Somewhere towards the end: beginning my PhD


Image shared under a Creative Commons license by Pete

On the 1st October, I finally began my PhD journey. Having worked on a very ambitious research project for the last two years, the change in pace has been quite a shock to my system and I have found that whilst only a week or so in I’m already feeling the need to be busy and get some routine back into my life. I could be described as something of an obsessive compulsive planner, so perhaps unsurprisingly, I spent the majority of my first week as a PhD student organising my time and workload for the future.

What I hadn’t expected to be thinking about quite so much, was the end of my PhD – I know what you’re thinking – there’s nothing wrong with being organised, but surely 3 years away is taking it a little far, even for you Lucy?!?

Well it would seem not, I have read about and been advised on the need to start thinking about what I want the end result of my thesis to look like – as I start chipping away at my block of marble today, what do I envisage the final sculpture to look like. This is a useful task, not only in the sense of guiding the methodological route that I might take, but also more practically, in helping to plan out my time and workload. If I know what general form my marble will take, I can start to build in checkpoints for when the component parts need to be completed.

Obviously, I have not decided in the space of one week what I will write my thesis on – for one thing, I’m not going into this with a hypothesis so the results of my research could take me anywhere – but I have been thinking a lot about some of the key things I want to achieve and I want to share them here.

1. I want to share, and perhaps justify, my belief that Digital Literacy is critical to supporting staff in their use of technologies for all teaching and learning purposes. That through a focus on developing confidence and a general attitude towards working effectively with technology in the classroom, we can build a foundation upon which more specific educational technology skills can be developed.

2. I want teachers to have an active role in my research, for them to work alongside me as co-researchers, rather than subjects. I do not want to underestimate their knowledge and expertise in this area.

3. I want to develop something which is of practical use – rather than theory alone. This may take the shape of a policy document, a training programme, etc.


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