Case Study Plumbing with PSP’s Bridgwater College Academic year 2008-2009 Introduction and overview At Bridgwater College this case study was one component of a number of different projects, these included the use of a variety of mobile devices including iPhones, PSP’s, Nintendo DS’s and mobile phones. The projects varied across a varied curriculum range that included entry level, Level 1 & 2 for Train2Gain, NVQ and Level 3 A level students. The range of different elements of the project allowed Bridgwater College to experience and develop a variety of materials and to repurpose existing materials that can work with mobile technologies. In addition, the different groups allowed Bridgwater to investigate the effect that mobile technologies has on progression, success and retention.
Keywords NVQ, Train2Gain, PSP, DS, iPhone, A Level, Entry Level Technologies PSP Subject area NVQ Plumbing Level 1&2 Intended outcomes The aim of the project was to engage level 1 & 2 NVQ Plumbing students, to enable students to capture evidence of skills level and to be able to review sessions outside of formal timetabled sessions. The use of PSP’s to video and photograph skill completion for inclusion in student portfolios. Addressing the challenge
Students were issued with a PSP that was preloaded with some learning materials, these included PowerPoint’s and instructional videos. The challenge was for students to access the materials and to then produce their own video of them carrying out a specific skill, such as soldiering a pipe joint. The video of this could then be transferred to the students online portfolio using the wireless connection available on the PSP. This video could then be used as evidence to meet specific learning criteria. Outcomes and benefits The outcomes of the project were varied, generally the findings were positive with students engaging in the subject differently. There were a number of unexpected outcomes with students using the PSP wireless connectivity to find and download additional resources including videos and instructional materials. This added engagement was not expected but did demonstrate that students were receptive to the use of PSP’s as learning tools. The students also fully engaged in the capture of specific learning outcomes and produced materials that were suitable for inclusion in their portfolios. Students were able to produce video evidence with more ease than previously, which had consisted of completing the demonstration under observation and then writing and explain what they had done and why. The use of video removed the pressure of being observed and they could then explain verbally what they had done and why. This also produced a better standard of work. Learners’ reaction The issue of the PSP’s was initially one of disbelief, that they would be expected to do their work via this gaming tool. However, once they had instructions and an opportunity to view the preloaded resources the idea of using the PSP became quite exciting. Very little instructional use was needed as most had used previously (or could work with someone who had). The PSP engaged students who had previously been ‘at risk’ of withdrawing, a total turnround in performance. This experience was shared across the group. Teachers’ reaction The staff involved were extremely keen to investigate the use of PSP’s and mobile devices. They were not convinced that there would be any positive use of the device but they also believed that there would unlikely be any negative outcome. However, the staff were very delighted with the actual response and the greater level of student engagement was an unsurprising result. An added benefit was that the resources
that the students produced can be used with future groups. Managers’ reaction Fiona McMillan, Principle “MoLeNET saw an initiative approach to teaching and mobile learning. It is something that we at Bridgwater College fully embrace and will continue to pioneer.” Key messages and lessons learned There have been a number of lessons learnt with the use of mobile technology, in particular the use of PSP’s has been well received. There have been some initial reservations that were concerned with student responsibility and safeguarding student issues. It was felt that students may become more vulnerable having expensive equipment. Lessons learnt regarding the actual use of the PSP was that any learning resources that are repurposed to work on mobile devices must be of a suitable design to stand alone (ie make sense with no input) and have text and pictures that can be seen on the small screens. Finally, any video must have a clear learning outcome, what is it being used for and the does it meet the criteria, video for its own sake places a greater emphasis on the learner decoding the purpose and the benefit. Next Steps The use of mobile learning technologies has been introduced at Bridgwater College and was a key role of the annual teaching and learning conference in September. There have been a number of small projects formed based on the equipment from MoLeNET and these are designed to further the projects aims and experiences from MoLeNET. The involvement in MoLeNET has influenced a new approach to ILT within Bridgwater College, creation of a new breed of ILT Champions, a VLE Developer and a much clearere purpose as to the benefit of ILT to teaching and learning.