Thursday, 26 April 2012

Nobody Can't Teach Nobody Nothing

It has been contended quite properly that one person does not teach another. A teacher can do little other than set the conditions for allowing others to learn. The consequence of this observation attests to the functioning of a teacher as a manipulator of the learning environment. When a person shows a change in behaviour, learning is inferred to have occurred.
-Professor Kolstoe, 1975 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012


"Just as babies learned to take their mothers milk long before anyone wrote a guide to motherhood, so children were learning to work things out for themselves long before anyone thought of setting up a school"
- John Abbott 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Gove's Plans to Make Universities Shape A-Levels

Michael Gove is calling for Universities to dictate the content of A-Levels, and to monitor them each year. I completely agree, there should be more continuity between schools, colleges and universities, just as Industry should be having more input into all three.

However, I think a balance should be met; I dont think the best course would be to hand all control to Universities. Yes, they should have a large say on what content goes into the subjects, and I believe the workload of A-Levels should be enough so that they are a pre-cursor to that of universities. That said, the structure and teaching style of universities is very different to that of schools, and the distinction between the school and university structures should be kept intact.

A-Levels should however, at least prepare students for the type of university work they will undertake.

a study suggested universities wanted A-levels to be more intellectually stretching and with less spoon-feeding from teachers
Indeed, in an ideal world this 'intellectual stretching' would have begun long before a student reaches A-Level, but it is at least a start that this kind of approach should be considered in schools.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Meeting 29/3/12

Topics covered in the meeting on Thursday:

Data thats currently being collected:

  • Module specifications from Design and Technology courses from selected Universities
  • Structures and covered topics from relevant subjects from Further Education curriculums 

1) A proforma needs to be created that accommodates all this data so it can be effectively compared.

2) Current mind map should be put into a document

These two deliverables completed by the 16th April and sent to Richard Bibb, along with the current aims and objectives of the research.

Lit review/End of year report:

Add a section about applied teaching techniques within Electronics and Interface design education

Sections order:

  1. Cognitive/Learning Theory (General)
  2. Applied Teaching Techniques
  3. Subject topics/required lesson content
  4. Physical Resources


How does teaching school pupils (<19yrs old) compare to teaching university students?
How do their Intellectual Level & Learning Style differ?
How should the approach to learning differ?

What Further Education courses are equivalent in content and skill level to Electronics and Interface design modules in BA undergraduate Design and Technology?
                  - This can be found after the module and curriculum data is put into proformas

Current Final Year Design Projects (FYDP)

What is the scope for FYDP?
Is there a limit to the functionality that students can give to their products?
Therefore, is there a limit to what we teach them to do?
ie, Resources exist that allow for quite complex systems. Do we assume that some students will want to build them therefore teach them what is required? What is the limit?

Arrange a meeting with key lectures/students/ex students to discuss this.

Meeting with Thomas Jun, LEGO mindstorms used as a teaching tool:

How do we capture a accurate picture of students, skills/knowledge/understanding of Electronics, Interface Design, Mechatronics?

Use real-life, relatable examples? - this demonstrates skills and not understanding
Use scales of ability/understanding of key skill or subject area, Plot to a graph

What questions are we asking, how are we asking them?