Category Archives: School-University Engagement

Moving school-university engagement beyond the role of recruiting sergeant

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Photo: Michael Francis.

“The science faculty in your local university needs you!” could have been the headline on the recent Guardian article about the RCUK-funded School-University Partnership Initiative (SUPI).

There is much to commend in the article and in the activities fellow SUPIs have developed, delivered and assessed over the previous four years.

Is there a problem with the article?

I argue that this article is part of a wider discourse that limits how school-university engagement with research is planned for, enacted, represented and, ultimately, valued. But why should we care?

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Developing mathematical resilience in teachers

Dr Clare Lee, The Open University

Dr Clare Lee, The Open University.

During the academic year 2015-16 I worked with a group of 22 teachers from 12 different schools (primary and secondary) across the Enigma Maths Hub. I’ve recently published a report about this work (Lee, 2016).

The purpose of the programme was to support teachers in applying some of the ideas from research about Maths resilience to their practice and therefore to improve the classroom experiences of children learning Maths.

The teachers took part in a year-long action research project to introduce mathematical resilience into their classrooms. The teachers worked in pairs in their schools supporting and challenging each other to work differently and to make a difference.

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Mountains under the microscope

Eleni Wood, The Open University

Eleni Wood, The Open University

Unlocking the secrets of the Himalaya

I’ve always been a bit of a mountain addict, so when I began my studies in Earth Sciences, I was overjoyed to find that I suddenly had a legitimate reason for being a bit mountain mad. I discovered that, in detail, the geological processes responsible for the formation and evolution of mountain belts are fascinatingly complex. I also found that there are likeminded people, who are, like detectives, conducting research that aims to uncover the million year old mysteries of the mountains.

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Empowering lifelong citizenship

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

Professor Richard Holliman, The Open University. Credit: Michael Francis.

In a recent post on the Guardian Science Policy blog I wrote, among other things, about the need for a vision for citizenship that moves science communication and engagement programmes beyond activities designed for ‘gifted and talented’ children and young people.

‘Cloned’ approaches to public engagement with research
In part, my concerns about this lack of diversity can be traced to research findings that showed how academics limit their framing of publics, purposes and processes when they plan their public engagement activities (Holliman and Jensen, 2009). My concerns were also born out of experience, working with teachers during my PhD research.

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Science communication for development

Clare Kemp, The Open University.

Clare Kemp, The Open University.

I joined the Open University in October 2015 as a postgraduate researcher. Based in The Institute of Educational Technology my doctoral research is supervised by Richard Holliman, Eileen Scanlon and Patricia Murphy. My aim is to specialize in science communications for development.

To this end, I have been a science communications consultant across Africa and Asia, North America and the UK for many years, developing knowledge, skills and expertise that I’m planning to integrate into my postgraduate research.

Clare Kemp (far left), with a film crew, working with a scientist, extension workers and farmers.

Clare Kemp (far left), with a film crew, working with a scientist, extension workers and farmers.

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