Our staff are engaged in a variety of research projects evolving from a community of learning, which link in with our research themes.

You can get involved with our research either at an individual level, or in partnership as part of another organisation or institution. 

Research Seminar Series

Keep an eye on our events to find out about the School Research Seminar Series and reading and writing groups for oppotunities to share knowledge and ideas.

Current Projects

One Seed Forward

The school gardens initiative is a collaboration between the voluntary organisation One Seed Forward and the School of Education in the University of Aberdeen.

The overall aim of the project is to create a School Garden Programme, the aim of which is to involve schools in being active participants in creating a physical garden space in their school that can be used to educate children in the benefits of growing their own food.

 Three schools in regeneration areas of the city, one in each nominated area, were involved in the pilot project. The participating schools were:

  • Bramble Brae primary school
  • Woodside primary school
  • Tullos primary school

 One result of the pilot project, apart from the development of the gardens in each of the schools, was the creation of an educational programme and materials which can now be rolled out to other schools.

 More specific objectives of the Garden Schools initiative are:

  • The creation of, or improvement to, a space in the school that can be used as a vegetable garden.
  • A developed school educational programme that includes local vegetable growing, health and nutrition benefits, recycling and composting, links to literacy, numeracy, citizenship, science and arts.
  • Developing links from garden projects to raise awareness of climate change and climate actions and sustainability.


OSF School Gardens Facebook Page

OSF School Gardens Twitter

Recent Projects

Read more about some of our past projects below

Tales of Iona

Tales of Iona is an innovative and free game-based learning experience for upper Primary and lower Secondary learners created by the University of Aberdeen School of Education in conjunction with Hyper Luminal Games LTD on behalf of the Iona Cathedral Trust: a Scottish charity (SC017989) which seeks to “to advance the education of the public in relation to the history, culture, and heritage of Iona Cathedral and the Island of Iona”. 

The University development team, comprising Professor Do Coyle, Katrina Foy, Aloyise Mulligan, and Dr David Smith (Principal Investigator / Project Lead), sought to create through collaboration with Hyper Luminal Games LTD a relevant learning experience, which would combine clear pedagogical principles with the best of contemporary electronic game design.

The game-based learning experience has been designed to support learning both inside and outside a classroom setting.

Pedagogical Principles Underpinning the Game Design

 A variety of pedagogical principles permeate Tales of Iona:

  • Thinking Skills: Puzzles are a key feature of the game design.  They seek to challenge learners to think at a higher order level.
  • Instructional Knowledge: Some instructional knowledge is provided through the game narrative.
  • Curiosity: A pedagogy of curiosity / pedagogy of the question is central to the design of Tales of Iona – through the design of the narrative, in which ‘nuggets’ spark interest, and puzzles through to the artwork and centrality of the virtual library in the game.
  • Interdisciplinary Learning: The ‘library’ reflects the interdisciplinary possibilities that have been considered in the creation of the game.
  • Wiki: Tales of Iona seeks to use wiki pedagogy in order to enable learners to be a part of the ‘making’, construction, process through which their learner voice can be expressed. 
  • International Community of Learning: The wikis provide the opportunity for learners to engage in an international community of learning.

Technical Specification

Tales of Iona is powered by Unity WebGL and is playable on the following web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer.  It can also be downloaded for offline playability. 

NHS Highland Parentcraft

NHS Highland is looking at how best to advise parents about their pregnancy and care of their new baby. The aim of the project is to enhance parentcraft education in NHS Highland.

We have developed 4 audio podcasts that can be downloaded. The topics are:

Professor Philip Wilson is the Principal Investigator and other project members include Dr Deborah Shanks from NHS Highland and Dr Rachel Shanks from the University of Aberdeen School of Education.

The study will take place between 1st December 2015 to 30th April 2016.


For more information, please contact:

Jane Chisholm, NHS Highland Parentcraft Sister
+44 (0)1463 704344


This project aims to propose, currently missing, the legislation framework for both PT & SCHE studies in Serbia (EQF Level 5). The proposed concepts, legislation and pedagogical and technological approaches for PT & SCHE studies will be tested and analysed using pilot implementations of five PT & SCHE programs, realized in both face-to-face and online modes of learning. After the first year of the pilot implementations, a detail analysis of its effects will be elaborated and reported, and implementation guidelines will be offered to HEIs interested in designing new PT & SCHE studies.

Expected impacts: wider access to HE, increase of enrolled students, increase of employment, qualifications of employees are more in line with the needs of their job.

Dr Rachel Shanks and Dr Bruce Scharlau are working on this project alongside colleagues from Tallinn University, Maribor College in Slovenia, the Open University of the Netherlands and nine Higher Education Institutions in Serbia.

This project is running to 14th October 2018.