Centre for Active Digital Education (CADE)

The Centre for Active Digital Education (CADE) is a multi-disciplinary research centre located in Library and Learning Services but sitting across multiple faculties and Professional Services teams within the University of Northampton (UON). We recognise that the use of digital technologies in higher education is poised to move into a new era and that UON has the capacity to lead in the field. Innovative digital technologies can pave the way for new pedagogical approaches that emphasise active participation, social inclusion and collaborative innovation.

  • Active Digital Education (ADE) is a pedagogical approach to designing and teaching using digital tools. This concept has been developed at the University of Northampton to accompany their pedagogical approach of Active Blended Learning (ABL). The ADE approach uses digital tools to enable the construction of knowledge using technology as a conduit. Such active co-creation has the potential to build employability skills consistent with the transformative ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Quality Education. It engages individuals in knowledge construction, reflection and critique, the development of learner autonomy and the achievement of learning outcomes using digital tools.

    The Centre brings together expertise and excellence from all areas of the University and beyond to become a hub for development and dissemination in ADE and develop knowledge exchange opportunities with external companies. CADE builds on the work and networks already developed through the existing Digital Technologies Special Interest Group (SIG). The Centre will act as a unifying structure for relevant SIGs focusing on innovative digital technology themes such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Distance Learning (DL), Game Based Learning (GBL), and eXtended Reality (XR). As such, the umbrella of ADE and the Centre will act as a focal point and a vehicle for the creative deployment of technologies across disciplines, raising the profile of scholarly debate about ADE and becoming a hub for the development and exchange of ADE knowledge. ADE provides an inclusive, multidisciplinary environment supporting and sharing research and innovation.

    We support innovation across a broad spectrum of digital technologies in research, and research-led teaching and learning acting as a point of advice on relation to TEF and NSS developments which can be underpinned and supported by ADE activities. CADE also addresses local digital skills shortages and business growth challenges by working closely with external organisations. This will help businesses identify future opportunities and increase the employability of our students.

  • Centre for Active Digital Education Leadership

    Special Interest Groups Leaders

    Special Interest Groups (SIGS) are collections of staff members that work together on a single topic/discipline within the activities covered by the wider Centre for Active Digital Education. These SIGs engage with their communities through a broad range of activities building platforms of engagement, hosting events and writing publications. Within CADE we have four SIGs:

    Games Based Learning: This group is led by Rob Lambert and Devon Rossetti and has a focus on using gaming philosophy and strategies to engage learners.

    Artificial Intelligence: Led by Rob Howe the AI SIG is interested in the use and value for AI within Education and the workplace.

    Extended Reality: Dr Peter Jones is the leads this group which interests include VR, AR, MR and other technologies to create immersive learning experiences.

    Distance Learning: This group led by Jim Harris focuses on using technology to support distributed learners to access learning flexibly across time and space.

  • Digital learning across boundaries (1)

    The Digital Learning Across Boundaries (DLAB) project addresses the need to align European educational practice with ways in which digital technology is changing how and what we learn, and how we apply this in education.

    This project promotes digital learning across a wide spectrum including that of physical spaces, curriculum subjects and across different languages and cultures which enables collaborative learning across international borders and boundaries.

    Digital learning across boundaries: developing changemakers (2)

    DLAB2 is inspired by the changemaker movement, ​which seeks to build the skills and attributes for ​individuals to find innovative solutions to society’s ​challenges. ​

    Two related key themes are developing changemakers and social innovation education. ​Another theme is the use of innovative digital learning environments including virtual and artificial reality technologies to blend physical and digital learning environments and provide powerful opportunities for international collaboration. ​

    Find out more about the Centre for Active Digital Education’s projects on PURE.

  • Gentles, C., Caldwell, H., Leask, M. and Younie, S. (2021). Teacher experiences and practices in the time of Covid-19: implications for understanding quality in teaching. In: Madalińska-Michalak, J. Quality in Teaching and Teacher Education. International Perspectives from a Changing World BRILL TEPE Book Series.

    Caldwell, H. and Whewell, E., Devecchi, C., Quirke, M., and Mc Guckin, C. (2021). Towards a digital pedagogy of inclusive Active Distance Learning. In: Studente, S., Ellis S., and Desai, B. The Impact of COVID-19 on Teaching and Learning in Higher Education. Nova Science Publishers.

    Whewell, E., Caldwell, H., Frydenberg, M. and Andone, D. Changemakers as digital makers: Connecting and co-creating. (2022). Education and Information Technologies https://doi.org/10.1007/s10639-022-10892-1

    Whewell, E., Caldwell, H., Malloch, G., Garrett, B. (2021).  Digital Learning Across boundaries: Immersive technologies supporting changemaking in an international context. Research in Education and Learning Innovation Archives (REALIA) 27, pp19-32.

    View more of the Centre for Active Digital Education’s publications on PURE.

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Twitter: @CADEatUON