Knowledge Exchange Seminar Series (KESS)

25 April 2018: Learning from New Technology

Prof Shailey Minocha (OU), Dr Steve Tilling (UCL Institute of Education) and Dr Ana-Despina Tudor (OU) – Role of Virtual Reality in Geography and Science Fieldwork Education

Fieldwork has a long tradition in geography, and in certain sciences, notably geology, biology and environmental sciences. Fieldwork involves leaving the classroom and engaging in learning and teaching through first-hand experience of phenomena in outdoor settings. Exploration in natural habitats introduces students to the complexity and unpredictability of the real world, stimulates their curiosity, and increases their interest in scientific inquiry. However, over the last decade, there has been a decline in field-study opportunities in schools. This presentation describes the first extensive user-centered research programme into the role of technology-enabled virtual field trips as a means for improving the effectiveness

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Dr Claire McDowell (Ulster), Prof Julian Leslie (Ulster) and Dr Catherine Storey (QUB) – Better Reading for Better Outcomes- Working Collaboratively to Narrow the Attainment Gap

Despite a nationwide understanding that reading well is essential to tackling the effects of poverty, Northern Ireland still has one of the highest percentages of children failing to reach the lowest literacy benchmark. Past research has shown that if children do not learn to read well, they can form a disaffection with the education system and get fewer qualifications leading to potential unemployment or low-paid work.  It also has shown that investigating remedial action suggests that explicit, systematic phonological training is the most effective method of increasing reading accuracy and fluency.  The National Reading Panel has also outlined the effectiveness

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Dr Sally Cook, Dr Paul McKenzie and Dr Stephen Roulston (Ulster) – Using GPS tracking devices to explore the geographies of young people

This presentation highlights the communal divisions in one town in Northern Ireland, Coleraine, through the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) tracking. GPS can generate evidence to help us understand young people’s movements and geographies, particularly in a post-conflict context where notions of place, space and territory have such significance. The almost exclusive use of some spaces within this settlement by those identifying themselves as ‘Catholic’ or ‘Protestant is not surprising to those familiar with residential segregation in Northern Ireland. Other areas of the settlement appear to show space which is used by both groups equally, particularly in the town

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Prof Stephen McClean (Ulster) – Interactive Technologies to Enhance Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

While funding for higher education has been reduced there remains an impetus on universities to provide a high quality and engaging student experience. With increasing class sizes and diversity of learner, research reveals digital technology can be used effectively to enhance digital skills and promote active and collaborative learning opportunities. This presentation draws on such research in the context of higher education, highlighting how utilising digital tools such as “Peerwise” and “Nearpod” provide an enhanced participatory environment for students entering higher education. This is particularly relevant with widening participation agendas and preparing students for employment where they may encounter a

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