A summary of our recent projects indicates the different ways in which practice based research can work for the school and the funder.
Making the most of a digital platform in a primary school
In the first stage of this project, Just2easy funded some practice-based research in order to learn more about how their platform supports learning in different types of primary school. Three teachers took up the role of co-researchers supported by MirandaNet Fellows in order to reflect on their practice and inform policy.
Steve Gillian, head teacher of Thurlbear Church of England Primary School; Dr Ben Williams, Computing Lead at St Mark’s CE Junior School, Somerset and Robyn Suthayalai, Computing Lead at Grange Primary School, Ealing for investigating the value of the Just2easy platform for primary schools. They each took a different approach: Steve Gillan focused on the value of blogging in developing digital literacy; Robyn Suthayalai investigated the creativity of the tools, recorded the innovative ideas of her pupils and considered making some of them Digital Leaders; and Ben talked about the challenges of managing Computing and how the Just2easy platform appeals to his teachers who have had limited professional development opportunities because it is very simple as it says on the tin.
Ben had a good idea of encouraging pupils to work out their own problems instead of waiting with their hand up for him to arrive. He gives them a little yellow hand to put on their computer to indicate they would like help so that they can keep working. However, when Just2easy developers heard about this they offered to add this facility to the teacher’s desk screen. Other changes have been made to the software in deference to teacher’s suggestions and they have all been awarded a MirandaNet Fellowship for their articles about the project. You can find these articles here.
In the next stage the three teachers will be invited to design a questionnaire for schools using Just2easy. The answers will provide design suggestions for the developers and practice ideas for the users.