A screen presentation

A reflection on taking part in the DLAB project by Amy West

This is my first year in the DLAB project, having joined as a postgraduate research assistant last autumn. I had seen Beth’s presentation at a conference before so knew some of what DLAB had already achieved, and was excited to be joining. I am in the Year 5 England/4th Grade Norway team; we used digital technologies to tell collaborative stories based on environmental problems and solutions.

A screen presentationThe International Days gave me the opportunity to be part of the planning process, co-ordinating with the English and Norwegian undergraduate students and the Norwegian class teacher. We used the initial plans created at the LTT planning meeting and discussed our approach for the classes we were working with. Not knowing the children, classroom or resources we would have made this challenging for the England team, and I was keen to ensure plans would enable us to meet the objectives regardless of what situation we found when we went into school. After Day 1, we were able to adapt the planning in the light of our understanding of how things were at school; this felt more comfortable.

On the International Days themselves we worked together as lecturers, students and pupils, and I felt each of us brought different strengths to the activities. Collaboration like this, with flexibility for individuals to offer their expertise, made it a more effective and supportive experience. We drew on our skills and learned from others when they shared theirs.

In terms of the research, I have supported data collection and will be involved in organising and analysing it. The University of Northampton runs a postgraduate research project called PUBR@N, and through this I have been able to design and conduct a small project within DLAB. I was interested in learning about the undergraduate students’ experience of being involved in DLAB. We collected data via small group interviews during the LTT trip to Bruges, which focused on the students’ reflection on their experience of the year in the project. This is fascinating to me; it gives me insight into how their feelings have changed over time and what impact being involved in the project might have had on them. The data has not yet been analysed, but an initial review shows themes such as the growth of confidence and identification of how working on DLAB will impact on their future practice. Exploring these perspectives has been rewarding even at this early stage and I am looking forward to analysing the data in more depth.

I feel I have been able to become really engaged in the DLAB project and I have been welcomed into the international team as well as being involved at different stages and in a variety of ways. It has been such a rich experience as a result – one through which I have gained valuable new knowledge, experiences and connections.  

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