Prof. Dai Griffiths
In the course of my career I have taught at many educational levels, ranging from primary through to corporate training. In 1990 I encountered Macintosh computers, and became fascinated by the potential of technology to support learning. Since then I have worked continuously in the area of Technology Enhanced Learning, taking an increasingly prominent role in international projects, initiatives and academic communities. This has led me to a professorship at the University of Bolton, and, when appointed, I chose the title of Professor of Educational Cybernetics, for three reasons.
a) to define an area of study: the intersection of pedagogy, organisational structure and technology.
b) to declare my interest in applying to this area the inter-disciplinary tradition of cybernetics, and in particular those parts of it which are most relevant to education. These range, for example, from the constructivist proposals of Von Glaserfeld, the conversation theory of Gordon Pask (popularised by Laurillard), or the Viable System Model of Stafford Beer (applied to education by Oleg Liber).
c) to stress the importance of modelling, and of the performative aspects of education, a field where static representations are often given precedence.
Since 2000 I have developed research around the representation and orchestration of technology-enhanced activities, particularly through the UNFOLD project and TENCompetence projects. I am currently engaged in the iTEC project which seeks to support school teachers in the use of technology. This work is currently meshing with the increasing significance attached to metrics as a means of validating the educational activities of individuals and institutions, and in doing so is changing the educational context itself. This has led me to a critical engagement with learning analytics.
Similarly there is a convergence (or perhaps collision) between, on the one hand, changes in educational funding and administrative reform, which undermine some aspects of traditional institutional activity and learner attitudes, and, on the other hand, disruptive interventions by both the TEL community (open courseware, and MOOCs) and organisations such as Pearson, which seek to occupy spaces formerly reserved for education professionals and institutions. I am interested in developing improved frameworks for understanding the consequences for all levels of education, bringing together ideas and methods from wide range of disciplines.