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Dr Alison Twiner

Profile summary

  • Research Staff
  • Research Associate
  • Faculty of Wellbeing, Education & Language Studies
  • Faculty Office
  • Research Excellence
  • alison.twiner

Professional biography

I am a research associate at the Open University, within the Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies. Whilst at the OU I have worked on a number of ESRC-funded projects, exploring the educational use of interactive whiteboards, and of portable technologies on school field trips, the language of organic food promotion and the school dinners debate, and social work writing practices. Previously I worked as a psychology research assistant at Nottingham Trent University.

My background is in Psychology, and I completed my BSc (Hons) Psychology at Loughborough University in 2002. I locate my work at the intersection of psychology and education, and I completed my PhD at the Open University in 2011. My work contributes to new sociocultural research around re-theorising meaning-making trajectories as considered through close attention to interactions and exchanges which are intended, and those that are instantiated. Such a view is rendered salient by a dialogic view of educational interactions as a process.

 

Research interests

My research interests focus on the language used for meaning-making, predominantly in the context of teaching and learning interactions, which is a big challenge for contemporary education in the 21st Century. I have expertise in analysing the processes of language and communication in knowledge building. Specifically I have developed an approach to data analysis incorporating sociocultural discourse analysis and multimodal analysis, to allow attention to the detail of interactive exchanges, whilst also being able to explore changes, developments and contributions and who initiates such moments as they evolve over time. Such an approach allows attention to the mediational means within communication, including the use of technologies, and how concepts of provisionality and revisitability are enacted in the classroom.

Although the bulk of my work has been located within a formal educational context, I have also more recently taken the opportunity to explore meaning-making processes in the applied and professional context of social work writing. As my own expertise lie in Psychology, I have also worked in teams of Applied Linguists, to address issues of contemporary concern and debate, around school dinners and organic food promotion, and writing in social work practice.

 

Publications

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2017). What types of essay feedback influence implementation: Structure alone or structure and content? Proceedings of TEA Conference 2016 [Provisional Title], Springer, (In Press).

Lillis, T., Leedham, M. & Twiner, A. (2016, November). Combining ethnography and corpus to research writing practices in social work: Challenges and opportunities in methodology, epistemology and application. Paper presented at the Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice conference, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Lillis, T., Leedham, M., Twiner, A., Moore, J. & Whitehead, M. (2016, July). ‘If it’s not written down it didn’t happen’: Social worker perspectives on contemporary writing and recording demands. Paper presented at the Joint Social Work and Education Research Conference, The Open University, England.

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2015). OpenEssayist: A supply and demand learning analytics tool for drafting academic essays. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge, ACM, pp. 208–212.

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2015). OpenEssayist: A supply and demand Learning Analytics tool for drafting academic essays. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2015). Feedback on academic essay writing through pre-emptive hints: Moving towards "Advice for Action". European Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning.

Twiner, A., Littleton, K., Coffin, C. & Whitelock, D. (2014). Meaning making as an interactional accomplishment: A temporal analysis of intentionality and improvisation in classroom dialogue. International Journal of Educational Research, 63, 94-106.

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2014, November). OpenEssayist: Real-life testing of an automated feedback system for draft essay writing. In: #design4learning: from blended learning to learning analytics in HE, Milton Keynes, UK.

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2014, November). OpenEssayist: Real-life testing of an automated feedback system for draft essay writing. Paper presented at the OU/HEA design4learning conference, The Open University, England.

Whitelock, D., Twiner, A., Richardson, J.T.E., Field, D. & Pulman, S. (2014, October). Feedback on academic essay writing through pre-emptive hints: Moving towards ‘advice for action’. Winner of ‘best research paper award’, at the 8th EDEN Research Workshop: Challenges for Research into Open and Distance Learning, Oxford, England.

Twiner, A., Coffin, C., Littleton, K. & Whitelock, D. (2011, August-September). Improvable objects, dialogue and the interactive whiteboard. Paper presented at the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction conference, Exeter, England.

Mercer, N., Gillen, J., Kleine Staarman, J., Littleton, K. & Twiner, A. (2011). Interactive whiteboards: Does new technology transform teaching? In S. Ludvigsen, A. Lund, I. Rasmussen & R. Säljö (Eds.), Learning across sites: New tools, infrastructures and practices (pp. 346-363). Oxon and New York: Routledge.

Twiner, A. (2010). Interactive whiteboards and the discourses of transformation, affordance, orchestration and participation. In Thomas, M. & Cutrim Schmid, E. (Eds.), Interactive whiteboards for education: Theory, research and practice (pp. 37-52). New York: Information Science Reference.

Gaved, M., Collins, T., Mulholland, P., Kerawalla, L., Jones, A., Scanlon, E., Littleton, K., Blake, C., Petrou, M., Clough, G. & Twiner, A. (2010). Using netbooks to support mobile learners’ investigations across activities and places. Open Learning: The Journal of Open and Distance Learning, 25(3), 187-200.

Twiner, A., Coffin, C., Littleton, K. & Whitelock, D. (2010). Multimodality, orchestration and participation in the context of classroom use of the interactive whiteboard: A discussion. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 19(2), 211-223.

Littleton, K., Twiner, A. & Gillen, J. (2010). Orchestration with the interactive whiteboard. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 5(2), 130-141.

Twiner, A. (2009, June). Multimodality, orchestration and participation around classroom use of the interactive whiteboard: A discussion. Paper presented at Research Into Teaching with Whole-class Interactive Technologies conference, Cambridge, England.

Twiner, A., Cook, G. & Gillen, J. (2009). Overlooked issues of religious identity in the school dinners debate. Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(4), 473-488.

Cook, G., Reed, M. & Twiner, A. (2009). “But it’s all true!”: Commercialism and commitment in the discourse of organic food promotion. Text & Talk, 29(2), 151-173.

Gillen, J., Littleton, K., Twiner, A., Kleine Staarman, J. & Mercer, N. (2008). Using the interactive whiteboard to resource continuity and support multimodal teaching in a primary science classroom. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(4), 348-358.

Twiner, A., Banyard, P. & Underwood, J. (2007). Transition between educational sectors and discontinuities of ICT resource and pedagogy. Computers in the Schools, 24(3/4), 139-152.

Gillen, J., Kleine Staarman, J., Littleton, K., Mercer, N. & Twiner, A. (2007). A “learning revolution”? Investigating pedagogic practice around interactive whiteboards in British primary classrooms. Learning, Media and Technology, 32(3), 243-256.

Twiner, A., Gillen, J., Kleine Staarman, J., Littleton, K. & Mercer, N. (2007, September). Orchestration with the interactive whiteboard: Provisionality and permanence. Paper presented at the Association of Learning Technologies conference, Nottingham, England.

Littleton, K., Twiner, A., Gillen, J., Kleine Staarman, J. & Mercer, N. (2007, August). Orchestration with the Interactive Whiteboard. Paper presented at the European Association for Research in Learning and Instruction conference, Budapest, Hungary

Cook, G., Twiner, A. & Gillen, J. (2007, September). ‘But it’s all true!’: Ideology and technology in the discourse of food promotion. Paper presented at the British Association of Applied Linguistics Conference, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Gillen, J., Kleine Staarman, J., Littleton, K., Mercer, N. & Twiner, A. (2006, April). A “learning revolution”? Investigating pedagogic practices around interactive whiteboards in British primary classrooms. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association conference, San Francisco, America.

Underwood, J., Dillon, G., Farnsworth, B. & Twiner, A. (2007). Reading the road: The influence of age and sex on child pedestrians' perceptions of road risk. British Journal of Psychology, 98(1), 93-110.

Banyard, P., Underwood, J. & Twiner, A. (2006). Do enhanced communication technologies inhibit or facilitate self-regulated learning? European Journal of Education, 41(3&4), 473-489.

Beishuizen, J., Van Boxel, P., Banyard, P., Twiner, A., Vermeij, H. & Underwood, J. (2006). The introduction of portfolios in Higher Education: A comparative study in the UK and the Netherlands. European Journal of Education, 41(3&4), 491-508.

Teaching interests

My current role means I am engaged in 100% research.

Impact and engagement

I have experience of working with a variety of stakeholder groups, and it is particularly important to me that I work collaboratively with professionals, practitioners and pupils. This is part of a considerate and collaborative approach to working with participants that has the potential to identify real-life opportunities and challenges, and to inform reflection on current, and shaping of future, practices.

Within my PhD my work contributed to a pilot initiative, shaping an intervention around the place of movement in the curriculum – the intervention and my research around it exemplified the potential of the nature and use of technologies as mediational means, and creative use of mobile devices when they were still relatively new in the classroom. In terms of engagement, I have presented my work to and with a diversity of audiences, through briefings to key organisations, such as the Soil Association and The Place.

External collaborations

As mentioned above, as part of my PhD I worked with the dance organisation ‘The Place’ in London, who were piloting an approach to teaching subjects across the curriculum using dance and interactive technologies, alongside subject material and more traditional classroom tools.

Together with colleagues I have worked on research projects engaging with the Soil Association, professional networks of dance educators and innovators and funders, local authorities. The legacy of my work will include ongoing conversations between professionals.

Collaboration has been at the heart of the projects and my approach to my work, including collaboration with a diverse range of schools, organisations, authorities, and often working on sensitive research topics. Currently I am exploring newly emerging collaborations for ongoing work, to build an agenda for research which will be of interest to researchers and practitioners.

My profile of work is published widely in internationally-recognised journals, see ORO.

Publications

What does a "good" essay look like? Rainbow diagrams representing essay quality (2017-10-05)
Whitelock, Denise; Twiner, Alison; Richardson, John T. E.; Field, Debora and Pulman, Stephen
In : International Technology Enhanced Assessment Conference (TEA 2017) (5th - 6th October 2017, Barcelona, Spain)
Combining ethnography and corpus to research writing practices in social work: challenges and opportunities in methodology, epistemology and application (2016-11)
Lillis, Theresa; Leedham, Maria and Twiner, Alison
In : ALAPP 2016 (Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice Conference) (3-5 Nov 2016, Copenhagen, Denmark)
‘If it’s not written down it didn’t happen’: Social worker perspectives on contemporary writing and recording demands (2016-07)
Lillis, T.; Leedham, M.; Twiner, A.; Moore, J. and Whitehead, M.
In : Joint Social Work Education and Research Conference (JSWEC) 2016 (15th July 2016, Milton Keynes)

News

Victoria Cumming, recipient of the Andrew Cornell Award 2017

WELS student wins Andrew Cornwell Award 2017

Victoria Cumming received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Social Work and was also given the Andrew Cornwell Award 2017 for the highest-performing graduate in the social work programme at the Open University's degree ceremony

6th November 2017
See all

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