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As an academic who is focussed on having an impact on education policy and practice I struggle with whether to concentrate on publishing in journal articles or blog posts. Do both I hear you say, but that is also problematic. Here are the issues: ...continue reading "Blog posts vs journal articles"


I have argued elsewhere that (human) learning is the process of becoming part of an enduring collection of people who are mutually engaged in a shared endeavour, they have shared purposes and shared ways of working. In this context, I argued that teaching should involve inducting young people into such communities. However, this clearly creates a problem for schools. ...continue reading "Why traditional schools can never be effective"

In previous posts I have talked about why school is a problem, how people learn and hence how we should teach, what should be learnt in school, and that we need to think more radically about the design of schooling. In this post I suggest a strategy for achieving this sort of 'disruptive innovation'. ...continue reading "Radical change strategy"

In a series of earlier posts based on my OU inaugural lecture I outlined why school is a problem, how we should teach and what young people should learn. This implied far reaching changes to schooling as we know it today. However, I suspect that I didn't go far enough. In this post I suggest that we need to think even more radically about schooling (see Figure 1). ...continue reading "We need schome"


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?"


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"