Seminars and Events

All events are held at 15 Norham Gardens, Oxford OX2 6PY unless otherwise stated.

All are welcome to public seminars and there is no need to book. If you are coming from outside the Department and would like to attend any of the other seminars, please contact the convener beforehand.
Click on the title of the event for further information.

Applied Linguistics Seminar (title to be announced)

Bram Vandekerckhove

25 November 2014 13:30 -
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Xin Wang, Applied Linguistics Research Group

On the nature of antitheism: an exploratory study of anti-Christian prejudice in English secondary schools

Dr Daniel Moulin, University of Navarra, Spain

25 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room D

Conveners: Dr Lorraine Foreman-Peck and Dr Alis Oancea, Religion, Philosophy and Education Research Forum in association with the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

Abstract
The French philosopher Jacques Maritain used the term “antitheism” to describe atheism that is positive and absolute in its hostility towards God. Recently, it has been used as an epithet by atheists, most famously by the New Atheist Christopher Hitchens. According to Maritain, an antitheist is someone who rejects the possibility of God and wishes the idea of God to be banished from the intellectual, public and political spheres. Some have claimed that antitheism is not a prejudice like anti-Semitism or Islamophobia. They argue that as prejudice must involve an element of irrationality, and hostility to the idea of God and the influence of the Christian Church in society is rational, it follows that antitheism is not a prejudice. This view is endorsed by the New Atheists, and has been articulated by those critical of the role of Christian groups in public life who see opposition towards the beliefs, values and influence of Christianity not as a prejudice but a right of free thinkers in a liberal society. This paper considers these arguments and suggests that contrary to them, antitheism bears conceptual similarities to other forms of religious prejudice. This philosophical argument is supported by a sociological analysis of the reported experiences of Christian adolescents in English secondary schools.

About the speaker
Daniel Moulin is a Research Fellow in the Institute of Culture and Society in the University of Navarra, Spain. He has published articles in the British Educational Research Journal, The Oxford Review of Education, and the British Journal of Religious Education. He completed his Economic and Social Research Council funded doctorate at Oxford University Department of Education and Harris Manchester College. He was awarded a boursier d´excellence scholarship in the Autonomous Faculty of Protestant Theology in the University of Geneva in 2013, and the Carmen Blacker Prize for the Study of Religion by Somerville College in 2012. His introduction to the educational thought of Leo Tolstoy is published in paperback by Bloomsbury this autumn.

Book reading with young children in the 21st century: new formats, old questions?

Dr Natalia Kucirkova, The Open University

26 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Abstract
Semiotic mediation has long been a central focus of sociocultural psychology and allied approaches under the cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) paradigm. It has also been studied in sociolinguistics within the tradition of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) (Halliday, 1978). In these two domains, the mediational, transformative functions of signs are highlighted. Although scholarship has alluded to the methodological implications of Peircean semiotics for CHAT (Edwards, 2007; Holland & Lachicotte Jr., 2007; Prawat, 1999; Valsiner & van der Veer, 2000), there has been scant attention to the cyclical, generative properties of signs identified by Peirce. The ever-changing and evolving landscape of human interactions with the world necessitates a more nuanced understanding of communicative and representational acts. This provides a rationale for sociolinguists and sociocultural theorists to forge ahead with the notion of multimodality by exploring new vistas for the centrality of semiotic mediation in sociolinguistic and sociocultural studies beyond linguistic imperialism.

This seminar is based on recent research into the co-articulation of Peirce and Vygotsky on signs (Ma, 2014). It sets out with an overview of conceptual plurality and variance within sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on semiotic mediation. These perspectives advocate for a paradigmatic shift in emphasis from the SFL tradition to the multimodal framework for communication and representation. Arguably, they will continue to complement and interact, configuring a new synthesis through dialectical relationships. Premised on this, the Peirce-Vygotsky synergy is introduced as an analytical approach to the multimodality of semiotic mediation. Following a discussion of its theoretical basis, the logical fusion of deduction and abduction is explained as authorising this synergy. Through the interplay of words and images exhibited in mother-child shared reading of storybooks, the seminar exemplifies how this synergy can afford a nuanced semiotic account of meaning making, interspersed with insights from the notion of “intersemiotic complementarity” (Royce, 2007). Exploratory as it is, this seminar seeks to inform current debates on the methodological relevance of Peircean semiotics for CHAT by bringing the confluence of Peirce and Vygotsky to bear on the study of communication and representation.

References
Edwards, A. (2007). An interesting resemblance: Vygotsky, Mead, and American pragmatism. In H. Daniels, M. Cole & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 77-100). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London, UK: Arnold.
Holland, D. & Lachicotte Jr., W. (2007). Vygotsky, Mead, and the new sociocultural studies of identity. In H. Daniels, M. Cole & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 102-135). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ma, J. (2014). The synergy of Peirce and Vygotsky as an analytical approach to the multimodality of semiotic mediation. Mind, Culture, and Activity.
Prawat, R. S. (1999). Social constructivism and the process‐content distinction as viewed by Vygotsky and the pragmatists. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 6(4), 255-273.
Royce, T. D. (2007). Intersemiotic complementarity: A framework for multimodal discourse analysis. In T. D. Royce & W. L. Bowcher (Eds.), New directions in the analysis of multimodal discourse (pp. 63-109). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Valsiner, J. & van der Veer, R. (2000). The social mind: Construction of the idea. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

About the Speaker
James Ma is a linguist. He received a PhD from the University of Bristol and subsequent postdoctoral training from the University of Oxford. His academic interests are in cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), post-structuralism, semiotics, critical discourse analysis (CDA), and a priori research methodology.

Sign action: towards an ontological affinity of Peirce and Vygotsky on semiotic mediation

Dr James Ma, Canterbury Christ Church University

26 November 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Abstract
Semiotic mediation has long been a central focus of sociocultural psychology and allied approaches under the cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) paradigm. It has also been studied in sociolinguistics within the tradition of systemic functional linguistics (SFL) (Halliday, 1978). In these two domains, the mediational, transformative functions of signs are highlighted. Although scholarship has alluded to the methodological implications of Peircean semiotics for CHAT (Edwards, 2007; Holland & Lachicotte Jr., 2007; Prawat, 1999; Valsiner & van der Veer, 2000), there has been scant attention to the cyclical, generative properties of signs identified by Peirce. The ever-changing and evolving landscape of human interactions with the world necessitates a more nuanced understanding of communicative and representational acts. This provides a rationale for sociolinguists and sociocultural theorists to forge ahead with the notion of multimodality by exploring new vistas for the centrality of semiotic mediation in sociolinguistic and sociocultural studies beyond linguistic imperialism.

This seminar is based on recent research into the co-articulation of Peirce and Vygotsky on signs (Ma, 2014). It sets out with an overview of conceptual plurality and variance within sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives on semiotic mediation. These perspectives advocate for a paradigmatic shift in emphasis from the SFL tradition to the multimodal framework for communication and representation. Arguably, they will continue to complement and interact, configuring a new synthesis through dialectical relationships. Premised on this, the Peirce-Vygotsky synergy is introduced as an analytical approach to the multimodality of semiotic mediation. Following a discussion of its theoretical basis, the logical fusion of deduction and abduction is explained as authorising this synergy. Through the interplay of words and images exhibited in mother-child shared reading of storybooks, the seminar exemplifies how this synergy can afford a nuanced semiotic account of meaning making, interspersed with insights from the notion of “intersemiotic complementarity” (Royce, 2007). Exploratory as it is, this seminar seeks to inform current debates on the methodological relevance of Peircean semiotics for CHAT by bringing the confluence of Peirce and Vygotsky to bear on the study of communication and representation.

References
Edwards, A. (2007). An interesting resemblance: Vygotsky, Mead, and American pragmatism. In H. Daniels, M. Cole & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 77-100). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Halliday, M. A. K. (1978). Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London, UK: Arnold.
Holland, D. & Lachicotte Jr., W. (2007). Vygotsky, Mead, and the new sociocultural studies of identity. In H. Daniels, M. Cole & J. V. Wertsch (Eds.), The Cambridge companion to Vygotsky (pp. 102-135). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Ma, J. (2014). The synergy of Peirce and Vygotsky as an analytical approach to the multimodality of semiotic mediation. Mind, Culture, and Activity.
Prawat, R. S. (1999). Social constructivism and the process‐content distinction as viewed by Vygotsky and the pragmatists. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 6(4), 255-273.
Royce, T. D. (2007). Intersemiotic complementarity: A framework for multimodal discourse analysis. In T. D. Royce & W. L. Bowcher (Eds.), New directions in the analysis of multimodal discourse (pp. 63-109). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Valsiner, J. & van der Veer, R. (2000). The social mind: Construction of the idea. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

About the Speaker
James Ma is a linguist. He received a PhD from the University of Bristol and subsequent postdoctoral training from the University of Oxford. His academic interests are in cultural-historical activity theory (CHAT), post-structuralism, semiotics, critical discourse analysis (CDA), and a priori research methodology.

Students’ self-efficacy beliefs in mathematics: Design and instruments for classroom observations

Karin Sorlie, University of Oxford

27 November 2014 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room G

Convener: Dr Gabriel Stylianides, Subject Pedagogy Research Group

Monitoring school performance: a multilevel value-added modelling alternative to England’s ‘expected progress’ measure

George Leckie, University of Bristol

01 December 2014 12:15 - 13:45
Seminar Room B

Conveners: Professor Steve Strand, Dr Lars-Erik Malmberg and Dr James Hall, Quantitative Methods Hub

Abstract
Since 1992, the UK Government has published so-called ‘school league tables’ summarizing the average educational attainment and progress made by pupils in each state-funded secondary school in England. In 2011 the Government made ‘expected progress’ their new headline measure of school progress. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the data underlying the Government’s 2013 tables, in order to statistically critique expected progress and contrast it with the multilevel ‘value-added’ modelling approach.

Contrasting the dynamics of English and Finnish education policy-making (Public seminar)

Dr Jaakko Kauko, University of Helsinki

01 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Jenny Ozga, Europeanisation

Abstract: The presentation aims to understand and contrast the dynamics in English and Finnish education policy-making. Dynamics are understood as patterns of interaction between the main policy actors embedded in the socio-historical contexts in the two countries. Data is drawn from 16 theme interviews with key policymakers in England complemented with a body of official documents. The Finnish data is based on earlier research projects, their results and policymaker theme interview data used in them.

The English education policy-making on the surface level reflects a rather reactionary dynamics, following earlier theories of policy entrepreneurs seizing opportunities. On a deeper level, policy-making is guided by an institutional structure created over the course of history: centralisation of power to the Department for Education and a shift of balance in consulting from formal or professional organisations to think tanks and political advisors, and the ascendancy of Ofsted as a political actor in education policy. Finnish education policy-making dynamics is restricted by radical municipal autonomy, consensus-supporting decision-making system, and a bureaucratic tradition all which buffer against rapid changes and result in a continuity of the comprehensive school.

In policy-making, the relations of the English actors are conflictual whereas in Finland they are consensual. In both context there seemed to be a governance gap between the central and local administration. The difference in the processes of centralisation seemed to explain change potential. The main difference in dynamics is the fluidity of the education institutions, particularly school types. In England, the changing political emphasis has changed the basic organisation of schooling, while in Finland changes took place inside the comprehensive school institute.

About the Speaker: Dr Jaakko Kauko is Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki, currently working on the Finnish Research Council-funded project Transnational Dynamics in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Politics of Basic Education in Brazil, China and Russia (BCR) 2014–2017 and as Team leader of Team 1 in  the Nordic Centre of Excellence Justice through Education (JustEd), part of the NordForsk programme “Education for tomorrow“. He was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of Education, Oxford 2012-13 and is currently a Visiting Fellow at IASH (The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities) University of Edinburgh.

Reconceptualising the primary MFL 'diet': an early start to French literacy

Dr Alison Porter

02 December 2014 13:30 -
Seminar Room K/L

Convener: Dr Xin Wang, Applied Linguistics Research Group

Profiling STEM Enrichment Programmes

Dr Wai Yi Feng, University of Cambridge

02 December 2014 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room B

Convener: Dr Judith Hillier, Science Education Research, Subject Pedagogy Research Group

Thinking beyond the straits of reason

Dr Emma Williams, Philosopher in residence, Rugby School

02 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room D

Conveners: Dr Liam Gearon and Dr Alis Oancea, Religion, Philosophy and Education Research Forum in association with the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain

Knowledge, learning, pedagogy and practice: using Activity Theory to explore partnership in parenting services

Dr Nick Hopwood, University of Technology, Sydney

02 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

Abstract
This seminar is based on findings from a year-long ethnographic study of a residential parenting service in Sydney. Up to ten families stay at Karitane every week, for help in addressing challenges relating to parenting children from birth to 4 years of age. The service has adopted the Family Partnership Model (FPM), an approach that emphasises joint expertise, mutual respect, negotiation and power sharing between professionals and parents. Rather than solving problems for families, partnership promotes strengths-based approaches to build confidence and resilience in families, who are often from complex disadvantaged backgrounds. My analysis frames partnership in terms of workplace learning and parenting pedagogies: staff learn about and with families, and positive change in families is realised through pedagogic processes. Drawing on activity theory, I will explore: (1) the ZPD in relation to pitching the level of challenge and appropriate immediate and longer-term goals in working with families; (2) ‘nano-pedagogies’, in-the-moment interactions that draw on professional expertise, remain faithful to partnership, and which contribute to lasting positive change (3) relational agency, particularly as traced through handovers between staff, highlighting the collaboration underpinning emergent understandings of how best to support and challenge parents during their stay, and what will work for them when they return home. In doing so I bring Activity Theory into connection with (other) practice theories that highlight knowing as an emergent, material and embodied accomplishment, and learning as establishing, maintaining, repairing and restoring connectedness in action. Through this I trace how professionals work with knowledge that is incomplete, contingent, and uncertain.

About the Speaker
Nick Hopwood is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Technology, Sydney. He completed his postgraduate research at Oxford’s Department of Education, focusing on geography and environmental education in secondary schools. He then worked on the Next Generation of Social Scientists research programme, drawing on Activity Theory to understand doctoral education with a particular emphasis on workplace learning relationships and embodiment. Since joining UTS he has been focused on partnerships between professionals and parents (see abstract above), and on simulation pedagogies in university settings.

 

 

Evidence-informed educational practice for children in care

Webinar hosted by the Rees Centre

03 December 2014 16:00 -

Conveners: Alun Rees and Lucy Wawrzyniak, Visiting Research Fellows, the Rees Centre.

For further information see the Rees Centre events page

Toddlers' transition to early childhood education and care: the role of security of attachment and caregiver interaction

Dr Katharina Ereky-Stevens, University of Vienna and University of Oxford Department of Education

03 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Conveners: Professor Terezinha Nunes and Professor Kathy Sylva, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Former FELL interns return to present their research projects

Thomas Day, Katie Hougham, Victoria Nicholls, Terri Parkin & Rebeca Tracz, University of Bath

10 December 2014 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room K/L

Conveners: Professor Terezinha Nunes and Professor Kathy Sylva, Children Learning and FELL Research Groups

Am I a critical realist?

Professor Richard Pring, Department of Education

20 January 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room D

Convener: Dr Alis Oancea, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (Oxford branch)

Effectiveness of iPad technology in supporting early learning: Critical evidence base

Dr Nicola Pitchford, Associate Professor, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham

21 January 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Roon G

Convener: Dr Rebecca Eynon, Learning and New Technologies Research Group

Abstract
:
In this talk Nicola will describe an exciting programme of research that is exploring the use of innovative mobile technology to support the acquisition of basic skills (numeracy, literacy, English) by primary school children in Malawi and the UK. Nicola is carrying out this work in partnership with the charities onebillion (https://onebillion.org.uk/) and Voluntary Service Overseas. It addresses the ‘grand challenges’ concerning education and disadvantage, notably those outlined in the 2015 Millennium Development goals for Malawi. It will describe the innovative mobile technology interventions developed by onebillion and will discuss the evaluation studies designed and conducted to assess their effectiveness. The focus will be particularly on vulnerable children and how these interventions can support their particular learning needs. The results of these studies provide the critical evidence base that is required prior to scale up. Nicola will conclude by considering the implications of this research for practitioners and policy makers.

About the Speaker:
Dr Nicola Pitchford is an Associate Professor in the School of Psychology at The University of Nottingham, UK. Her research expertise lies in the field of developmental neuropsychology, more specifically how the cognitive processes that underpin scholastic progression develop over childhood. Nicola works at the interface of theory and practice. She collaborates with academics from different disciplines (e.g. psychology, medicine, education) and works with practitioners and professionals from a diverse range of fields (e.g. neurologists, neonatologists, oncologists, nurses, educators, companies, charities, non-government organisations, and government officials).

Nicola’s most recent research is exploring the use of innovative mobile technology to support the acquisition of basic skills (numeracy, literacy, English) by primary school children in Malawi and the UK. This exciting programme of work is being carried out in partnership with the charities onebillion (https://onebillion.org.uk/) and Voluntary Service Overseas. The evaluation studies she has designed and conducted, both in Malawi and the UK, have led to global interest following BBC coverage, as her research formed the subject of a BBC Click documentary that was also released on BBC Worldwide News (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-29063614).

Nicola is also Guest Editor for open access scientific journal, Frontiers in Psychology, which is currently publishing a collection of papers reporting on “Using technology to revolutionise learning: Assessment, intervention, evaluation and historical perspectives” (http://journal.frontiersin.org/ResearchTopic/2611).
http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/psychology/people/nicola.pitchford

From critical thinking to intellectual virtue

Dr Ben Kotzee, University of Birmingham

27 January 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room D

Convener: Dr Alis Oancea, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (Oxford branch), jointly hosted with the Religion, Philosophy and Education Research Forum.

Abstract
Philosophy prides itself on its ability to teach students how to think. In teaching students 'critical thinking', philosophy believes that it serves the academy by straightening out students' thinking. It is for this reason that large (often first-year) courses in critical thinking (or 'reasoning', 'argumentation' or 'informal logic') are often presented as service courses across the university. Evidence whether such courses work, however, is mixed. While high performance on a standard critical thinking course can show mastery of specific critical thinking skills, it does not necessarily demonstrate critical thinking in life in general or - importantly - whether students are inclined to think critically in their lives outside the classroom. With this in mind, the critical thinking movement has begun to study critical thinking behaviours or dispositions in addition to ability at critical thinking. In this talk I discuss what it means to be 'disposed to think critically'. While the field is heading in the right direction, I hold that a focus on dispositions or behaviours is still insufficient to capture what we really expect of students' personal growth towards becoming critical thinkers. Rather than critical thinking skills (and the inclination to apply these skills), I shall hold that students need to develop a number of intellectual virtues. I will sketch what the study of intellectual virtue can contribute in this area and will show how the study of critical thinking should shift focus from studying skills to studying the people who have them.

About the speaker
Ben Kotzee is Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Birmingham. He works on applying insights from contemporary epistemology to questions regarding intellectual character development. He has written on the epistemic aims of education and on the nature and development of expertise; he is the editor of Education and Social Epistemology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013).

Modalities and Mechanisms of Effective School Inspections (Public Seminar)

Melanie Ehren, London Centre for Leadership in Learning

02 February 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar room A

Convener: Professor Pam Sammons, Families, Effective Learning & Literacy Research Group

 

 

Learning and New Technologies Research Seminar (title to follow)

Professor Rosamund Sutherland, University of Bristol

04 February 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Convener: Dr Rebecca Eynon, Learning and New Technologies Research Group

Late have I loved you: Beauty, truth and goodness in the design of learning: St Augustine as curriculum designer for the postmodern era?

Dr Mark Chater, Culham St Gabriel’s Trust

10 February 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room D

Convener: Dr Alis Oancea, Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (Oxford branch), jointly hosted with the Religion, Philosophy and Education Research Forum.

Abstract
This seminar will argue that current curriculum design in several school curriculum subjects lacks an ontology. By referring to subjects such as RE and Citizenship, and elements such as spiritual, moral and social development, I shall seek to establish that the epistemological foundations of these curriculum elements are weak, and require a stronger theoretical rationale based in a longstanding and complex understanding of human existence. Consulting the 5th-century  African philosopher, theologian and teacher St Augustine, and learning from his unofficial trinity of beauty, truth and goodness, I shall seek to sketch out a possible design theory for knowledge in the curriculum of our own era, an era both different from, and similar to his own.

About the speaker
Mark Chater is Director of Culham St Gabriel’s Trust, an educational charity supporting research, development and innovation in school-based Religious Education in the UK. A qualified teacher, Mark taught RE in British comprehensive schools for ten years before becoming a researcher and teacher trainer. He gained his Doctorate in 1997 with a thesis on the changing relationship between confessional and secular rationales for RE. For four years he was the national adviser for RE with the civil service. He is co-author of Teaching the Primary Curriculum, (2002), Developing Teaching Skills in the Primary School, (2007), Mole Under the Fence: Conversations with Fr Roland Walls, (2006) and Does Religious Education have a Future? (2013). He is working on Jesus Christ, Learning Teacher: Where theology meets pedagogy (due 2015). Numerous journal articles and official civil service documents have focused on the nature and purpose of RE, spirituality and values in education, school leadership, and the challenge of raising standards in RE. Mark is passionate about improving RE, resolving its longstanding weaknesses and working collaboratively across belief and national boundaries.

Discrete or continuous change: Can a dynamic representation facilitate development of reasoning in mathematics?

Dr Sue Forsythe, University of Leicester

17 February 2015 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room G

Convener: Dr Jenni Ingram, Mathematics Education Research Group

Abstract:
In order to investigate how students develop the concept of inclusivity between classes of 2D shapes I used a Design Based Research method to develop and refine a task, based on a dynamic figure, which students dragged to generate different triangles and quadrilaterals. Pairs of 13 year old students and one whole teaching group worked with the dynamic figure whilst their dialogue and on-screen activity were recorded.  A number of themes emerged from the data, in particular the importance of symmetry in how the students generated the shapes. This was evident when students  dragged to maintain the symmetry (DMS) of the figure, a strategy with the potential to mediate the concept of a ‘dragging family’ of shapes. As such DMS is a ‘dragging utilisation scheme’ in the Vygotskyan sense. However, in order to move towards this understanding it is necessary that students perceive dragging activity on the figure as an action resulting in a continuously changing figure which morphs through an infinite number of shapes. I describe how I used an animation of the figure under DMS as the catalyst to move the students’ thinking towards the ‘dragging family’. My findings suggest that enabling students to view change through continuous rather than discrete representations helped to develop inclusive thinking.

Education, Language and the Social Brain (Public Seminar)

Professor Neil Mercer, University of Cambridge

23 February 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room A

Conveners: Professor Harry Daniels and Dr Ian Thompson (OSAT)

 

Good Habits of the Mind: Investigating the Normative Role for Intellectual Virtue in Mathematics Education.

Dr Steve Thornton

24 February 2015 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room G

Convener: Dr Jenni Ingram, Mathematics Education Research Group

Abstract
In educational philosophy, much has been written on virtue ethics and its role in moral education, with an emphasis on the moral virtues in the development of character. There is, moreover, a growing literature on the intellectual virtues in education, with emphasis placed predominantly on their role in critical thinking and the cultivation of dispositions essential to the education of critical thinkers. However, little has been written on how the intellectual virtues, as good habits of the mind, might apply to specific curriculum areas and the role they ought to play to foster intellectual engagement and, hence, excellent teaching and learning.

In this seminar I start from an account of the intellectual virtues developed by Hugh Sockett (2012) in which he stresses the overall importance of truthfulness, accuracy, open-mindedness and impartiality. These virtues can be considered as the enabling traits that dispose one to think critically and to engage intellectually with one’s learning. In investigating how these virtues might apply to mathematics education, I consider the normative implications that flow from a commitment to the premise that their cultivation is a key attribute of intellectual engagement in that field.

Sentient schools: educational institutions as software-supported big data platforms and sensing environments

Dr Ben Williamson, University of Stirling

25 February 2015 17:00 -
Seminar Roon G/H

Convener: Dr Rebecca Eynon, Learning and New Technologies Research Group

Abstract: Along with imaginings of the future of the ‘smart city,’ an urban environment highly mediated and augmented by information and communication technologies, the idea of the ‘smart school’ is emerging as part of re-imaginings of the future of education. Various organizations and actors have begun to produce materials envisaging education as a smart, sensor-enabled, software-mediated, data-driven, and computationally-programmable social institution. This presentation will argue that smart schools are emerging ‘fabricated spaces’ being formed out of a mixture of technological fantasies and related technical developments. Such spaces are to be managed and governed through processes written in computer code and proceduralized in algorithms. By interrogating these fantasies of smart, sentient schools, it is possible to discern how particular educational futures are being fashioned, and how schools and students are to be governed. Drawing on a variety of materials, the presentation will survey the key features of emerging smart schools: ⎯ the seemingly ‘sentient’ infrastructures that underpin them
⎯ the constant flows of data smart schools depend on
⎯ students as nodes in ‘learning networks’ whose behaviours can be nudged and tweaked through network effects
⎯ sensor devices, including activity monitors, RFID tags and ID cards, to track and monitor student activities and movements
⎯ students as ‘computational operatives’ who must ‘learn to code’ in order to become ‘smart citizens’ in the digital governance of the smart city
⎯ techniques of dataveillance that enable student data to be used to anticipate their behaviours and pre-empt their futures Significantly, these features are characteristic of a new technocratic way of conceptualizing educational practices and spaces—related to an emerging style of ‘political computational thinking’—and of emerging modes of both ‘real-time’ and ‘future-tense’ digital education governance.

About the Speaker

Dr Ben Williamson is a lecturer in the School of Education at the University of Stirling. His research focuses on digital technologies and educational governance, with particular interests in the participation of think tanks, policy labs and third sector organizations in education policy, and in the emergence of new forms of technologically-mediated ‘digital education governance.’ This presentation will draw on the ESRC funded Code Acts in Education project that Ben is currently leading (http://codeactsineducation.wordpress.com/about/).

Mathematics Education/Quantitative methods hub joint seminar (title to follow)

Professor Andrew Noyes, University of Nottingham

19 May 2015 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room G

Convener: Dr Jenni Ingram, Mathematics Education Research Group

Creating opportunity for digital participation: Integrating computer science in the primary curriculum

Dr Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Georgia State University

27 May 2015 17:00 - 18:30
Seminar Room G/H

Convener: Dr Rebecca Eynon, Learning and New Technologies Research Group

Abstract:
Focusing on design thinking and integrated curriculum design, this research talk will describe an investigation of how to integrate computer science and online literacies into primary classroom settings. Primary computer science is one way to invite learners as digital participants. The study described here will demonstrate how one school is changing curriculum to encourage digital participation. Theories about participatory digital practices, constructionism, and empowering/emancipatory education offer teachers a foothold for curricular innovation. However, new theories about how to engage learners (and teachers) in meaningful and meaning-making digital practices continue to develop as teachers take up and use these theories in the contexts of schools and learning.

About the speaker:
Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Georgia State University in the US. Her research focuses on digital literacies, early literacy development, and teacher development.

Concepts and Mastery in Learning and Teaching Mathematics

Dr Alf Coles, University of Bristol

11 June 2015 16:30 - 18:00
Seminar Room G

Convener: Dr Jenni Ingram, Mathematics Education Research Group