Emerging Technologies for Learning

Becta have recently published a report which covers emerging technologies and some of the future trends that are likely to have an impact on education. The report, Emerging Technologies for Learning, includes sections on mobile technologies, the ambient web, shifts in broadband access, the future of human-computer interaction, social networks and the broadband home.

Self-assessment Tookit for schools

Learning and Teaching Scotland have published an online version of the Assessment is for Learning - Self-assessment Tookit for schools.

As with the paper based document, the online resource is structured around the three sides of the AifL traiange: Assessment FOR learning, Assessment AS learning and Assessment OF learning, but with some added interactive features.

Games in Education

The news story using games in education from Gamasutra reports on an American partnership between the Games Institute and Muzzy Lane Software to produce a training series on how to use games in education.

Kevin McKiernan, vice president of the Game Institute, believes "online courses are ideal for focused training programs like this. We know teachers have limited time and they need the flexibility of self-paced curriculum. Our distance learning platform makes it easy for them to get the information they need in a way that fits their schedule."

Investigating the Motivations and Barriers for Adult Part-time Study

The "Looking to Learn: Investigating the Motivations to Learn and the Barriers Faced by Adults Wishing to Undertake Part-Time Study" project, commissioned by the Scottish Executive Enterprise and Lifelong Learning team, was designed to enhance the evidence base regarding adult participation in learning. Literature on participation from 1990-2005 was reviewed, and a model for understanding participation decisions was developed.

Some of the main findings within the report are:

Barriers and motivations are not directly linked, and need to be treated differently. It may be important to conceptualise the two areas separately when developing policy to promote learning.
Vocational reasons for learning, such as improving or gaining employment, are consistently identified by learners as the dominant motivation for getting involved in learning.
In order to engage in learning, research suggests that individuals need some protection from financial risk, flexible programming of learning provision, peer and academic support, and a clear understanding of the benefits of learning.
Policy frameworks around learning often reflect traditional forms of education, with discrete types of provision for different groups of people and strong boundaries between them. It may well be beneficial for policymakers to address these frameworks.
There is a need for further research on how different factors interact with different groups of learners, and the mechanisms of that interaction.