About my research

My research was set in the context of the European Commission’s eTwinning initiative and it looked specifically at the use of eTwinning Learning Events (non-formal learning). It examined how the community influences the development of teachers’ competence in online collaboration and discourse, and it considered the contribution of social aspects and online moderation.

I am very grateful to my supervisor, Dr. Julie-Ann Sime from Lancaster University, and to my eTwinning soulmate, Tiina Sarisalmi, for their invaluable support. And to my examiners, Prof. Marilyn Leask from the University of Bedfordshire and Dr. Don Passey from the University of Lancaster, for their valuable advice.
Keywords: online learning communities; community of inquiry; online collaboration; content analysis; social presence; social ties; teacher training

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Practical stage

I am entering a practical stage in my research when it is time to put into action some of the ideas emerging from the previous cycle of my analysis. Together with Tiina, I am preparing for the next Learning Event entitled 'Exploiting Web 2.0 eTwinning and Collaboration', due to run from  25 October - 5 November and and 26 – 27 November (the latter is a final activity for reflection, after teachers have had an opportunity to apply what they have learned in their teaching practice).

The advantage of action research is that you get to see or even try out some of your ideas. This is both engaging and daunting; what if it all goes wrong? Of course it won't - he says positively - after all, there is no right or wrong way of doing things in education and anything we try out will yield useful results for the future. There, I feel better already.

So having set-up the forum for the staff room in the environment for the Learning Event, called the eTwinning Learning Lab,  I have today been preparing the 20 tables for the sub-groups. Instead of simply numbering them, which would be rather boring, I've given them names of colours. However, to issues come to mind:
- it's not easy to find twenty-five colour names - luckily the Internet came to the rescue and this site helped 
- we face the question What if the teachers don't like the colour of table to which they have been allocated?. Colours represent emotions, so we will have to be prepared for someone expressing a wish to change tables; easy to implement, so no problem as long as such request are few.

Some other good news, I have now submitted by presentation to Online Educa Berlin (session PED 74, Friday 3 December, 14:30- 16:00) for inclusion in the conference CD-ROM. Nice to see this finished. Moreover, I shall chance to practice as I've been invited to present my work to a group of teachers in a workshop at Lancaster University on 18 October via Skype. This will be really useful experience.



  1. Hi Brian!
    I would be interested to know how this workshop at Lancaster University went yesterday. Thank you.

  2. Hi Daniela, thanks for the interest. I've written a posting on it - hope you find it useful


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  8. For those of you wondering, I have removed comments which are clearly spam aiming to promote a web site