Martin is a Reader in the Faculty of Culture and Pedagogy
at the Institute of Education. His research interests
include the impact of new technology on roles and practices
within Higher Education (including how this changes
what students learn and do), evaluating ICT use and
the development of theory and methodologies in the field
of e-learning. His recent work has involved studying
learning in virtual worlds and from playing digital
is an editor of the journal Learning, Media and Technology
a past editor of ALT-J: research in learning technology
and serves on the editorial boards of ALT-J, Research
and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning http://www.worldscinet.com/rptel/rptel.shtml
and Innovations in Education & Teaching International
Martin has also guest edited special issues of
Educational Technology and Society, Quality Assurance
in Education and Reflecting Education, and is currently
dabbling with podcasting (ltunplugged.wordpress.com/).
teaches on the MA in ICT in Education, and is currently
seconded to the UK’s Higher Education Academy
where he works as part of the team developing the EvidenceNet
which aims to promote evidence-informed practice in
learning and teaching in Higher Education.
"Everything I need to know I learnt from World of Warcraft":
why we might need to start asking better questions about games,
simulations and virtual worlds
many areas of educational technology research, a lot of the
work that focuses on games, simulations and virtual worlds consists
of case studies that demonstrate proof of concept, enthusiastic
position pieces or success stories. All of this is important:
we need to know what sort of things we can use these technologies
to do, so as to build a broader repertoire of teaching practices.
However, this kind of focus neglects a range of other questions
and issues that may prove more important in the longer term.
example, educational research about games typically emphasises
the way that playing motivates players; it ignores how successful
games (such as massively multiplayer online games) often feel
like work, and it also glosses over the way that bringing a
game inside the curriculum changes the way that 'players' relate
to it. There are also inconsistencies in the way games are thought
about: the idea that they cause violence is often criticised
as over-simplistic, yet the idea that they cause learning isn't.
In virtual worlds, opportunities to create new identities is
widespread, but questions about how this relates to our embodied
relationships are rarely asked. In simulations, 'realism' is
celebrated - but this means that simulations will always be
second best to actual experiences, and it ignores how groups
can disagree about whether something is realistic or not. Across
this work, the complexity of learning and teaching seems hidden
by the desire to promote the value of these technologies.
talk will offer some examples of work that, in small ways, try
to engage with these kinds of issue. Different priorities will
be suggested, which invite a new kind of engagement with research
and practice in this area.