New Academic Year: RSA

September 16, 2012research,
RSAphoto by ZhouXuan  Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

As a HE in FE teacher at the college I am very fortunate that I am able to bid for remission hours to undertake Research and Scholarly Activity (RSA). This year I hope to be able to bring HE tutors and students together in an exploration of mobile technology.

Description of the Research

This project aims to investigate how HE in FE teachers and students can develop a community of practice in relation to exploring the use of emerging technologies for their Continual Professional Development (CPD) and Professional Development Planning (PDP).

I first became aware of Lave and Wenger (1991)’s notion of a community of practice when I developed the Action Research Network within SfL. More recently, I find the term Personal Learning Network (PLN) is more commonly used in my Twitter feed and in the blogosphere I engage with. However, a very quick Wikipedia search for ‘community of practice’ shows a whole raft of associated terms, including Virtual Community of Practice, professional learning community, and discourse community.

Whatever term is applied here, the characterises of the group I would like to develop include a face to face environment (despite the geographical and work load constraints) in order to be able to share and discuss how the mobile devices are being used. To supplement this, I plan to use collaborative technologies, including blogs and social media. As well as providing a tool for collaboration, discussion and sharing these tools the blog and the meetings will form the basis of the data I plan to collect for my project.

Research Questions

How can collaboration between HE tutors and students be achieved?

What impact would their participation in the project have on tutors’ continual professional development and students’ professional development planning and classroom experience?


So far a basic agreement to take part in the research has gone out to seven tutors who expressed an interest in taking part:

Agree to take part in research

* Use the mobile device as part of your own CPD/PDP activity
* Investigate and join social networking sites
* Reflect on how these activities impact on your CPD/PDP and teaching and learning
* Contribute a blog post at least once a month
* Comment on others blog posts at least once a month
* Share use of devices and ideas with own and other students
* Attend at least 3 meetings before July 2013
* Complete a questionnaire and take part in an interview at the end of the project

So far three tutors have signed and returned this and two have added their first post to the new blog.

I’ve created a pinterest board (my latest foray into the world of social media) which I’ve filled with my favourite free apps that I use for my own CPD/ teacher-as-learner activity.

What next?

I now need to consider how to communicate most efficiently and effectively with the HE tutors who are all in different departments across four different sites. Yikes! Currently this is via email, and no one has their out of office reply on, so I am assuming they are back in college. I know it’s a busy time of the year and don’t want to add any undue pressure so I’m having to consider how long I leave it until I send a chase up email. I’ve created the blog and two people have created posts already, so this is possibly a good start!

On top of all this, I’ve started to draft an application for an LSIS grant which is actually helping me to focus a little more on my project and what I want to get out of it. If nothing else, completing this has helped me to focus on the project on what needs to be done.

  1. [...] I posted recently I am undertaking a practitioner research project where I hope to create a community of practice [...]

  2. [...] New Academic Year: RSA « Cathy Wint Blog | ESOL | Teacher training As a HE in FE teacher at the college I am very fortunate that I am able to bid for remission hours to undertake Research and Scholarly Activity (RSA). [...]

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