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After nearly 24 years working at the Open University in the UK - most recently as Professor of Education (Futures) - I have decided to move to Australia (as Professor of Education (Innovation in schooling and educational technology) at the University of Newcastle (in NSW). Several people have asked me 'Why?'.

...continue reading "Moving to Australia"

During my inaugural I asked participants to rank how important they thought a number of different possible 'learning outcomes' would be in 2033. The results are shown in Figure 1 below. As you can see the highest ranked item was ...continue reading "What should be learnt?"

As nobody wanted to give me a review copy I went out and bought this book, and I’m glad I did. It is a good book – it is an important book – indeed I think every researcher (whether coming from a positivist or interpretivist standpoint) would benefit from reading it. ...continue reading "Brief review of Quantitative Ethnography (Shaffer 2017)"

In my last post I set out why I thought schooling as it currently exists is a problem. In this post I start to explore possible solutions - specifically by looking at how we ought to teach.

...continue reading "How should we teach?"


Bryan Caplan provides comprehensive evidence to show that schools (actually formal education more broadly) is very effective at signalling that individuals are ...continue reading "Is school the problem?"

There is a lot of talk about gamification in education and to a lesser extent using real games to enhance learning in schools. By real games I mean ones which have been developed for the leisure market, their primary focus being on entertainment rather than learning. Findings from the NP3 research suggested that the use of real games ...continue reading "Using real games"


Reflective practice is widely recognised as an important element of professional development - Habib (2017) for example, claims that the most important quality of a good teacher is their ability to reflect upon their practice and adapt it as a result. However, reflective practice misses out some other key characteristics of effective CPD. ...continue reading "From reflection to practitioner research – the best form of CPD"


On 3 April 2019, the Department for Education published a document called ‘Realising the potential of technology in education’. Now I don’t want to get hung up on the name of the document, but having read it, I ought to draw your attention to something fairly basic here. The word ‘realise’, according to most dictionaries, can be used to mean ‘become fully aware of something’ or ‘cause something to happen’. This DfE strategy document doesn’t ‘realise’ anything. ...continue reading "The DfE EdTech Strategy doesn’t ‘realise’ anything – But Teachers do"

Effective professional development (PD) - professional learning if you prefer - is critical to maintaining and enhancing practice (and thus learning) in schools. However, the most common forms of PD for teachers tend not to be effective - in the sense of leading to positive changes in practice which lead to improvements in young people's learning. This begs the question - what does effective PD look like? ...continue reading "Characteristics of effective CPD"

Whilst PoL in theory is a powerful tool to support professional learning and collect data about practice (e.g. assessment) we needed evidence about its efficacy in practice. This post provides an overview of the PoL in Early Years Pilot, explores its impact and draws out lessons for PoL's implementation in other settings. ...continue reading "PoLEY Pilot Report"