Centre for Technology Enchanced Learning
Department of Educational Research, County South, Lancaster University, Lancaster LA1 4YD, UK
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Educational Research > Centre for Technology Enhanced Learning > Research themes > Digital technology uses in compulsory education

Contributing to policy and practice developing digital technology uses in compulsory education

Research theme

Over many years, our research findings have been applied to address a fundamental misconception of the late 1990s – that for developing educational resources, ‘content was king’. Application of our research has led to an increasing focus on the vital additional importance of process and context, to develop, customise and implement more appropriate educational resources through a digital technology medium.

Involving and influencing key national companies and groups, users have been teachers and learners in primary and secondary schools and policy makers supporting them. Impacts of the research have:

  1. influenced policy and practice developments;
  2. increased awareness of and engagement in learning opportunities;
  3. raised awareness and understanding of educational concepts to non-academic audiences, enhancing learning and student experience.
Hands on keyboard

Examples of research conducted in schools include an exploration of the ways to analyse interactions when digital online resources are used by teachers in classrooms and consideration of policy and practice implications when schools use virtual learning environments.

A report by Don Passey and Colin Rogers that explored how digital technologies affect learner motivation (2004) was praised by the Head of the UK Government ICT in Schools Division in the Department of Education, 2000-2008 (later, Head of International Relations at the Government Agency, Becta, 2008-2010). He said that “[the research] has … delivered some very valuable findings [for example, about uses of interactive whiteboards] and tools [for example, to reflect on effective uses of these technologies] which are still in use in schools today. … work and findings are taken very seriously by all involved - and I know that some … research has significantly influenced government policy.”

The work on learning platforms similarly influenced policy and practice across Wolverhampton Local Authority (supporting e-learning policy documentation and strategy, highlighting important and innovative collaborative and online (process) practice within its 80 schools) and impacted company (LP+) platform developments (identifying additional useful affordances to support learning), and was built into guidance produced for schools nationally and internationally (detailing effective online uses to support school management needs as well as to enhance engagement of students in subject and topic learning).

The School Improvement Advisor, Worcestershire County Council, indicated how insights impacted on facilities provided for the 58 secondary schools across Worcestershire and Wolverhampton: “This work greatly influenced the direction of the project and made a significant impact on the quality of the service [forms of resources and interactions with schools] provided by the provider.”

Responding to an evaluation on MathsAlive software, a previous Senior Manager at RM said: “The research undertaken … has provided the evidence of how technology can impact learning and has influenced the design [throughout research feedback of effective forms of interactions] of some of RM’s products and services.”

Staff working on this theme

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International Conference on e-Learning in the workplace

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11-13 June 2015

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