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MoLeNET case study guidelines The following headings should be used as guidelines for completion of case studies. A case study may be about 1 learner or a group/class of learners and may describe one particular teaching and learning activity or a project carried out over a number of weeks/months.

Title Pinball and Parties - netbooks as a learning resource Author Richard Buckley Institution Castle College Academic year 2009/2010. Keywords netbooks, maths, English, motivation, engagement, resources Technologies Netbooks Main subject area Skills for Life (maths and English) Main level 1 Introduction and overview Netbooks were introduced as a learning resource to two groups of learners on Castle College’s e2e programme. e2e is designed to engage your people classed as Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET); the Castle College programme works with those NEET learner who are categorised as being most at risk of disengaging from learning. The first group in the project is a construction group (10) – all male between the ages of 17-19 working towards a BTEC qualification in construction as well as City & Guilds qualifications in literacy and numeracy. The second group is a Care group(9) – all female between the ages of 17-19, some of whom have children, working towards an BTEC qualification in Health and Social Care as well as City & Guilds qualifications in literacy and numeracy. Three of the group do not have English as their first language. Aims Traditionally, e2e learners exhibit strong kinaesthetic learning tendencies and many have additional learning needs such as: ASD; dyslexia, dyspraxia and emotional or behavioural difficulties. Keeping learners on task is often problematic as boredom can set in with paper-based resources. Therefore, the project’s aims were to: improve focus & motivation within the sessions and to offer an “always on” resource which would allow for a more dynamic and relevant learning experience for the groups. The room in which the groups’ maths and English sessions are held has no PCs or internet connection. The netbooks offered a solution to this as the centre has a wireless router which allows the netbooks to connect to the college internet connection.

Addressing the challenge and Outcomes and reactions Construction: Focus was mean and range. Space Cadet pinball on the netbooks for a starting point generate data for working out mean and range. Learners were to have three attempts on the game, record their score than then work out the mean and range of them. Once they had completed the individual tasks, they applied the rules of mean and range to the whole group, working out the mean and range for the whole group. Care: focus on problem-based learning for both maths and English Small group work: learners given a brief for the organisation of a children’s’ party. Learners were expected to: provide food and entertainment working to a budget; plan, draft and write a letter and create a poster advertising it. The netbook was the resource for the task: MS office for the letter and poster and the www for shopping. Outcomes and Reactions The sessions were successful; there was evidence of learning taking place; collaborative learning and peer assessment/review. Learners shared knowledge freely in discussions which showed understanding of the maths and English underpinning the tasks. Motivation and focus were both improved; with the construction group willingly leaving the game to work on the group mean and range task (an element of healthy competition was evident as all learners were interested in who had scored the highest). The work was completed correctly and in a timely fashion. The care group have previously experience tensions and personality clashes within the group. All learners were working together in the groups and showed evidence of organisation, planning and role distribution. Learners’ Reaction: Verbal feedback suggested learners were engaged and enjoyed the sessions with the netbooks being a major reason for this. “I never thought I’d get away with playing pinball in a lesson and not get shouted at!” “Made me think about how much I need maths and English in real life.” Manager’s Reaction: This is a useful solution to the problem of accessing ICT in rooms where no access had been offered. It will also help with the keeping down the amount of paper resources which are created, printed, used and sometimes discarded.

Lessons learned Ensure that all learners (and staff) now how to access the www through the netbooks. We experienced some difficulty in logging on through the netbooks. This may be a network-specific


issue, however. Next steps From a Functional Skills perspective, I would be inclined to try and add more problem solving into the planning task – get the learners to decide what is needed rather than give them this information. I have found a game online which may be used as an alternative to pinball, it also deals with distance (keeping a helicopter flying through a horizontal maze for as long as possible). It could be used for conversion of units of measure as well as range and mean.