Chris' research interests lie mainly in the uses of information and communications technology (ICT) in educational contexts, in particular in schools. He has an especial interest in the potential of videoconferencing to enhance the educational experience, as well as in new and emerging technologies (e.g. Web 2.0).
He also has an interest in the role that gender plays in shaping the educational experience of young people, with a particular focus on the experience of so-called underachieving boy
The Integral teacher training (IntTT) Project:
Comenius funded project exploring the potential of new and emerging technologies to enhance the professional development of pre-service teachers. The project involves partners from Finland, Slovakia, Spain, Portugal and Turkey. The IntTT partners are working together in order to develop national Initial Teacher Training (ITT) programmes to offer student teachers tools to enhance digital and communicative competences through learning of subject content
Digital and communicative competences have been identified as key competences for Life Long Learning (LLL) and are closely related to subject content learning, personal and professional development in modern societies. Moreover, acquiring good digital and communicative competences is needed for all areas of employment and should be developed in compulsory.
The Letterbox Club
The Letterbox club began as an action research project with just 20 children aged 7 to 11 in 2003 in Leicester. The project aims to find a way of providing educational support in reading and number directly to children in care at their place of residence. The project was extended to Suffolk in 2005, and the results from these two authorities over four years helped us win major funding from the DCSF (The Department for Children Schools and Families) for a two-year national pilot in England, working with 50 local authorities and 1500 children and their families, for 2007 and 2008. The project was also supported with books and funding by Penguin and Pearson.
In partnership with Booktrust, the programme has now been established as a subscription service benefiting children across the UK. Our current research is helping to extend the programme both to children with special needs, and to children aged 11 to 13 (with financial support from the Siobhan Dowd Trust). The Letterbox model is currently being piloted in Nebraska, US.
Evaluation of the Pyramid Club:
This is a pilot project evaluating the effectiveness of an after-school pupil support initiative known as the Pyramid Club. Pyramid Clubs are designed to support the ‘quietly disengaged’, that is pupils who experience low self-esteem or poor self-image and who are the less noticed of the ‘disengaged’ children in classrooms.
The research project is taking a case-study approach, focusing on the experiences of children in a Club at a single school in England. The intention is to develop and test research design which will be applied to a larger-scale, national evaluation
The Practicum Project:
The practicum project is an Anglo-Turkish collaboration, a comparative study which is examining the experiences of trainee teachers as they take their first steps as classroom teachers on their school placements or practicums. Practicums allow pre-service teachers to observe established teachers at work, prepare instructional materials adapted to the learning needs of particular students, teach groups of students, and begin to understand the complexities of working in schools. The study explores the perceptions of some pre-service teachers’, their university supervisors and their school-based teacher mentors of pre-service teachers’ school-based training experiences in Turkey and England in particular institutional and educational policy contexts.
Topics for Doctoral Supervision
- The uses of ICT in educational contexts
- Gender differences in educational outcomes