Nov 26 2014

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Action Games and Learning, Openwashing and more

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Open data or openwashing? - Audrey Watters

Open data is undoubtedly a hot topic, raising issues that go beyond just technology and stretch to education, privacy, human rights, transparency and many other topics. Our event with Marieke Guy today (livestream available; see also our Q&A on open data) will be touching upon some of the relevant issues when discussing open data in education.

In a timely intervention, Audrey Watters criticises the ambiguity attached to the word “open” and highlights the frequent abuse of this ambiguity for business purposes (“openwashing”):

We use “open” as though it is free of ideology, ignoring how much “openness,” particularly as it’s used by technologists, is closely intertwined with “meritocracy” — this notion, a false one, that “open” wipes away inequalities, institutions, biases, history, that “open” “levels the playing field.”

If we believe in equality, if we believe in participatory democracy and participatory culture, if we believe in people and progressive social change, if we believe in sustainability in all its environmental and economic and psychological manifestations, then we need to do better than slap that adjective “open” onto our projects and act as though that’s sufficient or — and this is hard, I know — even sound.

Is it time to start the debate about what we mean by “open” with the larger picture in mind?

Mapping Change: Case Studies on Technology Enhanced Learning – UCISA

This report (the full version of which is available here) presents case studies of institutional approaches towards technology enhanced learning across the United Kingdom. One of the themes emerging is the increasing importance of assessment with technology; an area that we will be covering in more detail on this blog in the weeks to come. Rather than just streamlining procedures and reducing administrative efforts, technology can support new pedagogic approaches and assist in improving the quality of assessment significantly. For a first glimpse into the efforts undertaken by LSE in this field have a look at our summary on LTI’s latest Show&Tell on assessment with technology.

Innovating Pedagogy 2014 - Open University

This year’s report by the Open University highlights ten trends in education for many of which technology is either an integral aspect or can enhance the learning experience. Whether learning through storytelling, massive open social learning (post the MOOC-hype), flipped classroom or any of the other trends address, the report makes for interesting reading and offers plenty of topics for further discussion and analysis.

Information and digital literacy: It’s not all about technology - CILIP Information Literacy Group

Responding to the interim report on “Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World” by the UK Digital Skills Taskforce, LTI’s Jane Secker and Stephane Goldstein from InformAll pose a perhaps somewhat unexpected criticism. While generally praising the report and its intention, they criticise it for focusing too heavily on technological skills:

We feel that this suggests too narrow an approach to the relationship that individuals, in a knowledge-based society and economy, need to develop with information. 

Instead, they argue for a broader definition of digital and information literacies, which encompasses the skills needed to survive in the digital world:

Equipping people with the knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence that they need to search for, discover, access, retrieve, sift, interpret, analyse, manage, create, communicate and preserve ever-increasing volumes of information, whether digital, printed or oral

Headshot: Action video games and learning - Gizmag

Few of us would think of action video games as improving our learning. Perhaps even too few of us? This recent study suggests a link between action games and the development of learning capabilities. It will be interesting to observe when (and if) education seizes the potential offered by games for both learning and learning capabilities on a larger scale.

* Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

Posted by: Posted on by Malte Werner Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

Nov 25 2014

Open Education’s Fantastic SHED Show

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On 24 November I attended the joint SHED (Scottish Higher Education Developers) and JISC event on Open Education, in Glasgow. Speakers from various Scottish universities (and other educational organisations) presented on a range of topics related to the idea of making higher education available to all.

The highlight for me was Sheila McNeill from Glasgow Caledonian University, who explained how her team had created GCU Games On, an online learning ‘event’ centred on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, and done so within a matter of weeks. An off-the-cuff suggestion, made in a meeting on 11 June, had become an online space with activities ready to start on 10 July. Although the resulting ‘event’ was modest in scale, it indicated a can-do attitude and absence of organisational barriers that I found most encouraging.

The event included:

  • Course content taken from various subjects related to the Games, e.g. sports science, some of which was converted into interactive activities;
  • A mix of social media channels to allow participants to contribute, including Twitter, Gmail, Trello and Padlet;
  • Use of Open Badges (see later in this post) to reward completion of activities.

There were no blogs or discussion forums, since there was no staff resource to support such things. A total of 211 people took part over 3 weeks, sending 424 tweets, and reaction was good, particularly the way participants embraced the idea of badges. Sheila admits that the enterprise was “pedagogically suspect”, but they learned a lot by turning around such an event in such a short time, and are now ready to do something more interesting next time.

I liked this not so much because of the event itself, but just in seeing a working example of “event-based learning”. I think LSE could do something very interesting in this area, with online learning focused on specific political and world events (elections, summits, outbreaks, wars), aiming to provide a space where people can learn about the background to events as they unfold, while contributing to a live debate around them.

Another interesting presentation came from Kerr Gardiner of the University of Glasgow, who gave an overview of Glasgow’s foray into MOOC provision. Glasgow’s are working with FutureLearn, and followed this process:

  • Initial staff meetings to gather ideas and discuss approaches
  • Call for bids from academics and departments
  • Selection of successful bids done by the senior management team, thus guaranteeing buy-in
  • £15K allocated per MOOC – but see below for more on costs
  • Production done by local teams, but with centralised oversight and media production

The interesting aspect of all this was the cost. That £15K covers copyright costs and GTA wages amongst other things; but it doesn’t include the costs of in-house media production, nor an awful lot of uncosted academic effort. It’s clear therefore that the figure of £15K is a red herring, and Kerr hopes to look into this further, to estimate the “true hidden cost” of a MOOC.

Another lesson was the need for specialised copyright support. Since MOOCs are so visible, developers need to be extra careful about obtaining rights. The fact that MOOCs were being done by separate groups, and the lack of centralised copyright expertise, meant that it all proved expensive.

Finally, Celeste McLaughlin from the (soon-to-be-defunct) JISC RSC for Scotland talked to us about her use of Open Badges to incentivise and accredit CPD activities. Open Badges can be awarded for achievement of certain criteria, and those viewing a person’s badge online can click it to find out what those criteria were.

Some examples used for online courses were “Completer” and “Influencer” badges. Completer is given for finishing an online course, but only upon completion of a post-course reflective summary, based on a template. The template asks questions such as “what ideas will you take forward from this course into your work?” and “what challenges do you anticipate in using these skills?”. Full engagement is encouraged by the use of minimum word counts, completed exemplar forms, and negotiation with the participant.

The Influencer badge, meanwhile, was awarded to those voted by their peers as having contributed most meaningfully to an online course. The promise of achieving this badge seems to have increased markedly the level of contribution to courses.

Sheila recommended the JISC Open Badges Design Toolkit as a good place to start.

Overall, then, more fantastic than bobbins: an interesting and varied day, attended by a friendly and helpful community of practitioners – much like the M25 Learning Technology Group that we have here in London.

Posted by: Posted on by Steve Bond Tagged with: , ,

Nov 25 2014

LTI grants for Lent Term 2015

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Following our successful first round of grants for Michaelmas term, applications are now open for the next round of applications.

The deadline for proposals is Friday 12 December 2014 and more information about the three strands; E-AssessmentStudents As Producers and Innovation grants can be found on our website: http://lti.lse.ac.uk/about-lti/LTI-grant.php

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Posted on by Geraldine Foley

Nov 21 2014

Q&A with Marieke Guy

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Thank you to all of those who attended last night’s event, whether in person or online. A video recording will be available shortly.


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Marieke Guy
Marieke Guy from Open Knowledge

 

 

 

Ahead of her NetwokED seminar talk on Wednesday 26 November Marieke Guy answered some questions for LTI on open data in education.
Q1. How would you define ‘open data’?  How does this relate to ‘open access’ and ‘open education’ ?

We’re very lucky to have an excellent definition of open data from Open Definition, which specifically sets out principles that define “openness” in relation to data and content:

“Open means anyone can freely access, use, modify, and share for any purpose (subject, at most, to requirements that preserve provenance and openness.”

So we are talking about data that is available for people to access and can be reused and redistributed by everyone. One of the important points to make is that openness does not discriminate against commercizal use. Open data is definitely a friend of open access and open education! Publicly funded research publications should not only be open access but the data behind them should also be shared and openly available. At the Open Education Working Group we see open education as a collective term that is used to refer to many practices and activities that have both openness and education at their core. Open data is an important area, along with open content, open licensing, open tools, open policy and open learning and teaching practices. This is becoming even more the case with the rise in online learning, MOOCs and the use of learning analytics.

Q2. Who typically uses open data and what does it get used for?

Anyone can consume open data as an end-user benefitting from openness, but there are two main groups who have a specific interest in dealing with open data. Data providers (such as the government or your institution) may be interested in releasing and sharing data openly. Data handlers are interested in using the data available, maybe by developing an app or service around the data, or by visualising the data, or by asking questions of the data and mining it in some way. A nice easy example here is the Great British Toilet map,

GreatBritishToiletMap

The Great British Toilet Map

where government data was combined with ordnance survey and open street map data to provide a public service app that helps us find the nearest public convenience. You can also add toilets you find to the map, allowing the data that is available to be improved on.

Obviously people who want to get their hands messy with data will need to be data literate. One of our core projects at Open Knowledge is School of Data. School of Data works to empower civil society organisations, journalists and citizens with the skills they need to use data effectively in their efforts to create more equitable and effective societies.

Q3. What are the pros and cons of open data?

The main benefits for using open data are around transparency (knowing what your government and other public bodies are doing), releasing social and commercial value, and participation and engagement. By opening up data, citizens are enabled to be much more directly informed and involved in decision-making. This is about making a full “read/write” society, not just about knowing what is happening in the process of governance but being able to contribute to it.

Opening anything up makes organisations more vulnerable, especially if they have something to hide, or if their data is inaccurate or incomplete. There is also a cost to releasing and building on data. Often this cost is outweighed by the social or economic benefit generated, but this benefit can develop over time so can be hard to demonstrate. Other challenges include the possible misinterpretion or misrepresention of data, and of course issues around privacy.

I personally see open data as being in the same space as freedom of speech with regard to these challenges. We know that open data is the right way to go but there are still some subtleties that we need to work out. The answer to a ‘bad’ use of open data is not to close the data, just as the answer to a racist rant is not to remove our right to freedom of speech.

Q4. Do you have any examples of projects that have involved using ‘open data’ and if so what advantage did ‘open data’ bring?

Earlier this year Otavio Ritter (Open education data researcher, Getulio Vargas Foundation, Brazil) gave a talk to our Open Education Working Group. He mentioned a case in Brazil where the school census collects data about violence in school area (like drug traffic or other risks to pupils). Based on an open data platform developed to navigate through the census it was possible to see that in a specific Brazilian state 35% of public schools had drug traffic near the schools. This fact put pressure on the local government to create a public policy and a campaign to prevent drug use among students.  Since then a collection of initiatives run by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made a huge impact on the drug traffic levels near schools.

Q5. What does Open Knowledge do?

Open Knowledge is a worldwide non-profit network of people who believe in openness. We use advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and enable people to work with it to create and share knowledge. We work on projects, create tools and support an amazing international network of individuals passionate about openness and active in making, training and promoting open knowledge. Our network is global (we have groups in more than 40 countries and 9 local chapters) and cross-domain (we currently have 19 working groups that focus on discussion and activity around a given area of open knowledge).

Marieke Guy will be talking at LSE on Wednesday 26 November at 5pm in NAB2.06.  To book your place go to the staff training and development system or (for those without access to the system) email imt.admin@lse.ac.uk

Have a look at previous talks on our Youtube channel.

Posted by: Posted on by Geraldine Foley

Nov 13 2014

LTI Show and tell on assessment with Technology, 11 November 2014

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assessment with technologyLTI recently held a show and tell on assessment with technology with colleagues from LSE, UCL and Westminster. The event was well attended and provided an opportunity to find out the varying ways that technology is being used in to innovate assessment.

The show and tell event is part of the work that is being done by LTI to promote assessment with technology at LSE. The project aims and outcomes outlined by LTI learning technologists Athina Chatzigavriil and Kris Roger can be seen here.  If you are interested in being involved in the working group on e-assessment or have examples of e-submission, e-marking or e-feedback and e-return then please get in touch by emailing lti.support@lse.ac.uk

A lecture capture recording of the event (slides and audio) is now available here (LSE login required) or you can read a brief summary of the presentations below.

Alternatives to examinations

Professor George Gaskell started off the event with a brief outline of the changes that are taking place in LSE100, the compulsory course for Undergraduates at LSE. The LSE100 Director explained that the course team are currently investigating alternatives to exams. Using the learning outcomes of the course as the basis for assessment they have been developing a portfolio of activities that will allow students to demonstrate their appreciation of apply social scientific methods, concepts and theories to real world problems. Assessments will have to allow for ‘exit velocity’ and let students to take risks in their first year and allow for the progress of learners over their two years at LSE, while also preventing strategic planning by requiring all components to be completed. The process is still in the developing stages so watch this space for updates.

Peer assessment

papanicolasIriniSmallDr Irini Papanicolas, from Social Policy gave the second presentation on her work with Steve Bond in LTI on peer assessment. Dr Papanicolas discussed how she changed assessment on the course SA4D4 from 100% exam, to 50% exam and 50% presentation. She used ‘WebPA’ to enable students to rate their peers’ presentations using the course mark frame. Although peer assessment was an optional part of the assessment all the groups volunteered feedback and there was a positive response to the process with it creating discussion within the groups on the assessment criteria.

Dr Papanicolas will be using ‘TeamMates’ for this year as it will allow students to not only rate their own groups’ presentation but the individuals contributions within the group.

From peer assessment to peer teaching and learning….
Kevin Tang then reported how ‘Peerwise’ has been used at UCL. Kevin has been working with Sam Green & Stefanie Anyadi in the department of Linguistics to use the platform with 50 undergraduate and 50 postgraduate students. PeerWise allows students to create, answer and discuss questions. Students can rate feedback and are scored on their own contributions, at UCL these contributions are then worth a small percentage of their summative mark for the course.

Research into using the interface indicated that it was important to provide support for students to ‘think like an examiner’ with example questions and training on giving constructive feedback. Academic staff attitudes also played a crucial role in student engagement along with setting regular activities and deadlines.

As most examiners will know it is quite hard to create good questions so UCL asked students to devise questions in groups and found that the questions improved over time with the students in mixed ability groups appearing to benefit the most. The platform provided a space for interaction as students provided detailed feedback for each other which was then used to work on future questions and students were still using the system leading up to the exam for revision purposes.

Games and assessment in Law

Dr Vassiliki Bouki, Principal Lecturer, University of Westminster talked about the use of games in assessment. Dr Bouki demonstrated the ‘law of murder game’ which was developed in ‘Articulate storyline’ and was used as an alternative to coursework for a second year criminal law module. The game was used to demonstrate a real life scenario and assess critical thinking and allowed students to experience role playing to think like a lawyer. Students are given two hours to complete several small tasks in an open book environment. The game is currently in use so data and feedback from students will be available later in the year.

Word processed timed assessments and online feedback

Sunil KumarDr Sunil Kumar, Lecturer in Social Policy & Dean of Graduate Studies, talked about his experiences over three years on the course ‘urbanisation and social policy’. Concerned about how much students were actually learning with the traditional model of examinations, Dr Kumar introduced a 2 hour online formative assessment into his course. Students typed up their answers to short answer and long answer questions in examination style conditions. Dr Kumar was then able to read and mark submissions on his iPad and then upload the anonymised assessments with annotated feedback for all students to see on Moodle. The formative assessments have had 100% attendance with students being able to then learn from other students submissions, encouraging them to review topics they have not yet covered in preparation for the summative examination.

More information about the project can be found on our blog post.

Posted by: Posted on by Geraldine Foley

Nov 12 2014

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Teaching crowds, learning and sex, and more

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Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

My technological dream of carpe diem - Inside Higher Ed

“What comes across is a sentimentalism of a glorious education past that is on the verge of being corrupted.”

Dan Butin’s strongly-worded response to the survey on faculty attitudes to technology in Higher Education discussed in last week’s round up makes for a recommended read. When comparing whether online learning is “better” than traditional face-to-face instruction, what gold model are we aspiring to? Indeed, much of university teaching suffers from a variety of issues including large class sizes and uninspiring lectures without any elements of interactivity. As Butin rightly notes:

“Such bravado is all nice and good if these faculty are truly inciting roomfuls of earnest youth on a daily basis. But the reality is far different.”

Rather than asking whether technology is able to deliver a better learning experience we should think about how to reform an ailing model and how to learn from the many inspiring examples of great teaching out there. Rather than regarding it as a threat, we should seize the opportunities technology offers us to improve teaching and learning in our universities.

Student views on technology - Educause

We’ve talked about the faculty, what about the learners? This short, but informative image summarises the findings of a study on student views on technology. Two findings are worth highlighting: First, a third of teachers still seek to actively discourage or ban the use of tablets in class, even though all students owning one stated that they use it for their study. Second, If asked, most students would opt for blended learning, rather than mere online or face-to-face delivery, suggesting a demand, rather than just greater openness, for the use of learning technology among students.

Teaching crowds: learning and social media - Athabasca University

“If you’re going to use technology, then you need to think carefully about the consequences — not just for yourself but for your community.”

This new book on crowd (or networked) learning explores the possibilities for collaborative, personalised and self-directed learning. Specifically, the authors address the potential, but also risks, of using social media and web 2.0 technologies to facilitate this kind of learning. A free digital copy of the full book can be downloaded here.

The problem with learning technology - Kirstin Wilcox, University of Illinois

Having received nothing but praise in the comments, this article criticises learning technology for distracting, rather than contributing to, the kind of in-depth discussions and engagement needed in academia. Indeed, the author’s fascinating reflections leaves little doubt that she knows what great teaching looks like. She fails, however, to recognise that most of the problems she outlines (e.g. mass delivery of content, lack of engaging class discussions, etc.) are linked to higher education itself, rather than to learning technology. In the wrong hands, learning technology is indeed unlikely to improve learning – but few if any learning technologists would ever make such an argument.

Women’s walks app - LSE Library

Even if it may be regarded as a shameless self-plug, this mobile learning experience created by the LSE library is worth highlighting: The LSE library in partnership with Arts Council England has created a mobile application to enable users experiencing Women’s history through London’s streets. Women’s Walks combines smartphone technology with the fascinating and diverse archive material from The Women’s Library @ LSE, transforming the collection into an engaging and interactive historical journey.

Learning is like sex - Washington Post

“On the matter of teaching, the only aspect that is truly threatened by technology is bad teaching, particularly lecturing. The institutions that are most threatened by technology are those that rely on large lecture classes and graduate assistants.”

“Consider teaching and learning, for a moment, as analogous to sex. Technology has no doubt added opportunity and diversity to the experience, but it has not rendered the basic transaction obsolete, and it is not about to”

While we are not sure about the analogy, there is to little to add to these quotes.

Posted by: Posted on by Malte Werner Tagged with: , , , , ,

Nov 11 2014

LTI NetworkED Seminar series – Marieke Guy 26/11/14

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Thank you to all of those who attended last night’s event, whether in person or online. A video recording will be available shortly.


LTI NetworkED Seminar series Marieke Guy ‘Open data in education’ Wednesday 26 November 5:00pm – 7pm, NAB2.06.

marieke_guyMarieke Guy (@mariekeguy on Twitter) is a project co-ordinator at Open Knowledge (https://okfn.org), a global not-for-profit organisation that wants to open up knowledge around the world and see it used and useful. She has been working with online information for over 16 years and was previously employed by UKOLN, a centre of expertise in digital information management at the University of Bath.

Her areas of interest include research data management, digital preservation, digital cultural heritage, open technologies and open education – she currently co-ordinates the Open Education Working Group (http://education.okfn.org).

Marieke Guy will be our third speaker for the NetworkED series this academic year, see below for more information on her talk which will take place on Wednesday 26 November at 5pm.

Data is very much the flavour of the month, from discussions around data mining and monetisation of data, to privacy issues and monitoring.

But what exactly is open data and how does it relate to education? What type of data sets are we talking about and how are they being used? How can open data be used to meet educational needs? Is it just about accountability and transparency, or is there more to it? What about learning analytics? What are the implications of tracking our students? Where does the true potential lie? It clear that open education data sets are of interest to a wide variety of people including educators, learners, institutions, government, parents and the wider public. Marieke Guy will give an overview of the situation as it now stands and prompt us to consider what the implications are for those of us working in Education.

The event is free to attend and places can be reserved via the training and development system or (for those without access to the system) by emailing imt.admin@lse.ac.uk.

All our talks are live streamed and recorded for those who can’t make it. For more information, check out our website or have a look at previous talks on our YouTube channel. 

Posted by: Posted on by Geraldine Foley

Nov 11 2014

Watch Helen Keegan’s NetworkED seminar online

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A big thanks to all of those that joined us for our NetworkED seminar with Helen Keegan last week, whether in person or online. Helen shared some inspirational stories of her work on empowering learners to take joint ownership of their learning process together with staff. All of those who missed out or would like to revisit some of her points can watch the recording of her talk below. You may also be interested in our short Q&A with Helen Keegan.

LSE_StudentsAsProducers_Helen Keegan 05.11.14 - slides from presentation


LTI NetworkED Seminar series Helen Keegan ‘Interactive & Social Media’

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Helen Keegan (@heloukee on Twitter) is a UK National Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer and researcher at the University of Salford, UK. 

Her expertise lies in curriculum innovation through social and participatory media, with a particular focus on creativity and interdisciplinarity.  She is known for her work on digital cultures and identities, social technologies and the interplay between formal and informal learning. As a multi-disciplinary practitioner. Helen works across sciences and media arts, developing partnerships and creative approaches to learning and collaboration.

Alongside presenting and consulting, Helen has published in journals and edited collections including the European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, Selected Papers of Internet Research, and the Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies. For more information see www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/profiles/keegan/

Providing insights and examples of projects that engage students as producers, Helen discussed a number of projects that span her practice, especially looking at examples of leading projects that link students across networks, cultures and countries.  This talk is of great relevance to those interested in innovative pedagogies, student led learning and media education in the digital age.

 

Posted by: Posted on by Malte Werner Tagged with: , , , , , ,

Nov 7 2014

LSE Innovator – Sunil Kumar and Word Processed Exams

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In the first part of LTI’s new “LSE Innovator” series, Dr. Sunil Kumar, Dean of Graduate Studies and Lecturer in the Department of Social Policy at LSE talks about why he piloted word processed exams for Urbanisation and Social Policy in the Global South.

 

piktochart

Posted by: Posted on by Malte Werner Tagged with: , , , ,

Nov 6 2014

Watch Josie Fraser’s NetworkED seminar online

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A big thanks to all of those that joined us for our NetworkED seminar with Josie Fraser, whether in person or online. For those of you who missed out or would like to revisit some of her points we are happy to provide a recording of her talk below:


LTI NetworkED Seminar Series - Josie Fraser ‘Digital Literacy in Practice: Making Change Happen’

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Josie Fraser spoke about her experiences of working on the Digi Lit project.
As the 10th largest city in the UK, Leicester is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Europe, with huge amounts of children living in relative poverty.  Josie has had to deal with issues of access and what it means to provide education that is available for all and works for everyone in the community.  Set up as a partnership between the council, De Montford University and 23 secondary schools the Digi Lit project is an attempt to work within existing power structures while making sure that learners are not being left out.

Posted by: Posted on by Malte Werner Tagged with: , ,