Educational Technology Seminars

Educational Technology Research Group Seminars


The monthly Educational Technology seminars will take place every subsequent first Thursday of the month . Dates and times of these will be confirmed nearer the time.

Seminar 6
Thursday 6th Oct 2011, 4-6pm, Ellen Wilkinson Building C3.19/20 ( see the campus map for directions , number 77 on the map).


1) Social learning and knowledge creation in HE
MARIA ZENIOS, Lancaster University

Collaborative work has been valued in higher education and at the workplace as it may allow individuals to work together on a problem by
examining it from a number of perspectives and finally reach agreement while they create some shared knowledge around it. My interest lies in professional discourse where reaching agreement within learning communities is not a prerequisite however there is gain in the negotiations and interactions that take place as part of this process. The ability to participate fully in the construction of knowledge generated as part of team work is a key skill in the contemporary working environment and developing this as part of learning within communities in higher education is at stake. In this seminar I will discuss an analytical framework I have developed on researching knowledge creation processes in higher education. The latter originates on ideas around epistemic activity and epistemic fluency which can help us understand how knowledge creation processes can be facilitated in collaborative learning contexts. Qualitative data collected as part of a case study of a doctoral programme offered online will be discussed as part of developing theory on social learning. The study distinguishes a set of moves and strategies that help in understanding negotiation of meaning and knowledge creation among geographically dispersed students as part of networked learning.

2) Old Books, New Media: Teaching Medieval Italian Culture with Digital Technologies
GUYDA ARMSTRONG, University of Manchester,

The Department of Italian of the University of Manchester, in collaboration with the John Rylands University Library and MIMAS, is piloting new methods of electronic delivery in undergraduate courses on Italian medieval culture. While courses in this field have traditionally concentrated on the study of the literary text, we aim to approach the text as a material object, and thereby situate the books in historic reading communities and within the history of text technologies. A ‘virtual’ materiality means that elite cultural assets such as manuscripts and early printed books — usually unavailable or highly restricted for undergraduate students — are freely available to access by a hitherto excluded constituency. In this paper, I will discuss some of the ways in which new media technologies, such aseBook readers, online pedagogical resources, and digital surrogates, have been incorporated into our medieval Italian teaching in recent years,. I will then go on to present our current initiative, the SCARLET project (Special Collections Using Augmented Reality to Enhance Learning and Teaching), a JISC-funded collaboration between MIMAS, the JRUL, and academics from the University of Manchester. Further information on the SCARLET project can be found here:

Seminar 5
Thursday 7th July at 3pm, in room C3.21 of the Ellen Wilkinson Building ( see the campus map for directions , number 77 on the map).

1) E-moderating student-directed learning: possibilities and challenges

Recent developments in higher education have seen the demise of much traditional, didactic, teacher-directed instruction, aimed at lower-level educational aims. This has been largely replaced by methods featuring the teacher as an originator or facilitator of interactive and student-directed learning with higher-level aims. However, this shift is often circumscribed by inappropriate learning design as well as by pre-established power relationships between teacher and students, in the centre of which are oppressive assessment techniques.
This presentation reports and compares the results of two small scale exploratory studies that addressed the following questions: a. What are the features of learning design which will effectively promote student-directed learning in online distance education? b. What features of facilitative “nudging” are effective for promoting student-directed learning in online distance education and by whom? The study found that student-directed learning arrangements are more effective when student-directed activity was carefully “ring-fenced” and free at that time from pro-active inputs by teachers. Implications for e-moderators in such learning arrangements will be discussed.

2)New literacies: Higher Education for the Anthropocene
SUSAN BROWN, University of Manchester

The term ‘Anthropocene’ (The age of the human, Allenby, 2008) characterises an Earth dominated by human activities. These activities are global, increasingly unsustainable and mediated by technologies. They throw up significant challenges that humans need to address.
Whether or not current educational provision in HE prepares students to respond to these challenges is a matter of increasing debate. What is needed, according to a growing number of educators interested in education for global citizenship and sustainability, is a new way of thinking about our activities on Earth, a holistic ‘habit of mind’ that sees the challenges we face in complex, non-reductionist terms. Digital technologies and the way we use them are increasingly shapers of habits of mind. We need to account for their influences in any focus on global citizenship and sustainability education.
In this talk I will describe one current approach to doing so which views the fostering of digital literacies as integral to educating for global citizenship and sustainability. I will give examples of this approach as they relate to an undergraduate course unit entitled ‘Becoming Global’.

Allenby, B. (2008). The Anthropocene as media. American Behavioural Scientist, 52(1), 107-140.

Seminar 4
Thursday 2nd June 2011, 3-5pm Ellen Wilkinson Building C2.17 ( see the campus map for directions , number 77 on the map).

1) Physically separate yet technologically connected: a window on the Saudi academic world.

ABDUL AL LILY, Oxford University

See Abdul’s presentation at :

In Saudi Arabia, although infrastructure (e.g. houses, wedding venues, workplaces, banks and universities) is divided into male and female sections, higher education actors (be they students, academics or leadership) are increasingly utilising technologies to enact and constitute (whether legitimately or otherwise) communication structures between the male and female campuses. This means that, while different-campus members remain physically apart, they are becoming technologically connected. In this talk, the presenter will shed some light on these structures.

2) Critical theory, informed learning and technology

ANDREW WHITWORTH, University of Manchester

See Drew’s presentation at

In the book Informed Learning (2008), Christine Bruce brings together a range of studies into how information interacts with learning in a range of environments from school through to university and then on into the workplace and the community. This presentation reviews this work with respect to other attempts to define broad models of learning as an interaction with an environment saturated by information and ICT, particularly those of Diana Laurillard (Rethinking University Teaching, 2002) and Rose Luckin (Redefining Learning Contexts, 2010). All three can be viewed with respect to insights developed by critical theorists such as Jurgen Habermas. How can we “learn to see” the kind of self-reflective, emergent and bottom-up activities which help communities use information and technology to learn, and, as a result, generate and regenerate their own environments? Or does our organisational devotion to outcomes and measurement place methodological barriers in the way of understanding these informal practices, and as a result, produce the theorypractice gap within universities around ICT? If so, is there any way to bridge the gap in the current HE climate?

Seminar 3

Thursday 7th April 3-5 pm, Ellen Wilkinson Building C2.17 ( see the campus map for directions , number 77 on the map).


1) Information literacy policy and collaboration in practice
Anne Kakkonen (University of Helsinki)

Finnish universities have launched several projects in order to create standards and teaching aids promoting information literacy education and learning. In a project launched in 2004, university libraries created a recommendation for universities for including IL competency in the new degree structures based on the Bologna Declaration. The purpose of my presentation is to give an example of implementing the national recommendation in a university campus library. The best way to teach IL skills is in authentic informationseeking
situations instead of having extra-curricula or curriculum-linked optional classes. A solution for that is a strong collaboration between two expert groups: faculty, who are the expertise of the terminology, research traditions and methods of the subject field and academic librarians who are the experts of information sources and seeking. I will present an example of teacher-librarian collaboration in designing and conducting a course to support the first independent research process of undergraduate students at the University of Helsinki. I will present a model, where the roles of the faculty, the academic library and students complement each other. I will also review the challenges encountered during the process and those we still have to overcome.

2) Student Participation: Preparing students for ICT policymaking in school.

PATRICIA DAVIES, University of Manchester

Little work has been done on the relationship between students and leadership (Mitra and Gross, 2009). Smyth (2006) suggests that it is time for schools to move away from old regimes to a different kind of educational leadership that encourages authentic forms of student participation. He proposes ‘learnercentred policy generation’ as a more inclusive, more democratic way of generating school policies. I will report on a study that examines the extent to which an ethos of shared planning and decision-making might be developed through student leadership to improve learning with ICT at an independent secondary school in England. Students developed recommendations on how to improve teaching and learning with ICT, which they presented to the school’s senior management team. I give an account of the process of organising these students as researchers and on the consequences of their involvement in devising these recommendations.

Seminar 2
Thursday 3rd March 2011, 4-6pm, University Place 4.209, Oxford Rd.


1)Professional education in the age of Twitter, iPhones and Facebook.
HELEN PARTRIDGE, Queensland University of Technology

See Helen’s presentation on Professional Education in the age of Twitter, iPhones and Facebook.

Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, Facebook and Twitter have resulted in significant transformation in the contemporary workforce. This transformation is impacting on the nature of skills required for occupational success. What are the skills, knowledge and attitudes that the “web 2.0 professional” needs in the contemporary Australian workforce? How well does Australian education reflect these changing requirements? This presentation will outline the results of a recent study undertaken as part of an Australian Learning and Teaching Council Teaching Fellowship. The study aimed to identify the current and anticipated skills, knowledge
and attributes needed by library and information professionals in a web 2.0 world (and beyond!).

2) Ambient Learning City: Building bridges between students, educators and the wider public
FRED GARNETT, London Knowledge Lab

See Fred’s slides on Ambient Learning City at

In the Web 2.0 era, why should education continue to be thought of as ‘locked up’ in particular formal institutions? Writers since Dewey and Illich, among others, have recognised the value of rethinking the educational institution as an ‘adaptive’ institution, working across collaborative networks. Such an approach allows us to rethink the social process of learning and recontextualise the learner at the centre of education, thus allowing the social processes of informal learning to drive formal learning outcomes.
This presentation will discuss these issues with reference to a project recently funded by JISC and about to start in Manchester with the cooperation of the School of Education, Mimas and the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI).
The project will engage members of local communities in technologydriven engagement with the collection of artefacts and the web site of MOSI to achieve meaningful, problem-based learning. Through this interaction the digital resources available to both them and the museum will be enhanced.

Seminar 1
Thursday 3rd February 2011, 3-5pm, University Place 4.209, Oxford Rd.


Dr. Michael O’Donoghue, University of Manchester

Video recording devices and video editing tools are currently readily available and an increasing number of University staff and students are using video for teaching and learning purposes. Educational video has a different purpose to entertainment or video recorded for family and friends, so how can colleagues who wish to utilise video for educational purposes ensure it meets its objectives and not simply entertain or fall short of the mark? The aim of this presentation is to explore a design and production process for educational video based on literature drawn from over sixty years of research coupled with the views of professionals working in this field.

Prof Peter Hartley, University of Bradford.

See Peter’s slides on Transforming Students Learning

This session explores the proposition that modern computer technologies provide new opportunities to transform student learning. We must recognize that many (if not most) students are not ‘digitalnatives’ in terms of educational  applications – they may well use a rich variety of computing technologies in their social lives but they need support to ‘translate’ this fluency into sound educational practice. The intelligent use of new technology allows new flexibility in curriculum design and delivery, access to an everincreasing range of good educational resources, and more flexible assessment and feedback
opportunities for learners. This argument will be illustrated by examples taken from current practice at the University of Bradford and other recent UK initiatives. If we build elaborate closed educational and administrative systems which effectively increase student dependence then we are doing those students a massive disservice. To prepare our students for the realities of an increasingly competitive global society, we must use the technology to consciously develop and improve their creativity and independence. Please come along prepared to argue! Please also bring a laptop and we will point you to some software applications that may change the way you learn.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: