Category: Reading List

Psychology in Education

International Handbook of Psychology in Education Cover
International Handbook of Psychology in Education

I’m pleased to say that my first book contribution,  Technologies for Formal and Informal Learning (Chapter 12, pp. 435-464) co-authored with Dr Charles Crook, has been published in the International Handbook of Psychology in Education, edited by Karen Littleton, Clare Wood and Judith Kleine Staarman.  The volume is published by Emerald, and is available now via Amazon

Summary Information:

The International Handbook of Psychology in Education provides researchers, practitioners and advisers working in the fields of psychology and education with an overview of cutting-edge research across a broad spectrum of work within the domain of psychology of education. As well as convering the latest thinking within established areas of enquiry, the Handbook includes chapters on recently emerging, yet important, topics within the field and explicitly considers the inter-relationship between theory and practice.
The chapters in the handbook are authored by internationally recognised researchers, from across Europe, North America and the Pacific Rim. As well as covering the latest thinking within established areas of enquiry, the handbook includes chapters on recently emerging, yet important, topics within the field and explicitly considers the inter-relationship between theory and practice. A strong unifying theme is the volume’s emphasis on processes of teaching and learning. The work discussed in the handbook focuses on typically developing school-age children, although issues relating to specific learning difficulties are also addressed.


“This fine collection of key contemporary work by renowned authors represents the state of the art in the psychology of education. The book is ground-breaking, timely and comprehensive, and indispensable reading for scholars and practitioners interested in understanding and promoting teaching and learning in diverse educational contexts.”
Professor Sylvia Rojas-Drummond, Faculty of Psychology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM)
“This book brings together an all-star cast of international experts, and should be required reading for the large community of education researchers who are studying how to improve classroom instruction by using psychological research.”
Professor Keith Sawyer, Washington University, St Louis, USA.
“A welcome and much needed book.”
 Kristina Kumpulainen, Finnish National Board of Education and University of Helsinki

A Chair is a Wheelchair

This Spring I’m pleased to say I’ll be teaching as an Associate Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University as part of their BA (Hons) programme in Education and Disability Studies. From January onwards I’m teaching Exploring Disability History. This has given me a great excuse to engage with new literature and research, alongside revisiting papers and materials. If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ll know my writing usually focuses strongly on disability, technology and accessibility issues, with some broader references to my experiences of the PhD process and Educational Technology. However, the teaching preparation has already set off various different chains of thought which I hope to explore here over the next few weeks. My first tidbit is an unpublished poem by Tanja Muster ‘A Chair is a Wheelchair’ translated from German and reproduced in ‘The ADA on the Road: Disability Rights in Germany’ by Katharina C. Heyer (University of Hawai’i). I’ve reproduced the poem below in both English and the original German.

A Chair is a Wheelchair

A chair
looking carefully
A chair is a chair is a
A judgement is a judgement is a
mis-judgment (prejudice)
A disability is a disability is a
State-sponsored measure.

Ein Stuhl ist ein Rollstuhl

Ein Stuhl
Genau besehen
Ein Stuhl is ein Stuhl ist ein
Ein Urteil ist ein Urteil ist ein
Eine Behinderung ist eine Behinderung ist eine
staatlich geforderte Massnahme.

According to Heyer:

This poem circulated in German disability circles in the fall of 1997 as an expression of outrage against Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court’s October 29 ruling that disabled students do not have a right to an integrated education and may be forced to attend a special school for disabled children (Bundesverfassungsgericht, 9 October, 1997).

I found the title particularly striking. For me ‘A Chair Is A Wheelchair’ is the most succinct expression of disability as a continuum I’ve come across. I find the poem deceptively simple.  In English, the writer very playfully sets up ‘norms’ and then inverts them alternately line by line. But with each inversion the poem progresses and deepens.  This progression moves from the cultural norm (the regular Chair becoming the irregular Wheelchair) to the legal norm (now exposing a regular and normal legislature as, in fact, failing and prejudiced) to return to the notion of disability, this time invested with normalcy, inverted and made irregular by the State.  In each case, I love how the repetition physically installs a ‘mainstream’ in the poem, whilst simultaneously moving the reader across a spectrum of perspectives.

Galloway and Porter

Galloway and Porter, Booksellers, Reduced and Secondhand books, 30 Sidney Street, Cambridge.

This is a great bookstore in the heart of Cambridge.  I’ve once again spent a lot of money here on cut price academic books (the second time this year, ouch!).  Unfortunately for those in the learning sciences, books relevant to education and sociology are scattered across the top floor, with no one dedicated shelf.  As a result prolonged rummaging is recommended.  And a prediliction for eating on a tight budget for the rest of the week.

My steals this week were Telecommunications and the City: Electronic spaces, urban places, reduced from £90 ($180) to £8 ($16) and The ICT Revolution, Productivity Differences and the Digital Divide, down from £63 ($125) to £21 ($42) – this was bought with particular reference to the forthcoming ALT-C submission deadline. The full list is Library-Thinged below.

2008 at last!

Over the last two week I’ve been out of the country, but I’m pleased to say I took some excellent reading material with me.  I’d like to recommend the following, firstly Mark C. Taylor’s The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture, a book steeped in critical theory and philosophy, but with plenty to say about our current experiences of modernity.  Furthermore this book is illustrated, and that, I feel, is never a bad thing.  Secondly, I’ve been reading How to Write a Thesis by Rowena Murray.  This book is aimed firmly at those working within the UK academic system, but is couched in internationally informed terms.  This is not a bluffer’s guide to…’, or a ‘thesis writing for idiots…’ tome.  It is reassuringly thorough and oozes experienced commentary.  It has certainly focused my mind on the case in hand.  Finally, I purchased the Guardian’s Guardian Style. A style guide by David Marsh.  Now I have a style guide I wonder how I managed (or mis-managed) without one.  A style guide offers advice on reporting and writing standards, helping you to deal with the irritation of the ‘apostrofly’ and ‘shimmer of errors’ involved in any writing.  The Guardian has twice won the  Plain English Campaign’s award for best national newspaper.  I’m hoping some of this will rub off on me.  Do you use a style guide?  Which one?  Any comparison comments welcome!

Teachers and Machines

Here are some examples of my current reading on machines in the classroom. More to follow!

Modernising Modernity

Here are the books I’m currently reading.  Giddens is currently working on a new edition of Modernity and Self-Identity, so it’ll be interesting to see what is updated come the next publication. 


Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom

The UL, an imposing red brick building with tower and flanking columned wings.
The UL, an imposing red brick building with tower and flanking columned wings.

Earlier today I did a quick round trip to Cambridge University Library to seek out some of the recommended reading for the New Perspectives on Disability Research workshop I’m going to next month.

The UL is a copyright library (akin to Trinity Dublin, the Bodleian and the British Library). In theory everything ever published in the UK should be in there somewhere, so I thought my chances of finding the necessary titles were pretty good. However, the list provided by the organisers includes a few titles that defy this logic, being Scandinavian in origin. More fool me for my international pretentions!

I’ve always liked the library’s Power Station physique, (pictured) and it’s semblance as a power house of learning, ‘Ministry of Love’ (Orwell), ‘Dark Tower’ (CS Lewis) or otherwise. I also enjoyed some of the archaic shelving. The constant waves of new titles have pushed books off the shelves an onto table tops and windowledges in parts of Sociology (South Wing, 6th floor). Day trip asidehere’s what I’ll be reading for the next few weeks.



Gee, James Paul. 2003. What Video Games Have To Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.  NY: Palgrave MacMillan.


Kraut, Brynin, Keisler (eds.). 2006. Computer, Phones, and the Internet: Domesticating Information Technology.  Oxford University Press.