Mobile Teaching and Learning Good Practice: 2008-2009 Case Study Outline Headings To be submitted by 31st July 2009
Title of Case Study: An individual success story of m- learning Institution: Leeds College of Art & Design (LCAD) Author: Janine Sykes (Lead Practitioner Researcher) Fig. 1 LCAD logo Date: 14th July, 2009 Keywords: Learner confidence > Achievement. Learning context: FE classroom Technologies used: (Ultra mobile pc- Eee notebook - ASUS) Introduction/overview: MoleNET LCAD was a single- institution project; the aim was to create a shift in curriculum away from an instructive to a constructive pedagogical model underpinning the teaching and learning. One of the objectives was to ‘strengthen learner skills and confidence in the use of etechnologies’ through increasing their accessibility to learning resources both in and outside of the classroom. In particular learner’s historical and contextual knowledge of Art and Design and critical thinking skills were targeted and the mobile devices were used in order to enable this increase in accessibility to all learners despite their socioeconomic profile or learning style. This case-study takes place in both the Contextual Studies lessons (a core unit of study on the National Diploma) and the additional AS Art and Design studio lessons. The learner cohort was a particularly large group of 36 learners, the learning needs were to particularly facilitate visual and active learners and the (Key skills) literacy levels ranged from 1 to 3. Learner X was part of this learner cohort and his socio-economic profile (according to data collected by the National Arts Learning Network monitoring form) was a 6, which together with other indicators classifies learner X in the widening participation (WP) category. In addition learner X was described by his tutors (AS tutor and the CS tutor) as a quiet individual, who would often not engage within classroom discussions. Therefore learner X is the type of student that the project wanted to support and it is in this sense that learner X was selected as the case-study. Ultimately, this case-study suggests that learner X perhaps would not have achieved as well in the ND1/AS Art and Design course without the introduction of mobile teaching and learning this academic year. Intended outcomes: By using the mobile devices to increase the accessibility of learning resources and opportunities for learners to help construct their own learning, we hoped to achieve an increase in learner confidence and achievement within Contextual Studies (CS). In particular we hoped to target those students who do not respond well to the classroom environment or when engaging in classroom discussions. Addressing the challenge: Throughout the project, mobile devices were used in a manner that encouraged all learners to be actively involved in the construction of their knowledge. This was prepared through a range of activities including synchronous and asynchronous online discussion forums in combination with short web quests. In addition, learners were Fig 2. Learner X given time (in-class) to use the devices to work on their Contextual Studies (CS) briefs. Which prior to the project was difficult in-class, as learners needed access to software such as PowerPoint and to resources such as the library catalogue or recommended websites. Learner X was part of the ND1 Graphics group and responded particularly well to the new blended approach introduced from January 2009. This observation was noted by two of the research practitioners working on the project (CS lecturer and the AS
lecturer). In order to capture (qualitative data) an insight as to why learner X responded well to the intentions of the project, the Lead Research Practitioner, (also the CS tutor), organised a short interview with learner X. (Please find attach the written evidence of the interview in the appendix). Outcomes and Benefits: As the main report shows overall there was an increase of higher grade achievement for ND1 Graphics, within the CS unit from the previous year. In 08/09 there was a 16% increase in merit and distinction grades. In addition, there was a 51% decrease in pass grades. It is this latter figure which offers one of the main accomplishments for the use of mobile teaching and learning. Learner X was among those students that achieved an overall Merit for the CS unit. However, in the learner’s first brief for the CS unit (which was assessed in December 2008, prior to the introduction of mobile learning) learner X achieved a partial pass grade. However, during the project learner X had frequently used the mobile device both in and outside the (CS) classroom working on the preparation for brief 2 of the (CS) unit. Learner X delivered a good (verbal) presentation in front of a group of peers in a confident manner, which achieved a Merit grade. It can be speculated that the increases of achievement indicate that the shift to a more constructive pedagogic model through using mobile learning benefitted this particular group of learners and learner (X). In addition, the interview with learner X revealed that mobile learning helps some learners to organise their time and course-work better, particularly in College. The challenge of the project was to target those learners that do not respond well to the classroom environment or when engaging in classroom discussions. For leaner X this challenge was overcome with the implementation of mobile teaching and learning. The outcomes and benefits make interesting feedback for all the research practitioners who were involved in implementing the changes in the planning and delivery of learning activities. It is hoped that the outcomes and benefits outlined in this case-study will inform institutional strategies particularly those which address progression. Learner’s reaction: In class – if teachers are throwing out ideas it is easy to type quickly and go to website and delve into information even more… I like access to [Eee] PC, you can go anywhere. (Learner X, 5/6/09) Teacher’s reaction: It was great to see how some learners clearly embraced mobile learning and come out with some good grades. (CS Tutor, 20/6/09) Managers’ reactions: We are always supportive of tutors researching new ways of engaging students and this project seems to have been particularly successful. (Principal, 21/7/09) Key messages and lessons learned: The key message is that mobile learning, as part of a wider blended (elearning) approach can clearly give students more learning opportunities. It is about offering the learner choice and variety, so that they have different ways of working on briefs and achieving the learning objectives. Some of the problems that were encountered was the flow of some lessons were interrupted as students (those that decided not to take mobile devices home) had to go and collect the devices. However, this was solved by requesting that students always collect them, ready for the contextual studies sessions. Perhaps what did not work so well was that students perhaps were not familiar with using Moodle and were not sure at what point in lessons to best use the mobile devices. Therefore the advice and tips with respect to the intended outcomes, is that perhaps all students would benefit from a set of induction tasks which would involve them using both the college VLE and the mobile devices. Finally, good teaching involves e-moderating and all staff would benefit from listening to feedback from projects such as this. Next steps: Staff involved with the project need to find a way of disseminating the outcomes and benefits to all staff in the College. Mobile learning can continue to be embedded within the Contextual Studies Curriculum; this can be encouraged by the Contextual Studies Co-ordinator. In addition, as suggested above the learners can be introduced to mobile learning at the outset of their courses through a series of induction tasks which would give them the skills to utilise Moodle and the ultra-mobile Eee pcs. Materials, resources and links: Please find attached the interview with learner X.