Since entering education in 2003, Nick has been interested in motivation in learning and has conducted informal research into different aspects of the motivation of learners.
A professional project into the effect of praise on pupil engagement was conducted in 2004 at Glenrothes High School with findings linked to the work of Alfie Kohn.
Since September 2010, Nick has been adapting an idea presented by Tom Chatfield in his 2010 TED talk, 7 Ways Games Reward the Brain, to engage and modify motivation in a challenging classroom environment. This adaption uses games design methods to provide a mechanism by which first extrinsic motivation is induced and then potentially evolved into its intrinsic cousin giving the students a lifelong learning ethos and better opportunities than they otherwise might have had. Nick spoke about this work at Teachmeet SLF12 in September 2012.
At Glenwood High School in 2008, Nick set up a challenging cognitive development project and has returned to this from time to time to observe how different groups of learners respond to it. He spoke about this at Teachmeet SLF09.
Teachmeets and the Scottish Learning Festival
Teachmeets and the SLF are valuable and effective CPD. Nick has been a regular participant in teachmeet events and has organised a couple for Physics teachers (Teachmeet Physics, Perth, March 2009 and Teachmeet PhysTech, Dundee, May 2010). Some of the presentations he has given are listed below.
- Online teaching resources at Teachmeet 07 at the SLF. Stuart Meldrum wrote it up.
- ICT in the classroom at Teachmeet Perth 08. There’s a nice report here.
- Mathematical modelling in the new Higher at Teachmeet Physics, March 2009. Flashmeeting replay here.
- A critical thinking task at Teachmeet SLF09 at the BBC. Flashmeeting replay here (from 2:30:00).
- This is a pencil, Teachmeet Mobile, December 2009 (via audio link). Audio here.
- Using the WiiMote as an IWB at Teachmeet PhysTech, Dundee, May 2010.
- Motivation at Teachmeet UK Snow, December 2010 (via video link).
- Looking for Literacy in Science at Teachmeet Fife, March 2011. Notes here, replay here (13 minutes to 22 minutes).
- Using games design to motivate in the classroom at Teachmeet SLF12, September 2012.
“…easily the best thing I saw there the whole day.”
“Thanks for getting me to stop and think about what it is I’m actually trying to achieve with the kids I teach…”
“Like many folk, I’ve been struggling somewhat with the whole CfE thing, and what I could and should be doing with the Science I teach, indeed I’ve been embedding, HWB, literacy and numeracy activities in the work for some while now, but I see that you’re taking it far beyond that to where it really needs to go.”
The Times Educational Supplement ran an article on Nick’s work with literacy in science in September 2011.