Let’s Talk Education Research

Let’s Talk Education Research is a monthly research podcast hosted by Dr Peter Tiernan from the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at the DCU Institute of Education. Each month Dr Tiernan speaks with a member of academic staff from the Institute of Education about a recent research publication or project. The purpose of the podcast is to provide a platform for staff to discuss their research publications and research projects, provide an additional avenue for colleagues to disseminate their research, to build an archive of research activity for the faculty, and to promote national and international connections with like-minded researchers.

 

In this episode of the podcast, I speak with Dr Orna Farrell from the School of Policy and Practice at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Dr Farrell has been with DCU for eight years, working in the area of online education, with a particular focus on supporting mature students studying online, and academics in developing online learning materials. Over the years, her interest in learning design has grown, and her research focuses on the various tools and techniques that can be applied in online settings. Dr Farrell begins by introducing listeners to the digital learning design unit in Dublin City University, providing an overview of its main mission - preparing academics to teach online during Covid-19. She provides an account of the development of this initiative, including the focus on professional development and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). The intervention combined theory, small group workshops, and technical tasks, which allowed staff to practice skills in a safe and supportive environment. As part of the initiative, Dr Farrell and colleagues reviewed staff Loop pages using a version of Quality Matters (an evaluation framework) and identified areas of development so that support could be individually targeted. While staff were initially sensitive about sharing their practice, the result was more tailored advice and not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. One of the major impacts of the project is the creation of a permanent digital studio in the university called “DCU studio”. Digital competence has increased due to the initiative and staff have had the opportunity to reflect on the different modes of learning available to them. Key findings of the paper include the value of Learning Design for institutions, not just in investigating online learning but learning in general. Learning Design is a profession that is not well understood in higher education institutions. There is a need to invest in learning designers and promote the value of the work they do. Dr Farrell’s study argues that on-demand, tailored learning is more impactful, helping to build confidence and competence. Dr Farrell is keen to connect with other learning designers and gather their experiences during Covid-19 and more generally.

You can read Dr Farrell’s paper titled ‘Learning Design in the Time of COVID-19: The Digital Learning Design Unit Story’ here: https://openpraxis.org/articles/10.55982/openpraxis.14.2.485/

To find out more about Dr Farrell and her work, you can view her academic profile here: https://www.dcu.ie/policyandpractice/people/orna-farrell

You can also find her on Twitter @orna_farrell


 

In this episode of the podcast, I speak with Dr Maurice O'Reilly from the School of STEM Education, Innovation and Global Studies at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Dr O'Reilly, who has been working in Education for over 40 years, is a mathematics educator and researcher with a special interest in the history of mathematics and mathematics education. Dr O'Reilly begins by introducing listeners to the Edward Worth library, its founder, location, and history. Following this, he speaks about an innovative research project undertaken by his students. Students began by visiting the library to get a sense of the history of the place and its founder. Students then selected a book and undertook to write about its author, its content, and its context. In collaboration with the Edward Worth library librarian, the students' work was migrated to an online exhibition which exposed the contents of the library to a wider audience. Dr O'Reilly speaks about the successes and challenges in engaging students in this approach, revealing a real sense of enjoyment experienced by students. Students, while initially intimidated, spoke about moving into a different space in learning about mathematics. Participating in the project allowed them to view mathematics and, in particular mathematicians, in a different light. Dr O'Reilly is interested in working with communities in Ireland and internationally.

You can find out more about the project on the Edward Worth library website and in Dr O'Reilly’s conference presentation.


 

In this episode of the podcast, I speak with Dr Aleesha Rodriguez from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellent for the Digital Child. Dr Rodriguez is a social media researcher and a science and technology studies scholar who has a particular interest in how technology shapes society and how society shapes technology. Dr Rodriguez provides a detailed account of her current research project: Consulting children – speculating about my digital future. In this project, Dr Rodriquez and her team work with groups of children, asking them to imagine digital technologies of the future and how they should look. The team ask children, aged seven to eight years of age, to draw their visions of technology, focusing specifically on the features, values, and ethics of these technologies. Children are prompted to think about these technologies in terms of their look, functionality, and purpose. Children’s designs are then brought to life by media and design practitioners who use the children’s ideas to inspire blueprints, prototypes, and design specifications of these technologies. A public exhibition will be held to showcase the designs created by children and how these were translated by the digital media practitioners. Dr Rodriguez’s work has many parallels and connections to early childhood research and educational technology research, and she is keen to connect with researchers in these fields to discuss opportunities for collaboration.

To find out more about Dr Rodriguez and her work, you can view her academic profile.
You can also find her on Twitter @_aleeshajoy


 

In this month's episode, Dr Tara Concannon-Gibney discusses her recently completed SCoTENS project titled 'An Exploration of the Use of Children’s Literature in the Teaching of Early Reading (EuCLER).' The study was completed with Dr Geraldine Magennis from St Mary's University College Belfast. 

You can connect with Dr Concannon-Gibney on Twitter (@DrTaraConGibney), by email: tara.concannon-gibney@dcu.ie, or through her profile: https://www.dcu.ie/languageliteracyandearlychildhoodeducation/people/tara-concannon-gibney

You can connect with Dr Magennis on Twitter (@GeraldineMagen2) or through her profile: https://www.stmarys-belfast.ac.uk/general/staff.asp?nq=1&mode=detail&StaffID=155

More information about SCoTENS can be found on their website: https://scotens.org


 

In this month's episode, Amalee Meehan discusses school ethos and how this influences the integration of newly arrived migrant students.

You can connect with Dr Meehan by email amalee.meehan@dcu.ie

Dr Meehan's recent publication on this subject is available (open access) here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2666374022000863

The DCU Anti-Bullying Centre website is here: https://antibullyingcentre.ie/


 

In this month's episode, Dr Geraldine French discusses Early Childhood and the importance of slow relational pedagogy.

You can connect with Dr French on Twitter @GFrench_ECEC or on email geraldine.french@dcu.ie.

Dr French's publication on slow relational pedagogy is available here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V6no4KmbEDvunEWM3f6R4ECEMRWlm428/view


 

In this month's episode podcast, Audrey Bryan discusses a pedagogical framework - the Social Ecology of Responsibility Framework (SERF) - which she developed as a tool for climate change educators to promote deeper understanding of the complex relationship between individual actions or “ordinary harms” and wider social forces which are responsible for the global climate crisis (Bryan 2021). With reference to her recently published article “Pedagogy of the Implicated”, she discusses the rationale for the SERF as well as the theories, thinkers and concepts that inspired it, as well as some of the ways that it might be applied in classroom contexts.

You can connect with Dr Bryan on Twitter @audreypoststruc or email audrey.bryan@dcu.ie

Pedagogy of the Implicated, published in Pedagogy, Culture & Society, is available here: https://doi.org/10.1080/14681366.2021.1977979


 

In this episode, I speak with Professor Mathias Urban, Desmond Chair of Early Childhood Education and Director of the Early Childhood Research Centre at the Institute of Education, Dublin City University. Mathias provides a wonderful insight into Early Childhood Education and the role his centre is playing in shaping research, policy and practice in the field.

You can find out more about Mathias here

You can find out more about the Early Childhood Research Centre here and follow the centre on Twitter @dcu_ecrc


 

In this episode, I speak with Professor Michael O'Leary about the Centre for Assessment Research, Policy and Practice in Education (CARPE). Michael speaks to me about the origins and development of the centre, highlights some recent research completed by the centre, and discusses what's next for CARPE.

You can find out more about CARPE and what they do, on their website www.dcu.ie/carpe. You can also connect with CARPE on Twitter @carpe_dcu


 

In this episode, I speak with Dr Ger Scanlon about the PASTE project. This investigated supported transition for school leavers with intellectual disabilities.

The Progressing Accessible Supported Transitions to Employment (PASTE) project investigated the concept of supported transition for school leavers with intellectual disabilities, as a means of accessing mainstream opportunities in further / higher education, training, and employment (FETE). The study was undertaken by two researchers from Dublin City University, Ireland, across 2017 and 2018. This study investigated outcomes for school leavers with Intellectual Disabilities, who engaged with the WALK PEER supported transition model during their final two years in school. The research process focused on: a) capturing the viewpoints of students attending two special schools, their parents and carers, recent school leavers, and education professionals, and b) measuring employer viewpoints and engagement with the WALK PEER model between August 2015 and February 2018. This research project was funded by the Irish Research Council.

WALK PEER website »
PASTE report »

You can connect with Dr Scanlon on Twitter @gerscanlon or by email Geraldine.Scanlon@dcu.ie


 

In this episode, I speak with Dr Susan Pike about a recent SCoTENS project, titled 'ENABLE'. This project looks at enquiry in teacher education. 

The ENABLE project involved lecturers in Geography, History and Science Education across Ireland. Collaborators Dr Susan Pike (DCU), Dr Sandra Austin (MIE), Dr Karin Bacon (MIE) and Dr Richard Greenwood (Stranmillis University College) were all fascinated by enquiry and wanted to know more about how our students experience enquiry at different levels in their education programmes. All the students who took part were studying to be primary teachers, so were inquiring about aspects of their new profession as well as learning how to implement enquiry with children in schools. The project helped all involved to think about the multiplicities of enquiry we ask our students to engage with. 

Further information can be found in the collaborators' recent publication: Greenwood, R., Austin, S., Bacon, K. and Pike, S. (2021) 'Enquiry-Based Learning in the Primary Classroom: student teachers’ perceptions'. Education 3-13, 49 (1) and on the SCoTENS website.

You can connect with Dr Pike on Twitter @SusanJPike

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