04/06/2018

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the purpose of ‘Action Research’.
2. Analyse the key features/stages of ‘Action Research’.

Challenge Target: Analyse the risks of a model of ‘Action Research’

Although I have completed UV5128 ‘Action Research’, this session was good in instilling the purpose and providing further examples of action research studies that inform policy makers, which impact and shape education. Our starter was to explain the purpose of action research and provide possible examples of areas of study.

The purpose of Action Research is to generate primary data, which can be analysed to support a hypothesis, which then through a report can enact change. 

We discussed possible risks that could effect a research project, these included having a biased opinion, no primary research generated and regurgitated research from other reports. The topic of survey and research categories was also discussed, not forgetting the importance of qualitative and quantitative data.

We watched the following video, which talked us through the process of ‘Action Research’:

To summarise, the four key steps in conducting action research is:

• Planning: This could be a developing a hypothesis you already have by conducting some qualitative research via focus group to generate a line of enquiry.
• Action: Conducting the primary investigation, through a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, such as questionnaires and surveys.
• Analysis: Studying the data and extrapolating the information required to form narratives to support your hypothesis.
• Conclusion: Refining your findings into a report and proposal of possible actions to take forward.

Recently, I have been studying the Browne Review, which proposed that the University tuition fees cap be raised. I have serious doubts over the range of economical demographics of participants in the survey; apparently only 80 families were interviewed, this low-yield number is not reassuring for a report that fundamentally shook up the education system and deterred many learners from entering Higher Education. I would like to fully deconstruct the Browne report and rewrite it based on the initial questions, yet with a much greater number of participants from a broad economical background.

 

28/05/2018

There was no session tonight as it was a bank holiday, this also coincides with it being the start of the summer half term; after 14 years in Higher Education, I’m still trying to get used to half terms breaks, you get paid to have a week off…! Well that is the fantasy and the misconception of the masses. My half term week is mapped out with plenty of work:
Tuesday – Take one of my graphic design studetns to the University of Portsmouth to get their designs laser engraved onto some mock skateboards. (Get essay wire bound)
Wednesday – Go into college to supervise learners who wish to come in and catch up with work.
Thursday – Ditto, see Wednesday.
Friday – Term planning and report writing.

So that is the week planned, no doubt, some of my distance learning degree studetns will submit some assignments to assess, which will require formative feedback. Then I have paperwork to sort for my external moderation visits. I suppose there is no rest for the wicked. 

However, the weekend just gone, provided me with some free time to type out my final essay for this course. So collating my research and notes from some pertinent sessions, I was able to write my ‘Developing, Using and Organising Resources in a Specialist Area’ essay. This was an overall good chance to evaluate my practice and make some plans for development and improvements. One of my plans is to integrate Barclays Life Skills lessons into the term, these will be ideal for Unit 11 on progression, coupled with they should provide some invaluable skills for the learners work experience week. 

21/05/2018

Learning Objectives:
1. Demonstrate a resource to effectively support learning.
2. Recommend and justify the inclusive use of a resource.

Challenge Target: Critically analyse and evaluate a range of teaching and learning resources.

Personal Targets Workshops:
1. Review your targets and progress to create a new personal action plan.
2. Analyse relevant knowledge, criteria, assignment briefs and progress reviews to produce evidence.
3. Critically analyses and evaluate your resource through a SWOT analysis.

Tonights class was very sparse, only five learners in the main session and another in the computer room; this was to provide the learners who delivered their Resource Demonstration/Presentation last week, time to catch up with personal targets.

Our starter was as follows:
‘Your manager has tasked you, at very short notice to cover a session for a colleague. What is your course of action?’

It was a given that this cover would be within our subject specialism, My course of action would be as follows:

• Locate the Scheme of Work, this could be either in a physical teaching file or a shared cloud drive.
• Check the VLE for any updates on objectives, tasks that need to be completed.
• If the learners are unfamiliar, check the group profile for any with educational needs and requirements.
• Look for evidence within the teaching space for any previous work to inform direction.
• Convert the starter session into a recap and confirmation of prior learning.

Overall this was a good task as it required us to demonstrate our understanding of best teaching practices and the importance of sharing knowledge and important documents with our immediate team. However, I can testify from experience, that sometimes you do not get 10 minutes to plan, nor have access to any shared lesson plans or SoW’s, instead you can be thrown straight into a class if a colleague fails to call in sick and nothing has been prepared. Yet, if you are knowledgable in your subject and can think on your feet, then sometimes to ‘Wing-it’ approach does work quite well.

The main core of the session was the delivery of four ‘Resource Presentations’. Overall, they were all good and all had their own strengths and weaknesses; there were elements from each, which could be adapted for other specialisms.

Building upon my interest in mobile phone technology and my research into its use within the classroom, I created a presentation on the adaptability and possibility of mobile phones within various sectors. I utilised statistical research from my ‘Action Research’ paper, where I stated that 96%  of 18-24 year olds own a smartphone and how that demographic could potentially reach 100% saturation within the next few years. I led by commenting upon photography and graphic design based apps, such as a light-meter and a Pantone sampler. Then I moved into other sectors such as surveying and make-up; then to emphasise this resources inclusivity and power as assistive technology, I covered, font, text-to-speech and image recognition.

Overall, my presentation was well received, where just a couple points about internet access and accessibility to economically deprived learners were raised. Please see the slide show below for the range of uses that mobiles/tablets can be used for.

14/05/2018

I was absent from tonights session due to running an off-site study visit with my Level 3 Graphic Design & Photography students. We went to the Southampton City Art Gallery to look at the work of George Shaw and the current rotation of collected artworks on display; as a bonus, we got a sneak peak at the BA(Hons) Photography studetns final show work from Southampton Solent University. Overall, it was a good day, even though the studetns were itching to ditch the art in favour of going shopping! 

Study visits, regardless of the subject can be a great resource, which can support differentiated learning and expose studetns to alternative ways of looking and analysing material. With my specialist subject, visiting art galleries and museums to see exhibitions is great in providing the students with primary visual research. Building upon our previous study visit to the Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth, I wanted to make the studetns aware of the different types of galleries. With Aspex, it functions mainly as a visiting exhibition space, where work from national and international artists are exhibited throughout the year; Southampton City Art Gallery also has such a space, however, they have further spaces which exhibit work from their growing permanent collection. They boast the following:

‘Southampton City Art Gallery holds one of the finest collections of art in the south of England, and holds Designated Outstanding status by Arts Council England. Currently comprising over 5,000 works and spanning eight centuries, the collection is an outstanding educational resource that can trace the history of European art from the Renaissance to the present. The core, however, is British twentieth century and contemporary art.’

Visiting galleries is not just about looking at artwork, but it is about interpreting the wider message and function of the art at that time and place; questioning the works titles and arrangement can support a more thorough examination. To guide and support the learners cognitive and analytical development I prepare short questionnaires for them to complete whilst they are looking at the artwork. For this particular visit the questions were:

1) What was your favourite piece of artwork and why? Consider form, colour, content.

2) What do you think the artist is trying to convey in their artwork?

3) Can you see any stories forming within the artwork; if so, what are they?

4) If you could change anything about the artwork, what would it be? And Why?

5) Is the overall collection of art on display appealing to all? Comment further on which sections were more engaging than others.

I am already planning next academic years study visits; the fourth quarter of 2018 coincides with the Brighton Photo Biennial, so that would be a good one, coupled with a chance of viewing the local graffiti artwork. There are various events in London, so perhaps a visit to the V&A would be good.

I am currently on target with my coursework, having completed my essay for unit UET12, ‘Teaching in a Specialist Area’ I have only two more units to complete and a couple more observations. So far this course has been engaging, where units such as UV51238, ‘Action Research’ has provided me with new avenues of research and study.

30/04/2018

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyse key factors for designing and using resources for reflective Teaching, Learning and Assessment.
2. Analyse and evaluate legal requirements and copyright guidelines for using and developing Teaching, Learning and Assessment resources.

Challenge Target: Recommend career advice for your specialist area.

Our starter was to recap prior learning via a question and answer session, five questions were projected on to the board, where we had to provide quick responsive bullet point answers; these were then discussed further to strengthen our overall understanding.

Guest Speaker – Irene Bailey
The talk tonight was from a member of staff from Fareham College, whose role is a Learning Technology Coordinator. The focus of the talk was about copyright law specifically within education. It was an interesting presentation, which started with some basic questions for the group such as ‘what is copyright?’ and ‘who owns the copyright?’. Irene mentioned about Creative Commons licence, which was founded in 2001 as a non-profit organisation to promote the use and sharing of creative work to all. There are seven variations of the CC licence; the basic allows others to copy, distribute and display the work only under the condition that it is for non-commercial purposes, the author is credited, the license is attached and that it is not edited/remixed. Then the most free licence is the CC0; this allows the user to remix, alter, display, distribute and sell the work without crediting the author. In the photography/graphics industry there are many websites called ‘stock/image libraries’; for either a subscription cost or a pay-per-use fee, they provide an assortment of images that a user can download for their needs. One of the most popular companies is
Shutterstock; however, in recent years there have been numerous CC0 image websites appearing, which offer totally unrestricted use of the imagery. These include Pexels and Pixabay.

The most crucial part of this presentation was to understand, what as educators, we can and can not do in terms of copyright infringement. There are two main criterions, which govern the use of material that has been used within TLA or has been produced as a result of TLA, these are known as ‘Educational Exceptions’:

• Fair Dealing – For example, if the material is used for research purposes, educational presentations, forming criticisms or for private study and not commercial gain, then it is safe to use and show to studetns. There are some rules that have to be followed, such as you can not photocopy an entire book for your studetns, but you can copy a chapter or passage if it is 5% or less of the total volume. Even this has an exception, for example, if a visually impaired student needed to read a required book and it was not available in large print, then the book could be copied and enlarged to support their specific educational needs and requirements. A general concern, is teachers taking images direct from a Google search and using them in their powerpoint presentations. This is generally accepted as being lawful, as it is for Educational Purposes with no commercial intentions, however, with the majority of resources being uploaded to educational Virtual Learning Environments, there is the possibility that this material, which us deemed safe on a closed network being suddenly disseminated across the internet.

• Licences – All educational organisations would have purchased various licences, which permit them to utilise a wealth of resources. Fareham college has the following:
Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA)

The Education Recording Agency (ERA)

The Performing Rights Society (PRS)

Motion Picture Licensing Company (MPLC)

To conclude this copyright presentation, we were given a questionnaire containing seventeen copyright scenarios, where we had to state whether or not we thought they were ‘Permitted’ or ‘Not Permitted’. Statements such as:
• Copy a chapter of a college book to share with your local book club.
• Share a YouTube clip with studetns.
• Deliver a Power Point that you have created while working for another establishment.

Out of the seventeen scenarios, there were three that were categorically breaking copyright law; yet the majority of them could be interpreted a number of ways, where the answer would be dependent on other factors. For example, ‘Using a photo taken by a student in a leaflet to advertise your course’. A common practice for colleges and universities is to include a waiver at enrolment in the studetns agreement/contract, which they unwittingly sign over usage of any material produced whilst they are a student to be used for promotional purposes. But even so, the student has not given their direct consent on that particular work, so this could be problematic. Once the seventeen questions were reviewed, a general discussion took place where some further information was shared.

In the last half an hour of the session, we observed two more Careers Event presentations, very professional, with a wealth of information provided by both peers.

Homework:
We are to still to continue preparing our presentation on our resource; the format seems to have shifted into a ‘Dragons Den’ style format, we were are to present and market our resource to the class, who will act as the dragons. As part of this we are to:

• Demonstrate the resource
• Explain the uses, benefits and inclusive qualities
• Market the Unique Selling Point of the resource

Upon reflection of my recent research paper into mobile phones in the classroom, I will present about the adaptability of smartphones and how they can be a powerful tool within most educational sectors.

23/04/2018

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the different qualifications/Training Programmes available in your own specialist area.
2. Explain and analyse educational Policies and Factors which influence specialist training. 

Challenge Target: Recommend ways to effectively respond to these factors.

Sociological Influences

To start we had to deconstruct the word sociological and discuss its various interpretations. Then we had to answer the following question:
• What relevance does this have on your training programs.
Sociological influences can take many forms; geographic, financial, cultural and other categorical elements can all impact learning. These sociological factors will effect our learners in many different ways, as part of our curriculum structure and delivery, we need to take into consideration our diverse range of learners. In our current financial climate, students may come from low-income houses; this will impact their access to personal resources and materials. For example, educational visits, that require the student to pay for extended travel could be problematic. As educators, we would have to factor this in, when planning such visits that are not required by the awarding body’s specification. Other factors such as students in paid work and overall educational starting point.

An important part of this lesson was highlighting the importance and potential impact that not just educational policies have in our specialist areas, but other global policies. A policy that will affect all, which will come into place on the 25th May is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 

Part of our work tonight was to take on the role of a news reporter; the task was to research into an educational policy that has affected our specialist area and then compose a three minute news report. Overall, this was an enjoyable exercise, yet most of the group, myself included delivered a more informal statement of facts and figures. I gave a report on the drop in university applications, when compared to previous years figures. The drop was a result of higher apprenticeship applications and that many college students still do not want to take out a £27k loan to pay for the high fees. 

Homework:
In preparation for a guest speaker, we are to compile a range of questions associated with Legislation and Copyright law. I’m sure that the popular topic of the GDPR will be discussed. We are to also continue with our planning and preparation for a ‘Resource Demonstration’, this is to include: aim, benefits to learning, potential adaptation for inclusive learning, cost and availability. 

Also we are to plan our next observations, as I am fast tracking, I will need to get all my observations completed before June 2018, however, this is not just a case of getting them completed as soon as possible as there needs to be reflection and development time between each.  


16/04/2018

Learning Objectives:
1. Recommend effective techniques to promote your curriculum.
2. Describe the different qualifications/Training Programmes available in your own specialist area.
3. Recommend and demonstrate appropriate Initial Advice & Guidance to meet individual and qualification needs.

As a great start to session, we begun with a short round of the Logo game; now whilst this may not seem initially pertinent, it was ideal in clarifying marketing techniques and ideas. Slogans, signs, symbols and colours were discussed, were the overall message was about identifying memorable aspects. This relates directly to our investigation and presentations into ‘Careers Events’, where it is about producing material that is engaging to the potential learners. Your learner’s/customers will want to know what they are getting for their money, what resources are available to them and what can the college produce that another one can’t. 

The session progressed with a peer presenting their Careers Day information. The presentation was good, which was full of important information, such as unit descriptors and credit weighting, who teaches what etc. There was an element of role play in this presentation, as the class, who acted as the potential learners, were assigned a specific learners needs and requirements. The objective of this was to see how the presenter could inform a differentiated group of learners, who had specific questions about the course and their requirements. 

I was next, however I changed my presentation as a review of the ‘Assessment Booklet’ resource, I suggested this as a way of supporting peers and generating ideas and methods to aid them in their coursework. My presentation did cover the UAL spec to a point, where I highlighted specific elements such as the required evidence. 

A constructive element of this session was the tutor deconstructing the requirement’s and learning objectives of the essay required for UET12; this was very helpful to the group, where some peers strengths do not lie in academic writing. 

Homework – Due 14th May
We are to give a demonstration on a resource we use in our specialist area, this is to include:
• Aims & objectives of the resource
• The benefits it has to the learning
• The potential for adaptation for inclusive learning
• Cost and availability
• The Unique Selling Point

09/04/2018

Action Research – Statistical Analysis

This past week, I have been working away at analysing the data collected from my primary research surveys; there has been some interesting figures emerging, which support my overall notions into smartphone culture within education. My overall focus will be discussing the issues, that are evident with smartphones and social media within our classrooms and wider society, then I will propose new ideas of mobile phone integration into 21st century pedagogy. Overall this paper is really interesting, I have thoroughly  enjoyed researching the craft of data analysis and how narratives can be formed from random data.

Although this paper is far from being complete, I am seriously considering evolving this into a nationwide study and putting together a larger report, which could be taken much further.

02/04/2018

Job as an OCR Moderator

A great opportunity presented itself recently, which is to take up the position again, as an External Moderator for the OCR. In 2012, whilst working as a technical demonstrator and PTHP Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, I took on two other external positions. One was with the Open College of the Arts (OCA) as a distance learning tutor on the photography BA(Hons) course and the other was with Oxford, Cambridge and RSA (OCR) as an external moderator. My work load at the University of Portsmouth and OCA rapidly increased, so I decided to leave OCR; although it is considered a seasonal job, I did not want to sacrifice the quality of my work. However, at a recent internal assessment event at the OCA, I caught up with another colleague, who also works for the OCR; as it transpired, OCR were calling out for GCE A Level and AS Moderators. So I contacted them and applied for the role and now I will be moderating a potential eight centres this June; this is based upon completing the required retraining in May.

After fourteen years within Higher Education, this will be a great opportunity to strengthen my engagement and involvement with this qualification level. Once sufficient experience is gained, I could consider applying for a moderator position with the UAL; this will be logical, as it will strengthen my practice and my awareness of current trends and practices within other FE institutes.

26/03/2018

Learning Objectives:
1. Recommend differentiated activities to develop learners minimum core.
2. Describe the different Qualifications/Training programmes available in your specialist area. (Career Event)
3. Analyse and Evaluate the impact of accurate IAG on: • The Learner  • Training Organisation  • Other Stakeholders

Challenge target: Recommend adaptive IAG to meet individual needs.

Maths & English Matters
To strengthen our toolkit on how we embed minimum core, we were asked to add one more activity to each category; this was followed up through discussing our answers, where we gave further examples of their applications. We then focused on our maths, where we deconstructed our methods; for example, a lesson delivered by Shaun, who is an Automotive Lecturer, was the conversion of PSI to Bar in relation to tyre pressure. We needed to analyse the process and understand each step, so that we could better inform our learners of the specific mathematical terms, such as division, subtraction, ratios etc.

A short Q&A session followed, where we were assessed on our understanding and knowledge of the various pathways as part of the Lord Sainsbury Post 16 Skills Report. Collectively, we provided the answers, where we then began to discuss our specialism and put them into context. The various examples given, started to highlight the various gaps within education, primarily within apprenticeships. It was identified that there are ongoing issues within certain fields, that need to be addressed; these include standardisation between different institutes, where there seemed to be competency discrepancies resulting in retraining, to bring the learners up to speed.

Taster/Intro Session: Evidence for UET12 – Teaching in a Specialist Area
My attendance to the session was cut short, due to a prior appointment, where I had to deliver a ‘Taster/Intro Session’ to studetns who have enrolled at the college, but have yet to start. The purpose of this exercise is to provide the learners with an actual lesson that could take place, once they attend; it gives them another chance to see if they like the environment and staff before they commit. 

To summarise, my taster session was a bloody disaster; only three learners attended, coupled with IT issues such as incorrect login passwords provided and the various programmes crashing; all in all, this did not evidence an ‘Outstanding’ college. I will though, take ownership of this and state that it would have been prudent of me to test the login credentials in advanced; however, after the guest logins working perfectly at the last session and no other IT issues occurring all day, there was no inkling of these impending IT issues. This does raise the point, of being too reliant on computers, yet when they are your primary tools…

Yet, I will admit, it was not a total disaster, I did flip the session around and engage in an in depth discussion with the learners. We talked about visual language, where we dissected popular culture, such as sci-fi and action movies and comics; which led to colour theory, constructivism,  symbology and logo evolution. During the session I instructed the learners about the course structure and its pathway within Art & Design; I gave examples of the themes that would be covered and talked them through the two years of the diploma, pointing out key projects within the course specification. Progression routes were discussed, where I gave examples of current Level 3 Year 2 learners successful applications into university. Overall, they left more enlightened about visual language and the possibilities within their chosen Specialist Area, so by that measurement, the taster/intro session was a success.