A Graphic Communication Surprise: Assessment Shifts & (Hidden) Pedagogy

In the thick of the Scottish ‘Curriculum for Excellence’ reforms, Teachers remain fully active at the front line of subject implementation.  Any period of systematic change, especially on this scale, will come with its challenges, rewards and surprises; though from my own observations of the Technologies Subjects (including Design & Manufacture, Engineering Science and Graphic Communication), the biggest surprise was to be found in the latter.  Stemming from this are, in my opinion, two very significant implications for the subject that arise form the decision no remove timed completion of manual drawings from the exam.   Continue reading

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Excel Based E-Folio System for Pupils


I spent some of my time off playing around with Excel 2010 and put together an electronic folio system that allows pupils to collect and manage evidence of the work they have done.  If I am being honest, it is a simplified excel-based version of something a started putting together before I left Teaching but was unable to complete (though it was not originally done in Excel).  I will also admit to having ACfE’s Broad General Education in mind at the time! Continue reading

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Research Project: Distributed Cognition in Technology Education


What is the context and background to this pilot project?

Recent OECD publications(1, 2) explicitly link effective education with future employability and highlight the importance of improved school-employment alignment, transverse and technical skills. Among these, problem solving within STEM subjects has been cited as highly sought after by employers(3).  This pilot study seeks to investigate activity, out with the scope of my PhD, in which pupils were seen to employ materials and resources in unexpected ways to support problem solving in the Technology class; and which may be better explained using a model of ‘distributed cognition’. Continue reading

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What I Think Educational Research Does


Learning and Teaching amount to very complex processes and, anyone who has been a Teacher will probably not disagree with the fact that the pupils are often the biggest variable.   I think very much of the fortunate probationary who gets three S1 classes in a row that are at the same stage in their course of study.  The same lesson is taught, using the same techniques and strategies and is superb during Period 1, a bit of a train wreck Period 2, and somewhere in between for Period 3.  Indeed, this demonstrates my point for them first hand.  The reason for this is that Continue reading

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