C&G – MPPA MEd- Unit 1- Complete


A huge THANK YOU to my tutor, Scott – and to those who funded my place.

This was a very worthwhile undertaking, excellently resourced and managed.


City & Guilds



Where do I find the time?

For CPD, one must make time.

Really enjoying the ‘Master Professional Practitioner Award for Career-Long Professional Learning’. I’ve passed Unit 1-Part 2 and hope to complete the Unit; engaging with HGIOS4 is coming up and forces me to do so.

I’ll see what comes of an application to join the EdD programme at Glasgow University; Plan B is a second Masters – this time the MEd at UWS, and only the dissertation phase.


POS Tagging of the BAS Booklet

POSWThanks to the web, I managed to cobble together R code which identified and sent to a text file the Parts of Speech used in the school’s, ‘Becoming a Scientist’ booklet.

As you can see (for the first 20 words of 1522):


I’m interested in correlations between the science content and verb/personal pronoun gravity. For example, the choice of verbs, ‘you’, ‘I’ and ‘we’ – does this affect retention/recall? And what about during after gameplay?

This code will also benefit deep analysis of pupils’ texts produced: pronoun/verb dispersion; lexical sophistication relating to game narrative recall.

And much more.

Literacy and the Visual Image

I am continuing to undertake research into Game-based Learning, and single-gender teaching in particular. I’m reading a PhD on the classification of audio within digital games and their contributions to immersion.

But meanwhile…

I have been reading the following paper:

Rowsell, Jennifer; Kendrick, Maureen. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.Apr2013, Vol. 56 Issue 7, p587-599.

It discusses the benefits of visual cues – student- generated or chosen from a third-party source – in assisting students producing richer narratives. (This accords with an other recent paper on Dyslexia, which accompanies a specially-designed font, and also notes the need for the use of visual cues.)

Of course, the subjects of the papers are young males.

Three modalities and three sites of meaning are defined.

Modalities are: technological, compositional & social. The three sites of meaning are: site of production, the bonded unit of the image, and the site of viewing. The theory of ‘site’ takes account of the social practices of the context in which the image was produced, what it ‘contains’ and where and when it is viewed: from one to three different locations. And henceforth, this has effects on the production and reception of the resulting narrative.

All of which accords with Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), Cole, Engstrom, et al., the socio-cultural analysis tool which I have been using as part of my observations of group work, formally and informally. Kendrick and Rowsell go on to suggest:

“An ecological approach to language learning emphasizes emergent language development; “learning and cognition as explained not only in terms of processes inside the head, but also in terms of interaction with the environment; and learners’ perceptual and social activity as, in a fundamental way, their learning” (vanLier, 2000, cited in Hornberger, 2002, p. 35). An ecological approach allows us to look more closely at the performance of multimodal text construction and to consider students’ experience across time and within a variety of contexts” (Roswell & Kendrick, p.590, 2013).

So we English teachers should acknowledge the power of the visual image to support narrative production, tapping “into students’ motivations, interests and convictions” – especially boys – and ‘recruit’ what “students bring to learning” (The New London Group, 1996 in Roswell & Kendrick, 2013).



I have been trawling the web – catching the mere fragrance of a Wi-Fi signal from poolside – for a complete set of tools to aid my Masters Research. And when I find a glimmer of hope, it turns out to be a Mac-based solution/workflow.

I know.  Switch off and relax, I hear you say.

I already use Scrivener for document management of both my academic reading resources and my own writings; Evernote will be pressed into service as my sole data collection tool; Mendeley is my academic reference manager of choice.  I also have Atlas.ti to assist with coding, and it is proving quite intimidating – and that’s only from reading the mini manual.  More on ‘coding’ in a future posting.

So: Scrivener, Evernote, Mendeley, Atlas.ti. 

I’m hoping that Scrivener will allow for an external folder to be mapped to its project structure so that it and the desktop version of Evernote can both utilise its content, which will use the ‘MSc Digital Education’ notebook I have created and organised into folders that mimic that of my Research Dissertation.

I have a skeleton prepared within Scrivener, and the metaphor used is very similar to Microsoft Explorer where you can nest folders within each other as well as documents.  From my web readings many students note that the benefit of this feature is that it actually assists the thinking of the research workflow as well as the structure of the eventual discussion that your piece of work is intending to convey.

Fine-grained?  One can actually reduce a section or page into a number if separate text documents which are then included (or excluded) when the project is compiled into the final target document. Notes/annotations can be added as meta-data and which can be viewed via the corkboard overview feature. 

(I think this would benefit pupils who struggle to paragraph and others who would benefit from having a permanently displayed scaffold for their writing).

I hope as the conclusion of thing that I am not the proverbial ‘bad workman’.


A Visitation

The clock has started…

I received a visit from my MSc Supervisor last Tuesday, and he had kindly come from Edinburgh to speak about Literary, Science and games-based learning.

A delightful buffet, ice-breaker conversation that included two distinguished colleagues and them we were underway.

Data. Limits.  What exactly am I looking to analyse?

Well I’ve recently become less fearful in modifying my original Research Question, including the key points it hoped to explore: this is key because one of the suggestions was scope, the corollary being the volume and management of the generated data.

Gantt Charts are useful (but sometimes they are all consuming) and I have two, a ‘micro’ and a ‘macro’.  The meta level planning – academic reading, literature review, questionnaires, observations, data collation,  analysis, write up and submission …

The micro identifies the daily (and lesson plan) ‘action research’ activities across the 5 weeks between 6th January and the first week of February.  The first two weeks are aimed at providing pupils with the backstory to their imagined Mars landing, as well as allowing them time to acclimatise to the GUI, their team (of 4).

Being the kernel to the focus if analytical lens of Activity Theory (CHAT) , we then have three weeks of learning where pupils adopt the tool of Mars Colony Challenger and I observe m activities that I hope are transformative in knitting together ‘seeded’ Science curricular knowledge, in-game immersion and literacies.  (Amazon provided two cheap but capable tripods for the department Flip cameras to deliver this rich qualitative data set.)

Pupil journals, observations of group discussion, records of reading occurrences of multiple media forms (even F1 Help provides a ‘text’) and weekly triangulation with my ‘Science Guy’ to assess the progress of pupils’ competence against a set of ‘SCN-‘ Es & Os.

An ‘exit questionnaire’ or report task will provide us with a testing instrument against which will be applied pre-questionnaire knowledge.

A number of ‘ENG-‘ outcomes have been defined,  but the majority are Literacy focused and cover Reading, Writing, Listening(Watching) and Talking.  In conjunction with activity system diagrams, activity narratives and the application of the aforementioned Es & Os I will look at additional ‘codes’ that present themselves through MCC use and ‘curious play’.

Common ground? Literacy.  And how will the addition of a multi-user simulation software application immerse and engage pupils in applying their learning within a collaborative virtual environment?