Lookdown has given many of us time for a pause to reflect and have a bit of a reset. One of the things that I promised myself a year ago was that I’d get to grips with redesigning the Real Time Education website. It’s only taken me 14 months to make good on this promise to myself but now the new website is finished and live!
One thing that it’s also given me the opportunity to do is to reflect on how much the company has grown and evolved in the 7 years since I set it up. Over the last year or 2 it’s been fantastic to do so much more curriculum design and facilitation around online learning and digital pedagogy. I’ve also done more mentoring in practitioner research-related activity in FE in collaboration with some amazing partner organisations.
At the beginning of lockdown there was much talk in the educational press about there being ‘no research done in FE’. Though this was a grossly unfair generalisation, I think it was notable that a lot of the research into post-compulsory education was completed by researchers based in universities. There wasn’t a thoroughly embedded research culture in the FE sector itself.
It’s been amazing to see how this picture has changed over the last 3 years or so. I think that wonderful programmes such as Sunderland University’s (SUNCETT) Practitioner Research Programme (which I completed my doctorate through) and the CC Consultancy / ETF OTLA programme have been instrumental in helping to set up this research culture.
It’s been so affirming to see so much brilliant practitioner action research coming out of the sector, seeing FE teachers investigating and developing their own practice in their own specialist area. Long may this growth in research continue. It’s been great to be a part of this growth as I’ve been mentoring seven different research teams aspect of the OTLA programme. The research teams have been investigating their practice with a specific focus on developing learners’ maths skills using digital pedagogies and how we develop innovative Essential Digital Skills (EDS) curricula.
I’ve been able to capture some of the exciting projects I’ve been working on in the last extraordinary year in the case studies on the new website. Thanks so much to Rob at Awen Media for the fabulous web design, I hope you like it!