings, focussing on extended student writing activities such as dissertations and projects, and drawing in particular on our experiences related to undergraduate archaeology dissertations. The potential for linked data to be incorporated into electronic texts, including academic publications, has already been described, but these accounts have highlighted opportunities to enhance research integrity and interactivity, rather than considering their potential creatively to disrupt existing academic practices. We discuss how the changing relationships between subject content and practices, teachers, learners and wider publics both in this particular algorithmic culture, and more generally, offer new opportunities; but also how the unpredictability of crowds, the variable nature and quality of data, and the often hidden power of algorithms, introduce new pedagogical challenges and opportunities.

Read the article here: https://doi.org/10.1177/2042753017731356

Quality in Early Years

eybookThe book “Quality in Early Years”, to which I was a contributor, has now been published by McGraw-Hill. The book discusses government policy and educational research related to the day-to-day challenges facing those who work in early years settings. Each chapter has reflection points and practical activities designed to encourage Early Years professionals to question existing practice and develop their own understandings of quality.

I contributed several chapters: on frameworks and standards (jointly with Emma Slaughter); on international perspectives on quality in early years; and on research.

You can read more about the book and order copies here: http://www.mheducation.co.uk/quality-in-the-early-years.