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Gamestechnologiesforlearning

Using the Nintendo DS Lite to engage young people not in education, employment or training and to improve literacy and numeracy Walsall College: Academic year 2008/09 Introduction

WalsallCollegerecognisesthate-learningandm-learninghaveintroducednew opportunitiesandpedagogicaladvancesforbothteachingandlearning.M-learning canenhancethelearningexperienceandpromoteanactive,flexibleandenriched learningenvironmentwiththechanceforthelearnerstobecomemoreinvolved andengagedintheirownlearning. WalsallCollegeisavocationalcollegesituatedintheheartofadiversecommunity; thereareareasinWalsallidentifiedasbeingwithinthe10%mostdeprivedareas inEngland.Thisbringsmanychallengesforthecollegeinengagingandinspiring itslearningcommunity.Thisyearthecollegetooktheopportunitytoparticipate inthenationalMoLeNETinitiative.

Aims

ThecollegeledtheWalsallprojectincollaborationwithlocalschools.Itfocused onimprovingliteracyandnumeracyandinvolvedarangeofover300learners, manydisengagedtomiddleability,workingtowardsobtainingtheirGCSE.The collegechosetouseNintendoDShandhelddevicesinliteracyandnumeracy lessonstoengageyounglearnerswhowerenotineducation,employmentor training(NEET).


MoLeNETcasestudiesandteachingandlearningsnapshots

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Addressing the challenge

Theprojecthasdistributedover300NintendoDSLitedevicesacrossthecohort oflearners,andtheyusetheminlessonsregularly.Theinitialset-up,including charging,trackinganddistribution,waslogisticallychallenging,requiring asignificantamountoftechniciantime,butoncethedevicesweredistributed, bothstaffandstudentsquicklystartedtousethem.Infact,theexpectedstaff developmentprovisionwasnotneeded,becausemoststaffhadaNintendoDS alreadyandwerekeentosharetheirknowledgewithlearners.TheNintendoDS Liteisapopularhandhelddevice,whichmeansitiseasytogetstarted.Thedevices havebeenusedasastarter,asawarm-upactivityandtoconcludealessoninat leasttwolessonseachweek.

Outcomes and reactions

Feedbackfromstaffandstudentsindicatesimprovementinlearnerbehaviour, alertnessandfocus.Therehasbeenanoticeablereductioninlearnershaving ‘timeout’becauseofclassroomdisruption.TraceyHumphries,headof mathematicsatAlumwellSchool,says Using the ‘Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training’ regularly has improved pupils’ mental ability to think quicker and has also allowed them to develop strategies to improve short and long-term memory, which will assist in their GCSEs. Feedbackfromlearnershasbeencapturedthroughvideo,blogsandverbally. AlearnerfromPoolHayesSchoolcommentedon‘ProfessorKageyama’sMaths Training’games: Lessons are better now, it’s not like work. Andanotherlearner,alsofromPoolHayes,said It helps me to build my confidence in maths, it’s better than worksheets, because you have to be quick.


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Gamestechnologiesforlearning

Mostlearnersagreedthat‘ProfessorKageyama’sMathsTraining’wasimproving theirmentalarithmetic,andbelieveditwouldimprovetheirGCSEresults. Lessons learned

Themainissuewhenimplementingahighvolumeofhandhelddevicessuchas theDSLiteisthetracking,powercharging,recordinganddistribution.Oncethe initialset-upanddistributionarecompleted,usingthemisverystraightforward andthebatterylastsquitealongtime. Next steps

TheWalsallCollegeMoLeNETprojectpropelledthecollegeforwardintom-learning andwasenthusiasticallyreceivedbybothstaffandlearners.TheNintendoDSs weredemonstratedtocurriculumstaffatacollege‘teachingandlearningfayre’ andthisresultedingreatinterestfromotherareas.Asaresultthecollegehas startedtowidenthedistributionoftheNintendoDStoincludeskillsforlifeand keyskills.Therearealsoplansfordevicestobemadeavailableinlearning resourcecentresforhomeloanstoalllearners.

Improving engagement and focus with the Nintendo DS and Wii Regent Consortium teaching and learning snapshot: Academic year 2007/08 TherearemanylearnersinLeicesterwhohaveparticulardifficultieswithliteracy andnumeracyskills.GatewayandRegentCollegebothhaveteamsofteachers providingsupportlessonsintheseareas.Bylookingatpreviousresearch,we thoughtthebestapproachwouldbetouseexistingdevicessuchasthe NintendoDSandNintendoWiiandtheirassociated‘BrainGames’.The literacy/numeracylevelsofthesegamesandmotivational/competitiveaspects capturedthestudents’imaginationsandre-focusedtheirenergies.Thegames wereoftenusedasastudybreak(e.g.inITlessons)orasarewardtotake homeforanight. Thecollegetimetableisstructuredsothatmostlessonsare55minutesorone hourlong,soadoubleisonehourfiftyortwohours.Inthelatter,inparticular, itwasdecidedtousethegadgetstoprovidestudentswithaneffectivestudy break, i.e.ifthestudentshadworkedwell,teacherswouldusetheNintendoto rewardthem.Itwasfeltthatthishadapositiveimpactonengagementand focusduringlessonsandalsoonattendanceandretention.


http://www.moleshare.org.uk/molehole/A3F6825C05/Engaging_NEETs_with_the_DS_-_Walsall_College