Some moments stand out and live on in our memory simply because they were totally unexpected. I remember sitting through an academic steering group meeting 15 years ago, my mind NOT ENTIRELY FOCUSED, when an aged professor asked what seemed like an unlikely question of his septagenarian colleagues: have you used Janet recently? Fearing that I had unearthed some distasteful cash for questions scandal or worse, my mind snapped back to the discussion. It transpired they were talking about the Joint Academic Network that links higher education institutions. I hasten to add that I have never used Janet, however, she has remained with me, in my memory, ever since.
So, even though Janet is more about tech links than an actual network linking thinkers, just the name JANET leads me to often find myself wondering why there isn’t a joint academic network for primary researchers. Of course, there are blogs (& why would I knock those?), but they are often anecdotal (a la mine) or shallow showcases for technology. Is there a network for primary school researchers?
A question arises: are there primary teachers out there conducting research? I know, I know there are lots of “action researchers” or NCSL research associates – but have you ever read their reports? They’re about as satisfying as a dry cracker. I want to know if there are people actually researching. You know what I mean: not that touchy-feely NCSL facilitator-speak, based on post-its, cliches and headteacher ‘how I made my school so great’ quotes, and equally not just running with a good idea for a few lessons, but actually forming a research question and running with it until answers appear. There must be, mustn’t there? But where is their shared forum, where is the online academy for primary researchers? How or where do they share their ideas in a globally available forum?
Shall we create one?