Networked Learning Communities are seen as a means of improving school practice through programmes of development and research.
The research element within the NLC movement is very important as it will inform, in a more rigorous way than previously seen, not only where the good practice is, but also why it is effective. This will allow for far greater dissemination and transfer within and across schools.
The research findings from these programmes will be available to the rest of the network and will hopefully influence practice and policy in a number of schools and not just those involved in the initial research.
The teachers who undertake these programmes can benefit by gaining points towards further qualifications if they wish to present their research in the accepted academic form of a 5000 word dissertation but they can choose to present their work in other ways. These teachers are the pioneers for the NLC and wish them luck with their new endeavours.
Four research programmes are currently underway. Teachers have received training from the University of Hull and have selected a focus for their research.
Problem solving: Is there a significant difference in the problem solving capabilities of youngsters when solving problems individually or when using co-operative learning strategies?
Confidence and self esteem: Can co-operative learning improve the confidence and self esteem of students who are on the Special Needs register?
Transition: How are teachers in the secondary school building on the successful use of co-operative learning in their partner primary schools?
Writing: Does the use of co-operative learning strategies enhance attainment in writing?