Conference Reviews In Full

Thanks to the delegates who sent us conference reviews. We plan to learn from these.

Dr Mike Sharples

On July 11th and 12th, the Technology, Pedagogy and Education Association invited several experts who are researching digital technology for effectiveness in teaching and learning. They engaged the audience with introduction of ideal approaches to teaching and learning and its value in the modern academic environment. The conference was open to all researchers, experts, practitioners, teachers and students. During the conference, attendees shared opinions, thoughts and suggestions for future consideration.

The conference was arranged by Christina Preston, Jon audain and Emma Goto with high standards. The diverse presenters showed their research via floor and poster presentations. It was a great treat for the education academicians who aimed at further knowing to understand the role of digital technologies in teaching and learning.

Imane Tahiri, a new member of TPEA, singled out the key note by Mike Sharples on “powerful pedagogies for a digital world.” Imane said, “The notion of ‘pedagogy should inform technology’ was one thing that inspired me. The conference overall gave me an opportunity to network with experts. It was also a part of my continual professional development. I really thank organisers for their efforts arranging this conference. I look forward already to the next year’s event.”

I really thank organisers for their efforts arranging this conference. I look forward already to the next year’s event.

Dr Liz Hidson

Post-conference reflection or, the best two days’ CPD this year!

It’s a rainy Saturday morning and yet I’m inspired to open my laptop and capture some of the many thoughts that are buzzing around in my head having spent two days with the TPEA community at the 33rd annual conference, held this year at the Winchester Hotel & Spa.
This year, the change of name to the Technology, Pedagogy and Education Association, combining the expertise of ITTE and MirandaNet, seems to capture perfectly the themes that align our work and help us to work towards meeting our objectives as teachers, academics and researchers, however those identities intersect in our day-today roles.

The research nurtured and shared in our community has been fascinating, ranging from a review of the early history of computing education in the UK to the practical application of mathematics in a game programming course. The benefits of experience and context have allowed us to engage with research that touches on our shared interests – we may not all be teaching programming or training teachers but the converging issues of technology and pedagogy are central to our education community. We had digital storytellers, SEND specialists, sociologists and school leaders, united by the appreciation that technology can facilitate learning in ways that are simply not possible without it.

Knowledge sharing over the past two days has been of central concern. How, and whose responsibility is it, to collate and provide open access to this rich knowledge base? How can we take what is known and provide pathways for future exploration? Building on work from our highly respected journal, TPE, and from MESH Guides, it has become clear that as an association, we cannot sit back and wait for the wider education community undertake this work. We must marshal our resources and enable our members and supporters to lead the way. I look forward to the new book already in the pipeline on the impact of EdTech in practice.

Possibly the most humbling aspect of the two days has been the realisation about the power of partnerships underpinning what we do. If we accept that nothing is neutral (Hart et al, 2004), then neither technology nor pedagogy are neutral, and we have a responsibility to support the ecology of EdTech companies, teachers and researchers. Professor Marilyn Leask proposed that subject associations must square this triangle. It is not tenable for companies to come to market with technology that has not been subject to the checks and balances provided by research and practice. There must be collaboration, and we were fortunate to hear from organisations being proactive about this.

Highlights and take-aways
Inspired by the accessible format of Professor Mike Sharples’ new book on practical pedagogy, I bought a copy and look forward to reading that through. I also plan to review the MESH Guides website to see what I can incorporate into my work as a teacher educator.

References / Links
Hart, S., Dixon, A., Drummond, M .& McIntyre, D., (2004). Learning without Limits. Maidenhead: Open University Press.
Sharples, M. (2019). Practical Pedagogy: 40 New Ways to Teach and Learn. Abingdon: Routledge.
MESH Guides:

Liz Hidson’s presentation

At the conference I presented my own doctoral thesis that focuses on the 2014 ICT to Computing curriculum change in England, which saw the introduction of Computer Science in schools. This posed a challenge for in-service ICT teachers without Computer Science subject knowledge: teachers needed to develop both subject and pedagogical knowledge to make the transition from teaching ICT to teaching Computing.

Elizabeth’s study explores teachers’ perceptions of the curriculum change and how they have responded in practical and pedagogical terms to planning lessons aligning with the new programmes of study. The study used semi-structured interview questions while teachers engaged in lesson-planning activities, captured mostly using desktop-sharing via internet telephony. A modified version of Shulman’s pedagogical reasoning framework and Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) facilitated analysis of teachers’ pedagogic practices in lesson planning.

The study shows teachers’ concerns about the lack of clarity surrounding the curriculum change, and the lack of access to suitable professional development. The study also focuses on the dynamic nature of lesson planning. Knowledge deficits slowed down teachers’ lesson-planning processes, but the use of lesson materials created by others helped them to develop PCK.

Recommendations have been made for Computing curriculum policies to recognise and promote Computing pedagogy, which should underpin initial teacher education in Computing, CPD for in-service teachers, and strategic development of the subject in the longer term.

My thesis, entitled “Challenges to Pedagogical Content Knowledge in lesson planning during curriculum transition: a multiple case study of teachers of ICT and Computing in England” is available to view through the Durham University e-theses website:

Bob Harrison

If you are interested or involved in using technology to engage and empower learners or extending or enhancing learning whether on the delivery and demand side as a school or a college or as a developer or service provider you might want to be part of a small but sincere group of educationalists, academics, researchers and suppliers that met recently under the banner of TPEA

The Technology and Pedagogy Education Association Annual conference “A Richer Curriculum” was a small but collegial gathering in the beautiful City of Winchester and hosted by the University of Winchester.

Don’t expect a big auditorium and split screen lapel head micro-phone speakers being talked at by “experts on a stage. You can expect stimulating and provocative inputs in a small but safe diverse community where views, opinions, research, case studies and horizon scans are shared openly within a network of passionate and compassionate like-minded professionals.
The highlight for me was the keynote from Professor Mike Sharples, Emeritus professor at the OU and the editor of the OU Innovating pedagogy series now converted into his book “Practical Pedagogy 40 New Ways to Teach and Learn.” I have known Mike for nearly twenty years when I presented at his first Mobile Learning conference in 2002. Since then he has become one of the worlds leading academics and thought leaders abut technology enhanced learning.
There are times when it sometimes feels lonely singing the same song about the potential technology has to improve teaching, learning and assessment after all these years.
However being a TPEA member and attending the conference is affirming and reminds me that we have history and evidence on our side and in order to push back against ideological obstacles in our way we must stay together and share what works.

Bob Harrison TPEA member, Chair Northern College, Lostock High School and Trustee UfI
Follow him on twitter @bobharrisoned

Tahirih Danesh’s contribution focused on accompanying the new generation to continue to create a violence-free world. It offered a few points and concepts, influenced by the impact of the parallel processes of destruction and construction shaping the emergence of our global consciousness and community throughout the past two centuries. The brief presentation also highlighted the historical opportunities Generation Alpha enjoy to develop human capabilities to better their own self and society, echoing Aristotle’s notion of living a good life.

John Sibbald

Specialist leader in education and MirandaNet Fellow

A common theme at this year’s conference was that of how those in academia can start to re-engage strategically and directly with teaching schools and in particular the twenty-three research schools that have been established in partnership with the Education Endownment Foundation (EEF) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE). This network is set to grow with the aim of all teaching schools becoming research schools.

Some questions to consider:

What does effective research look like in research schools?
How can the TPEA support schools with different research methodologies?
How can the TPEA’s rich knowledge-base be shared more widely with school?
How can the TPEA influence the approach of the EEF and the IEE?
Who do we need to talk to?
How can we make this happen?

David Jaffa

David Jaffa, Chief of Crazy Ideas, at the Jaffa Foundation had some challenging ideas to present: We believe the future of the workplace is highly predictable and the skills needed to thrive are already very clear (yup!) The future economy will be much bigger than today’s. So how do young people find a place they can flourish, contribute and thrive in a rapidly changing world? While many things are changing, there are also factors that are stable over time, things we know are true today, and will be equally true decades from now. The factors we can bank-on long term enable us to build strategies with great certainty. This works both for individual careers and for the education system as a whole.

Economic forces are making some skills super valuable, while others are going the way of the dodo. Our Economic Ranking of Skills is a practical framework showing which is which.

1. Direct Wealth-Creation (TOP)
2. Character
3. Leadership
4. Portable Job Functions
5. Product / Service Delivery
6. Knowledge (BOTTOM)

Get in touch at

Dai Thomas, Warden Park School

How good are CPD programmes?

At the TPEA conference in July, I reflected as a teacher on Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and the new Early Career Framework (ECF) developed to help tackle the issue of poor recruitment and retention. I talked about the one size fits all approach taken by most schools and the arid landscape of CPD entitlement that I had experienced as a teacher in a number of schools over the years. Hours of deathly INSET time which was remarkably undifferentiated. Will the new Early Career Framework ( ECF) for teachers and the Early Career Continuing Professional Development Exploratory Research (NFER 2018) report which seemingly informs good practice enable change?

At the core of my thinking was what might be the ideal approach for initial and continuing teacher Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and whether the new Early Career Framework (ECF) may be effective.

New Early Career Framework

The framework which promises “fully funded” program of structure and support for two years which gives more emphasis on the preparation of the early career teacher (ECT) for a sustainable career. This falls in line with the two year Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT) period and also includes mentor training programs. This approach, of course, must be contextually based in a time point which sees the worst retention rates for teachers in decades and a recruitment crisis.

From my own experience in teaching for over three decades I understand the importance of quality mentoring of teachers through both Initial Teacher Training (ITT) and NQT periods.
As a seconded lecturer working at a local University I saw first hand the variation in mentorship and the effect this has on the progress and wellbeing of student teachers.
Dr Elizabeth Hidson who was in the TPEA audience talked about “ next stage readiness” for student teachers and how best can ITT providers ensure that they pump prime the next ECT cohort to flourish.

EdTech causes an issue which some of us are experiencing. My role develops Ed Tech use over a busy but small academies trust and it is difficult to transition new teachers into post when their experience of the use of Ed Tech is limited to a small unit developed by their ITT provider. The student teachers practice schools also make a significant impact, some newly qualified teachers having no real experience of using Ed Tech in the classroom as their practice schools were fairly traditional. Damian Hinds, Education Secretary (at the time of finishing this piece now replaced by Gavin Williamson) seemed to be an advocate for Ed Tech but seemingly only as a “magic bullet” to solve teacher workload.

One of our TPEA keynote speakers Chris Waterman spoke about the changing workplace and the need to grow people, his analogy of feeding and watering a flower left a strong visual metaphor with us. He also reminded us that we are currently seeking to gain as many qualification points as possible and this adds pressure to the system. Perhaps less is more?

Chris Waterman (right) with Jon Audain.
Will the new ECF enable us to nurture and grow better teachers who stay in the job longer and develop more powerful pedagogies ? How will this new framework help to develop the use of Ed Tech? How do we ensure that Ed Tech use is not just seen as a workload magic bullet but, as a true agent for educational change, enabling learning in more effective ways as well as engaging both teachers and learners. Perhaps these are the key question we could debate further.