Maandera, Bona (MA and PhD alumna)


Dear all,
Ahmm. The start of a long journey . . . begins with one step. My first steps into contributing in this LTE blog.  I hope I shall keep it up: keep going.
I shall join the group riding on a mixed mode towards a PhD: my first year will be full time in Manchester (from Sept 2013). Thereafter it will be in-context. I hope I can take the best from the two worlds and make the best out of them.

A little bit about me and my research interest:
I am an alumnus of the University of Manchester: from the LTE 2010 graduates. My background is partly in teaching ESL at secondary school level, partly in teacher training and, in the last two years, also in online learning in Higher Education. (Currently I support some daring venture some daring persons thought to engage in by starting The Virtual University of Uganda (VUU). VUU uses a Moodle platform for managing its teaching-and-learning). That is basically making use of my MA Educational Technology and TESOL course, in particular making use of the very practical course in Blended Learning in a Digital Age, where Susan Brown and Gary Motteram guided us in using Moodle as a platform for designing courses. Well, I quickly became the Moodle “expert”, now managing VUU’s platform: setting up the courses, and doing basic administrative tasks. In addition, auditing a module on Teaching and Learning Online (with Diane Slaouti and Gary Motteram) also turned out to be very handy in helping me support some of the tutors who are tutoring online for the first time. Thanks a million to the LTE-Manchester team for their expert guidance.

Although the online learning work has proven to be very interesting with potential researchable issues, my PhD research interest is still in LTE. Yes, I am a disciple of using technology to enhance teaching-and-learning. But, I am more interested in exploring this along the lines of the possible ripple effects: thus from teacher training and the teacher trainee as a crucial piece in the puzzle. In the teacher training institution where I work, using technology in education is still considered the “new kid on the block”. It takes more that just provisions of the infrastructure to enable people make use of available ICT resources. That’s the paradox that prompts my research project proposal titled “ICT uptake: exploring supportive elements of a technology adoption ecosystem in a Ugandan Teacher Education context”.

My Research Questions are the following:

  1. What are the essential pedagogical elements for learning-through-technology in a Ugandan English Language Teacher Education context? (My focus will be on instructional design and facilitation, rather than technical (access) factors, which influence learning-through-technology).
  2. What are the supporting elements of a technology-adoption ecosystem in an English Language programme for Teacher Education? This is perhaps where the AR might come handy for identifying enabling variables of a technology adoption ecosystem?)
  3. How does learning-with-technology change practice and the attitude of teacher-trainees? (Here, I would like to: i) explore the impact of an emersion into learning-through-technology on teacher-trainees: possible changes in their skills and attitude; ii) scrutinize the claim that learning-with-technology hardly changes classroom practices).

My plan is to use an Action Research approach.
I begin to feel this is more than a mouthful . . . But, it is only a proposal. Based on what I’ve read in this blog, I hope to do a lot of learning from my research training that will hopefully, help me clarify lots of things, focus and re-shape the proposal better.

Out of curiosity and an interest to keep an eye on what’s happening in the EdTech & TESOL world, I have hopped in and out of this blog over the last two years. In terms of my PhD project, this has also helped me have some insight into what I am getting myself into, first hand. Forewarned is forearmed! . . . at least. Thanks a lot for those who have made contributions in this doctoral blog. In terms of the processes and procedures, the contributions by Dylan Williams, Fitri and Khwan were very useful to me. I’m a little bit scared about the quantitative methods.

Thanks Richard for pointing me to Dylan’s reflections on the in-context experiences. I’m tightening my belts!