Information for Schools

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Find out about our new project and how you could take part

New Purposes – New Practices – New Pedagogy (NP3) is exploring the digital practices that children are engaging with outside school and the extent to which these are recognised, valued and influencing practices inside primary schools. We are concerned with issues to do with social justice and the institutional factors that impact on schools’ responses to pupils’ digital practices.

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Our Research Questions (RQs) are:

  1. What are the digital practices that pupils bring to their learning in school?
  2. Across subject domains what do teachers’ intended and enacted pedagogic practices indicate about their awareness of and the value accorded to pupils’ digital competencies, and how do pupils’ experience these pedagogic practices?
  3. What institutional circumstances and practices enable or undermine how pupils’ digital competencies and practices are recognised (RQ1) and integrated into teachers’ practice (RQ2)?
  4. What are the consequences of the answers to RQs 1-3 for learning in terms of social justice, and across and within subject domains?
  5. How does the research inform how to represent and model a participative pedagogy of mutuality (Bruner, 1996; Wenger, 1998; Alexander, 2000; Murphy & Wolfenden, 2013) and engage teachers with that pedagogy? This will be addressed through the meta-analysis of data across studies.

NP3 is a collaboration between the Open University, Lancaster University and Manchester Metropolitan University, and led by Peter Twining.

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NP3 has been funded by the Society for Educational Studies (SES)



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Further project information[edit]

The NP3 project runs for 2 years, from June 2015 – June 2017, and is funded by the Society for Educational Studies, a leading society for the advancement of scholarship, debate, and research in Education in the UK and sponsor of the British Journal of Educational Studies.

The Open University led-team won the society’s 2015 award, securing funding of nearly £200,000, to explore the use and impact of mobile devices* on innovative pedagogic practices, social justice, and pupils’ development of digital literacy within UK primary school communities. The research team is led by Peter Twining, Professor of Education (Futures) at the Open University, whose work has focused on issues to do with the management of educational change and enhancing education, informed by understandings of learning and the potentials of digital technology.

The first phase of the project focuses on mapping the use of mobile devices in primary schools across the UK. The aim is to gather information from a broad range of schools and produce a Mapping Report describing the innovative and effective practice taking place that can then be shared with the wider education community.

The data will be gathered using the Your Organisation’s Technology Strategy Survey (YOTSS), a tool that has been developed by the Open University to ask schools about their digital technology strategies, with a specific focus on mobile devices. YOTSS is part of the Your Own Technology Survey (YOTS) website, which also provides a free tool that was developed by the Open University to help schools audit their pupils’ access to the Internet and mobile devices ‘from home’ and specifically, whether they would be allowed (by their parents), willing, and able to bring their mobile devices into school every day.

Following this initial mapping work, the project team hope to identify a number of schools that they can then work with more closely over the course of the project. This will include the development of exploratory studies, to start to describe new and emerging pedagogical practices and will move onto the development of rich case-studies.

This project adheres to the British Educational Research Association’s (BERA) ethical guidelines for education research. The YOTS and YOTSS research has been approved by the Open University’s Research Ethics Committee.


*The term mobile devices is used here to refer to Internet-enabled devices such as laptops, tablets, smartphones, Chromebooks/Notepads, iPods AND their software/applications AND the associated infrastructure (e.g. WiFi, Internet connection).

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