ResearchEd – From the Outside


Contributor: Caroline Marshall

I was very disappointed to not be able to attend researchEd2013, but was encamped at home with my Ibuprofen and ready to watch the live stream.

However it appears that the gods of technology were a little ambivalent towards researchED. The livestream could not be launched due to a naughty firewall and there was no Wifi. Yet despite this Twitter was abuzz. The first posts of the day were various people marvelling at Ben Goldacre continuing despite the problems with displaying his slides.

As an outsider relatively new to twitter (it moves a little too fast despite the speed I read!), it was interesting to pick out themes both in what people chose to quote and in what they chose to re-tweet. Unscientifically, here is what jumped out at me:

1) There seemed to be a lot of “Hattie bashing”. Several people picked up the issues of effect sizes.

2) The touch paper problems – what should we be trying to find out? Similarly I read at least once “what should teachers know?”

3) Journal clubs – nice idea but how do teachers access academic work or reliable summaries?

4) What next and how long do we have to wait? ResearchEd2014? Magazines?

As an outsider, the context of various quotes have been lost. I have really enjoyed reading the blogs (so many I have barely made a dent!) and watching the videos. However as an outsider I appear to have fixated on the practical, something hinted at in Ben Goldacre’s talk. How do teachers and other interested parties get involved? How can I find out about trials and join?

So far coming together appears to have happened organically. Interested parties have posted on Twitter or in blogs and then the ResearchEd2013 website has become a gathering place for links to blogs. However I feel that discussion is severely limited by the lack of “infrastructure” so to speak.

My sense is that the conference grouped lots of people posing interesting questions and that twitter gave a venue for those hungry to discuss them. The number of blogs appears to be evidence that there was a great deal of food for thought, but what next? How likely is it that we can gather “what teachers should know” in one place, and what would it look like?

Watching the videos I wished that this was already established, so that those who wished to engage could do so immediately. Meeting and online forums spring to mind as this is all I have experience of. Perhaps I am on my own here, but I feel that we should give some thought to communication mechanisms so that communication is sustainable and effective.

The tag line was “working out what works”. My sense is that this was the intro. Various speakers have given their opinions but there were no discussions so I feel we are working out how to go about working out what works. Ideas posed for a magazine etc are very interesting, but there do not seem to be proposals for mechanisms for discussions and how to move forward as a “collective”.

I have tried to initiate a Cambridge meeting – so far 6 people have expressed an interest. I think this might be an interesting way to keep things going. However I am already failing to keep up with the videos!

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One Response to ResearchEd – From the Outside

  1. jemk1 says:

    to my amazement my daughter came home from work last week ( She is a Physio at a London Teaching Hospital)… her throwaway comment was: ‘we had journal club today’. She says they do that every week, an article is chosen by the lead mentor and the team all critique share and discuss. I am impressed. Makes me think we could try it. I note your comments re accessing reliable academic papers.

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