There is something liberating about starting over. I have been very quiet online for a considerable time as I have been very busy dealing with so many other things it’s not even funny any more. (It doesn’t help that I don’t have Internet access at home at the moment! Come on Scottish Hydro… who takes 4 weeks to connect to the Internet nowadays!)
Over the past year or so, I have found myself drifting further and further away from the things that matter most to me: my family, and the joy of being a classroom teacher. Both of these have been seriously affecting my health – though I hope to keep the two and a half stone I lost between August and December off! To cut a long story short, I have elected to step down from being a Principal Teacher so that I can concentrate on being the best teacher I can be… and this is where it gets interesting.
One thing that has struck me is that it’s almost impossible to find any good peer-reviewed research into the impact of ICT on Literacy. This bothers me immensely, because, while I am convinced that effective use of ICT in English (and other subjects) does have an impact, I can’t prove it… and I really wish I could.
To this end, I am in preliminary discussions with a number of Universities about undertaking some research into the possible impact (good or bad) of ICT on Literacy. I want to use the freedom of being a classroom teacher again to allow me to get back to developing and learning in a way that I have found almost impossible for the past 2 or 3 years.
In the first instance, I am looking for any references and studies that you may know about and that I should read. The Stanford Study of Writing is an interesting and ongoing study of Writing/Literacy in University students, and here in Scotland, there is the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy which I am going to take as a starting point. Similarly, the OECD study is a document I need to look at closely.
I have the shadow of Joe Nutt looking over my shoulder for, though I find him to be incredibly sceptical of anything “new”, I keep finding myself in agreement with his dismissal of the (as I see it) ’touchy-feely’ arguments. I think there are results to be found, and they need to be measurable and replicable if they are to have any value.
This is the start of a new chapter in my life. I am as passionate about education now as I have ever been, and I hope to contribute something meaningful to the conversation. If nothing else, I am more happy in my professional life than I have been for a few years. If I am fortunate, the rest will follow.
Comments and suggestions welcome.