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Michael Merrick (@michael_merrick)
Scratch the surface of the ‘21st century skills’ brigade, & the justification you always seem to get revolves around serving the market/business/tech sector. Which is more dystopian (and properly Gradgrindian) than any school getting a bit over-zealous with a knowledge curriculum

I feel this needs a response of more than 280 characters. So here it is ...  ...continue reading "21st century skills are important because …"

Last Friday Fiona Aubrey-Smith asked me a great question about the table that attempted to summarise the main points in some guidance that I had written for Computers & Education about qualitative research. It was great because it extended my thinking. Fiona's question was ...continue reading "Extending guidance on qualitative research"

I have some old (ex OU) equipment that needs a new home:

  • A range of data logging equipment (which should probably be kept as one set)
  • 3 Digiscope digital microscopes
  • A set of EZClickpro clicker and infra red sensor (class response system)

Ideally we'd like to give this kit (free) to a school, maker space or ...continue reading "Old data logging kit looking for a good home"

This post attempts to summarise a Twitter thread about how to encourage student questions which went viral in August 2018. @MrsSasser ’s initial post explained how apparently small changes in the way she asked students if they had any questions had a massive impact on the number of questions that they asked. ...continue reading "Helping students to ask questions"

Educational alignment - purpose, policy, practice, visionWe know that alignment matters in education (Butler et al 2018), particularly between purpose, policy, practice and your educational vision, as represented in the diagram above. However, ...continue reading "Educational alignment (and sociocultural theory)"

In my previous post on sociocultural theory I attempted to explain the three analytical levels of context (constitutive order, arena, and setting). The setting is about people in action - it is about the interplay between the identities of the people involved and the opportunities made available by the arena.

Your identity is ...continue reading "Trying to explain sociocultural theory – part 2 – identity"


PoL book coverPoint of Learning (PoL) is both a reflective learning tool and a means of collecting evidence about performance against agreed targets.

PoL is an alternative approach to assessment that ...continue reading "What is Point of Learning (PoL) – moving beyond standardised testing"

I spent years worrying about words like ontology, epistemology and theory (particularly theory), but now I think that like much jargon they are big words behind which there are some pretty simple ideas. So here is my simplistic take on ontology, epistemology and theory: ...continue reading "Ontology, epistemology and theory – big words for simple ideas"

This is my take on sociocultural theory, based on reading of relevant literature (e.g. Lave's work) and (most importantly) discussions with Prof Patricia Murphy, and with other members of the NP3 team.

Context matters in sociocultural theory. In particular three levels of context: ...continue reading "Trying to explain sociocultural theory – part 1 – context"