How do you keep up with research in education technology? I think doing so is important because if you want to convince your senior leadership team to spend money on education technology or let you try something out of the ordinary, you may have to have more robust evidence than declarations by bloggers saying that X is wonderful.
Also, having your finger on the pulse of education technology research means that you're in a strong position to argue your case when someone says it's a waste of money.
And, of course, keeping up with the research can give you ideas about things to try in your own school.
So, here are 4 sources I'd recommend, in alphabetical order.
The British Educational Suppliers Association (BESA)
This is a trade membership organisation that carries out research on behalf of its members. As Caroline Wright, the Director General of BESA, said in her talk at BESA's House of Lords reception recently, evidence-based research is crucial.
I find that BESA's research provides a really good snapshot of what school leaders of ICT and Computing are concerned about. It also encourages reflection and debate, as when, a few years ago, it reported that many ICT teachers felt that their school's wi-fi was not up to the task.
Unfortunately, BESA's research reports are generally unavailable except to members, but you can keep up with the headlines by reading their press releases and my newsletter (see below).
This is my own newsletter, and while it may strike you as immodest of me to feature my own publication, I do so because of its research track record.
From time to time I carry out my own research -- for example, in the next issue I will be reporting on what schools will be offering their students in terms of Computing and computing-related courses. I would not be so bold as to claim that my research would meet strict academic standards, but it does at least provide information that teachers and subject leaders may find interesting and useful.
I also report on research from various organisations, including BESA, for the benefit of readers.
I have also featured articles by, and interviews with, academics and others who are undertaking research into education technology. There will be more of these in forthcoming issues of Digital Education, including teachers who are doing interesting things in their classrooms.
In other words, I feel that Digital Education -- which, incidentally, sprang into life in the year 2000 -- is useful as a source of summaries of, and pointers to, research in education technology.
Link: Digital Education.
The Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education (ITTE)
This is a very useful organisation to join if you are involved in teacher education, including both initial teacher training and continuing professional development. Included in the cost of membership is a peer-reviewed academic journal called Technology, Pedagogy and Education, the subscription price of which is higher than the membership subscription.
In the most recent edition, for example, there are articles on 1:1 schools, digital story-telling, video-conferencing, information problem-solving on the web and play-based learning in early childhood education.
What these articles all have in common is that they have resulted from research carried out in accordance with strict academic principles, they have copiuos references should you wish to delve even further into the subject, and they have been reviewed by an editorial group before being approved for publication.
It would be inappropriate of me to not mention the fact that I am on ITTE's committee, having recently been invited to join, and that I have taken on the responsibilty of PR and Marketing with Helen Caldwell.
This organisation is very teacher-friendly in the sense that, if you have undertaken some classroom-based research ('action research') and write it up as a report, there's a good chance that Mirandanet will wish to know about it. In other words, although the founder and head of Mirandanet, Professor Christina Preston, is herself an academic, she encourages teachers to undertake research if they are not.
As I mentioned in the post entitle 3 Excellent education technology newsletters, Mirandanet has a very good newsletter too.
I hope you have found this information useful.