From Bjoern Hassler

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My research and development focus is on

  1. interactive pedagogy,
  2. Open Educational Resources, and
  3. digital technology,


  • school education (primary, secondary), and
  • higher education (including teacher education),

both nationally (UK) and internationally. I am particularly interested in the connections between teacher learning and student learning. For instance, the exploration of the connections between teachers learning (with technology, in enquiry-based settings) and students learning about mathematics and science (with technology, also in enquiry-based settings). The three concepts of interactive pedagogy, OER, and digital technology also relate to Open education, Open development, participation and participative education. My motivation for exploring these ideas is to address a key question in international education: How can low-resourced education systems offer an unprecedented quantity of education, at radically low cost, without compromising quality, access or inclusion?

One of our projects that puts some of these ideas into practice is OER4Schools programme (which I co-lead together with Sara Hennessy), introducing interactive teaching and digital technologies in Zambian primary schools. The programme revolves around a professional learning resource for teachers, focusing on interactive pedagogy for teaching with and without digital technology. A key feature of this resource is the use of video as a stimulus for discussion. The video used has been produced mainly in the Zambian primary school context, but we anticipate other video materials to become available, and we hope the material will be useful in other contexts too. The resource introduces and illustrates interactive teaching – using interactive teaching techniques itself. These include asking teachers participating in the programme to brainstorm, reflect, collaborate, discuss, make personal sense of new ideas, and ultimately and try out such new classroom practices. "Interactive" in this context does not mean technically interactive (in the sense of interacting with a computer), but pedagogically interactive: learners are interacting with each other and the teacher rather than being passive consumers of content. Another unique element of the programme is that digital technology use of teachers during professional development activities is tightly linked to digital technology use in the classroom. The programme has a high potential for scalability due to the peer-facilitated OER4Schools resource, which constitutes a fully developed year-long in-service professional development programme for teachers, aimed at raising quality of education. OER4Schools also incorporates outcomes from the DfID-funded Appropriate New Technologies for Interactive Teaching project.

Previous projects included JISC-funded ORBIT project, which produced an Open Resource Bank on Interactive Teaching for teacher education, focussing on innovative digital technology use in mathematics and science education. The project presents lesson ideas, organised by teaching approach, subject content, and digital technology used. Both OER4Schools and ORBIT are hosted on the Faculty OER site, http://oer.educ.cam.ac.uk, which we specifically developed for these projects, and which uses the mediawiki software (also used for Wikipedia). Other projects have included moderating the Access to Open Educational Resources discussion of the international UNESCO OER Community, as well as several digital technology and development projects in Zambia, including projects on rural women's education. I have made substantial contributions to the international academic video community, and also consult for businesses, professional societies and non-governmental organisations.

1 Current employment

Research Fellow / Senior Research Associate, Faculty of Education, Centre for Commonwealth Education. Since November 2009 I have been seconded to the Centre for Commonwealth Education (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge) in order to co-lead the Commonwealth Education Trust-funded OER4Schools project. The project seeks to promote enquiry-based learning through teacher education, using both Open Educational Resources and appropriate digital technologies. I also led the DfID-funded ANTSIT project, focussing on Appropriate New Technologies to Support Interactive Teaching in Zambian schools. I was principal investigator on the ORBIT project, producing an Open Resource Bank for Interactive Teaching. The project was funded by the JISC OER strand and involved a team of seven members of staff, and total funding of £200,000.

Director, The Science Media Network (2003-present). I set up the Science Media Network, a consultancy for education, technology and open educational resources. We provide strategic advice and support implementation, as well as support change management. National and international projects have focussed on educational applications of video, the role of multi-media in international development, facilitation of structured discussion around OER, as well as education strategy. Clients have included UNESCO and ARM.

Educational Consultant, Aptivate. I am an educational consultant for Aptivate, specialising in the educational dimension of ICT in international development. Recent projects include the development and publication of guidelines on low-bandwidth access to multi-media, as well as a women's empowerment project in Samfya, Zambia.

2 Experience

Senior Research Associate, CARET (2006-2011 & 2013/14). My role involved the application of new media both in public engagement, as well as formal and informal education and the development of an educational resource database with around 2,500 items, which can be deployed through a variety of media channels in a platform independent way. I ran a substantial collaboration between the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford and the Open University in the JISC-funded Steeple project (total funding £300,000) on best practice for video processing and publishing, additional funding awarded from JISC (£50,000) to engage 25 HEIs across the UK, for instance through workshops and hands-on support.

Head of CARET Video Studio (2004-2006). My role was to direct and produce video for higher education, outreach, and lifelong learning. This also included work leading up to establishment of the University of Cambridge Streaming Media Service, and video production workshops for staff and students.

Director, The BA Festival Live Online (2005 & 2006). I directed and produced one of the largest online science festivals worldwide at the time. The broadcast consisted of interviews, lectures, and features, taking full advantage of new internet broadcasting technologies.

Chairman, Cambridge University Science Productions (2003-2006). I founded Cambridge University Science Productions, an organisation based at Cambridge University promoting science communication through the media. It publishes BlueSci, Cambridge’s (Creative Commons) popular science magazine, online at www.bluesci.org.

Research Associate in Atmospheric Dynamics (2003-2006). My research work concerned the representation of atmospheric gravity waves in global circulation models, relevant for climate change scenarios.

3 Education

  • PhD (Department for Applied Mathematics, University of Cambridge, “The stratospheric circulation in the tropics”, 2002), supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (1999-2000) and the German National Merit Foundation (2000-2002).
  • Certificate of Advanced Study in Applied Mathematics (Department for Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, 1998), supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (1997-1998).
  • Diplom Physik (Universität Hamburg, outstanding, 1998, equivalent to master by research), supported by the German National Merit Foundation (1995-1998).
  • BSc, Physics with Astrophysics, (University of Sussex, 1st class honours, 1995, award for outstanding performance), supported by the German National Merit Foundation (1992-1995).

4 Publications

See Publications.

5 Languages

German: fluently;

English: fluently;

Spanish: conversational;

French: basic.