“So what’s your PhD about?”

30 December 2006

One of my supervisors, Karen, made the very helpful suggestion that I need to be able to sum up my PhD research to someone I might meet in a ‘lay’ setting – down the pub or on the bus if you like. This situation raised itself over Christmas during family gatherings. “So what’s you PhD about, Pete?”, I was asked. This led to some conversation about ICT and assessment and qualifications. Some from the point of view of professionals, some from parents (of school students), some from ‘lay’ observers of education.

It led onto a discussion at about 3 am as stuff poured from my head. I grabbed a piece of paper and jotted it down. A sort of concept map if you like.

What should students learn? What should be on the curriculum? What is 'should' anyway?

What engages students, learners? Can it be generalised?

What about validity of assessment per se? If teachers teach to tests and learners learn to pass them, does it invalidate the assessment? Is the learning of skills and facts held in to high regard (learning those facts and skills needed to pass)?

Are the previous questions concerns for all subjects not just ICT? What is the specialness about ICT?


How does ICT relate to other subjects? Is the D and T needs/solution/evaluation design cycle a key feature of all learning? Is problem solving at the heart of sustained learning?


What is the relationship of 'assessment objectives' to assessments? Do awarding bodies really reflect the former in the latter?


Whither creativity?

Just a bunch of ideas from the middle of the night but worth noting down maybe…