The Institute for Research in Education at the University of Bedfordshire is seeking to create a vibrant environment that supports high quality research and facilitates the development of distinctive programmes of scholarly activity that have a high impact on policy and practice in our specific areas of expertise

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  • Teaching with technologies: the essential guide

    Younie, Sarah; Leask, Marilyn (Open University Press, 2013-02)
  • Secret codes: the hidden curriculum of semantic web technologies

    Edwards, Richard; Carmichael, Patrick (Taylor & Francis, 2012-10)
    There is a long tradition in education of examination of the hidden curriculum, those elements which are implicit or tacit to the formal goals of education. This article draws upon that tradition to open up for investigation the hidden curriculum and assumptions about students and knowledge that are embedded in the coding undertaken to facilitate learning through information technologies, and emerging ‘semantic technologies’ in particular. Drawing upon an empirical study of case-based pedagogy in higher education, we examine the ways in which code becomes an actor in both enabling and constraining knowledge, reasoning, representation and students. The article argues that how this occurs, and to what effect, is largely left unexamined and becomes part of the hidden curriculum of electronically mediated learning that can be more explicitly examined by positioning technologies in general, and code in particular, as actors rather than tools. This points to a significant research agenda in technology enhanced learning.
  • School leadership development in Commonwealth countries : learning across the boundaries

    Moorosi, Pontso; Bush, Tony; University of Warwick (Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration and Management, 2011)
    The field of educational leadership has received significant attention in the past decade due to a growing recognition of the role of effective leadership in improving schooling experience. The paper presents findings from a study exploring school leadership preparation and development in Commonwealth countries. Respondents from several countries that are members of the Commonwealth Council for Educational Administration Management (CCEAM) participated in the study that explored the nature of leadership development provision. Questionnaires and interviews were used to collect data. The findings suggest that there is a variety of leadership learning provision and that the content appears to have changed over the years. However, the degree to which this content is shaped by local contextual experiences is questionable. The paper argues that a meaningful model of crosscultural learning for leadership development is one that is informed by context specific experiences.
  • Research report on the role of special schools and classes in Ireland

    Ware, Jean; Balfe, Tish; Butler, Cathal; Day, Thérèse; Dupont, Maeve; Harten, Catherine; Farrell, Ann-Marie; McDaid, Rory; O'Riordan, Margaret; Prunty, Anita; et al. (National Council for Special Education, 2009)
    This review of the role and operation of special schools and special classes was conducted in two phases. The first phase was commissioned by the special education section (SES) of the Department of Education and Science (DES) and the second by the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). Both studies were conducted by the special education department of St Patrick’s College in Drumcondra. The first phase, conducted between December 2005 and January 2007, was a questionnaire-based census of special schools and mainstream primary schools with special classes. Two types of information were sought: quantitative information on provision (for example, pupil and teacher number`s; availability of support services; curricular provision) and more qualitative information on the role of special schools and classes and links with mainstream. It was always intended that the results from this first phase would be built on via a more in-depth second phase commissioned by the NCSE. The aims of Phase One were to: reaffirm the status of special schools with regard to their position on the continuum of provision for children with special educational needs ; consult special schools about their vision for the future ; identify which pupils were being catered for in special schools and classes ; explore whether (or not) the pupil population of special schools was changing ; provide the basis for a more in-depth study by the NCSE. The second phase, conducted between November 2007 and November 2008, was designed to address three specific issues: (1) To review the role of special schools in the provision of education to pupils with SEN and in particular to examine ways in which special schools can act in a co-operative way with mainstream primary and post-primary schools to provide enhanced service to pupils with SEN and their parents. (2) To review the role of special classes in mainstream schools for pupils with SEN having particular regard to the principle of inclusive education as described in Section 2 of the Education for Persons with Special Educational Needs Act (2004). (3) To provide a review of international practice in the area of special education with a particular emphasis on the use of special schools and special classes. More specifically the study examined: the potential for special schools to offer expertise and services to mainstream primary and post-primary schools ; the issues related to dual enrolment ; whether special schools should cater for specified categories of special needs or a broader/full range of special needs and what implications changes in the spectrum of special needs over time has in this regard ; whether special schools should be used/developed as centres of excellence and if so, in what areas and how should they be used. This report incorporates information from both phases of the review in order to give as full a picture as possible within the constraints of time and budget.
  • Research capacity building in education: the role of digital archives

    Carmichael, Patrick (Taylor & Francis, 2011-09-26)
    Accounts of how research capacity in education can be developed often make reference to electronic networks and online resources. This paper presents a theoretically driven analysis of the role of one such resource, an online archive of educational research studies that includes not only digitised collections of original documents but also videos of contextual interviews with the original researchers, linked and presented using emerging ‘semantic web’ technologies. An exploration with a group of early career researchers in education of how the archive might be used to support their own research activities is reported: this suggests that thinking about such online resources as elements of heterogeneous ‘assemblages’ may be useful in their design and in understanding their role in research training and research networks more generally.
  • Networking for school leadership in South Africa: perceptions and realities

    Kiggundu, Edith; Moorosi, Pontso (Taylor & Francis, 2012-07)
    This article presents the findings from the evaluation of the pilot of a new entry qualification for school principals in South Africa. The programme, Advanced Certificate in Education (ACE) School Leadership, had networking as a distinctive feature, and this article examines candidates’ perceptions and experiences of networking as a leadership development process. The methodology combined the survey, interviews and observations. The findings revealed that the practice, development and sustainability of networks were complex; networking advanced shared learning and facilitated candidates’ programme completion while addressing school-based problems through site-based assessment. However, networks were noted to be patchy, with a few operating successfully, but most still requiring development.
  • National models for continuing professional development: the challenges of twenty-first-century knowledge management

    Leask, Marilyn; Younie, Sarah (Taylor & Francis, 2013-04)
    If teacher quality is the most critical factor in improving educational outcomes, then why is so little attention drawn to the knowledge and evidence base available to support teachers in improving the quality of their professional knowledge? This paper draws together findings from a range of sources to propose national models for continuing professional development (CPD). It examines the unacknowledged problem of providing a sustained approach to improving the quality of and access to the evidence base underpinning teachers’ CPD. In the twenty-first century, through the use of digital technologies, the research and evidence base underpinning educational practice surely could be made accessible. The quality of the knowledge base and teacher access to this is rarely if ever acknowledged in the discourses about school and system improvement. The lack of access to the latest research is further compounded by the fact that research published in journals is not generally designed around questions teachers want answered. In short, the knowledge that is produced and the management of it within the education sector lack systemic organisation and dissemination. This paper outlines opportunities for low-cost inter-linked national and international e-infrastructures to be developed to support knowledge sharing and building.
  • Mentoring for school leadership in South Africa: diversity, dissimilarity and disadvantage

    Moorosi, Pontso (Taylor & Francis, 2012-07)
    In South Africa, until recently, mentoring has not been formalized as part of school leadership induction programmes or of leadership professional development. However, the South African government identified mentoring as a distinctive aspect of its pilot leadership development programme for school principals. This programme signalled a shift from ad hoc and informal mentoring to building mentorship into school leadership development programmes. However, there is still no clear understanding about what constitutes effective mentoring models and the significance of similarity and diversity in a mentoring relationship. In this paper I draw from two dissimilar datasets to explore mentoring from an identity (gender and race) perspective. Using similarity-attraction theory, the paper highlights the complexity of mentoring models and suggests that higher levels of dissimilarity in a mentoring relationship may lead to disadvantage.
  • Citizenship and democracy in further and adult education

    Hopkins, Neil (Springer, 2014)
    This book addresses the questions why citizenship education is an important subject for students in further and adult education and why we need democratic colleges to support the study of citizenship education. It investigates the historical roots of further and adult education and identifies how the adoption of citizenship education in the post-compulsory sector can enrich vocational studies in further education and programmes in adult education.
  • Children's behaviour and cognitions across different balance tasks

    Messer, David J.; Pine, Karen J.; Butler, Cathal; Open University; University of Hertfordshire (Elsevier, 2008-02)
    Children's understanding of the way objects balance has provided important insights about cognitive development [e.g., Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1992). Beyond modularity: A developmental perspective on cognitive science. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; Siegler, R. S. (1976). Three aspects of cognitive development. Cognitive Psychology, 8, 481–520]. We investigated the performance of 86 children aged between 5 and 7 years to see whether their cognitions about balance were consistent across different types of balance task. The children did not utilise the same cognitive processes across the different tasks; instead performance appeared to be influenced by perceptual and task characteristics. The findings emphasise that children's ability to access their knowledge varies with task demands and that theories about cognitive development need to take greater account of this variation.
  • Cases, simulacra, and Semantic Web technologies

    Carmichael, Patrick; Tscholl, M.; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Cambridge (Wiley, 2013-02)
    ‘Ensemble’ is an interdisciplinary research and development project exploring the potential role of emerging Semantic Web technologies in case-based learning across learning environments in higher education. Empirical findings have challenged the claim that cases ‘bring reality into the classroom’ and that this, in turn, might provide the basis for an understanding of the role of Semantic Web technologies in case-based learning environments. We describe how the work of authors including Baudrillard and Deleuze has provided an alternative framework for understanding the relationships between cases and the realities with which they are purportedly associated. We discuss how the idea of the ‘simulacrum’ has influenced our understanding of learning environments, has informed design and development practices, and has led to a shift in our understandings of the potential affordances of Semantic Web technologies in educational settings.
  • Addressing the challenges and barriers to inclusion in Irish schools : report to Research and Development Committee of the Department of Education and Skills

    Travers, Joseph; Balfe, Tish; Butler, Cathal; Day, Thérèse; Dupont, Maeve; McDaid, Rory; O'Donnell, Margaret; Prunty, Anita (St Patrick’s College, 2010)
    The study addresses the question of how Irish schools seek to overcome the challenges and barriers to inclusion. This necessitated sub questions in relation to identifying the challenges and barriers for the three groups of learners who are the focus of the study and then identifying how schools seek to overcome or mitigate their effects. To address these questions a case study research design was used incorporating multiple methods of data collection across six schools (three primary and three post-primary). Key informants in the Irish education system were relied upon in the selection of schools for the case studies to ensure that the selected schools were endeavouring to operate as inclusively as possible.
  • Access to the curriculum for pupils with a variety of special educational needs in mainstream classes : an exploraton of the experiences of young pupils in primary school

    Ware, Jean; Butler, Cathal; Robertson, Christopher; O'Donnell, Margaret; Gould, Magi; Bangor University; St Patrick's College; Birmingham University (Natonal Council for Special Education, 2011)
    The study focused on the five key research questions laid out in the tender document: 1. How is the curriculum being implemented and differentiated in mainstream primary school classes (from junior infants to second class) which include pupils with a variety of SEN? 2. How are pupils with SEN and their parents experiencing the curriculum in these settings? 3. What factors contribute to a positive experience of the curriculum and learning outcomes for pupils with SEN in these settings? 2 Access to the curriculum for pupils with a variety of special educational needs in mainstream classes 4. What are the challenges involved for teachers in implementing and differentiating the curriculum in these mainstream primary school classes? 5. What are the challenges for pupils with SEN in gaining access to the curriculum in these settings?
  • Adapting to the digital age: a narrative approach

    Cousins, Sarah Bernadette; Bissar, Dounia; University of Bedfordshire; University of Essex (Co-Action Publishing, 2012-12)
    The article adopts a narrative inquiry approach to foreground informal learning and exposes a collection of stories from tutors about how they adapted comfortably to the digital age. We were concerned that despite substantial evidence that bringing about changes in pedagogic practices can be difficult, there is a gap in convincing approaches to help in this respect. In this context, this project takes a “bottom-up” approach and synthesises several life-stories into a single persuasive narrative to support the process of adapting to digital change. The project foregrounds the small, every-day motivating moments, cultural features and environmental factors in people's diverse lives which may have contributed to their positive dispositions towards change in relation to technology enhanced learning. We expect that such narrative approaches could serve to support colleagues in other institutions to warm up to ever-changing technological advances.
  • Disabled students: identity, inclusion and work-based placements

    Cunnah, Wendy; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor & Francis, 2015-01-26)
  • Is systematic synthetic phonics enough? examining the benefit of intensive teaching of high frequency words (HFW) in a year one class

    Watts, Zoe; Gardner, Paul (Taylor and Francis, 2013)
    A comparative analysis of systematic synthetic phonics (SSP) and the intensive teaching of high frequency words (HFW) revealed the latter had greater impact on pupils’ reading attainment and fluency. Data were collected using multiple methods, including miscue analysis, Salford Reading Test, a phoneme skills test and HFW audits.
  • Minority ethnic pupils in mainly white schools

    Cline, Tony; de Abreu, Guida; Fihosy, Cornelius; Gray, Hilary; Lambert, Hannah; Neale, Jo; Department for Education and Skills, Great Britain (Stationery Office, 2002-07)
  • The well‐being of the UK Academy, 1998–2004.

    Jones, Fiona; Kinman, Gail; Kinman, Russell; University of Bedfordshire; De Montfort University; University of Leeds (Carfax Publishing Co., 2006-04-01)
    This paper compares the findings of two studies, conducted in 1998 and 2004, of academic staff in British universities. It examines the stability over time of working hours, specific work stressors and levels of psychological distress. Comparisons are also made between the levels of psychological distress currently reported by academic staff and those reported by other professional groups and the general population in the UK. Finally, the paper assesses the extent to which UK universities are meeting minimum health and safety at work standards for the management of job stressors. The findings indicate that: there has been little change in the levels of most stressors experienced over the six year period; the high levels of psychological distress found in the 1998 study are undiminished and exceed those of other professional groups and the population generally; the majority of the health and safety at work standards are not met. Possible implications of these findings for the quality of UK higher education are discussed.
  • Monitoring and assessing pupils

    Raiker, Andrea (Routledge, 2008)
  • A comparison of student teacher conceptions of excellence in teaching at two universities in England and Finland

    Raiker, Andrea; Rautiainen, Matti (BERA, 2012)
    ‘Excellence' is a word that appears regularly in government documentation on teaching, for example when reviewing the curriculum review in England (DFE, 2011) or teacher education (DFE, 2010) but it is not defined. It appears that conceptions of excellence may be different in England and Finland,arising out of philosophical, historical, socio-economic and political differences, in other words, from cultural backgrounds. This assumption was tested by means of a small international research project that investigated student teacher conceptions of excellence in teaching at Education Departments at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and the University of Bedfordshire in England.

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