Monthly Archives: June 2020

Blog of the Week: 26 June 2020 – What does the research say about designing video lessons?

Education technology is really powerful. The problem is that it is just as easy to use that power badly as to use it well.

You can see this with video lessons – clearly video allows you to do all kinds of cool things, but how many of these cool things will help students to learn better?

The best guide I have come across is the work of Richard Mayer, in particular The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning. It is truly exhaustive – it details hundreds of studies, establishes a couple of dozen principles, and makes it clear where the research is limited or in flux, and where the boundary of each principle lies. In chapter 3 of my book Teachers vs Tech I write about quite a few of Mayer’s principles. I also say that given just how complex …

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Blog of the week: 19 June 2020 – Rebooting behaviour after the lockdown

No one would have believed in the last term of 2019 that a microscopic enemy was gathering speed against us. ‘With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter,’ as H G Wells said. Suddenly, a meteor landed in our schools and abruptly playground sounds – almost – ceased. 

All schools suddenly became special schools, serving the children of key workers, the vulnerable and the disadvantaged. Almost every student in the UK was sent home on what was effectively a fixed-term exclusion. Even the default model of the physical classroom experience was replaced by emergency remote learning. The effects of this earthquake will be impossible to understand fully for years. 

And now, or at some point in the future, schools will be thinking about opening their gates wider to more groups of pupils. Whenever that is, and in what sequence, is for others to decide. But whatever the shape and timing of this awakening, schools …

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‘Fingertip Knowledge’: building a system to bridge the knowledge gap.

Mr W-M History

After nearly three months only open to the children of key workers, the coming weeks will see secondary schools across the country begin to very slowly try to adjust to a ‘new normal’ as students return to socially distanced classrooms.

Whilst students and teachers alike will face innumerable challenges with a return to education, one of the most important will no doubt be the vast knowledge gaps that will inevitably have emerged between students during the time they have had out of the classroom.

Some students will have been able to continue learning at home through the efforts of their teachers to provide resources online. Others, through no fault of their own, will have really struggled to access any work at home at all. Clearly, when we do eventually return to teaching something even remotely like the classes that we had before schools were partially closed, students will be in…

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Blog of the Week: 5 June 2020 – Why I’m no longer talking to white people about racism

Reni Eddo-Lodge

I’m no longer engaging with white people on the topic of race. Not all white people, just the vast majority who refuse to accept the legitimacy of structural racism and its symptoms. I can no longer engage with the gulf of an emotional disconnect that white people display when a person of colour articulates our experiences. You can see their eyes shut down and harden. It’s like treacle is poured into their ears, blocking up their ear canals like they can no longer hear us.

This emotional disconnect is the conclusion of living a life oblivious to the fact that their skin colour is norm and all others deviate from it. At best, white people have been taught not to mention that people of colour are ‘different’ in case it offends us. They truly believe that the experiences of their life as a result of their skin colour can and should be universalised. I just can’t engage with the bewilderment and the defensiveness as they try to grapple with the fact that not everyone experiences …

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Blog of the Week: 5 June 2020 – Business as usual? Race, white privilege and COVID-19

By Professor Kalwant Bhopal, Professor of Education and Social Justice & Director of the Centre for Research on Race and Education, University of Birmingham

“If we are serious about addressing such inequalities and how white privilege works, we must look to improving the lives of BME communities…”

Recent figures released from the ONS suggest that the number of COVID-19 deaths amongst members of the BME community is much higher compared to those from white and other backgrounds. A report published by Public Health England yesterday confirms this. The unsurprising consequence of the global pandemic seemingly accentuating inequalities that are already present in society. Marginalised and poor communities from BME groups are being further disadvantaged, as government responses to COVID-19 mirror the same inequalities that inform all aspects of social policy.

I argue this is no accident but rather, an extension of the perpetuation of structural and institutional racism in a neo-liberal society. Some commentators have appeared bewildered by evidence the virus is having a greater affect on BME groups. Frankly this suggests they are unaware of many aspects of daily life in the UK. Unaware for example that BME groups are more likely to be employed by the NHS …

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