We arrived on the 18th of May in Cambridge. “We” in this context means the two Ph.D. students of the University of Duisburg- Essen Victoria Adenstedt and Annika Gooss and myself, Helena Spyrou, the student assistant of Professor Mammes study group, who was invited to protocol the trip.
The purpose of our short business trip was the CETE Ph.D. Colloquium at the University of Cambridge, to be more specific in the Faculty of Education, which is located next to Homerton College. It took place on the 19th of May. It is an important part of CETE to support the research of the young academics, since they are the future of Technology Education.
In the morning, we walked along the Hillsroad untill we stood in front of a modern building with a curved architecture but still having a traditional touch, because its face is covered in wood.
Bill Nicholl welcomed us and showed us the conference room in which we met Professor Mark Winterbottom and his Ph.D. student Beth McGregor. The atmosphere was friendly and cooperative and as the colloquium begun Professor Ingelore Mammes, who could not attend, was called via skype to take part in the meeting.
The three Ph.Ds. begun to hold their lectures, Annika Gooss was the first. Her lecture was titled “Intergruppenverhalten von Jungen und Mädchen beim technischen Problemlösen”, Beth McGregor followed with hers “Thinkering- Science Lessons” and Victoria Adensted lectured about “The technological self-concept of primary-pupils”. Mr Nicholl, Prof. Mammes and Prof. Winterbottom made notes during the lectures to give constructive critique in the following discussion. I protocolled the whole meeting.
After the meeting was over we went to have a late lunch with Ms McGregor. In the relaxed ambience of the Homerton cafeteria we spoke about the different systems of receiving a doctor´s degree, holding lectures and doing research. It was refreshing to get a look on the educational system in different universities from another perspective.
It was Ms Gooss´s first time in Cambridge as well as mine, so we were lucky to have Ms Adenstedt with us who had done a Ph.D. exchange to Cambridge before. She showed us around the colleges and the city, which basically only consists of colleges. It was inspiring to see historic places like the Eagles Pub in which Watson and Crick discussed about the structure of the DNA, to have a look on Darwin’s notebook in the natural history museum, to stand in front of Newton´s apple tree or walk by the building in which Stephen Hawking’s office rooms are placed. With a look on the Royal Family it was interesting to see the Trinity Hall College from which Prince Charles earned his bachelor degree. On the 20th we booked a guided tour through the city which was beautiful. We were lucky, on this Sunday were the disputations of the doctoral theses and we got to see all the Ph.Ds. in their traditional robes with their proud parents by their sides. We visited the chapel of King´s College, but missed the world famous choir before we head off to the airport.
It was very helpful for the Ph.D. students to meet with other CETE members for suggestions to their researches and for me it was a pure motivation to see the beauty of an old university city and also to do a bit of networking.
By Helena Spyrou