Tag Archives: HELS

18 months in to the PhD – reflections

Written by Shannon Ludgate, PhD Student, School of Education – Early Yearsshan
@ShannonLudgate

Shannon Ludgate is researching children’s experiences using touchscreen technologies in different early years settings. She has written a blog about her experiences 18 months in:

“The data collection period has taught me how important it is to be flexible to the needs of the setting and to be adaptable.”

“…it must be acknowledged that at times practitioners are aware of why I am in their setting, so may opt to use technology more”

“Focus-group interviews with children have been interesting; it was great to hear their views and for them to take control and show me what they most liked about touchscreen use, demonstrating their skills during conversations.”

“This (my research) will hopefully empower each setting to develop touchscreen use in ways in which they see fit and appropriate for their children.”

To read the full blog go to: https://shannonludgate.wordpress.com/2016/02/17/18-months-in-to-the-phd-reflections/

Shannon’s 4 months reflections: http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/education/2015/06/22/my-phd-experience-four-months-in/

Shannon’s data collection reflections: http://blogs.bcu.ac.uk/education/2015/11/16/data-collection-time/

Review of the Big Bang Data Exhibition by Geof Hill

The creativity cluster had an exciting day out visiting the Big Bang data exhibition at Somerset house in early Feb. Reader in education Geof Hill has written a review on the exhibit and presents some interesting reflections on data collection, use and meaning.

big-bang-advertising“One strong theme that was evident throughout the exhibition was the adage ‘a picture tells a thousand words’…”

“A second installation spoke to me of the humanity that often gets overlooked in collection and representation of quantitative data.”

To read the full review go to: https://supervisorsfriend.wordpress.com/

**Watch this space**
More blog posts to follow from staff and students reflecting on the exhibit and trip

6 Links Between Research and Composing

Written by Kirsty Devaney, PhD student, School of Educationme with ensemble

Some interesting discussions were initiated today after a session about academic writing, lead by Alex Wade. I am fairly new to the word of research but I feel I am starting to fit into this ‘new world’ or ‘field’. For 5 years I trained as a composer at Birmingham Conservatoire – I wrote more music than I did words! I have had to transition from thinking in term of music, to thinking in words, sentences and paragraphs. I had experience of academic writing during my undergraduate studies but my PhD felt like a completely different way of thinking and viewing the world. How would my years of experience as a composer help me get through my 80,000-word thesis?

Upon doing my PhD for over 1 year, I have discovered that there are a lot more similarities between research and composing than I first thought.

  1.  We all have confidence issues

The feeling of ‘not being good enough’ impacts both academics and creatives at various stages in their career. I wrote an article titled ‘Feeling Like a Fraud’ discussing how our preconceptions can increase the pressures we place upon ourselves and how it can impact our own confidence and productivity: https://thesamplerblog.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/kirsty-devaney-on-feeling-like-a-fraud/

  1. We have to receive negative feedback

Whether you are having a piece of music performed in front of an audience, or sending your article off for peer review, it can be hard to receive negative feedback. We are placing ourselves in a vulnerable position and it can be hard to take criticism on something personal to you. Having five years of 1-2-1 tuition in composing has definitely helped me during my PhD supervision sessions. It is about being able to stay positive and learning how to take advice and feedback.

  1. It is personal 

Whether we meant to or not, our research and writing reflects what is happening in our lives and this is the case for composing too. It may not be conscious decisions but what we create does reflect what is important to us at that moment in our lives. Often we only realise this when looking back on older work and reflecting.

for wards deskIMG_0388

  1. We spend hours on the tiny details

We have to have an obsessive quality to spend hours on what may seem very insignificant to other people but sometimes just changing a word in a paragraph or changing a note in the music can make all the difference.

  1. How we view the world changes

When you are completely involved in something it starts to affect the way you think and perceive the world. When I started composing full-time I started to observe the world in a different way: I would ask myself ‘can I turn that into a composition?’ and I would keep a diary of all my composing thoughts. Now that I have been doing research my question is: ‘how could I research that?’ My diary now has a combination of research questions and compositional ideas.

6.   We need space for individual work but we benefit collaboration 

Time alone can help to solidify our own thinking but collaboration can help develop our thoughts and allow a space to discuss ideas with broaden our thinking. Collaboration as a composer can take many forms such as working across disciplines and working closely with your musicians. Collaboration in research can benefit from cross disciplinary work, discussions with peers and working with your research participants in methodologies such as action research.

Going into my second year of research I am starting to realise how my compositional training can enrich my research and aid the writing of my PhD. Research and writing are both creative processes and they involve discipline, communication, dedication and putting yourself in a position open to criticism.

 

Welcome to CSPACE

Written by: Martin Fautley, Professor of Education, Birmingham City University

Hello internet, and welcome to the new blog for the Centre for the Study of Practice and Culture in Education at Birmingham City University!

We are hoping that this blog will be a thinking point for all matters to do with education, from the very youngest children, through schools, colleges, and academies, to FE and HE contexts, and then on into lifelong learning. Our main aims are to be thought-provoking, questioning, and to offer a home for voices which might be contentious at times, and which challenge orthodoxy! We intend to be eclectic, and so we looking for contributions on a wide range of educational topics.MF

We also want to really get to grips with education. We pride ourselves here at BCU on having very detailed ‘corridor conversations’ (we have very long corridors in our Attwood building which make this possible!), but we want to open up these to the wider world via the power of the internet.

It is important to say that we don’t always agree with each other, and so views expressed in this blog will be the properties of the person making them, and certainly not representative of the University! I also tell my students that sometimes I will argue with them for the sake of it, and they shouldn’t therefore take this as being representative of what I think, but that this will help expose thinking, and I’d like to think that will be true of this blog too. Although as a regular twitter user I am very familiar with what seem to be arguments solely for the sake of it – let’s hope we don’t have too many of those! But there seem to be so many things happening in education that make us education professionals cross at the moment, and so I am hoping too that this blog will carry some of those.

So, it’s now over to you, please feel free to contribute, please feel free to respond, and let’s try and make the educational world a better place by thinking out loud in public, and taking new ideas and ways of working forwards.