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MoLeNET research indicates using mobile technologies to support work-based and vocational learners can improve: flexibility of learning, learner retention and achievement, personalisation of learning and assessment processes, access to learning resources, efficiency of assessment, standard of assessment evidence, portfolio management, access to assessors and tutors, speed of assessor and tutor feedback, integration of key skills or skills for life learning into vocational training, engagement with learning and learner behaviour. Cost effectiveness can be enhanced by reducing the number and/or length of assessor visits, reducing time to complete, taking advantage of learners’ own technologies and free wifi.

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

MoLeNET (The Mobile Learning Network), which has involved 40,000 learners, supports the use of mobile technologies to enhance teaching and learning in post compulsory education and training. Mobile technologies used include smartphones, MP3/4 players, SonyPSP, NintendoDS, cameras/headcams, UMPCs, netbooks, specialist scientific handhelds, GPS and voting devices.

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Making IT work

This publication includes more than 40 case studies and examples from the first two years of MoLeNET (2007/08 and 2008/09) focusing on the use of mobile technologies in the context of work-based and vocational learning.

LSN Fifth Floor, Holborn Centre 120 Holborn London, EC1N 2AD, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7492 5000 Email enquiries@lsnlearning.org.uk 100186RP/09/10/1500 Š LSN 2010 Learning and Skills Network trading as LSN. A company limited by guarantee. Registered in England no 5728105. Registered as a charity no 1113456.

LSN

Consulting | Outsourcing | Research | Technology | Training


Work-based and vocational mobile learning Making IT work

Rebecca Douch, Carol Savill-Smith, Guy Parker and Jill Attewell

Consulting | Outsourcing | Research | Technology | Training Consulting | Outsourcing | Research | Technology | Training


Published by LSN www.lsnlearning.org.uk LSN is committed to providing publications that are accessible to all. To request additional copies of this publication or in a dierent format, please contact: Information and Customer Centre LSN Fifth Floor, Holborn Centre 120 Holborn London EC1N 2AD, UK Tel +44 (0)20 7492 5000 Fax +44 (0) 20 7492 5001 Email enquiries@lsnlearning.org.uk Registered with the Charity Commissioners Designer: Joel Quartey Printer: Blackmore Ltd, Shaftesbury, Dorset 100186RP/09/10/1500 Š LSN 2010 You are welcome to copy this publication for internal use within your organisation. Otherwise, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrical, chemical, optical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of the copyright owner. Further information For further information about the issues discussed in this publication please contact: Tel +44 (0)20 7492 5000 marketing2@lsneducation.org.uk


Contents Acknowledgements Executive summary 1. Introduction 2. Creating and accessing resources

1 7 11

Introduction

11

Key messages and recommendations

15

Case studies index

16

Case studies

18

3. Evidence collection and assessment

39

Introduction

39

Key messages and recommendations

42

Case studies index

44

Case studies

46

4. Key Skills and Skills for Life

69

Introduction

69

Key messages and recommendations

73

Case studies index

76

Case studies

78

5. Teacher training

107

Introduction

107

Key messages and recommendations

109

Case studies index

110

Case studies

112

References

118


Acknowledgements LSN would like to thank staff and learners at the participating colleges, with special thanks to the following for their case studies: Accrington and Rossendale College Birmingham Metropolitan College (formerly Matthew Boulton College of Further and Higher Education) Boston College Bournville College Bridgwater College Chichester College City of Wolverhampton College Cornwall College Consortium Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College Exeter College Consortium Hastings College Joseph Priestley College Consortium Kingston College Leeds College of Building Lewisham College Ludlow College Moulton College National Star College Northampton College The Sheffield College St Helens College Trafford College Tresham Institute Walsall College Consortium Wirral Metropolitan College


1

1 Executive summary

This publication This publication includes more than 40 case studies focusing on the use of mobile technologies in the context of work-based and vocational learning. The projects that generated these case studies were part of years one (2007/08) and two (2008/09) of the MoLeNET initiative. Four major themes regarding the contexts in which mobile technologies can improve and support work-based and vocational learning emerge from these projects: ●

creating and accessing learning resources

evidence collection and assessment

Key Skills and Skills for Life delivery

supporting trainee teachers. The case studies are grouped within these themes and describe teaching and learning situations in a variety of settings. The vocational learners involved were predominantly on full-time training courses, with learning often taking place in more than one location. Typically their course was delivered partly in a workshop or simulated work environment, e.g. a training kitchen, and partly in the classroom. The work-based learners were based on employers’ premises and the trainee teachers were working towards their professional teaching qualifications in further education colleges.

MoLeNET The aim of the Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) is to encourage and support the use of handheld technologies to enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning in post-14 education and training. This process is enabled by: ●

capital funding – to date this has come from the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) but responsibility for MoLeNET has now passed to the Skills Funding Agency (SFA)

match funding – both cash and in kind – from participating institutions including colleges and schools

an LSN support programme including continuing professional development (CPD), advice and guidance, mentoring, knowledge and good-practice sharing, peer-to-peer support and collaboration systems. Alongside and embedded in MoLeNET is the LSN MoLeNET Research and Evaluation Programme, which collects evidence of the impact of the use of handheld technologies on teaching, learning, learners, teachers and institutions, including schools and colleges.


2

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Research and Evaluation Programme activities in MoLeNET were carried out by LSN’s Technology Enhanced Learning Research Centre researchers, practitioner researchers trained and supported by LSN and an independent researcher commissioned by LSN.

Mobile learning The MoLeNET programme uses a broad definition of mobile learning: The exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning. Mobile learning can take place in any location, at any time, including traditional learning environments such as classrooms – but also workplaces, at home, community locations and in transit. Mobile technologies can include mobile phones, smartphones (including iPhones), PDAs, MP3/ MP4 players (e.g. iPods), handheld games devices (i.e. Sony PSP, Nintendo DS), small digital cameras and headcams, Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs), mini notebooks or netbooks, handheld GPS, voting devices and specialist handheld technologies used in science laboratories, engineering workshops or for environmental or agricultural study. Mobile learning involves connectivity for downloading, uploading and/or online working via wireless networks, mobile phone networks or both, and linking to institutional systems, e.g. virtual learning environments (VLEs) and management information systems (MIS).

Work-based and vocational learning in MoLeNET Work-based and vocational learning have featured prominently in each year of MoLeNET. In the first year, 2007/08, 18 of the 32 projects identified work-based learning (WBL) as one of the national priorities they addressed, with 11 indicating that work-based or vocational learning was addressed as a local priority. Of the 6412 learners for whom projects reported a subject area, over 40% (2668 learners) were reported as studying a vocational subject. In the second phase of MoLeNET, 2008/09, projects were asked to indicate which priorities they had addressed. Of the 29 that responded, 13 identified work-based learning, 4 indicated apprenticeships, 6 land-based subjects, 5 Train to Gain, and 10 teacher training.

The benefits of mobile learning for work-based and vocational learners The benefits of improving communication and access to resources MoLeNET research has found, and case studies in Section 2 of this publication illustrate, that the use of mobile technologies in work-based and vocational learning contexts can result in increased: ●

Engagement with learning: assisted by a greater sense of belonging to a learning community as a result of improved communication and interaction with teachers and other learners


Executive summary

3

Flexibility of learning: as resources can be accessed at any time in any place allowing people who have to fit their learning around work and family commitments to learn at a time that suits them

Learner retention and achievement: partly as a result of better engagement and communication and also due to instant access to different tools to support their learning in new ways

Personalisation of learning: as learners can work at a pace and in a manner that is appropriate to their needs and preferences. Also learners with learning difficulties or disabilities can access resources designed specifically to support their needs

Access to learning resources: where access to electronic and online learning resources has not been limited due to lack of access to IT facilities in workplace and workshops . The benefits of incorporating mobile technologies into assessment and evaluation MoLeNET research has found, and case studies in Section 3 of this publication illustrate, that the use of mobile technologies in work based and vocational learning contexts can result in improved:

Efficiency of assessment: as the process can be streamlined, with evidence captured, reviewed, annotated and uploaded to an online portfolio at the same time. Savings can be made as fewer or shorter on-site assessor visits are needed. Learners can progress more quickly.

Standard of evidence: as the evidence-capturing process is easier and less intrusive the learner can focus on the work, which then leads to better outcomes. The improved quality of audio and video also makes it easier for assessors to evaluate learners’ competencies. Faster feedback from tutors also assists improvement.

Management of portfolios: this includes in-situ access to web-based e-portfolio systems allowing the learner to more easily manage their evidence remotely. They can also carry all their coursework with them without the inconvenience of paper files.

Personalisation of assessment processes: as the pressure to produce evidence in one session is reduced learners are able to work at their own pace and in a setting most appropriate to their needs. Evidence also can be produced in different formats allowing, for example, learners who struggle with text based reporting processes to effectively represent their skills in other ways.

Access to assessors and teachers: via the combination of mobile technologies and e-portfolios teachers and assessors can provide the learner with rapid feedback on their work. The devices also open new channels of communication for teachers and employers.


4

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

The benefits of mobile technologies for Key Skills and Skills for Life learning MoLeNET research has found, and case studies in Section 4 of this publication illustrate, that the use of mobile technologies in work based and vocational learning contexts can result in improved: ●

Engagement with learning: as learners enjoy the use of the new technologies and the interactive activities more than traditional classroom and text based learning they are more focused and more likely to complete the work on time and to a high standard. Also learning can be more easily ‘disguised’ as play for reluctant learners who prefer to focus on practical skills.

Integration of Key Skills/Skills for Life learning into vocational learning: as always-to-hand small technologies and digital learning content are easier to access in work places and to integrate into, and make more relvant to, work processes.

Learner retention: when learning is more enjoyable learner attendance improves and there is less drop out.

Learner achievement: as a result of improved attendance and retention, providing learners with new tools to support their learning and enabling them to learn in different and more enjoyable ways.

Learner confidence and self-esteem: when learners who have previously found Key Skills and Skills for Life courses challenging find that they are able to make progress this boots their confidence and can improve their self-esteem. Selfesteem is also enhanced where learners find that their skills in using mobile technologies are appreciated, especially if they are able to assist other less technically literate learners and tutors.

Learner behaviour: behavioural issues are reduced and social skills improved as learners enjoy their sessions more, work together or in friendly competition, find the tasks easier to understand, are less frustrated and less bored. The benefits of mobile technologies for trainee teachers The use of mobile technologies can assist trainee teachers in both their training and their teaching practice (see Section 5 for examples). When used to support teacher training, mobile technologies can improve:

Delivery of learning by the trainees: the use of handheld technologies to video the delivery of lessons has had a very positive impact by supporting reflective practice and making trainee teachers more aware of areas for improvement.

Innovation: a barrier to innovation for experienced teachers can be habits that are difficult or uncomfortable to change. The combination of trainee teachers without ingrained teaching habits and mobile technologies can result in more innovation.

Trainer/trainee communication: this can be improved through the use of calls, text messaging and email and also via the use of the free Skype service. Skype has also enabled trainers to deliver interactive training sessions including screen-sharing.

Performance in assessment: as greater familiarity with technology enhanced their performance particularly in relation to their use of IT in lessons.

Embedding of mobile learning in an institution: by developing a generation of teachers not afraid to try new techniques and by these teachers passing on ideas and supporting less technically literate colleagues.


Executive summary

5

Key advice It has been possible to draw out some key advice based on the experiences of MoLeNET 1 and 2 projects, which have used mobile technologies to support work-based and vocational learners. These include: Staff development is essential to successfully introducing mobile learning It is very important for teachers to appear confident and competent in front of their learners. Also learners wlll be more engaged if they have a good supply of resources and knowledgeable staff are required to produce these. Therefore a staff development programme and appropriate support structures are needed. Communicating to employers the benefits of mobile technologies for workforce development is very important As some employers remain resistant to the use of mobile devices in the workplace messages about less off-the-job training, more just-in-time learning and improved evidencing of competencies are helpful Good, clearly defined lines of communication must be established between learners, teachers, employers and assessors Employers, supervisors and assessors must be fully aware of the presence and functionality of the technology in advance This ensures their support and understanding and enables any concerns to be addressed. The use of learners own phones to collect evidence may be a good sustainability option This saves the institution hardware costs and this evidence can be uploaded to college systems or downloaded to a netbook to save connectivity charges. Pre-loading learning resources onto mobile devices is helpful where there is no network access This approach can also reduce connectivity costs, however, it can be a time consuming process for staff Use mobile technologies to integrate Key Skills and Skills for Life components into other activities and to make it more enjoyable Ensure the software chosen is the most appropriate for the learner and learning objectives For example, some games on the Nintendo DS rely on handwriting or speech recognition which may not be easy for learners with poor handwriting skills, speech impediments or strong accents and it can become very frustrating if the DS does not recognise their answers. Small unobtrusive cameras are best for filming teachers and learners They are more discrete and less likely to make the teacher or their students feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.


7

1. Introduction

Background Early in 2007 the then Learning and Skills Council (LSC) decided that mobile and wireless technologies and the concept and potential benefits of mobile learning were well enough established to justify investment in a significant implementation of mobile learning within the English further education sector. As a result the Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) was established, with LSC making available £6 million of capital funding in the 2007/08 financial year for shared-cost mobile learning projects. Participating colleges and schools made in-kind contributions of staff time and a financial contribution equivalent to 20% of the capital provided for their project to fund the LSN Support and Evaluation programme. LSN developed the Support and Evaluation Programme to help participating colleges and their partners implement mobile learning; provide continuing professional development (CPD) for staff involved; support mobile learning expertise capacity-building and to work with practitioners and their institutions to assess the effectiveness and impact of the initiative and the projects. Following the success of the first year of MoLeNET, described in Attewell, Savill-Smith and Douch (2009), the LSC decided to make available a further £4 million of capital funding in 2008/09 for MoLeNET 2 mobile learning projects. The positive outcomes from phase 2 described in Attewell, Savill-Smith, Douch and Parker (2010) in turn led to the LSC providing £3.5 million for new projects in 2009/10.

Mobile learning The MoLeNET programme uses a broad definition of mobile learning: The exploitation of ubiquitous handheld technologies, together with wireless and mobile phone networks, to facilitate, support, enhance and extend the reach of teaching and learning. Mobile learning can take place in any location, at any time, including traditional learning environments such as classrooms – but also workplaces, at home, community locations and in transit. Mobile technologies can include mobile phones, smartphones, PDAs, MP3/ MP4 players (e.g. iPods), handheld games devices (Sony PSP, Nintendo DS), digital cameras, Ultra Mobile PCs (UMPCs), mini notebooks or netbooks, handheld GPS or voting devices and specialist handheld technologies used in science labs, engineering workshops or for environmental or agricultural study. Mobile learning involves connectivity for downloading, uploading and/or online working via wireless networks, mobile phone networks or both, and linking to institutional systems, e.g. virtual learning environments (VLEs) and management information systems (MIS).


8

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Work-based and vocational learning in MoLeNET Work-based and vocational learning have featured prominently in each year of MoLeNET. In the first year, 2007/08, 18 of the 31 projects that reported to LSN identified work-based learning (WBL) as one of the national priorities they addressed, with 11 indicating that work-based or vocational learning was addressed as a local priority. Of the 6412 learners for whom projects reported a subject area, over 40% (2668 learners) were reported as studying a vocational subject. In the second phase of MoLeNET, 2008/09, projects were asked to indicate which priorities they had addressed. Of the 29 that responded, 13 identified work-based learning, 4 indicated apprenticeships, 6 land-based subjects, 5 Train to Gain, and 10 teacher training.

This publication This publication consists of a collection of case studies focusing on the use of mobile technologies, as defined above, within the context of work-based and vocational learning. The work that informs these studies was carried out during MoLeNET projects in 2007/08 or 2008/09, and covers creating and accessing learning resources, evidence collection and assessment, Key Skills and Skills for Life delivery, and teacher training. More than 40 examples are included here covering teaching and learning situations in a variety of contexts and settings. These work-based learners may be: ●

taking part in education and skills development courses where the setting for the delivery of the course is a professional environment – e.g. a hair-dressing salon, a laundry or a restaurant

balancing education and employment by engaging in distance learning courses, accessing learning opportunities while they work with the support of their employer

trying to acquire professional qualifications where the evidence required for assessment is gathered in their workplace. Vocational learners in this publication are involved predominantly in full-time training courses often set in more than one location, with part of their course delivered in a course-specific environment such as a workshop or training kitchen, and part in the classroom. Many of these courses include a Key Skills or Skills for Life element, which presents additional challenges to teachers and learners. This publication also covers trainee teachers, working towards their professional teaching qualifications within an FE, primarily college-based, environment. The case studies are organised into four sections according to the key issues or activities they focus on, as outlined below. Creating and accessing resources For many work-based and vocational learners the biggest challenge is accessing learning opportunities at an appropriate time and place. Many vocational learners have other responsibilities – related to their employment or personal circumstances – that restrict their ability to access learning resources.


Introduction

9

The case studies in this section consider how mobile technologies can be harnessed to produce and cascade learning opportunities, how tutors can maintain contact with learners and how resource provision can be differentiated to cater to individual learners’ needs. Some projects produced audio and video podcasts, remotely accessible quizzes and software designed to assist the learning process. Learners could also create their own resources and record practical work to aid revision and assessment. Others used PDAs and smartphones to assist communication between teachers, learners and employers, and social networking to increase engagement and collaborative opportunities for learners operating remotely. The value of online social networking opportunities as a tool for communication, skills acquisition and assessment has been noted by Chan (2009), who found that for bakery apprentices in New Zealand: Social networking sites, by virtue of their structural framework, encourage the generation of user-generated multimedia entries. The sites also promote user-friendly networking capabilities … [enhancing] opportunities for sites to be shared either with a close group of friends or with anyone able to access the Internet Evidence collection and assessment The challenges surrounding effective evidencing of competencies and assessment processes have always been significant for work-based and vocational learners. The nature of many vocational courses and the learners who take them means that traditional written assessment techniques are not always appropriate. The potential of mobile technologies to assist and improve these processes is reflected in the many projects that experimented in this area. The case studies in this section cover a variety of assessment and evidencing techniques, including the use of mobile devices to produce written and visual work on-site, to practise assessment scenarios and create revision resources, and to update and monitor outputs using web-based e-portfolios. Mobile devices have also been used to support the assessment processes of learners on employability skills courses. The use of e-portfolios is increasingly well established in work-based and vocational learning. The work of JISC’s e-Learning Capital programme, and particularly the COMPORT project that took place at Gateshead College, City of Sunderland College and South Tyneside College, found that introducing e-portfolios enhanced the process of learning, eventually leading to an improvement in work produced. City of Sunderland College also noted that: …work-based confidence had increased, not least in the vocationally important area of IT, and that this confidence had transferred to other aspects of their learner’s professional practice. Several MoLeNET projects worked to build on and reinforce these findings. Key Skills/Skills for Life Lessons intended to improve learners’ Key Skills or Skills for Life (e.g. reading, writing and numeracy) are often part of vocational courses but unfortunately are often the least popular aspects of the course for learners. Several MoLeNET projects explored new approaches aimed at making Key Skills/Skills for Life provision more engaging and effective.


10

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

This section includes case studies describing work carried out by projects using mobile devices to improve the relevance of learning, the engagement of the learners, their ability to access resources and the flexibility of the learning opportunities. Projects also tried to make the process of developing and demonstrating skills more interactive, helping to overcome some of the traditional barriers for learners with literacy development needs. Teacher training Teacher training differs from most of the vocational training discussed in this publication in several ways but can still benefit from the introduction of mobile technologies. Previous research has explored the use of mobile devices to assist trainee teachers with their organisation and time management. For example, Wishart et al. (2005) reported that when introducing PDAs with 14 trainee science teachers: Several applications, in particular the use of the calendar, task list, email and internet search facilities were found to be supportive by the teacher trainees to both their teaching and learning. Major hurdles encountered early in teacher training included learning effective ways of managing the classroom, engaging the learners, differentiating learning and planning and cascading lessons effectively to a potentially large cohort. The case studies included in this publication explore how trainers and trainees can use mobile technologies to address these challenges. They also illustrate how mobile technologies can help to develop teachers who are innovative and confident users of technology.


11

2. Creating and accessing resources

Introduction Access to learning opportunities fundamentally affects learner success. Being able to access resources and teachers in different locations, at times to suit the learner, can provide the support, guidance and flexibility that will make the difference between the learner engaging and flourishing or losing interest and failing to complete the course. This can be a particular issue with work-based learners, for whom contact time with tutors is limited and for whom work-related responsibilities often have to take priority over learning activities. Challenges faced by teachers and learners Learning in the workplace can present several challenges, including lack of faceto-face support from teaching staff. Learners may be based in rural areas where getting to college is difficult and colleges often support learners across broad geographical regions. Work-based learners are often older than other school and college-based learners and may have family responsibilities. In these cases learners may need to fit their learning around other commitments, which may mean learning during lunch breaks or after children have been put to bed. Communication between teachers and learners can be infrequent and disparate locations and timetables are likely result in limited opportunities for the collaboration and discussion with other learners that can assist understanding and the construction of knowledge. This lack of opportunity for interaction with teachers and other learners is considered to be a contributory factor in learner disengagement and the low levels of retention and achievement reported for a wide range of work-based training courses.


12

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

A perceived lack of employer engagement is also often cited as a problem for work-based learners. A lack of adequate dialogue between the teachers, learners and employers may be a contributory factor in this. Learning away from college can also make delivery of resources and engaging learners in learning activities difficult. It may not be practical for learners to carry textbooks or paperwork with them in their workplace and this may severely restrict the time they can devote to learning. Addressing the challenges Mobile technologies offer an exciting opportunity for colleges to revolutionise the way they deliver learning materials and communicate with work-based learners. The case studies that follow include many examples of colleges taking advantage of the new possibilities to create and cascade interactive and engaging resources, to maintain regular and active contact with their learners, and to develop online communities of learners, providing levels of support that were not previously possible. Several projects have embraced the opportunity to produce resources, including audio and video podcasts, quizzes and assessment opportunities accessed via a mobile device. In most cases teachers required initial training in producing these resources, but once this had been completed teacher engagement was high, as were the volume and standard of resources produced. These resources were then delivered to learners and accessed via iPods, PDAs, UMPCs and other mobile devices. The aim of providing the resources in this way was to allow the learner to access the materials and opportunities at a time and location that suited their needs. The National Star College made particular use of mobile technologies to assist their learners who have physical disabilities and/or acquired brain injuries alongside associated learning, behavioural, sensory and medical difficulties. These learners used learning objects developed by the college and focused on specific tasks to help them carry out travel routines and to increase their autonomy. Many colleges used mobile technologies to video learners carrying out activities. These videos were used for assessment and also provided the learners with resources that could be used for examination revision. Several projects used PDAs and smartphones to increase levels of interaction between teachers, learners and employers. Online social networking opportunities were provided through college VLE forums allowing learners to discuss their work, teachers to provide feedback and answer questions, and employers to become more involved in the training process. Feedback and interaction between teachers and learners included the use of e-portfolio systems (see the Assessment section of this publication for more information). Resources were embedded within assessment, feedback and interaction with the aim of giving remote learners a more holistic learning experience. Main findings MoLeNET projects in both 2007/08 and 2008/09 reported significant benefits for their institution and their learners as a result of improved communications with learners based in remote workplaces. Colleges found that where the teachers were willing, developing the skills required to produce simple resources such as vodcasts and podcasts has proved relatively straightforward. The following is a summary of some of the key findings, further details of which can


Creating and accessing resources

13

be found in the case studies that follow and the publications that report on the impact of year 1 (Attewell, Savill-Smith and Douch, 2009) and year 2 (Attewell, Savill-Smith, Douch and Parker, 2010) of MoLeNET. Retention and achievement Hastings College reported that their project experienced a 10% rise in learner retention compared to the previous cohort. As well as the quantitative data: ‘qualitative feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with learners describing their excitement at receiving the iPods and how the use of them has significantly supported their learning’. Teachers at Kingston College reported improved test results, particularly in subjects such as dermatology which involve a great deal of visual learning. Hairdressing learners who viewed cutting examples on video also improved their results: ‘An additional benefit was the standardisation of practical demonstration materials across all classes.’ Engagement Improving the dialogue between teachers, learners, assessors and employers had great benefits in terms of engagement. An assessor working with Bournville College of Further Education noted: The mobile technologies have been invaluable in being able to contact students through email, following up lessons, reinforcing information and sending out useful web links. Information was sent that reinforced areas of difficulty in the mandatory standards. Students who had no access to technologies were able to access the Internet and record evidence for their portfolio. The National Star College reported that engagement had reached the point where learners were driving the agenda: As the students became more familiar with the technology, they were increasingly able to initiate use of the modules and tasks and were keen to use the technology more often than was scheduled, wanting to explore the Internet, and paint and music programmes… Access to feedback Bournville College of Further Education worked to improve the access to learning and feedback of their remote learners through their VLE. The reaction was very positive, with learners commenting: I like being able to send work to be checked via the internet rather than the tutor having my folder for several days at a time. I have found that this device has helped me improve my standard of work in part due to having 24/7 internet access which I mainly use for research purposes and I can also use the internet facility of the device to allow my computer at home to access the Internet via the USB connection. Differentiation Several projects found that providing learners with these resources allowed teachers to offer differentiated learning opportunities, with learners accessing the resources as and when they wanted. Health and Beauty students at Chichester College downloaded demonstration videos to their Sony PSPs.


14

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

This helped students who need to see the demonstration performed over and over again to learn the processes. They can pause and continue as necessary and are not dependent upon asking for help from the learning assistant or class teacher. Another benefit is that they can take the devices home and watch the recordings before practising with friends and family. Teachers from Kingston College also noted the value of providing learning opportunities in different formats, allowing learners with different learning styles to learn in the way that suited them. We had some really good feedback from the students saying when they watched them [podcasts] they understood things a lot more and it was also good for them to recap the lessons they had just had. Flexibility Exeter College noted the value of the increased flexibility offered to learners through the introduction of mobile devices: Learners commented that they liked the flexibility that the devices gave them, for instance being able to take devices to work and being able to complete work outside the college environment. Kingston College reported that learners were finding new opportunities to learn in previously wasted moments: [the provision of mobile learning resources] allowed some students who travel large distances to study in transit.

Key messages The following key messages regarding the benefits of improving communication links and access to resources for work-based learners through the introduction of mobile technologies are drawn from the MoLeNET action research findings and case studies of good practice. ●

Engagement with learning: Increased interaction with teachers, employers and other learners has been found to have a positive impact on learner engagement. Where remote learners previously felt removed from the support structures experienced by many college-based learners, mobile technology allowed them to feel the benefits of a learning community.

Flexibility of learning: Resources that can be accessed at any time and in any place allow people who have to fit their learning around work and family commitments to learn at a time that suits them.

Learner retention and achievement: In an area that often experiences low levels of retention and achievement, learners with mobile devices are able to use different tools to support their learning in new ways, which coupled with improved communication, can lead to a greater level of achievement.

Personalisation of learning: Learners with learning difficulties or disabilities can access resources designed specifically to support their needs. Learners can also work at a speed and in a manner that is appropriate to them, without the pressure of keeping up with classmates.

Access to learning resources: Mobile devices and wireless technologies have provided access to electronic and online learning resources for learners who cannot usually access this kind of material because IT suites are not available or there are no IT resources in the workplace.


Creating and accessing resources

15

Key recommendations â—?

Staff development is fundamental for a successful mobile learning project. Learners will be more engaged if they receive a good supply of resources, and knowledgeable staff are required to produce them. To achieve this a coherent and mandatory staff development programme and an appropriate support structure must be in place.

â—?

Some employers remain resistant to the use of mobile devices as a learning tool in the workplace. Finding ways to communicate to employers the benefit of mobile technology for workforce development and the contribution it can make to the training of employees, particularly those unable to attend training courses, is therefore very important.

â—?

Good, clear and defined lines of communication must be established between learners, teachers, employers and assessors.


16

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Creating and accessing resources

17

Creating and accessing resources case studies index The following table provides an overview of the case studies in this section, indicating the focus, curriculum area and technologies used in each case.

l

l

l

MP3/MP4 players including iPod Touch

36

UMPC/Netbook

Mobile Works II

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

Sony PSP

l

l

l

l

l

l

Smartphone

l

l

PDA

33

l

Nintendo DS

Mobile Works I

Digital camera

l

Social sciences

l

Science and Mathematics

l

Retail and Commercial Enterprise

30

l

Preparation for Life and Work

Kingston Access to Podcast Technology for Interactive Virtual Assessment and Teacher Education (KAPTIVATE)

l

Leisure, Travel and Tourism

l

Languages, Literature and Culture

l

Information and Communication Technology

28

l

Technologies used

l

l

l

History, Philosophy and Theology

Work based individualised learning through MP4 Applications (WILMA)

l

Health, Public Services and Care

25

l

Skills development

Move industry into the classroom and the classroom into industry (Flip It)

l

Resource creation

24

Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies

l

Supporting learning and reflection in motor vehicle and hair and beauty with the Sony PSP

Education and Training

l

20

Construction, Planning and the Built Environment

l

Mobile learning for those who care

Business Administration and Law

l

l

Basic/Key Skills

l

l

Arts, Media and Publishing

l

18

Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care

l

Using mobile devices to widen participation

Title

Engagement

l

Evidence collection

l

Page

Assessment

Communication

Curriculum area

Access to resources

Focus

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l


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Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Creating and accessing resources case studies Using mobile devices to widen participation Birmingham Metropolitan College (formerly Matthew Boulton College of Further and Higher Education), academic year 2007/08 Introduction Birmingham Metropolitan College (formerly Matthew Boulton College) invested in a variety of mobile learning equipment including UMPCs, portable gaming devices, iPods and PDAs. Until the involvement of MetTraining, the college’s employer engagement business, the main users of PDAs had been the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and IT departments, creating and delivering assessment. Research indicated two critical issues that affected learner achievement within the work-based NVQ setting, learner engagement including accessibility and widening participation, and employer responsiveness and the level of support offered to the learners.

Aims The aim of the project was to increase participation and widen access to learning for learners from all socio-economic backgrounds. The project aimed to establish a mobile technology-based learning network to improve social networking and learning opportunities and increase the levels of employer engagement. It was envisaged that the use of mobile technology would create an effective and sustainable bridge between the needs of employers, learners and the college, driving up standards and achievement. Addressing the challenge Initially, the devices were seen as a tool for communication and a means of gathering evidence (audio, video, images, text), and only the assessors had access to them. Ring binders and face-to-face communication were seen as the most effective method of collecting and reporting evidence-based assessment and monitoring for work-based learners. The next stage of the project was to address the isolation typically experienced by remote work-based learners. The assessors who were the most effective in using the technology were identified and they, together with their learner groups, were used to expand the project to include the college’s VLE and e-Portfolio systems.


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By providing these learners with mobile learning devices the project aimed to overcome this isolation and give access to other learners by using forums via the VLE. The VLE provided communication tools between learners and their tutors/ assessors so that they were supported and their progress monitored. Outcomes and reactions The expected outcomes were fully achieved. Learner access to resources was greatly improved, new communication methods were used, and the amount of paperwork was ultimately reduced. This was achieved by: ●

providing learners with an internet-enabled PDA

providing relevant learning resources to learners via the mobile device that matched the knowledge requirements of the unit being evidenced

creating evidence based e-Portfolios populated with data captured from the versatile HTC Tytn smartphone

ensuring that assessor support was facilitated by use of e-mail, texts and telephone conversations using the mobile device and VLE forums to enable rapid tutor response to learner questions.

Managers’ reactions Nigel Davies, Executive Director of Business Development at Birmingham Metropolitan College, was one of the first to recognise the potential and versatility of mobile devices within the employer engagement sector: I utilise both the ASUS and the TyTN in my area. They both have a role to play. The TyTN is the better device for collecting audio and video evidence whilst the ASUS has the functionality of a laptop on which we pre-load the client’s portfolio. Both are useful communication tools but video telephony gives the TyTN the edge as a professional communication device in employer engagement. Assessors’ reactions Victor Evans, an assessor, internal verifier and trainer, championed the use of mobile technology with his NVQ learners: With the extended memory of the TyTNs we can capture photos, videos and audio recordings as evidence. On top of that, both assessors and candidates now have all their information carried in a neat little package, instead on a bulky computer. Assessors can now access VLE resources and email via the internet access on the phones.


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Key messages and lessons learned The main challenge was in initially identifying and forming a team of work-based staff who would be prepared to develop new online resources and try new assessment methodologies in the workplace. The TyTNs proved to be highly adaptable, with many useful features for mobile learning, but a problem with HTC prevented the devices being used within the College’s wireless network. To achieve the most effective solution, other internet-enabled mobile devices will be trialled within the next academic year. Next steps Although the use of mobile devices has been partially accepted in some areas, the next step for this project would be to work with the awarding bodies to obtain acceptance of evidence- based e-Portfolios. Once this has been achieved, the wider dissemination of current success in mobile technology innovation will take place within the work-based business area of the college. As more and more learners possess smartphones that can access the internet, take video and photos, and record sound, the sustainable approach to using mobile technology within education would be to rely more on the learners’ own devices, and to provide devices only to those learners who do not have their own. Links Video of engineering students at Matthew Boulton College talking about the convenience of using mini notebooks in the workshop - http://www.moletv.org. uk/watch.aspx?v=6SF7Z

Mobile learning for those who care Bournville College of Further Education, academic year 2007/08

Introduction All the learners who took part in the Bournville College project were in Train to Gain work-based employment and either had no formal qualifications or were progressing to a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 or 3 in health and social care or a teaching assistant qualification. Stakeholders involved in the project included a small number of employers in the health and social care sector. The project was conceived and developed to address the college’s inadequate retention and achievement figures for learners from work-based health and social care. Preliminary research indicated that learners were at risk of late completion or non-achievement of their qualification because of a lack of access to learning resources and employers’ inability to release their staff during work times. In an attempt to address these problems, the project provided learners with mobile learning devices.


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Aims The project aimed to overcome learner isolation, improve access to learning opportunities and encourage user collaboration by the use of communication tools, for example social networking websites and online forums supported by the college VLE (Moodle). Project objectives were: ●

to extend the college’s learning platform

to improve learner success

to make a contribution to the skills base of the health and social care sector in the West Midlands

to establish a technology-based mobile learning network to improve social networking and learning opportunities

to increase the effectiveness of employer engagement

to provide an effective and sustainable bridge between the needs of employers, the learners and the college to drive up standards and achievement. Addressing the challenge The HTC smartphones were used primarily for communication of bite-sized learning materials created in PowerPoint although feedback indicated that they were also extremely useful for electronic communication with colleagues and tutors and facilitated collaborative learning styles. Outcomes and reactions The project delivered the following benefits:

improved communication with off-site learners

improved delivery of aspects of the NVQ units through distribution of learning and assessment tasks

improved teaching and learning, including interesting ways of learning and assessment through quizzes, etc., increased motivation as learners can log on and track their own progress, and continuous access to support

improved personalisation: in any one device there are many different functions and media for learning, catering for many different learning styles or abilities, for example NVQ learners not very confident with writing can record a reflective account

a reduction in learner isolation by giving valuable access to the views/skills/ knowledge and support of other learners and staff. It is hoped that the project will also speed up the assessment process through the delivery of online assessment tasks and because same devices can capture assessment opportunities in real time, e.g. photographs, verbal reflective accounts.


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Learners’ reactions I like being able to send work to be checked via the internet rather than the tutor having my folder for several days at a time. It allowed me to collect photographs from my placement and to provide evidence. I have found that this device has helped me improve my standard of work in part due to having 24/7 internet access which I mainly use for research purposes and

I can also use the internet facility of the device to allow my computer at home to access the internet via the USB connection. Some learners commented that they would have liked more training on particular issues with the device; some had problems with email; others thought because they had internet access at home the device was not particularly useful. One learner commented with regard to training: If we get regular appropriate training on how to use different aspects then it will be more useful and we will be able to use it for different courses and works. It is a very good and handy device but lots of things we don’t know how to use! Teachers’ reactions The teachers involved were impressed by the impact of the devices on learners’ access to learning. It reaches all learners who have enrolled on this qualification even if they never attend college. This means that they are being treated fairly in the assessment procedure and are not disadvantaged. They complete within the agreed timescale. The e-blended resources are specific with extra web links for learners who wish to extend their thinking on the theory that has been delivered. This approach provides real differentiation. The devices have given work-based learners an opportunity to review resources used in the classroom. The resources developed were based on the areas that would normally cause a delay in achieving learner evidence. They were specific to gaps that previous learners and assessors had identified. Managers’ reactions The college’s vice-principal stated: There were three main reasons for the project. Firstly, it provided an opportunity to raise the profile of ILT across the college and enabled the college to demonstrate the benefits for both learners and staff. Secondly, and in relation to that, it allowed


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the college to develop the skill base for teaching and support staff in line with the college ILT strategy. Finally, it also provided an opportunity for the college to develop mobile learning devices and through the research element evaluate the impact on teaching and learning and the potential to improve success rates. Assessors’ reactions The mobile technologies have been invaluable in being able to contact students through email, following up lessons, reinforcing information and sending out useful weblinks. Information was sent that reinforced areas of difficulty in the mandatory standards. Students who had no access to technologies were able to access the internet and record evidence for their portfolio. WBL providers’ reactions The project has been so useful and beneficial to the workforce it was a pleasure being involved. The response from teacher trainers was excellent. They had so much fun and learnt a great deal. Key messages and lessons learned Fully embracing mobile learning requires investment in staff training and support. Focused projects with particular groups of learners and committed staff have a far greater chance of success and can act as a catalyst for future development. A comprehensive CPD programme for staff is paramount if staff and learners are to work together and collaborate effectively. A key consideration for the future is that of funding and having funding available for project development and project sustainability. Embedding new approaches to teaching and learning takes time and requires financial support to maintain the staffing infrastructure required for success. Networking and the sharing of good practice is essential to enable lessons to be learned and costly mistakes to be avoided. There is an obvious need to listen to the voice of the learner and consider feedback from staff and users in future planning. A thorough analysis of the different devices available and their applicability for use with particular learner groups is essential. A lot of valuable time was spent on this at the start of the project, which hopefully can be avoided with the research findings from the combined projects. Another key issue for the future is finding ways to communicate to employers the benefit of mobile technology for workforce development and the contribution it can make to the training of employees, particularly for those unable to attend training courses. Links Example of an mp3 podcast delivered to students on the Childrens Care, Learning and Development CCLD level 3 course at Birmingham Metropolitan College, providing information relating to the Birmingham Carers Assessment Centre – http://www.moleshare.org.uk/resources.asp?ExRef=E&d=1&ID=188


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Supporting learning and reflection in motor vehicle and hair and beauty with the Sony PSP Chichester College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Chichester College has been involved in projects in MoLeNET 1 and 2 and has targeted several groups of vocational learners using different handheld technologies, including the Sony PSP. For Chichester College, the most used tool on the Sony PSP to date has been the camera because it enables video to be recorded quickly and easily, then watched back and reviewed instantly. It is this immediate opportunity for reflection and feedback that makes the PSP such a powerful tool plus the fact that the camera can take still pictures, and recordings can be downloaded for editing and sharing. The College has also purchased ‘SUMS Online’ software for use in the classroom in the next academic year, thus extending the functionality of the Sony PSP. Aims

There’s a huge gap between the fact that we know that we all learn more by watching and then doing and by doing and watching than sitting there and listening to someone and I think that the PSPs bridge that gap. There is no doubt that the PSP will really become an important tool for teaching and learning, Helene Loizides-Dickson, Additional Support Teacher

The aim was to use the recording capabilities of the PSP to enable teachers and learners to create resources and to reflect on progress. Addressing the challenge, outcomes and reactions Hair and beauty Individual hair and beauty learners aged 16–40 have used the Sony PSP to record demonstrations carried out by their tutors. They are then able to use them for revision or to replay as a tutorial when practising a particular technique or task inside and outside college. The PSPs also enable tutors and learners to upload recordings created by other tutors and even other colleges via the internet. This provides learners with a wealth of learning and revision material to support their individual needs at a time and location convenient to them. In addition, the PSPs are used to record the learner’s own work in progress so that they can reflect on what they have done and recognise both their achievements and also how they could improve or change their practice next time. The PSP is good for students with low levels of literacy or poor working memories as it provides a visual backup and also helps to motivate them. Helene Loizides-Dickson

Motor vehicle Kim Woods, Learning Support Assistant (LSA), has been using the Sony PSP to great effect with her group of 16–19 year-old motor vehicle learners. The learners have been working on building a stock car from an old car, and Kim has been using the PSP to record their progress. The learners were really keen to be involved in the video and Kim believes that with a video record of their work they will be able to look back on what they have done and feel a real sense of pride in their achievements.


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They all like being in on it, and they can’t wait to see the final product.

Next year, Kim is planning to videotape the learners at work so that they can review and reflect on the task either alone or with their tutor and identify their strengths and weaknesses and what they should do differently in the future. As with the hair and beauty learners, this opportunity for instant reflection, either one-on-one using the PSP, or connected to a UMPC or interactive whiteboard for group analysis, really enables learners to improve their practice. Kim also plans to record demonstrations and theory lessons, and create notes on these, so that learners can download them onto USB sticks to carry with them for use inside and outside the college.

Kim Woods, LSA

Move industry into the classroom and the classroom into industry (Flip It) Exeter College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction

They can actually see where they got it wrong, the student can look back for themselves.

The project planned to transform the learning experience of work-based learners by creating a community of empowered professionals, achievers and lifelong learners. The Partnership (consisting of Exeter College and Bicton College) supplied mobile, collaborative, personalised learning opportunities, enabling flexible access through mobile digital inclusion to widen the participation of learners in rural communities or non-technology based vocational areas. The initial areas of work-based learning were Hospitality apprenticeships and Train to Gain and Health and Social Care apprenticeships.

Kim Woods, LSA

Aims The primary aim was to use mobile technology to break down the barriers of traditional types of learning and widen participation in rural areas of the community, engaging with all learners and employing a variety of digital methods. The project aimed to provide flexible opportunities for teaching and learning that were fit for purpose, demand led and that would seamlessly fit within the business environment. The key questions the project wished to answer were: ●

How effective is mobile technology in improving learners’ retention and achievement in the areas of work-based learning and Train to Gain?

How can the use of mobile technologies overcome barriers to learning in the areas of work-based learning and Train to Gain?


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Addressing the challenge Max enrolled at Exeter College on a full-time Level 1 Professional cookery course in September 2008, enthusiastic to follow in Michael Caine’s footsteps and become the head chef of a fine restaurant. Max is visually impaired and was supported by an enabler. He was fully included in all practical and theory classroom tasks. However, it became evident that his confidence and enthusiasm were suffering as a result of his impairment. Max had progressed from the West of England School for the blind and visually impaired. It was arranged for him to transfer onto a pre-apprenticeship, working within the school kitchen. With the agreement of the head chef and Max, additional evidence for his portfolio was created using the Flip camera and e-learning opportunities were provided through a UMPC. Within weeks Max was a film star, insisting that every practical task he undertook was videoed. The UMPC allowed him to revise the underpinning knowledge required for end of unit questions.

Outcomes and reactions The mobile devices allowed Max to develop confidence, both in his abilities as a chef and in communicating with colleagues and fellow learners. The UMPC also provided invaluable additional access to learning opportunities. The head chef also engaged fully in using this mobile equipment to aid the training process. Max fully achieved his Level 1 NVQ and progressed onto a full apprenticeship scheme at Level 2 in September 2009. The head chef put forward six members of staff to train under Train to Gain, beginning in September 2009. Learners’ reactions Everyone was given the chance to use the mobile devices to their full potential and involved in gathering research information to measure their effectiveness. Reactions included: Lessons are cool and fun. I can gain information as soon as I want it. I’m in control of my learning.


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Teachers’ reactions The majority of staff were enthusiastic about becoming involved. Those who felt it would infringe on their time and were apprehensive about using new technology initially declined to be involved but as the project evolved they became more enthusiastic. I only have the Flip camera and the small laptop. The laptop is brilliant but the video is limited to use at the moment – I found the camera eats my batteries. It is good for snippets and would really benefit an electronic portfolio but for paper-based portfolios currently a basic camera is more suitable. On the whole I think it’s a good step forward and is the beginning of some really good work. It equals time consumption I think but enables you to revisit and edit if you are short of time. Managers’ reactions The project benefited from full support from the senior management team. The college’s assistant principal commented: This is a really innovative project and shows how we are moving forward. I hope we can use this as a platform to develop more projects in the future. Key messages and lessons learned It is essential to engage all staff who need to be involved using a training plan and allowing enough time. Good, clear and defined lines of communication must be established. Links Video discussing how Exeter College has managed to embed constructivism style learning for students on work based apprenticeship programmes – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=LKSCB Video discussing how Exeter College has managed collaborative learning for students on work based learning programes – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=3W5E6 Video discussing how Exeter College has managed personalised learning for students on work based learning programes – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=7Z6HN


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Work-based Individualised Learning through MP4 Applications (WILMA) Hastings College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The WILMA project at Hastings College involved 162 learners and 20 members of staff, of whom 14 were teaching staff. The learners were drawn from three curriculum areas: construction, hair & beauty, and academy 6* (AS/A-level learners). The learners were a mixture of Levels 1, 2, and 3, and most were aged 16 to 19. The project was designed to investigate the use of MP4 (iPod Touch) technology to aid learning, supported by a wiki to encourage social networking. Staff were trained to create media-rich content to enable learning to take place anywhere at a time to suit the learners. Hastings College is on the south coast in an area of regeneration. Many of its learners are from deprived backgrounds and lack access to technology and computers, and they are in an area with poor broadband connectivity. This is the background against which the research took place. Aims The aim of the project was to investigate the potential benefits of personal MP4 players across a range of learning activities. It was intended to measure the impact of m-learning on learner success, and to analyse the results. A further aim was to demonstrate the ease with which staff can learn to develop media-rich learning content and how such content, once developed, can be used in a variety of teaching and learning environments. Addressing the challenge The first issue was training both the staff and the learners to use the equipment. Initially, staff found it difficult to create media-rich content, but a mandatory weekly staff development programme enabled speedy progress and growing m-confidence. The learners received an induction for the iPod Touch, and as many were familiar with iPods for downloading music, they quickly became confident users. The wiki was easy to access and the learners became very involved in the development of some areas of this. Some learners uploaded their own content for others to share and many learners helped to develop content. Outcomes and reactions The overall retention rate of learners involved in the programme was 96%; more than 10% higher than the long qualification retention rate of those not in the m-learning project. Qualitative feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with learners describing their excitement at receiving the iPod Touches and how the use of them had significantly supported their learning. Teaching staff were pleased with the new tools and skills they acquired as a result of the project, and were convinced that the mobile devices and supporting web environment had contributed to improving engagement, attendance and retention, long before the data confirmed this. Learners’ reactions The learner reaction was very positive, with learners saying they ‘felt privileged’ and ‘special’ to have been given an iPod to support their learning. They felt the iPod Touch was a ‘cool’ product that would have been out of their reach, so they treated them with respect. Other learner reactions included:


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The iPod Touch was good – I loved it. The Touch was very easy to use and helpful when it came to looking up work. Watching podcasts was helpful revision for literacy and numeracy. Good to be able to answer questions on the blog. Teachers’ reactions The staff were very enthusiastic and inspired and embraced the technology, and developed their m-confidence as a result. One staff member said: It provides opportunities for easy to access information, more flexible learning methods, at a time to suit the learners. It makes the sessions more interesting and engages the learners. Managers’ reactions The principal actively encouraged and supported the project from the very start, and was delighted to see the progress made. She highlighted the MoLeNET project as a success and congratulated the team on several occasions, including presentations to the entire college staff, and in the monthly newsletter accompanying salary advice. Key messages and lessons learned Feedback from the project was very positive. It worked well both in and out of college where there was access to a network. As some learners did not have access at home, the teaching staff built the use of the devices into their sessions, to overcome that issue. Use in college sessions, workplaces and workshops worked very well; the learners engaged with the content produced, and the flexibility it provided. Having senior management and the governing body engaged in the project was reported to have contributed to the project’s success. A coherent and mandatory staff development programme plus a support structure was found to be essential. Advice for others includes the recommendation that the implementation team consists of practitioners, learner representatives and a member of the IT department for technical support. Next steps The college plans to develop the project further by expanding on the skills base among the teaching staff and offering staff further development by training staff to deliver the ‘Digital Creator’ award. Learners previously involved in the programme will have their iPods returned to them for the second year. A series of workshops are planned to disseminate the benefits of mobile learning to staff in other areas. Links Video of hairdressing learners discussing the impact of iPods and blogging on their learning journey – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=BUM7L Video of painting and decorating learners discussing the impact of iPods and blogging on their learning journey – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=K1XCZ


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Kingston Access to Podcast Technology for Interactive Virtual Assessment and Teacher Education (KAPTIVATE) Kingston College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The KAPTIVATE project distributed over 500 iPod Touch devices to learners and staff at Kingston College. Learners ranged from Entry level 1 to Level 5, part time and full time, across 11 different curriculum areas in four different faculties. This case study is concerned with the sports and leisure faculty, which incorporates the schools of hairdressing, beauty and sports. KAPTIVATE built on the work of an earlier MoleNeT project called KAMPUS, where learners used practical haircutting demonstrations in salon environments in the College by extending the use of video to the creation of video podcasts to which the learners subscribed. Tutors use valuable resources such as hair blocks, massage oils, etc. each time they provide a practical demonstration. Learners also compete for the best view of a live demonstration made by one tutor for a whole class, and filmed content in the past has been displayed on a data projector, with all learners viewing the content at the same speed, in the same order. Providing individual access to learning content through KAMPUS meant that learners could go at their own pace with these materials when in class, and KAPTIVATE extended this concept to other curriculum areas and provided handheld devices for each learner. Aims The main research aims concerned the embedding of tasks in podcasts and improving learner achievement as a result of access to podcasts both in and out of class. Video content had been used before, but KAPTIVATE explored the use of video podcasts containing embedded assessments, feedback from tutors and revision content. As learners were lent the devices for the duration of the project they had more opportunities to access content. Addressing the challenge Tutors filmed content ranging from demonstrations of beauty routines, haircuts, salon customer service situations, exercise routines and free weight lifting techniques, edited and converted these to iPod-ready format and posted them on a podcast site. Learners then subscribed to the RSS feed generated by the podcast site and synchronised their iPods using iTunes either at home or at College. Learners could then access the content anywhere they chose. New content created by tutors was automatically picked up by iTunes and delivered to the learners’ iPods the next time they synchronised.


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Figure 1 Do you think you will be able to re-use the podcasts that your students havemade?

5.9%

94.1%  No  Yes

Outcomes and reactions Learners were able to access tutor-generated revision materials and demonstrations whenever and wherever they needed to. This allowed some learners who travel large distances to study in transit. Tutors reported that materials generated for podcasts could be re-used in subsequent years without the time overhead described above, and learner-generated podcasts would also be useful for successive cohorts. Learners reported that they had done better in tests as a result of having ready access to audio-visual materials, particularly of visual content such as skin conditions for dermatology tests. Hairdressing learners performed better in their practical cutting assignments because they had had increased access to the cutting demonstration videos. An additional benefit was the standardisation of practical demonstration materials across all classes. Sports learners benefited from being able to learn exercise routines at their own pace and learn technical moves in more detail. Sports coaching learners benefited from being able to review their own performance in podcasts. One unintended outcome was that learners used the devices to record diary appointments and take notes. They also reported that being able to access the college network from a handheld device helped them keep abreast of course correspondence by email much more easily than relying on access to traditional computer labs. Learners’ reactions The one [podcast] of the test was particularly useful… I passed, I got my merit criteria straight away, so it was really helpful. We had a test on skin disorders and [teacher] kindly made us a video so we can memorise it effectively. [I used it] at home and on the way to College. …it did help ‘cos you have to see the images to know what you’re talking about, so we wouldn’t have been able to do that unless we had that [iPod] with us. I did it [revision] on the bus.


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Teachers’ reactions It took a little time to get used to but in general the feedback was good from the students, [and] they loved having the iPods. I think the project went really well… We had some really good feedback from the students saying when they watched them [podcasts] they understood things a lot more and it was also good for them to recap the lessons they had just had. But yeah, on the whole it was pretty easy to download all the stuff [film material] once we got all the programmes on the computers and I think it was successful, and it will be successful again.

Key messages and lessons learned The main problems were to do with the timing of the project in relation to the academic year and the usual technical issues that accompany a project of this kind. Tutors felt that they could have been better prepared with materials if they had started the project in September, at the beginning of the academic year – by the time the project rolled out many learners were concerned with exams and project work. Tutors also felt it would be have been easier to instil the habit of accessing at the outset, rather than half-way through the year. Learners varied in their grasp of the technologies required, challenging the assumption that all young adults are ‘digital natives’ and always comfortable with new technology. Although most were familiar with iTunes as a music store, few had ever listened to a podcast or subscribed to a podcast series. Much time was spent assisting learners to subscribe to tutors’ podcast series and synchronising the video content to their iPods. Installing iTunes on the College network provided an institutional and technical challenge in terms of what learners are allowed to access from College PCs and the technicalities of allowing a media library to ‘follow’ a roaming learner profile.


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Next steps The tutors involved are looking forward to having the whole academic year to roll out the iPods with new courses. Some have decided to stagger the issue of devices in different classes, to give them time to generate and manipulate resources. Training began with Subject Learning Coaches to explore the pedagogy of podcasting for the College. Links Video of sports students from Kingston College explaining how they have been using podcasts to help them with their studies – http://www.moletv.org.uk/ watch.aspx?v=XPP5J Video of beauty therapy students talking about their experiences on the KAPTIVATE project – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=C6PWG Examples of some of the vodcasts created by Kingston College staff for learners – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=PV1TF

Mobile Works I National Star College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The National Star College is an independent specialist college providing for learners who have physical disabilities and/or acquired brain injuries alongside associated learning, behavioural, sensory and medical difficulties. This project aimed to support travel training, focussing on accessibility for these learners. It involved feedback from learners and staff, collected via video and audio recordings, interviews and staff focus groups. The four learners taking part (three male, one female) were aged between 16 and 18 and had moderate learning difficulties. Four staff took part (one male, three female). Aims The project trialled using mobile technology with learning objects focussing on specific tasks to find out whether this would enable learners to carry out travel routines with increasing autonomy. It sought evidence of transferable skills, and increased learner confidence and initiation of tasks.


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Addressing the challenge Participants were equipped with a Samsung Q1 ULMPC and a Flip Ultra Video Camera. Learners were encouraged to video-record their journeys, both for learning purposes and to facilitate the collection of personalised data for module 1. The software was capable of providing back-end data, which held all recorded sound files as well as offering visual representation of learner module activity. Modules focussed on: 1 Journey Review: this was personalised to each learner, with photographs (taken by them) showing their individual travel routes 2 Personal Safety Plan: this was a paper resource converted to electronic format, focusing on safety aspects of travel 3 ‘Stranger danger game’: a simulated phone call to the non-emergency service, requiring correct dialling of authentic phone number and voice-recorded responses to pre-set spoken questions. The Information and Learning Technology Team worked closely with the Learning Information for Travel (LIFT) Team, supporting them to develop an interventionist approach that built on existing lesson materials and methodologies to design the modules, which were added to a software application and pre-loaded onto the Q1s. All modules provided sound icons so that the learners could hear the text read and two of the three modules required answers to be voice recorded, thus supporting learners with poor literacy. A touch screen provided access and the resulting modules, which offered a range of multimedia uses, were therefore very specifically designed to meet the learning needs of the learners, as defined by the Team Leaders. The ILT Team continued to work with the participants, providing training in situ, to support the implementation of the scheme of work Outcomes and reactions Learner motivation and staff attitudes played a key role in supporting the applications and devices utilised throughout the project. Overall, the devices were felt to be most appropiately used as a classroom resource. Use of the journey review facilitated learner rehearsal of journeys, reinforcing key landmarks and acting as a memory prompt. This increased learner confidence in undertaking journeys but also in using technology outside formal teaching areas. As the learners became more familiar with the technology, they were increasingly able to initiate use of the modules and tasks. They were also keen to use the technology more often than was scheduled, wanting to explore the Internet, and paint and music programs, but teaching constraints limited this possibility.


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Learners’ reactions Learners were enthusiastic about both the device itself and the modules provided by the application. The simulated phone call was the activity they all enjoyed most, even though one student disliked speaking, and recording, his answers. However, other learners claimed that: The sound on it is quite helpful. Yeh, it helps you learn on your own cos it speaks to you. Learners had a tendency to speak answers to questions before the record function was active and to stop the record function slightly before the end of their sentences, but this did improve over time. Teachers’ reactions Teaching staff were nervous about using the new technology and even though it was integrated into existing teaching plans, it remained a ‘bolt-on’ activity which was difficult to manage alongside paper resources. They needed more time, for both training and implementation, but they became more familiar with the device their confidence increased. Nonetheless, carrying the devices was problematic, both because of their weight and concerns about security. Staff observations were that module 1 provided useful rehearsal and reinforcement of learners’ journeys: I think students have enjoyed learning about the technology and have found it helpful to see pictures of their bus journey to prompt them on key points of their route. The device has picture and audio support and has touch screen and recordable answers to make it as accessible as possible. Module 2 was felt to be too long yet, interestingly, this same resource in paper format is used as a core teaching resource. Module 3 was perceived as the most successful of the modules as this activity could not have been achieved in the same way with paper resources: It reinforces learning in an exciting way in the classroom compared to written task sheets. A different resource, interesting for learners who don’t like written tasks, instructions, etc. All staff felt that the project had been a positive experience for the learners: It worked because it was specific to the learner. Varied and interesting technology, could help students with reading problems, etc. Managers’ reactions Student autonomy has improved, greater responsibility is engendered and students love using this type of technology. Evidence is easily recorded and progress can be measured in electronic format, which can be transferred to students’ e-portfolios. Brilliant! Key messages and lessons learned The research team worked closely with the participant staff group to jointly establish exactly what was wanted from the applications. With the exception of one participant, who remained resistant throughout the project, the participants were enthusiastic, perhaps because of their authentic involvement from the outset. Nonetheless, it remained difficult to move them away from their paperbased resources and teaching methods.


36

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Next steps Staff felt that both the device and application have potential; they aim to continue to use it but more carefully incorporating that use within schemes of work. The team will also learn how to use the back-end data, which has not been used to date, so that they can consider how to integrate the electronic applications within the Edexcel requirements and accreditation. Although the journey plan and simulated phone call modules will continue to be used, the safety plan activity module will probably be dropped. In the future, the team would like to develop more interactive modules, allowing learners, for example, to rehearse conversations with bus drivers, asking for tickets, etc. Links Video created by a learner using a Flip camera recording their journey between home and college - http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=H6MF2 Video created using the iPod Touch and FM Software showing staff delivering independent living support to students - http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch. aspx?v=OHFQ3

Mobile Works II National Star College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction This project aimed to support preparation for work and employment focussing on accessibility for these learners. The project involved feedback from learners and staff, collected via video and audio recordings, interviews and a staff focus group. The eight participant learners (five male, three female) were in the 19+ age group, with moderate and severe learning difficulties and mental ill health. Four staff took part (one male, three female). Aims The project tested whether using mobile technology with learning objects focussing on specific tasks would allow learners to carry out work-related tasks with increasing autonomy. It sought evidence of transferable skills, and increased student confidence and initiation of tasks. Addressing the challenge Participants were equipped with a Samsung Q1 ULMPC and a Flip Ultra video camera. Students were encouraged to video record their work-related activities, both for learning purposes and to facilitate the collection of personalised data for module 1. The ILT Team worked closely with the Preparation for Employment Team, supporting them to develop an interventionist approach which built on existing lesson materials and methodologies to design the modules which were added to a software application, pre-loaded onto the Q1s. All the modules included sound icons so that the text could be read and responses could be supplied by voice recording, thus supporting learners with poor literacy. A touch screen provided access and the resulting modules, which offered a range of multimedia use, were therefore very specifically designed to meet the learning needs of the learners, as defined by the team leaders. The ILT Team continued


Creating and accessing resources

37

to work with the participants, providing training in situ, to support the implementation of the scheme of work. The software was capable of providing back-end data that held all recorded sound files as well as offering visual representation of student module activity. Modules focussed on: 1 Going to work 2 Targets and reflection. However, focus of use was on module 2 Targets and reflection. Although this was the simpler of the two modules to set up, it was also perceived as more immediately significant. Outcomes and reactions Learner motivation and staff attitudes played key roles in supporting the applications and devices used throughout the project. Overall, the devices were felt to be most appropiately used as a classroom resource where the learner ‘found the ability to record potential targets useful’ and could ‘capture thoughts and ideas immediately before being forgotten’ as the technology offered ‘the ability to visualise and measure achievements’. One learner with mental ill health, in particular, not only fully utilised module 2, but also used the back office facilities to further personalise task-setting, the results of which he then exported to Excel, charting his progress visually, and using these to set further tasks. ‘I was able to go into the administration section of the software and change my goals ... so, yes, it’s been very easy to use ... I think the device is generally great!’ His competence and confidence were such that he provided a tutorial to his tutor. Learners’ reactions Learners were enthusiastic about both the device itself and the modules provided by the application. Module 2 was seen as particularly useful because it offered immediate feedback, as well as visual representation of learner progress. Learners were enthusiastic about ways in which the device helped them to remember things, charting their progress visually and offering the facility for voice-recorded responses, rather than written responses. Some learners also took advantage of the tablet journal facility, jotting notes on screen – this was not taught to them, but discovered by them. Two learners also commented that using the technology allowed them to gain a more realistic idea of their own achievements, which they had had a tendency to underestimate. Teachers’ reactions Even though it was integrated into existing teaching plans, use of the mobile technology remained something of a ‘bolt-on’ activity. More time was needed, both for training and implementation, but as staff became more familiar with the device they started to develop ideas about how the devices could best be used to enhance the teaching and learning process. Carrying the devices was tricky, both because of their weight and concerns about security; additionally, in work placements it was not always practicable to use the devices (for example when painting buildings, or in bright sunshine where screens were difficult to see) and staff felt that, ‘time had to be set aside to use them, which was inconvenient. It means that the employer has to release the student from the task’. Additionally, in work placements, learners needed greater prompting to use the devices than they did for work tasks.


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Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Managers’ reactions Being able to rate your own performance is a valuable asset in work preparation programmes, particularly in the workplace. Using mobile technology to do this and then record the results enables them to measure distance travelled both in terms of the evidence being produced by learners and through their own self reflections. The development of this software on the Q1 devices has benefits not just for learners on work preparation – the model can be used across a range of programme with different learners. The nice thing about the design of this software is that both learners and staff were involved in developing the format. For learners with learning difficulties the promotion of autonomy is very evident after using these devices and their responsibility in using them is significantly empowering. Key messages and lessons learned The research team worked closely with the participant staff group to jointly establish exactly what was wanted from the applications and so the participants had an authentic involvement from the outset. Nonetheless, it remained difficult to move them away from their existing teaching methods and use of the devices was often impractical in a work-based setting – the technology had much more to offer when used in classroom sessions. Where learners relied on staff for access to, and use of, the devices, focus remained on module 2 (setting targets and reflection), but where learners were able to take full responsibility for the device and its use, much greater advantage was taken of the affordances of the technology. Overall it has had more success with older learners with mental ill health than younger students with learning difficulties but more time is needed to fully judge its impact. Next steps Staff felt that both the device and application have potential, although further experimentation with module 1 is needed as it is anticipated that this will become increasingly important. Further, using the device as a reflective tool might offer benefits in relation to accreditation where evidence of reflection is required. The team would like to increase its use of the back-end data, so that learners can monitor their own progress more effectively.


39

3. Evidence collection and assessment

Introduction A large proportion of the skills and competencies that a vocational learner or apprentice must develop are not easily assessed via pen and paper. For validity and consistency, the ideal model for learner assessment on these courses would be an independent assessor watching each learner demonstrate the required abilities. However, as well as being uneconomical and impractical, this process causes other challenges as discussed below. The advancement of mobile datacapturing technologies means that there are now opportunities to assess workbased learners with greater ease, accuracy and legitimacy, and in a way that is less stressful for the learner. In addition to learners working on vocational courses in the college or the workplace, some learners involved in MoLeNET were enrolled on courses designed to improve their employability skills and prospects. Information and case studies relating to these learners are also included in this section. Challenges faced by teachers and learners The major challenges involved in assessing candidates in a work environment are the capturing of evidence, and the process of having that evidence assessed and evaluated, either to contribute to a qualification, or to provide the learner with feedback to assist them in building better skills and understanding. For vocational learners in work environments the process of producing evidence is often time-consuming, difficult and stressful, particularly for learners with learning difficulties or disabilities, or with low literacy skills. The evidencing process often involves extensive written work as well as photographing the learner demonstrating their skills and observations by assessors. The impact of assessment on the employer is another important consideration in WBL environments. To maximise the efficiency of the learner when carrying out their role in the workplace it is vital that assessment and evidence collection is as simple and straightforward as possible and that disruption of workplace duties is minimised. For learners based in remote rural areas taking part in entirely work-based courses, the process of assessment can be particularly arduous. They have often had to travel a long way to unfamiliar locations to have their skills assessed and this can present them with challenges over and above those of other candidates.


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Addressing the challenges The level of the challenge and the potential of mobile devices to provide solutions is reflected by the number of MoLeNET projects that have looked at this area. A variety of devices, environments and functionalities have been used, from Sony PSPs recording the activities of laundry workers in Bath, to construction learners using PDAs to update their e-portfolios in Lewisham Netbooks and PDAs have been used to access teaching resources such as worksheets and instructional videos on-site and to complete written work in the working environment, rather than having to return to a classroom. The camera functionality of the Sony PSP and PDAs allows learners to record themselves, their contemporaries and their teachers carrying out tasks, and then used them to revise and practise before recording themselves for evidence. These videos can also be sent directly to the teacher or assessor for feedback These processes can all be completed without needing the learner or the assessor to travel to sometimes-remote workplaces. Main findings The enthusiasm with which projects adopted mobile technologies for assessment of vocational learners was not misplaced. Almost without exception, learners and institutions that have tackled collecting and collating evidence in this way gave positive feedback. Staff at Accrington and Rossendale College said: The learners were engaged and motivated using the PSP and managed to generate substantial amounts of evidence using the devices. The devices enabled learners to complete assessment more efficiently. Evidencing could be carried out more naturally, with the process personalised for learners with different requirements. Bridgwater College reported: When asked what difference mobile technologies made, [the learners] explained that they now had some control of when and how they learnt and they also had more opportunities to be successful as they could video themselves doing a task a number of times until they were successful and at a time that suited them rather than having to wait for a member of staff to be available to watch. At Redbridge College, hairdressing learners recorded evidence using UMPCs. The college reported that learners: …found it better providing audio or video evidence because ‘if a student isn’t as confident about their spelling or typing, they might find it easier to talk about instead’. The learners could access resources that supported the assessment process, and could also maintain regular contact with employers, teachers and assessors to ensure that the work they were carrying out was appropriate and effective. An assessor at Sheffield College commented: From the assessor viewpoint it is a lot easier and quicker to look at written work sent in by learners rather than going on a visit. I can give feedback to every candidate every Monday. Couldn’t have done this if had to visit, so a real time saver.


Evidence collection and assessment

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At Aylesbury College, assessors kept in touch with learners using Blackberry smartphones. One assessor commented: As an experienced assessor, I think the Blackberry is an excellent tool for collecting evidence, I was able to use the email to set SMART targets for students. Evidence was managed and delivered more easily using online portfolios, rather than with learners trying to keep track of large amounts of data in hard format. At Leeds College of Building, one learner commented: The netbook has helped me to record my evidence from the site and carry out my homework. I do not have to carry paper documents with me and re-type them in. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the devices were found to allow learners to produce a higher quality of evidence, often completing their coursework to a high standard in a more timely manner, without necessarily needing an assessor present. The Programme Manager for Cornwall College’s NVQ in Horse Care explained: It is sometimes difficult for assessors to be in situ for certain activities such as the clipping of a whole horse (which can take over an hour); or assessing the care of a horse in transit. In these cases it was hugely beneficial for the student to have the camera available to have a friend or colleague film them undertaking the activities. A bright student wishing to complete their Level 2 quickly in order to progress to Level 3 might be able to use this way of collecting evidence to fast track their achievement.

Key messages The following key messages regarding the benefits of incorporating mobile technologies into assessment and evaluation practices can be drawn from the MoLeNET 2 action research findings and case studies of good practice. When used to support assessment processes in a vocational or work-based setting, mobile technologies can improve: ●

Efficiency of assessment: the process can be streamlined, with evidence captured, annotated and uploaded to an online portfolio at the same time. Devices have generally been found to be user friendly, and evidence gathered can be immediately reviewed allowing mistakes in data capture to be put right immediately, rather than discovered later and then having to attempt the process again.

Standard of evidence produced: the ease and functionality of the devices mean the evidence-capturing process can be less intrusive. This in turn allows the learner to focus on the work they are carrying out, leading to better outcomes. The quality of audio/video output is also of a much higher standard, allowing assessors a greater opportunity to evaluate the level of the learner.

Management of portfolios: web-based e-portfolio systems allow the learner to manage their evidence remotely, aiding organisation of their work. The learner can effectively carry all their coursework with them, without the traditional challenges of looking after great reams of paper or relying on one machine to store their work.


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Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Personalisation of assessment processes: the pressure to produce evidence in one session is reduced, allowing learners to work at their own pace and in a setting most appropriate to their needs. Evidence can be produced in different formats, allowing learners who perhaps do not excel at certain reporting processes still to represent their skills effectively in other ways. Some technologies also offer additional accessibility benefits, such as voice-to-text and audio feedback.

Access to assessors, employers and teachers: e-portfolios allow teachers and assessors to provide the learner with rapid feedback on their work. The devices also open channels of communication with teachers and employers.

Access to learning resources: mobile devices and wireless technologies have provided access to electronic and online learning resources for learners who normally are unable to access this kind of material due to limited availability of IT suites or lack of IT resources in the workplace. Learners can also access resources in locations where they have been given devices on long-term loans.

Key recommendations ●

It is important that employers, supervisors and assessors are fully aware of the presence and functionality of the devices before use so that they can promote their support and understanding.

Allowing learnerss use their own phones to collect image evidence and then download these to a netbook may be a good sustainability option for the future, saving the institution hardware costs and connectivity charges.

Downloading essential learning resources to mobile devices before distributing them to the learners may provide an opportunity to reduce connectivity costs but can be time- consuming for staff preparing the devices.


44

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Evidence collection and assessment

45

Evidence collection and assessment case studies index The following table provides an overview of the case studies in this section, indicating the focus, curriculum area and technologies used in each case.

51

l

l

Plumbing with PSPs

53

l

l

l

Heating and ventilating mobile learning

55

l

l

l

l

l

Work-based mobile learning for wood machining

57

l

l

l

l

l

PDAs for portfolios

60

l

l

l

E-portfolio and apprenticeships

62

l

l

Active Citizenship – employment and employability teaching and learning snapshot

63

Electrical engineering apprentices

64

Mobile Sports Science

66

l l

l

l l

l

l l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l l

l

l

l

l l

UMPC/Netbook

PSPs in laundry NVQ delivery

Sony PSP

l

Smartphone

l

PDA

48

Nintendo DS

Assessing the impact of m-learning with work-based learners undertaking apprenticeships across rural Lincolnshire

l

Digital camera

l

Social sciences

l

l l l

l l

l

l l

l

l

l

MP3/MP4 players including iPod Touch

Science and mathematics

Retail and commercial enterprise

Preparation for Life and Work

Leisure, travel and tourism

Languages, literature and culture

Information and communication technology

History, philosophy and theology

Health, public services and Care

Engineering and manufacturing technologies

Education and training

Construction, planning and the built environment

Business administration and law

l

Basic/Key Skills

46

Engagement

Evidence for work-based learning

Title

Skills development

Page

Communication

Arts, media and publishing

Technologies used

Evidence collection

Agriculture, horticulture and animal cmare

Curriculum area

Assessment

Access to resources

Focus


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Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Evidence collection and assessment case studies Evidence for work-based learning Accrington and Rossendale College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The Accrington and Rossendale College project explored how mobile learning technology could be used to improve retention and achievement, and what the organisation needed to do to embed mobile learning and make it sustainable. This case study is based on one learner enrolled on NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service. It investigates and evaluates retention and achievement of workbased learning in the context of NVQ assessment. The learner was a single mother who had a job at a local DIY retail shop in Accrington and wished to gain a formal qualification in customer service. She has a specific learning difficulty and additional support was appropriate for the disability and to maximise opportunities for generating evidence to meet the needs of both the candidate and the employer. The findings from this small study could inform how the benefits can be embedded into the process and be made sustainable. The assessor also had dyslexia, and the project explored how the process of assessment can be made more accessible. Aims The aims were to: ●

develop ways of working with an employer who does not want NVQ assessors obstructing customers

work with a candidate who works 11 hours a week or according to the requirements of the business

help the candidate to complete an NVQ Level 2 in Customer Service in 14 weeks or less

confidently use alternative methods of assessment and enable a candidate to present electronic evidence according to the awarding body requirements

reflect on personal development and evaluate the potential of using assistive technology to support the assessor

explore the impact on retention and achievement

explore ways of making any success sustainable. Addressing the challenge Use of mobile learning technology to record the assessment process and communicate with the candidate, on and off site was identified as a possible way of streamlining the assessment process with the dual benefits of enabling the learner to complete the course within the required time while meeting her needs and those of the employer. The learner was not confident with reading and completing questionnaires and an alternative less time-intensive method was needed to ensure success.


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A key resource was the Toshiba Netbook, which is a 9.5” screen mini laptop. It was easy to carry around, which allowed the production of tailor-made classroom sessions for the candidate in her place of work, the college library or any space that was suitable. The use of a digital voice recorder for recording observations on-site proved to be one of the most advantageous resources, in terms of flexibility and producing a printout using Dragon Speaking. Observations could be discussed and evidence of knowledge developed through a discussion with the candidate. Tutorial support was provided via Skype and live documents were worked on simultaneously by sharing desktops. The resource was used to contact learners who were offsite, providing an excellent opportunity to optimise contact time without having to bring candidates into college. This can also be extended increasingly to learners in the workplace. Another useful tool during the assessment process was Text Tools, which proved to be an economic way of transferring the candidate’s statements or questions. The communication came from the candidate to the tutor’s mobile and the e-mail which could be printed out, signed and presented as evidence towards the qualification. Text Tools also provided the candidate with a familiar tool that she could work confidently irrespective of time or location. Using voice-to-text software helped the assessor to provide detailed assessment verbally which lifted the pressure of providing this in a written format and as such the assessments were more detailed. Outcomes and reactions Streamlining the assessment process using mobile learning technology meant that less time was needed in the workplace and the learner could work efficiently and effectively with the assessor from anywhere. Evidence was produced naturally and captured utilising mobile technology. Disabilities could be taken into account and mobile technology used to personalise learning to ensure that the learner had every chance of success. The use of a mini laptop enabled the classroom to be brought into the candidate’s workplace and contextualise the assessment process. Text Tools proved very useful in terms of communicating via text message, with the e-mail alert enabling teachers and assessors to printout the candidate’s work immediately. The ‘It’s Learning’ virtual learning environment proved to be a very powerful assertive technology tool. It’s Learning has a range of embedded tools that allow tutors and candidates to access the internet from anywhere at any time. Assistive technology has proved useful in speeding up the assessment process. This motivates the learner and keeps them actively engaged in learning and reflecting. Assessors’ reactions Without doubt assistive technology has enabled the candidate to achieve a full NVQ in a very short timeframe, yet produce the quality of assessment that meets the rigour of the college quality standards. You need to be prepared to spend the time to learn how to use the technology effectively. The more you learn the more useful it becomes. Initially there are issues relating to quality and efficiency. The long-term potential for assistive technology is phenomenal and this case study has only shown the difference that it has made for one candidate and one assessor who are both dyslexic.’


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Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Managers’ reactions From a management perspective, the fact that it has been possible to streamline the process and deliver the qualification in a relatively short period of time while ensuring that the candidates are well supported makes this method of delivery and assessment very positive. Taking the case study and the findings from the MoLeNET project as a whole it is reasonable to suggest that there are clear advantages for the learners in using mobile technology. What we can also see is benefits both to the assessor and the employer for work-based learning in that we can deliver and assess in a way that meets the learner’s needs and the employer’s needs with as little fuss and disruption as possible. This can only be positive. As a college we can now look at how mobile learning can be embedded into whole college processes to ensure sustainability. Investing in the ‘Super users’ framework so that we can ensure that the expertise developed during the project can be disseminated to other staff will allow us to continue with this type of work. WBL providers’ reactions The employers were pleased at the speed and quality of delivery and the fact that using mobile technology ensured minimum disruption in the workplace. Next steps The success of this assessor’s work shows its potential to streamline assessment to help the employer and organisation. A major benefit is the way that the learner is still at the heart of the process, and will be able to work closely but remotely with the assessor. Using Skype is one way that the college intends to move forward to develop ways of communicating with learners offsite, sharing screens to ensure that they have the support that they need to produce underpinning knowledge. Ensuring that all courses have materials on the VLE will speed the process and again, drawing on the experience from the project, the college can develop ways of supporting assessors with the aim of having all documents on the VLE. There is also clearly scope for developing the way that learners use their own mobile technology to evidence either with video or photo. The college is investing in the ‘Super user’ framework to ensure that time is given for dissemination of findings, development of materials and both formal and informal CPD.

Assessing the impact of m-learning with work-based learners undertaking apprenticeships across rural Lincolnshire Boston College, academic year 2007/08 Introduction Mobile learning was used to enable work-based learners to undertake apprenticeships in a range of vocational subjects across rural Lincolnshire and to help address the lack of assessors to cover such a wide geographic area. The College hoped the use of PDAs would allow learners to undertake flexible learning and actively participate in evidence-gathering in the workplace. Electronic evidence-gathering was made easier by creating individual e-portfolios held on the college servers and made accessible to both assessors and learners. 


Evidence collection and assessment

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Aims Boston College’s mobile learning project aimed to establish: how the use of mobile devices can increase the skills sets of apprentices (e.g. the ability to use IT to organise portfolios); how the use of mobile devices can help apprentices to collate evidence related to their qualifications; and what the impact of mobile learning is on the retention and achievement of apprentices.

Addressing the challenge Learners used the PDAs to capture evidence for their NVQ apprenticeship portfolios. They used them in work-based settings (on site) in electrical engineering and assessment content captured via videos was beamed to their lecturers/assessors and stored for internal and external verification on the College servers.

Outcomes and reactions A significant teaching and learning outcome from the project was the use of the PDAs in the classroom environment. Comments from a formal teaching observation involving external inspectors noted the positive contribution of the use of PDA’ to the lesson. The lecturer used part of the lesson to receive evidence captured by learners using Bluetooth file transfer. The use of this technology in class was noted as a positive factor in retaining the interest of the learners. Another important benefit that arose in leisure and tourism was the use of PDAs as a replacement for desktop computers, allowing learners to work on their coursework assignments in their classroom, where their lecturer could support them, rather than in the learning resource centre, where computers are not always available. This was an unexpected outcome in many ways, as some learners preferred to work using their PDAs rather than a more ‘traditional’ desktop PC. Learners’ reactions PDAs were used by motor vehicle learners to capture evidence for external verification. Comments included: It takes a lot of the written work out and shows exactly what you’ve been doing. Yes, it makes things a lot easier.


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Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Teachers’ reactions Teachers on the motor vehicle course were pleased with the efficiency savings resulting from the introduction of the devices: As opposed to us going out and assessing them paperwork based they can photograph their worksheets on the job. It saves them bringing all that paperwork into college, they can just save their images and transfer them across.

Managers’ reactions The principal at Boston College appreciated the flexibility the devices provided for her learners: We’ve got lots and lots of Train to Gain students … lots of work-based learners, we’ve got people out there in fields … we’ve got lots and lots of people who actually need that flexibility in their learning and this is a really good way of doing it. Assessors’ reactions Assessors were impressed by the focus of the learners: It (the PDA) helps to keep them motivated and on task. WBL providers’ reactions The leader of the motor vehicle engineering programme commented: I’d just like to say I’ve had really positive feedback from both learners and employers regarding the use of the PDAs. In one particular instance the employer actually paid for the PDA on behalf of the learner because he saw the benefits it would bring to the learner’s qualification.’ Key messages and lessons learned A major difficulty was training staff to use the PDAs and building in the related pedagogy to support the teaching and learning process. A related issue was the learners’ perception that the devices were ‘mobile phones’ for accessing college email and the internet, and not sophisticated devices for file transfer of Word documents, movie clips, Powerpoint presentations and Excel documents. To a large extent these issues were addressed during staff development sessions. However, teaching staff and WBL assessors sometimes found it difficult to ‘sell’ the use of the PDAs to their apprentices as they could not see the advantage of having ‘another phone’. In hindsight it might have been better to establish the methodology of storage and file transfer before undertaking training on the use of the PDAs. It might also have helped to have a range of practical examples demonstrating evidence-gathering methods. They would recommend organisations undertaking similar projects to have systems in place before introducing devices to teaching staff.


Evidence collection and assessment

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Next steps Boston College upgraded the software to Windows 6.1 on all the PDAs used in the project and re-allocated them in September 2009. A major challenge for staff and learners to build on current achievements will be to try to provide learners with access to resources on the Virtual Campus from their workplace locations. The college is looking at the possibility of providing learners with UMPCs with internet access from their work locations. This may be achieved through a combination of W3G access or small wireless network provision in selected work-based organisations. The college has learners undertaking courses in work-based locations from the Isle of Wight in the south to Alnwick in the north. Mobile and flexible technologies provide an excellent way to support these learners and to help raise quality and consistency of delivery throughout partner organisations.

PSPs in laundry NVQ delivery Bridgwater College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Bridgwater College had been working with laundries for over two years to deliver NVQ Level 2 training and assessment. Aim The aim was to develop the use of the Sony PSP to provide access to learning for workers who may have missed training sessions through illness or holidays. It was considered as a tool for gathering video assessment evidence and for training. It was hoped that using a combination of PowerPoint presentations, video, questionnaires and audio on the PSP in the training package would be an improvement on the existing combination of workbook and PowerPoint presentation, which could be rather repetitive and uninspiring. Groups of learners in the laundries typically consisted of 6 to 12 people. It is not a particularly well-paid sector and much of the work is repetitive. Despite being vocationally able, many of the candidates had below-average levels of qualification. The approach to introducing a learning environment had to be careful and supportive. The teaching staff originally greeted the project with some doubt and scepticism. There were concerns that candidates might feel threatened by having to use the technical devices, that they might be stolen and, in the absence of a trainer/assessor, that they might not be fully utilised. There was also concern about the quality of video captured, and also its use at all in an environment where commercially sensitive information could be divulged accidentally. Addressing the challenge Sony PSPs were given to learners at Regency Laundry in Bath and Sunlight Laundry in Newton Abbott, who were briefed to film or record themselves undertaking tasks similar to those they had performed for their NVQ assessments. They were also asked if they would try to film some footage that might be shown to candidates in other laundries to help them with their NVQs. The brief was not too prescriptive but allowed the candidates relative freedom to adopt their own ideas, with a review of progress expected two weeks after the devices were distributed.


52

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Outcomes and benefits A film of laundry drying, packing and sorting operations was shot, including a recording of a description of the process, technical points and safety aspects of tumble drying. The candidates became comfortable with and willing to use the PSP after the initial successes. The first efforts provided a powerful introduction to capturing valuable learning material – being able to watch other learners in other laundries. There were also instantly great unforeseen benefits to the learners in increase of confidence and self-belief.

Learners’ reactions They enjoyed using the PSP. They were keen to continue and if necessary conduct the project in their own time. One learner commented: This will be useful for teaching people who don’t speak much English. Teachers’ reactions It’s certainly opened my eyes. The picture quality is fantastic. This could be really useful. I was amazed at how motivated the learners were to use it!

Manager’s reactions The employer’s manager initially found it difficult to appreciate the potential learning benefits of the devices. He seemed to be unhappy that staff were ‘wasting time’ playing with ‘toys’ instead of working or obviously studying. More discussion and awareness raising for managers or supervisors prior to deployment of the PSPs should help to avoid this problem for future groups of learners. Assessors’ reactions Assessors were cautiously optimistic. Using this type of evidence for assessment needs to be carefully managed to maintain good-quality assessment and facilitate internal/external verification. Initial use for small, well-identified sections of qualificationswas recommended as well as use alongside other forms of evidence of competence.


Evidence collection and assessment

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Key messages and lessons learned ●

Employer managers and supervisors should be briefed about the use of the PSP, including showing them examples of how the technology is used to aid learning.

The use of the PSP should be well tracked to avoid the learner losing interest.

Make sure the learner has sufficient time, support and resources to use the device successfully.

Select a pilot group carefully, targeting a potentially receptive initial individual or group to generate enthusiasm. Next steps The college will work with the learners on building a greater library of material to allow the development of new, more effective and fun-to-use interactive teaching media. A pilot unit will then be selected for delivery using the PSP.

Plumbing with PSPs Bridgwater College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction At Bridgwater College this case study was one component of a number of different projects, which used a variety of mobile devices including iPhones, PSPs, Nintendo DSs and mobile phones. The projects were carried out across a range of curriculum areas that included Entry level, Levels 1 and 2 for Train to Gain, NVQ and Level 3 A-level learners. The 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. The different groups also allowed Bridgwater to investigate the effect of mobile technologies on progression, success and retention.

Aims The aim of the project was to engage Levels 1 and 2 NVQ plumbing learners, and enable them to capture evidence of skills and review sessions outside formal timetabled classes. The use of the PSPs would enable learners to video and photograph skill completion for inclusion in their portfolios.


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Addressing the challenge Learners were issued with a PSP that was pre-loaded with learning materials, including PowerPoints and instructional videos. The challenge for learners was to access the materials and then produce a video of themselves carrying out a specific skill, such as soldering a pipe joint. This could then be transferred to their online portfolio using the PSP wireless connection and used as evidence to meet specific learning criteria. Outcomes and reactions

The outcomes of the project were varied, but generally the findings were positive. On the whole the learners fully engaged in the capture of specific learning outcomes and produced materials that were suitable for inclusion in their portfolios. They were able to produce video evidence with more ease than before, when they had completed the demonstration under observation and then written and explained what they had done and why. The use of video removed the pressure of being observed and allowed them to explain verbally what they had done and why. This also produced a better standard of work. There were some unexpected outcomes, with learners using the PSP wireless connectivity to find and download extra resources including videos and instructional materials. This demonstrated that learners were receptive to the use of PSPs as learning tools. Learners’ reactions Learners’ reaction to the PSPs 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 pre-loaded resources the idea became quite exciting. Very little instruction on how to use the device was needed as most had used one previously (or could work with someone who had). The PSP engaged learners who had previously been ‘at risk’ of withdrawing and resulted in a total turnaround in performance, an experience which was shared across the group. Teachers’ reactions The staff involved were keen to investigate the use of PSPs and mobile devices. They were not convinced that there would be any positive result but nor did they think there would be any negative outcome. They were delighted with the actual response and the greater level of learner engagement. An added benefit for staff was that the resources the learners produced could be used with future groups of learners.


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Manager’s reaction Fiona McMillan, Principal of Bridgwater College, approved by stating: ‘Mobile learning ... is something that we at Bridgwater College fully embrace and will continue to pioneer.’ Lessons learned Any learning resources that are re-purposed to work on mobile devices must be a suitable design to stand alone (i.e. make sense with no additional input) and have text and pictures that can be seen on the small screens. Also, any video must have a clear learning outcome, as 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 was a key part of the annual teaching and learning conference at Bridgwater College in September. Several small projects were carried out based on the equipment from MoLeNET designed to further the project’s aims for and experiences of mobile learning. Involvement in MoLeNET has influenced a new approach to ILT within Bridgwater College, the creation of a new breed of ILT champions, a VLE developer and a much clearer idea of the benefits of ILT for teaching and learning.

Heating and ventilating mobile learning Leeds College of Building, academic year 2008/09

Introduction The MoLeNET mBuild project had two partners: Leeds College of Building, a specialist provider of FE construction courses, and Joseph Priestley College, a general education provider. The project was to provide Level 2 NVQ heating and ventilating engineers (block- release learners) with mobile learning so that they could collect evidence of their assessment requirements in the workplace and carry out the learning of their trade at a suitable time and place when they were not due to attend college. The mobile devices chosen to suit the needs of this cohort of learners were netbooks. They were required to hold learning resources for the learners to access in their workplace at home, to help learners carry out set tasks, and to allow them to collect evidence towards their portfolio.


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Aims The project aimed to enable learners to carry out their own research, create their assessment tasks and work-based evidence collection electronically using mobile devices. It also aimed to capture tutors’ experiences of the use of mobile devices for teaching and learning, including their impact on learners’ and their own engagement. Addressing the challenge One early challenge was creating the netbook image and preparing the mobile devices for use by the learners and tutors; installing software and resources to allow wireless access to enable learners to write their assignments. While the imaging of the devices was taking place, the learning resources were collated along with practice questions for revision for future on-line real tests. The resources were structured in a webpage to allow quick access via the web browsers. The netbook was pre-loaded with the resources to allow learners to carry out tasks set by their tutor, practise their course revision tests at work or home, and improve their knowledge and understanding before taking the actual tests online. Outcomes and reactions Staff gained valuable experience from capturing remote learning outside the classroom by being able to record learners’ achievement directly to their netbook. Learners have been able to retrieve their learning resources and produce their coursework anywhere, at any time. The learners were able to do research on the internet in their own home, without having to share the family computer. They could download images taken at work from their mobile phone onto the netbook using Bluetooth for inclusion in their portfolio evidence documents, and could use the pre-loaded resources for learning to carry out the tasks set by their tutor to prepare their assessment documents for bringing back into college. Learners’ reactions The learner cohort of this group was from around the country (London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Newcastle) and they were pleased to receive the device with their learning content installed and wireless internet access ready: The netbook has helped me to record my evidence from site and carry out my homework, I do not have to carry paper documents with me and re-type them in. I found it small, lightweight, easy to carry around, with fast access to software that I can take anywhere and do my work; even on the train. Teachers’ reaction The use of netbooks in class allowed direct access to the internet for research (product/suppliers data sheets, etc.), for writing up research requirements, and for collecting evidence on site. I was able to set up a simple e-portfolio for each learner with direct hyperlinks to electronically collected images, audio recordings (taken on site by a microphone linked directly to the USB port on the netbook), assessment evidence and assignments for each learner using a Word document. The reduction in the collection of paper-based evidence has now reduced the need for printing out copies and helping to save on paper and printing costs.


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Managers’ reactions Senior managers have been very supportive of the MoLeNET project: This has been a big plus in helping us to move forward with the improvement of mobility for candidates accessing work-based e-learning. We have flexible delivery in respect of everything the learner needs to study and evidence built into the mobile device. The flexibility offers work-based collection of evidence, revision and phase tests with a home revision pack. We hope this will ultimately integrate into our e-portfolio requirements. The sustainability for continuing to use the netbook is that the learners have their own mobile phone to collect pictures of their work then they can use Bluetooth to copy them into their netbook, thereby no connectivity costs to college. Assessors’ reactions Assessment in the workplace was made easier by collecting pictures of the learners’ activities using the camera built into the netbook. Audio recording for evidence discussions was collected using a mobile plug-in USB microphone/ recorder direct to the netbook. I could download the evidence I collected onsite, and via wireless access in college load evidence direct to my own network account and record all the evidence collected electronically. WBL providers’ reactions Work on the learners’ portfolio is completed in a more timely manner and enables all learners access to a mobile device away from college. I feel it increases the learners’ ownership of their work and particularly their portfolio. Some learners told me how the netbook aided them during revision periods. Key messages and lessons learned It is important to monitor what learners are downloading and what is appropriate, because of the possibility of finding a virus. Letting users use their own phone to collect image evidence and then downloading these to the netbook will be the way forward in the future, saving the college connectivity charges and helping to make the netbooks sustainable. Next steps This cohort of learners will continue to use the mobile devices with a full year’s learning resources available on their netbook. This will allow more complete comparison of the learners’ results against learners without access to mobile devices.

Work-based mobile learning for wood machining Leeds College of Building, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The project provided Level 2 NVQ wood-machining work-based learners in London, Jarrow and Berwick on Tweed with opportunities to collect evidence of their assessment requirements in the workplace and to carry out the learning of their trade at a time and place suitable to the individual using mobile devices. The devices chosen to suit the needs of this cohort of learners were netbooks, which could hold their complete learning resources.


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Aims The aim was for the learners to study independently at a time and place to suit their learning needs, create their assessment tasks and collect work-based evidence electronically using mobile devices. Tutors’ experiences of the use of mobile devices for collecting learner work-based evidence, including their impact on learners’ engagement and their own engagement, were recorded. Addressing the challenge One challenge was creating the netbook image and preparing the mobile devices for use by the learners and tutors. The design of the complete course consisting of learning knowledge, including videos and activity tasks, plus Microsoft Office to allow the learners to write up their assessment tasks, was time consuming. While the imaging was taking place, the learning resources, activities and videos required for watching how to operate each wood machine saftely were being collated along with practice questions for each unit of learning. A webpage was designed to link to each unit resources to allow the learners quick and easy access to each course unit learning content via Internet Explorer. Each netbook was pre-loaded with the complete course content so that learners could progress through each unit at their own pace. Outcomes and reactions The learners were able to capture pictures of themselves using the different machines at work from the camera built into the netbook for inclusion in their portfolio evidence documents, and were able to use the pre-loaded resources for learning in order to carry out the tasks set by their tutor, followed by writing up their evidence portfolio documents ready for marking when the tutor next visited the company. Staff gained valuable experience from capturing remote learning in the work place by being able to record learners’ achievement directly to their netbook. Learners’ reaction The learners were very surprised to receive the device with their full learning content installed including videos to watch in their own time. The netbook is very convenient, I can carry it around, record my evidence at work and do some of my learning at lunchtime or in my spare time. They found they improved their IT skills. I have used it to take pictures of new work and I have been able to add them to word-processed tasks to demonstrate my learning at work. I can now copy and paste content into e-documents for my tutor to mark. The screen size is not helpful when you need to reference more than one document/video on the screen, but on the positive side you can take it anywhere to study with its long battery life. Teachers’ reactions I am able to record e-assessment evidence immediately in the workplace for each learner in a tracking document and capture actual photographic evidence in realtime. From September 2009 work-based learners were given a college e-mail account using live@edu to allow them to send in work and to help resolve any learning or practical task problems with their tutor.


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Managers’ reactions Senior managers have been surprised at the benefits learners are gaining from the MoLeNET project. This has allowed work-based learning requests to be accessed from a handheld device by employees, allowing the learner immediate access to learning in the work place. With providing all the NVQ course unit content on the mobile device it has offered flexible learning anywhere, including the collection of work-based evidence, access to videos on the correct use of machines and up-to-date information via health and safety leaflets provided by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). We see this as a pilot for future learning in the workplace. Assessors’ reactions Assessment in the workplace was made easier by collecting pictures of the learners’ activities using the camera built into the netbook and immediately writing up the visit assessment while discussing progress with the learner. WBL providers’ reactions Using netbooks with learner course resources installed has allowed each learner to progress with their learning at their own pace, collecting own evidence of skills experience and are keeping their own electronic record of their progress. Key messages and lessons learned Do not underestimate the time and staff needed from ordering the mobile devices to having them course-ready for distribution to the learner. This project is made sustainable by ensuring that the knowledge the learner requires is embedded into the mobile device, so that it can be used anywhere at any time, while on the move and with open internet connection, thereby avoiding paying a service provider for 24/7communications. Next steps This cohort of learners will continue to use the mobile devices until they complete their NVQs. This will offer continuity of learning and with the e-mail accounts mean they will be able to send in work-based evidence for assessment by their tutor. The tutor will be able to track the learners’ progress from a distance and keep more in contact to help or advise as required and chase evidence collection. Links Video distributed to learners describing the use of a block plane http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=LZHGW Video distributed to learners introducing cutting tools http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=M2Y23


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PDAs for portfolios Lewisham College, academic year 2007/08 Introduction At Lewisham College, tutors and learners in the construction department had difficulty gathering NVQ portfolio evidence from learners in the workplace. Learners often used disposable cameras and only discovering that the quality of photographs taken was too poor to be presented as portfolio evidence once they had had the film developed, by which time it was too late to retake them. The pictures taken also were often not appropriate as portfolio evidence because the learner did not include safety equipment. PDAs offered an opportunity to provide learners with a device that would not only enable them to take better quality pictures but also to offer learning opportunities while away from the classroom.

Aims The college wanted to improve the range of portfolio evidence with high-quality digital video and images at the same time as providing access to underpinning knowledge that learners could refer to in the workplace. Addressing the challenge Learners in the areas of plumbing, carpentry and painting and decorating were issued with an HTC Touch PDA. These Windows- based mobile devices contained learning resources covering the basic health and safety considerations this group of learners are required to know and consisting of bitesize episodes of learning with the opportunity to check their knowledge at the end. The college’s eLearning team created learning resources using Microsoft Photo Story and PowerPoint, which enabled the learners to recap on their learning while in the workplace. Learners were provided with a guide to workplace evidencegathering put onto the PDA for the learners to refer to in the workplace. Outcomes and reactions The quality of photographic evidence presented in learners’ portfolios improved, and so did the ease with which they were able to store and print their pictures. The single most successful unintended, but welcome, outcome was the use of Bluetooth in the classroom. Tutors were shown how to create their own resources using Photo Story and Movie Maker; once converted to a suitable format these can be sent via Bluetooth, not only to the PDAs but also to learners’ own devices. A realisation that not only can PDAs be used, but so can learners’ own devices led to a culture shift in the classroom, whereby mobile devices, once required to be switched off at the classroom door, were being seen as a part of the learner experience.


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Learners’ reactions Learners enjoyed having the PDAs with them in the workplace, especially as the majority of them put their own SIM cards in so they no longer needed to carry more than one device. They felt it was beneficial to have access to learning material as a reminder of what they had learnt in the classroom as ‘it brought back things you learnt previously’.

Teachers’ reactions Teaching staff reacted favourably to the use of the devices, after initial scepticism about their use. They felt that providing learners with learning resources they could access outside the classroom contributed to their success on the course. One tutor observed: Having a resource that the learners could refer to in the workplace allowed them to review techniques they had seen in the classroom as they couldn’t always remember the correct sequence to follow.’ Managers’ reactions Managers at the college embraced the technology, from the principal down to junior managers. Dame Ruth Silver, Principal of Lewisham College, commented: We had worked very hard on the new demand-led agenda and we were encountering difficulties in getting in touch with students, getting information to students and getting students to bring back evidence for assessment. The benefits are terrific…I want more of it. Assessors’ reactions Assessors have been pleased with the improvement with the standard of portfolio evidence produced. They all agreed that the learners had benefited from having guidance regarding the evidence to be submitted to hand when they were in the workplace, as it ensured that the pictures they took for their portfolios were relevant. One plumbing assessor commented: The quality and quantity of the pictures produced is far better and now they can choose the best one from a selection of pictures of the same scenario. Key messages and lessons learned Any software used needs to work on the college network. The software necessary to transfer data between the PDA and the PC may not run on a college network. This can be overcome by providing storage card adaptors, enabling the learners and tutors to work with the devices on college PCs. Next steps It is not always necessary to provide mobile devices for learners as they can often use their own. To build on what has already been achieved, tutors are being encouraged to think about where they can create their own resources and Bluetooth them to their learners.


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A guide was produced full of tips and information about getting the best out of the PDA when recording videos and taking still pictures. Engineering tutors produced revision resources containing symbols used in engineering (using images input into Photo Story) for use on learners’ own mobile phones; the PDAs proved to be a very effective way of beaming a single file to a large group of learners. The tutors also encouraged learners to create their own resources, by using the PDAs’ voice-recording feature to record their own revision guides and then share them with their peers (using Bluetooth) for use outside the classroom. Links A Photostory resource created to remind carpentry students of the steps they need to follow when hanging a door (with narration) http://www.moleshare.org.uk/resources.asp?ExRef=E&d=1&ID=46

E-portfolio and apprenticeships Ludlow College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The project in this case study considered whether e-technologies could improve assessment and achievement and retention for apprenticeships. The courses were delivered wholly in the workplace using a web-based portfolio, with netbooks provided to support learners that did not have access to the internet at work and/or home. Aims The aim was to see whether delivering learning opportunities and assessment to 25 apprentices via the internet improved achievement and retention against national benchmarks. The provision of netbooks enabled all learners to access their e-portfolios, ensuring equality of opportunity. Addressing the challenge Traditionally the learners taking part in these courses travelled to college for knowledge sessions for their technical certificate, NVQs and Key Skills. It was decided to see whether delivering the whole course in the workplace would aid retention in this very rural area where travel is a barrier to learning (from September 2009 this was extended further, using web cams to deliver Key Skills to learners in the workplace to save travel for the Key Skills tutor). All candidates had their apprenticeship portfolios stored on a web-based portfolio system. They were encouraged to use the portfolio to upload their own work and communicate with their assessor/tutor. Reactions Learners’ reactions The learners responded very positively and were keen to use the e-portfolio further: The use of the e-portfolio and the loan of the web-book made my apprenticeship easier to manage alongside work.


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Managers’ reactions The transition from our old standalone e-portfolio to the web-based one was slow and met with some staff resistance. We have been able to use web-books for learners to support this transition and this in turn has helped the staff. One of their concerns was with learners who wish to access their portfolios but who do not have the correct IT equipment to be able to do so at home or at work. The purchase of Flip video cameras has been excellent for the recording of workbased observations – up until now we recorded on digital cameras and this has allowed increased time and ease of use. Retention to date has been over the national benchmark but as this is a two-year programme this will have to be evaluated at the end. Assessors’ reactions At first I did not like the change from the stand-alone e-portfolio to the webbased one, but now I love it… it is robust and follows the NVQ process in a way that improves quality assurance. I am able to communicate with my learners via the portfolio, which is a great improvement. In this way I can offer improved learner support. It also increases their motivation and involvement with their own qualification. Key messages and lessons learned In this example, the project would have benefited from equipping devices with Skype, so that assessors could provide learners with interactive tutorials remotely. It is important to involve the staff members who will be delivering the learning in the procurement process to ensure that the devices are appropriate to the needs of both the teacher and the learner. Next steps It has always been the aim to use mobile technologies in the assessment of NVQs and now apprenticeships. The project team will continue to move this forward and endeavour to keep up to date with changing technologies as they evolve.

Active Citizenship – employment and employability teaching and learning snapshot Northampton College (Moulton Consortium), academic year 2008/09 Mixed-ability Entry to Employment (E2E) learners working on an active citizenship programme used mobile phones to support their learning experience. Learners were required to work in pairs using mobile phones to take photographs of their local community and produce a poster. They were given the devices and were tasked to go around Daventry taking photographs of places/attractions in their local area, then download the images and use 12 of the pictures for a poster to promote Daventry. The use of mobile phone technology rather than digital cameras allowed all the learners to take part and feel they had contributed to the overall poster. Most of them enjoyed the session, scoring it 9 or 10 out of 10, and produced professional


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posters promoting their local area. Furthermore, the learners demonstrated improvements in engagement, behaviour, teamwork, confidence, and selfesteem as well as ICT skills. The phones were easy to use and individual learner contributions were easy to monitor. Teaching staff also enjoyed the opportunity to teach outside the confinements of the classroom and the mobile phones have now been integrated into session 5 of the active citizenship module. Links A sports society quiz developed by staff for use with the Senteo voting system http://www.moleshare.org.uk/resources.asp?ExRef=E&d=1&ID=213

Electrical engineering apprentices St Helens College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction St Helens College is a large FE provider in the north west of England. As part of the advanced apprenticeship framework all learners are required to complete five Key Skills units at Level 2 –three core units and two wider units. The learners are required to gather portfolio evidence as part of the project. During the group discussions use of mobile devices (Sony PSPs) for the wider Key Skills was suggested. The learner cohort consisted of 10 electrical engineering apprentices aged 16–18 who are linked to local employers.

Aims It was hoped that learners would be able to use the Sony PSPs to record their outdoor activities as a video diary. This in turn would be used to evaluate their performance in the problem-solving activities. The evidence and the images collected could then be submitted as part of their Key Skills Level 2 portfolio.

Outcomes and reactions The project enabled learners to easily capture all the relevant evidence in a user-friendly manner. Learners responded positively to the new mobile aspect of teaching and learning, and enjoyed being trusted to look after the equipment.


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They demonstrated a very enthusiastic approach, made good use of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training software and enjoyed using it. Learners’ reactions Learners reacted very favourably to the devices. They needed minimal training, and were soon hooked up to the wireless network, researching information in class. They created Skype accounts and used them to contact one another. They quickly realised that the devices could convey information as well as record it, and they began to drive the agenda by asking if tutors could put lesson content directly onto the PSPs.

Teachers’ reactions Apprehension before the project quickly dissipated once the Sony PSPs were issued, and staff could see the benefit to learner engagement. The use of this mobile technology enhanced the learning experience, and I was encouraged by the amount of enquiries about the project from other work-based learning groups. Managers’ reactions The project enjoyed firm backing from senior management, and had teachers enthusiastic enough to appreciate this approach. One manager commented: What a great use of technology, helping students to engage more with their learning. Assessors’ reactions The evidence gathered was of an excellent standard and demonstrated a more creative method of producing portfolio assessment material.

WBL providers’ reactions At the start of the project, providers were not sure about allowing the use of Sony PSPs, but eventually agreed when they realised the benefits. Positive learner feedback was given during apprenticeship progress reviews.


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Key messages and lessons learned The learners showed great enthusiasm for the devices and took good care of them. They gave the learners independence in their learning, allowing them to work at their own pace and personalise their learning experience. Next steps In the future, the college plans to provide wiring diagrams for learners to refer to in the workplace, and Flash-based animations to provide learners with short informal assessment opportunities. This will be used to gather evidence in a user-friendly way for their Electrical Engineering NVQ Level 3. Further CPD opportunities will also be organised to enhance the staff knowledge base relating to the use of mobile devices. Links Video of engineering students feeding back their impressions of using mobile devices – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=D5MJL

Mobile sports science Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The sports science course team decided to embed mobile learning (netbooks, Busbi cameras and mobile phones) in the First Diploma and sports science programme.

Aims The aim was to support teaching and learning in sports science using the learners’ own mobile phones. Addressing the challenge The learners were asked to develop the nutritional requirements for a 2.5 day extreme expedition. Day one was a six-hour mountain hike and day two was six hours of canoeing followed by a five-hour night walk. Diet plays an important part in maximising performance, as does weight data before and after exercise. The learners developed their understanding of the theory of nutritional requirements for an extreme endurance event in the classroom before heading to Tesco to analyse the calorie and nutritional content of the different foods. This knowledge was then used to develop the group and individual diet plans for the expedition.


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Technology was used to facilitate learning whenever practically possible. Learners used their mobile phones to voice-record their reflections when they visited Tesco and to create a photographic food diary for two weeks. They were later able to analyse their data back in the classroom. To confirm their understanding learners were also interviewed at the diet- planning stage, and recorded this using the video recorder. The unit assessment included a presentation of their learning experience, which required careful planning with learners using video recordings to reflect on their presentations in the practice stage. Presentations were supplemented with the multimedia evidence collected during the unit.

Outcomes and reactions Learners were able to carry out their assignment requirements without having to take notebooks, pens, etc. out and about and they were fully engaged in the tasks. This was reflected in the quality of work produced. The presentations were a success and the use of technology helped many of the learners further develop their communications skills by working in groups to analyse their presentations and then try to improve them. Teachers’ reactions From a staff perspective: It was great to execute, and wonderful to see how much the learners had learned whilst at the college From an academic, personal and confidence perspective: It was rewarding to watch the presentations and measure the distance learners had travelled whilst at the college. Most of the tutors agreed that mobile phones were an excellent resource because most learners have access to this technology.


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Lesson learned Most learners quickly became used to the technology, but a few did not like seeing themselves on camera or video; they were given the opportunity to build their confidence further before being videoed. The timing of the introduction of mobile learning was an important factor in the success of this part of the project. Tutors reported that had the project began earlier on in the year, it might have failed due to a lack of group confidence. At the start of the course the learners are developing group trust and would therefore find it difficult to become fully involved with the technology. Tutors referred to Tuckman’s model (Forming/Storming/Norming/Performing) and how this can influence the timing of using multimedia to record individual and group learning and promote self and peer assessment.


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Introduction Many learners studying vocational courses were also required to gain Key Skills qualifications alongside their main course of study. Key Skills qualifications1 include Application of Number; Communication; and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plus wider Key Skills in Improving Own Learning and Performance; Problem Solving; and Working with Others. Other learners were also working on Skills for Life courses towards basic skills qualifications in adult numeracy; adult literacy; ICT; or English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). These extra qualifications not only help to equip the learner for life but also to improve their employment prospects. For example, at Bridgwater College Level 1 motor vehicle learners undertake Application of Number Key Skills as well as the main qualification to support crucial understanding in their subject area and to make them more employable. Some learners involved in MoLeNET were also enrolled on courses designed to improve their employability skills and prospects. Information and case studies relating to these learners are included in this section. Challenges faced by teachers and learners MoLeNET projects reported that many learners struggled to engage with Key Skills or Skills for Life courses, finding them challenging and/or boring. This happened for two main reasons. Firstly, traditionally these courses were classroom-based and did not tie into the vocational courses particularly well. Learners who were used to working in practical environments such as salons and workshops found it difficult to engage with the style of teaching and to see those extra qualifications as relevant. Secondly, Key Skills courses often relied on reporting evidence of progress through written work. For learners whose skills lie in practical areas this can be a real barrier to demonstrating their achievements. Addressing the challenges MoLeNET projects explored ways to use mobile technologies to overcome the issues raised above with an aim to engage learners in their Key Skills and Skills for Life sessions; make them relevant to their vocational courses; encourage higher levels of attendance; enable learners to evidence their skills more effectively; and ultimately raise levels of achievement. Below is a summary of some of the mobile teaching and learning activities teaching staff used with their learners as part of MoLeNET. For more detailed examples of good practice see the case studies in the next section.

1

At time of writing Key Skills qualifications were due to be replaced by Functional Skills qualifications in English, maths and ICT in future years.


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Improving relevance

Learners used mobile technologies outside the classroom to record evidence of Key Skills and Skills for Life activities naturally occurring in their vocational course setting.

Improving engagement

Learners used Nintendo DS Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games to develop numeracy and literacy skills in a fun and engaging way.

Improving access to resources Learners accessed online resources in locations where previously this would and demonstrating skills not have been possible. New interactive ways to build

Learners worked on video evidence together to create a finished project, thus building and demonstrating team-working and communication skills.

Overcoming literacy barriers

Learners with literacy development needs used video evidence to demonstrate understanding of a topic.

Improving flexibility

Land-based learners used specialist mobile devices to record data out in the field rather than having to return to a classroom.

Incorporating Key Skills into sessions

Teachers were able to incorporate technology into sessions so that learners improved their ICT skills without realising.

Main findings The following points highlight key findings from the MoLeNET 2 action research findings and the case studies illustrating examples of good practice. It is clear that in most cases mobile technologies really helped to support learners with their Key Skills and Skills for Life courses. Many projects reported that they planned to continue incorporating mobile teaching and learning into Key Skills and Skills for Life sessions because of the benefits they brought. There was a greater value-added learner experience using mobile learning in teaching and learning that needs to be sustained in the future. Practitioner Researcher, Trafford College

I believe that m-learning has a strong place in the future of Walsall College. I am confident that as we embed m-learning further into the departments we work with that this good practice will spread across other vocational areas in the college. Practitioner Researcher, Walsall College

The Skills for Life section in particular, made massive contributions to the MoLeNET project and have changed some of their curriculum delivery for 09/10 to incorporate new ways of delivering subjects with the use of the DS Lites and the Nintendo Wii. They have already made a request to book the DS Lites out every week for the whole of the next academic year. The same request has been made in the Creative Services Industries for Key Skills. Practitioner Researcher, Bolton Consortium

Mobile technologies made learning Key skills and Skills for Life more relevant for learners. Learners were able to access learning materials more flexibly, when and where they wanted to. In some cases the technologies enabled Key Skills and Skills for Life to be incorporated into the learners’ main vocational course and learners enjoyed using devices that they saw as relevant to their lives outside college. Integration of all Key Skills into the practical elements of the course allows for the students to engage with the relevance of the Key Skills topic areas rather than as isolated issues that can prove difficult to link to the world of work. Practitioner Researcher, Gloucestershire College


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Learners were able to use mobile learning at other locations outside of college – a local sports centre, Tesco, shopping precinct, bowling alley, community activities, residential trips. Practitioner Researcher, Stoke-on-Trent College

Where there was wider use of the device it seemed to engender a competitive spirit between families and peers and noticeably, where there was competition, this led to a significant reduction in ‘brain age’, not only with the Molenet participants but with their peers. This was a particular positive outcome of the project, as the use of one device indirectly supported a much wider cohort of people. Practitioner Researcher, Bolton Consortium

MoLeNET projects experienced improvements in learner engagement with Key Skills and Skills for Life across the board. The innovative use of mobile technologies helped make sessions interactive and enjoyable and encouraged the learners to take control of their learning. Learners were reported to concentrate more on their work and be keen to complete tasks on time, which also meant that behaviour improved and learners were working both independently and collaboratively or competitively in a focused and productive manner. Using the software such as the Maths Training and Spellbound provided a userfriendly option for students to improve their numeracy and literacy skills. The development of such skills has previously been perceived as very challenging and ‘boring’ by the students, and the introduction of the games undoubtedly removed those perceived barriers. The innovative use of such gaming devices has made the students more relaxed about the learning process, and this positively affected their behaviour in the classroom. Practitioner Researcher, Ashton Sixth Form College

Internal MIS [management information systems] show that attendance on these programmes has improved by 3% on the previous year and sits above the college average. Tutors also reported the reduction in the need for issuing late cards for learners (an internal system used to try and motivate learners and improve punctuality). Practitioner Researcher, Walsall Consortium

The use of mobile learning significantly motivated and empowered learners in both literacy and maths. It provided access to a different type of learning, allowing learners to focus on their own individual needs and also compete against themselves in order to gain a higher score or a faster response time. Practitioner Researcher, Stoke-on-Trent College

We tried out the maths games. I have never known them to be so quiet! They all had their heads down in concentration. Practitioner Researcher, Ashton Sixth Form College

Mobile devices have played a powerful role in affecting the settings of learning. The blurring of boundaries between formal teaching and ‘playing’ with spinoff benefits in learning are obvious to all who have worked with learners. The ‘sneaking in’ of maths skills – scoring game, working out league tables, averages, et al. – has been effective and well received. Practitioner Researcher, Stoke-on-Trent College


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Learners from vocational subjects like plastering, plumbing, joinery, etc. don’t really like attending the Key Skills sessions, but this has changed with the use of technologies because they are now able to use their hands and work in groups. There is now a positive buzz in the classroom. Tutor, Manchester College

There was a marked improvement in behaviour and concentration when the students used the DS Lites. Sessions can be a real challenge to both students and tutor if there are long periods of learning with one tutor, however stimulating. The students’ first thing seemed to having a lasting effect on the rest of the day. They were more alert, engaged in the tasks given to them and quite competitive about improving their abilities. The lessons passed quickly with a good amount of work produced and disruption levels were improved greatly. Teacher, Northampton College

Projects explained that mobile technologies also supported assessment of Key Skills and Skills for Life. The Nintendo DS proved to be useful for tracking progress not only by the tutor but also the learner themselves. This encouraged learners to strive to achieve as they could see themselves improving. Learners were also able to use the camera function on some devices to record evidence of their Key Skills, rather than being required to record it in writing. This made the process a lot easier for learners and therefore more enjoyable and efficient. Learners were able to take more responsibility for their learning and assessment. Practitioner Researcher, Stoke-on-Trent

As Key Skills evidence opportunities are available to be captured during all sessions, mobile devices gave the opportunity to capture the moment and were seen as useful in areas of problem solving and working with others. Practitioner Researcher, Gloucestershire College

External verifiers loved to see photographic video evidence. Practitioner Researcher, Moulton Consortium

Some projects reported improvements in learner achievement as a result of more effective learning opportunities with the introduction of mobile devices. We have been using the Nintendo DS devices in class to support with literacy and numeracy… Our L1 learners demonstrated marked improvements in their engagement in class activities and improved literacy and numeracy results in external tests to a 100% pass rate and 100% high grades. Previously the retention and success rates were at 94%, and so this represents a 6% increase. Practitioner Researcher, Ashton Sixth Form College

Last year’s cohort did not achieve particularly well in Key Skills, nor engage well with the Enrichment process. This was one of the reasons for using the crosscurricular approach to the intervention. 36% of learners achieved Key Skills last year. To date over 60% of learners have achieved, and this is expected to increase to 70%. Practitioner Researcher, St Helens College


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A few projects also mentioned improvements in learner progression or opportunities for progression as a consequence of mobile learning. For the Level 1 cohort of 08/09, 94% of the students indicate that they are progressing to Level 2 studies. The remaining 6% indicated plans to immediately enter employment. This represents a significant increase of 20% from the previous academic year of 07/08, in which 74% of the Level 1 learners progressed onto a Level 2 programme of study. Practitioner Researcher, Ashton Sixth Form College

All staff report that the improvements in sessions brought about by mobile devices have been strong and broad in implications. Their learners have improved attendance, improved their Key Skills scores (and their sporting abilities in some instances!) and have had a positive, reinforcing experience as learners. This is seen to have a strong positive effect on future plans of learners. Practitioner Researcher, Stoke-on-Trent College

Key messages The following key messages regarding the benefits of incorporating mobile technologies into Key Skills and Skills for Life teaching and learning practices can be drawn from the MoLeNET 2 action research findings and case studies of good practice. When used to support learners studying Key Skills or Skills for Life qualifications in addition to their main vocational course, mobile technologies can improve: ●

Engagement with learning: learners enjoy the interactive activities and are more focused and eager to complete the work on time and to a high standard. Where the learning content has been integrated into their main course or ‘disguised’ as play, learners are able to work on their skills without perceiving this as Key Skills/Skills for Life activity.

Learner retention: when learning is more enjoyable learner attendance improves and there is less drop-out from courses.

Learner achievement: learners are able to use different tools to support their learning in new ways, which coupled with improved engagement, attendance and retention, can lead to a greater achievement.

Learner confidence and self-esteem: learners who found Key Skills and Skills for Life courses challenging now find that they are able to progress and to see evidence of this, which boosts their confidence and can improve self-esteem. Self-esteem is also enhanced where learners find that their skills in using mobile technologies are valuable, especially where they are able to assist in supporting other less technically literate learners and tutors.

Learner behaviour: behavioural issues are reduced and social skills improved as learners enjoy their sessions, work together or in friendly competition, find the tasks easier to understand and provide evidence for and so are less frustrated.

Access to learning resources: mobile devices and wireless technologies provide access to electronic and online learning resources for learners who normally are unable to access this kind of material when they most need it due to lack of IT facilities in workplaces or workshops. Learners can also access resources in other locations, e.g. at home, in coffee shops or on public transport.


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Key recommendations â—?

When using the Nintendo DS ensure the software chosen is the most appropriate choice for the learning objectives.

â—?

Some games on the DS rely on handwriting or speech recognition. Bear in mind that for learners with poor handwriting skills or speech impediments, or indeed ESOL learners who may have very strong accents, it can become very frustrating if the DS does not recognise their answers.

â—?

Try to use the mobile devices to integrate Key Skills components into the main course sessions.


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Key Skills and Skills for Life case studies index The following table provides an overview of the case studies in this section, indicating the focus, curriculum area and technologies used in each case.

Voting system

l

UMPC/Netbook

l

Sony PSP

l

Smartphone

l

PDA

l

Nintendo DS

l

MP3/MP4 players including iPod Touch

l

Digital camera

l

Social sciences

l

Science and Mathematics

l

Retail and Commercial Enterprise

l

Preparation for Life and Work

l

Leisure, Travel and Tourism

l

Technologies used

Languages, Literature and Culture

l

Information and Communication Technology

l

History, Philosophy and Theology

l

Health, Public Services and Care

l

Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies

l

Education and Training

l

Construction, Planning and the Built Environment

l

Basic/Key Skills

l

Business Administration and Law

Arts, Media and Publishing

l

Data collection

l

Assessment

l

Wider Key Skills

Engagement

Agriculture, Hort iculture and Animal Care

Curriculum area

Skills development

Evidence collection

Focus

l

Numeracy

Literacy

page

ICT

Title

Communication

Skills targeted

Development and assessment of numeracy and literacy skills How does the use of a handheld games device with maths software affect learner understanding of multiplication tables?

78

Improving numeracy Key Skills in work-based learners

81

Literacy quizzes using voting systems and the DS

83

Motor vehicle students and Key Skills Application of Number

84

Numeracy and literacy practice tests - Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot

85

Person-centred mobile learning plan – from the perspective of a deaf learner

86

Supporting numeracy with the Nintendo DS – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot

87

The apprentice – from needing support to providing support – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot

88

The impact of the Nintendo DS with literacy software on the teaching and learning of maths in NHS healthcare assistants

88

Using the Nintendo DS to improve teaching and learning for deaf learners

89

l

Wirral Jobs mobile programme

91

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

Supported Employmobility

93

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

Typographic booklet with embedded Key Skills

95

l

l

l

Using netbooks in an ICT Key Skills activity: job searching

97

l

l

Using netbooks to support the development of Key Skills in ICT and communications

98

l

l

l

Electrical engineering apprentices – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot

100

l

Supporting wider Key Skills through m-assessment

100

Using netbooks effectively in outdoors sessions

103

l

Using netbooks to improve personalised support for plumbing students

104

l

Using online forums – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot

106

l l

l l

l

l

l

l l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l l

l

l

l

l l

l

l

l l l

l

Development and assessment of communication and ICT skills

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l l

l

l

Development and assessment of wider and combined Key Skills l

l l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l

l l

l

l l

l

l

l l

l

l l

l


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Header verso

Development and assessment of numeracy and literacy skills How does the use of a handheld games device with maths software affect learner understanding of multiplication tables? Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College – Foundation & Pre-Entry Division, academic year 2008/09

Introduction Nintendo DS Lites and ‘Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training – The Hundred Cell Calculation Method’ were used with four classes of learners as follows: ●

BTEC Introductory Diploma in IT@Work Level 1 (ESOL group) – 19 learners

BTEC Introductory Diploma in IT@Work Level 1– 7 learners

BTEC Introductory Diploma in Science Level 1– 8 learners

BTEC Introductory Diploma in Health & Social Care (ESOL) – 16 learners Aims It was hoped that the Nintendo DS games would provide a tool for learners to assess their multiplication knowledge and motivate them to continue to practise and assess this skill regularly. Addressing the challenge Led by their Key Skills Application of Number (AoN) lecturer, all groups followed a six-week programme.


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Week 1: An initial assessment established where individuals were with their multiplication tables. Learners were given a CD-ROM or MP3 player onto which the multiplication tables were recorded to a rhythmic tune. They were required to listen and memorise one multiplication table over two days. Week 2: The games devices and Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training were introduced to the learners in their AoN lessons. The learners had the opportunity to play with the device in the lesson. They were also told the aims and objectives of the project, which were to continue listening to the CD-ROM and then selfassess for at least 10 minutes every day using the DS. Weeks 3-6: Over this period the learners were encouraged to use the device outside the classroom. Groups 1–3 were tested before and afterwards. Group 4 were tested by their lecturer at weeks 3, 6 and even on to week 9. The learners were tested using a paper-based method. All lecturers incorporated the device in some of their AoN lessons alongside the delivery of the Key Skills syllabus. Outcomes and reactions The CD-ROM provided the teaching tool and the learners used the Nintendo DS game to test themselves using repetitive practice and out-of-sequence testing. The DS provided learners with a more enjoyable way to assess their learning, which in turn could help motivate them to check their progress and practise their times tables more often. It was hoped that with this self-assessment mechanism, learners would be able to recognise where they needed to use the CD-ROM more to learn their times tables and thus make greater improvements. In many cases use of the device seemed to improve test results, but it was crucial that it was used in conjunction with the rote-learning CD-ROM, as learners who failed to keep this up showed little or no progress.


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For group 1, following their Key Skills exam, it was decided that only learners who had not passed the exam would continue to use the DS. In hindsight this was not a good idea because it reduced the learners’ self-esteem in front of their peers. This may also have been why some learners showed little enthusiasm for taking the device home for use outside the classroom. In the other groups, however, lecturers reported a noticeable improvement in response times for learners who had previously struggled with mental arithmetic and paper-based multiplication tests. For group 4, where the Nintendo DS was given to the whole group at the beginning of their course, three months before they sat their AoN exam, results were very positive. This group consisted mainly of females; they were all from an ESOL background and studying health and social care. Over the nine weeks of the project the lecturer commented on the huge difference in motivation and confidence. He found that their performance improved overall and all learners spoke of increased enjoyment of maths lessons. They took ownership of the pace of their independent learning and there was positive peer pressure in the form of the group comparing scores when self-testing using the software. I use it every time I’m bored and in my free time. It helped me with my course and how to use it to multiply. It helped me with my course and how to do different kinds of maths. All the learners who completed the online questionnaire felt that the Nintendo DS had been a useful addition to their college education, although about half felt that they still needed further help with using it. The three lecturers involved fully embraced the concept of the project because they saw the opportunity for their learners to practise their multiplication tables outside their timetabled maths lesson. They were happy to keep a record of their learners’ progress and incorporate use of the device into their lesson plans. They have also shared good practice as other AoN lecturers have looked at incorporating the use of the devices into their lessons. Lessons learned ●

Playing the same game over several weeks can become repetitive and learners may lose interest.

Give the learner the opportunities to rote learn their times table before handing out the games console.

Succinct testing before and after can help to determine the impact of the DS games on the learners’ knowledge.

Collect feedback from the learners to check how they are progressing and to reinforce the use of the device.

Be aware of any limitations off the software: for example, ‘Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training – The Hundred Cell Calculation Method’, uses quick-fire questions but does not teach the learner how to learn their multiplication tables. Links Teacher feedback: www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=8OPWJ Learner feedback: www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=PCV3Y


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Improving numeracy Key Skills in work-based learners Trafford College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The majority of learners involved in this project had not taken part in workbased learning before; for some it was their first experience of learning since leaving school. Some of the learners were just doing a Skills for Life qualification (literacy or numeracy) and some were doing the Skills for Life qualification alongside an NVQ. Aims Work-based learners are supported every three to four weeks, but they can easily become disengaged because of the long periods of non-contact; a lack of confidence in the subject area; and limited access to ICT. It was hoped, therefore, that the introduction of netbooks would improve learner engagement and confidence in their subject, and that this would ultimately lead to increased levels of retention and achievement. Addressing the challenge The netbooks were used both in one-to-one situations with the tutor and while the learner was at home, meaning that a form of distance learning could be established. The two main websites used were Move On and BBC Skillswise, both of which are interactive. The Move On website allows learners to work on various topics in both literacy and numeracy. The activities are easy to use and the learner can go through them in their own time. They can also complete practice tests, which are automatically marked, and the assessor can view what the learner has done. The learners were also able to view PowerPoint slides on their devices. Outcomes and reactions Learners’ reactions One-to-one interviews with the learners who completed their courses indicated that they felt that having access to online content and being able to contact staff had had a positive impact on their ability to complete the courses and stay on the course throughout. Learners reported that they were kept engaged and enthused because the resources were interactive and therefore more enjoyable than paper-based activities. They also enjoyed the responsibility of having their own netbook and felt that being able to contact staff and engage with materials was very important in a context where their learning process can be quite isolated. Some learners also had very limited IT skills and one learner had never switched on a computer before, meaning that not only have literacy and numeracy skills been addressed but also IT competencies. Learner G recently completed a Level 1 in numeracy and will be starting a Level 2 next month. She says: …the mini laptop has been great. I didn’t have internet access at home so without it I would not have been able to go on revision sites such as Move On. Teachers’ reactions The teaching staff involved felt that the two main websites used enabled the learners to take charge of their own learning, because they could go through the content in their own time and receive instant feedback on practice tests. The fact


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that the assessor can also monitor learner progress is an added benefit. Staff reported that the improved communication and ability to engage with learning activities online had had an effect on overall results. Managers’ reactions Using mobile devices was a very new concept for the college, and whilst we believed that it was an excellent idea, we were at first unsure of the practicalities of implementation. However, the reaction from learners has overall been very positive, and this is an encouraging sign for future use. Deputy Principal Assessors’ reactions I have found the mini laptops very useful. Learners are kept focused and engaged and they enjoy using them. I have found my own skills have improved from helping the students learn how to use them. WBL providers’ reactions Dale Johnston from Smith’s Restaurant stated: …I like the idea of the laptop to promote improving at home. Karen Morse, from The Fed, said in reference to the netbooks: …it has been good for learner C, it has helped him improve in his numeracy skills. Lesson learned Some learners had to deal with a substantial learning curve in that they had never accessed the internet before. The netbook was a good introduction into the interactive world but these learners needed a great deal of support and sometimes long periods of sessions were taken up with trying to show them how to access the internet and navigate web pages. Next steps Netbooks added greater value to the learner experience, and this needs to be sustained in the future by addressing training and funding implications. There will be greater focus on learner-owned devices in the forthcoming year, but not all learners will have the resources to participate in this and it is the college’s responsibility to address this matter. Furthermore, the development of CPD is crucial not only for teaching staff but also at all levels of management and for all key workers including admin and technical staff. In Trafford College this had already been addressed and the college strategies reflected the need for this continued development. There needs to be individual tutor development to ensure that the equipment is fully utilised, and a greater knowledge of open source, online and equipment-based materials as well as utilisation needs to be incorporated into the development of the WBL courses. As they are likely to rely on learner-owned devices, this similarly needs to be embedded in staff training, and learners will need to have a full introduction to mobile learning as part of the induction process.


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Literacy quizzes using voting systems and the DS Northampton College (Moulton Consortium), academic year 2008/09 Introduction Entry to Employment is aimed at 16–19 year olds of varying abilities (Entry level 2 to Level 2) who are seeking full-time employment or want to progress to FE courses. The programme has three core strands: basic and key skills, personal and social development and vocational development. Learners take part in a 16-hour a week programme, in which they work towards developing these core strands. In this case study, learners were working towards developing their literacy levels ready for the Key Skills communication Level 1 examination. Before using the Senteo voting system and Nintendo DSs, learners had been preparing for this using written mock tests or PowerPoint quizzes and individual whiteboards to display their answers. Aims The use of the Senteo voting systems and Nintendo DSs in this particular session aimed to improve levels of learner engagement and to develop effective ways to monitor learner assessments. Addressing the challenge Learners were split into two teams and completed a 40-question quiz using the electronic SMART board and the Senteo voting system. After 10 questions, individual team challenges were given to three learners from each team using Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games on the Nintendo DSs. Teams were able to earn 1 point per correct quiz question answer and 10 bonus points for the best Nintendo DS challenge result. At the end of the quiz the results were clearly displayed to the group and the overall winner and winning team were announced. Outcomes and reactions The session allowed learners to prepare for exams in an interesting and engaging way. The use of Senteo and Nintendo DSs maintained levels of learner engagement and the overall test results improved; this could have been down to learners maintaining their levels of interest or through the friendly competitiveness of the quiz and the team challenges using the Nintendos. The activities helped to develop ICT skills and soft skills such as team-building, confidence, self-esteem and effective communication and learner behaviour was also improved. The session was delivered as part of the Ofsted inspection and the results were very positive, showing learners’ engagement and the use of ICT and new technologies within the classroom. Learners’ reactions Learners had to complete an evaluation at the end of the session and most learners enjoyed the session, marking it 9 or 10 out of 10.


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Teacher’s reaction The teacher found the devices easy to use and learner results easy to monitor; it was clear which questions the learners had answered and which were left to complete. Lessons learned It is advisable that teaching staff practise using the Senteo voting system, before using it in the classroom, as the technology takes a while to set up. Staff should be aware of the complexities of using such resources. Next steps This session has now been included in the Key Skills scheme of work as a new method for exam preparation. It is being used for Literacy, Numeracy and ICT. All the quizzes are available on Moodle. Links Guide created by the college for staff using the Senteo Voting System http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=YRXFR

Motor vehicle learners and Key Skills Application of Number Bridgwater College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction One stream of the MoLeNET project worked with Level 1 motor vehicle learners in their Key Skills course. This was the largest single programme that was part of the MoLeNET project, with 95 learners starting the programme, and all learners undertaking the additional learning programme of numeracy Key Skills. The approach of the motor vehicle department was that Level 1 learners took Application of Number (AoN) Key Skills as well as their main qualification to provide them with skills to make them more employable and help them with their main qualifications. The learners, however, did not always see the benefits of this and were not always fully engaged in the lessons. Staff tried a variety of approaches and sessions were based around problems that they encountered in their studies. Aims The aim was to introduce Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games on the Nintendo DS to engage the learners with their AoN Key Skills sessions and to build confidence in mathematics. Addressing the challenge To help with the delivery of this programme Nintendo DSs with Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games were used for the first 10 minutes of a session to allow the learners to start to focus on numeracy skills and to practise mental arithmetic. They were also able to use the chat facility to discuss problems and challenges with each other.


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Outcomes and reactions At first the learners perceived this as play and not as part of their course and they enjoyed the ability to ‘waste time rather than having to do maths’. However, their attitude to their studies soon improved and they began to engage with the subject more. This resulted in their actual numeracy skills starting to improve. The use of Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games also made numeracy skills more exciting and they began to become more competitive. As they started to develop the mathematical skills to ‘reduce their brain age’2 and get closer to the top of the leader board that the staff had introduced to record the improvements, they began to engage with the rest of the session. Some learners even bought Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training games or similar games so that they could use them outside sessions. One learner commented that this was the first time that they would have even considered doing ‘homework’ and spending their own money on something college related. Initial sceptical staff attitudes soon changed as the learners began to develop their numeracy skills and to engage with the subject; this was then reflected in an increase in the number of learners achieving their Key Skills qualification.

Numeracy and literacy practice tests – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot Exeter Consortium, academic year 2008/09 Learners were provided with UMPCs to enable them to perform Key Skills numeracy and literacy practice tests at a time and place that was convenient for them. The learners reported that they preferred to complete the practice tests in their own classrooms or at home as they felt more comfortable and confident, and were able to work with others to find solutions to the more difficult questions. Many learners who had previously failed their Key Skills tests went on to pass them after having worked on the practice tests in these ways. Two learners who needed to achieve Key Skills ICT at Level 2 were also lent UMPCs, which allowed them to complete assignments and practice tests at any time or place so that the time they spent in college was more focussed. Links Video showing how Exeter College has managed personalised learning for students on work based learning programes http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=7Z6HN

2

Brain age is a concept of this game which it’s developers market as providing beneficial exercise for the brain


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Person-centred mobile learning plan – from the perspective of a deaf learner Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09 Overview Two learning support staff in the classroom worked with AH, a deaf learner. AH needed to improve her ability to analyse information in her assignments. Deaf people have difficulties structuring their sentences. As a result when they hand in their work there is often a disparity between what they know and what they are able to present as text. AH had moved from a pass to a merit because of the hard work of her and the team, but it still did not reflect her actual ability. The team would often discuss ways to further develop her English skills and they wondered if mobile technology might help. This was discussed with AH and a plan was devised as follows (in AH’s own words): Introduction – Who am I? I am AH and I am Deaf. I have no speech. I use British Sign Language as my first language. I want to improve my marks and gain a distinction on my course. I am a visual learner and require support from a communication support worker and a learning support assistant. I use text on my mobile phone to communicate.

Aims – What do I want to do? I want to work in the sport and leisure industry. I need to prove that I can analyse fitness and nutritional information. I have set myself the goal of gaining a distinction on my course. Addressing the challenge – How am I going to get there? I will use my mobile phone to take photographs of food and nutritional information on food packaging. I will practise my signing presentation on webcam video to analyse the content and make improvements. A communication support worker and note taker will transcribe my analysis. Outcomes and reactions – How am I doing? Mobile technology has helped me use and develop my dominant visual learning style. Mobile technology has enabled me to achieve my full potential and I have been able to prove that I can analyse fitness and nutritional information. I have achieved an overall grade of a distinction because I have been able to describe, explain and analyse within my presentation. I did not have to struggle with sentence building in English.


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Next steps – What next? I will progress on to my Level 3 course. I will work hard to develop my sentence building skills in written English to improve my employment prospects. I will continue to use mobile technology to help me achieve my full potential and I will work with my tutor to improve my bilingual skills (British Sign Language and written English).

Supporting numeracy with the Nintendo DS – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09 In the quest for resources that could engage and motivate the Wirral Jobs learners who have a range of disabilities, one of the tutors decided to use Nintendo DS devices with Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training games in the maths class. It was used in several ways to involve every learner, including as a starter activity to get learners focused and ready to learn, and as an extension activity to keep them captivated. The tutor found that the software had activities that not only engaged and motivated learners but also enabled them to aspire for excellence. The learners found using the Nintendo DS very easy as most of them already had access to one at home. The activities in the software are differentiated so every learner could be included, each working at his or her level. The learners remained focused and engaged until the end of each activity because the answer to each question had to be written within a specified amount of time so there was no time for distractions. The learners learnt and consolidated mathematical skills such as column addition and subtraction, mental maths, multiplication of two-digit number by two-digit number, etc. The instant feedback given at the completion of each task motivated the learners so that they all tried to get 100% and move on to the next level. This not only enhanced their mathematical skills but also built their confidence and self-esteem. The learners are now continuing to explore other mathematical skills they can learn using Nintendo DS with Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training games.


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The apprentice – from needing support to providing support – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09

SB completed the Wirral Jobs Programme and was awarded a distinction for Level 2 English Speaking Board and Level 2 ASDAN Employability award; she also achieved Level 2 Numeracy and Literacy. She accessed the Wirral Jobs Programme to build her confidence to work again following her recovery from depression. SB used a netbook to record her progress in improving her verbal presentation skills (webcam), to research jobs on the internet, to record team-building activities and to complete online learning activities. She also used the Busbi camera not only in her English Speaking Board sessions to record her progress but to record her work experience as a learning support assistant. This has helped her continue to progress and have the confidence to begin applying for jobs. The work placement video footage was used to support her CV and she has been able to secure part-time employment as a learning support assistant. The employer found it very useful to view the video footage of SB’s work experience to support the short-listing process.

The impact of the Nintendo DS with literacy software on the teaching and learning of maths to NHS healthcare assistants Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction This mobile learning group were all healthcare assistants from Wirral University Teaching Hospital. They were undertaking an NVQ Level 2 in healthcare and as part of their programme were required to complete a short course (10 x 3-hour weekly sessions) in literacy and numeracy with the aim of gaining a qualification in both subjects at either Level 1 or Level 2. One learner was an ESOL learner and another learner had dyslexia. Aims The aim of the project was to use the technology to enhance the learning experience and to re-focus the learners during their full day of learning. This group had a three-hour numeracy session on Friday mornings, followed by an hour-long lunch break, then a further three hours of literacy in the afternoon.


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It was therefore hoped that the Nintendo DSs would help to keep the learners motivated during this long day. Addressing the challenge The learners were assessed before the course began and five were working at Level 2 and four at Level 1. The Nintendo consoles were chosen as a learning tool because they were small and had a range of software that could be used to consolidate and support learning in both literacy and numeracy. The learners used ‘Word Academy’, Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training and Professor Kageyama’s Maths Training games at the beginning of the literacy lessons (Friday pm) to help them to focus following their maths session in the morning, and their lunch break. Outcomes and reactions These numeracy and literacy sessions were taught on the hospital premises so the tutors benefited from being able to easily transport the DSs to and from sessions. They also found the software easy to use and to install. The intention was to empower the learner by enabling them to access a different type of learning, and to work independently of the tutor. Tutors reported that the devices aided the learners’ concentration and that this had a positive impact on their learning. Hand/eye coordination improved as the learners became aware of the sequence of activities and all the learners gave positive feedback, saying that they enjoyed doing ‘something different’ and that the games were fun to use. They became quite competitive with each other and enjoyed the social interaction rather than just using them in isolation. Next steps Tutors became aware later of the inbuilt PictoChat software and planned to incorporate this into future pedagogy.

Using the Nintendo DS to improve teaching and learning for deaf learners Walsall Consortium, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The Deaf Base had over 50 learners who ranged from partially to severely and profoundly deaf. Three of the learners had additional visual impairments (including Usher’s Syndrome) and used Visual Frame British Sign Language. All the other learners used a variety of communication methods on the BSL continuum. The language needs of each learner depended on a variety of factors including level of, or severity of, hearing loss; family background, i.e. whether they came from a deaf or hearing family; and education, i.e. the communication methods adopted at the school they had attended. Learners attended a main programme of study that could be at any level across all vocational areas and were supported on programme by educational interpreters and note takers. In addition to this, they received four hours per week of basic or Key Skills in literacy and numeracy. These sessions were taught by tutors who were either deaf themselves or highly skilled in BSL, allowing for delivery in the learner’s first or preferred language. The project was implemented in those sessions.


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Aims The aim was to incorporate Nintendo DSs into teaching and learning to improve the experience for deaf learners. Deaf people who use BSL as their first or preferred language are predominantly visual learners. BSL essentially constructs visual pictures in a space; the linguistics of BSL determine that deaf people use spatial locations and referencing to communicate and to aid understanding. Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training programme in particular is very visual and appeals to deaf learners so it was felt that this would be particularly appropriate to support learners in this context. Addressing the challenge Learners who were more able used the Nintendo DS devices more as they were incorporated into their structured literacy and numeracy sessions. All the devices were used in the classroom as warm-up and plenary sessions. Outcomes and reactions Lesson observations undertaken by advanced practitioners revealed both an improvement in grades and that where m-learning was embedded it was being used effectively. Often lessons had a staggered start as learners who relied on special transport services arrived at different times. The Nintendo DSs helped tutors to cope with this by providing an engaging learning resource for learners to work on at the beginning of sessions. Tutors commented that learners were engaged while using the devices and although retention is traditionally very good for deaf learners on these programmes there was an improvement in both attendance and punctuality. Internal MIS showed that attendance on these programmes had improved by 3% on the previous year and now sits above the college average. Tutors also reported a reduction in ‘late cards’ for learners (an internal system used to try to motivate learners to improve punctuality). Teachers’ reactions At the beginning of the project some tutors were unsure what the impact of m-learning and the use of Nintendo DSs on teaching and learning would be. Some also questioned the appropriateness of using gaming technology in the classroom and considered that it might be a distraction. However, these opinions were largely a consequence of some staff having limited knowledge of what the Nintendo DSs could do and therefore difficulty in envisaging what impact they could have. These concerns were soon alleviated by training, which meant staff could see the benefits of using the Nintendo DS devices and the relevance of the software. Initially staff were somewhat apprehensive – understandably – and therefore mainly used the Nintendo DSs at the beginning or end of the lessons. However, as they gained in confidence and became more familiar with the potential benefits they began to integrate the devices more centrally in the delivery. Learners’ reactions Learners initially greeted m-learning with great interest; their first thoughts were that they would be ‘playing’ in lessons rather than doing traditional work. They soon began to make the connection between m-learning and their curriculum but it did not dampen their enthusiasm. They enjoyed the challenges that using the Nintendo DSs brought and where they worked in small groups they were happy to compare scores and to challenge each other. As individuals were assigned their own devices they were able to keep track of their progress and


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reported that they were always keen to improve on their previous scores. The learners explained that they felt stretched and challenged and some thought their numeracy skills in particular had improved. Lessons learned One negative issue that tutors did note was that on the My Word Coach software some of the spellings were American, which caused some confusion for the learners. Next steps Staff were keen to continue using the devices in 2009/10 and m-learning was incorporated into curriculum planning for the next academic year. However, further work was required to see how it could also be used across subjects other than literacy and numeracy. Tutors will have the means to take m-learning to the next level and it will be actively promoted and supported. Staff development is critical to ensure that teaching and support staff can fully embrace m-learning and maximise the potential for its use. Work will need to be done at a senior level to ensure that sufficient time and resources are allocated for staff CPD. There will also need to be opportunities for sharing best practice – key members of staff who have used m-learning innovatively were consequently more skilled or confident. Support must be given to those who need to develop their skills to use new technologies effectively. Links A video interview with staff who use Nintendo devices with deaf learners for maths and English - http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=QFROU A video of a Deafbase Learner using Nintendo DS devices http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=35N2F

Wirral Jobs mobile programme Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Two learner cohorts had begun a new English Speaking Board qualification (ESB), ‘Oral Skills for Interviews’. This qualification was delivered to groups of learners on preparation for employment programmes and included short 13-week courses. ESB is part of a suite of qualifications available to the learners, which also includes Skills for Life and the ASDAN employability qualification. All learners in the Wirral Jobs cohort have learning difficulties and/or disabilities. All of the learners on the Gateway to Employment cohort have Skills for Life needs and many of them also have a learning difficulty and/or disability. They too access a suite of qualifications to enhance their employability development. Aims It was hoped that mobile learning would facilitate the continued development of learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities to help them enter employment and support their continued economic participation through future employment.


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Addressing the challenge The programme took place in a community venue that had wireless connectivity; most of the lessons took place in a multi-functional room that had one PC, a digital projector and a Smartboard. Netbooks were used for online learning, including completing online health and safety and equality and diversity booklets. Work could be marked electronically and feedback provided instantly. The netbooks were also used for online research activities, including researching jobs and careers while outside the classroom environment. Tutors were also to use the netbooks with learners to record their weekly learning logs using the webcam and audio facilities. In addition to the netbooks, Busbi cameras were used to record teamwork activity, which could then act as evidence for the Asdan Employability qualification. Video footage could be downloaded to the netbooks and then saved on the learners’ individual pen drives. Learners also used the photos to produce PowerPoint presentations of the role they undertook in the teamwork activities. Outcomes and reactions Tutors and learners valued the portability of the devices and the wide range of mobile learning activities and tools available to them. Learning activities could be differentiated to meet all learning styles and abilities of learners, who often selected the functions that best suited their learning needs. This gave the learners more autonomy in choosing learning resources and also facilitated peer and self-assessment. Learners liked the fact that evidence for their portfolios did not have to be all paper based and this liberated many learners from having to write learning logs or complete handouts by hand. In the ESB classes the tutors used the mobile learning technology to develop verbal communication skills, produce presentations and course evaluations and help learners improve their interview skills and apply learned techniques. The tutors were able to observe and assess learners and could refer back to video footage to record achievement and progression. All tutors on the Wirral Jobs programme have used the mobile technology to record evidence for the learners’ portfolios thus making assessment more inclusive and strengthening the credibility of achievement through a wider range of evidence.


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Development and assessment of communication and ICT skills Supported employmobility Wirral Metropolitan College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Wirral Metropolitan College is a general FE college based on the Wirral Peninsula in Merseyside. The college MoLeNET project was called Employmobility because the aim was to research the impact of mobile learning and technology on employability programmes for learners with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. The project also endeavoured to determine how such programmes could be personalised for these learners. Most learners were at Foundation Learning level, however an additional cohort of Level 2 learners on a residential at a local sports centre were also involved. This case study focused on a preEntry group of learners with complex learning difficulties who needed to develop their speaking and listening skills communication.

Aims It was hoped that mobile technologies could be used to help document learners’ personal communication skills; monitor their progression in speaking and listening; and validate achievement. The college were also keen to use multimedia evidence gathered via mobile devices to demonstrate progression/ transition on to preparation for work programmes. Addressing the challenge Learners were able to use netbooks to record their own video clips to evidence elements of the personal safety unit. In this unit learners were required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding but it was proving to be difficult to evidence in a meaningful way because most of the learners were not readers. In a group tutorial, the tutor introduced the netbooks and the learners had a few sessions getting used to using a touch mouse as none of them had experienced this before. Some time was then spent changing the settings to a large mouse pointer, larger icons and slowing the keyboard rate down. At this point, learners experimented filming themselves. Initially, listening back proved to be difficult as the quality of sound was too low for them hear and understand what was being said and who was saying it. The tutor requested some microphones from the college IT team which were really effective and provided the motivation for most of this group.


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A series of questions were then set to which the learners filmed their responses to demonstrate their knowledge. These clips were assessed by the external moderator and all learners were awarded full certificates. The use of mobile technology will be highlighted as good practice in the external verifier’s report. Outcomes and reactions This experience with the mobile technology has proved that learners can achieved agreed standards of speaking and listening and that even with severe and complex learning difficulties, some learners can work independently and take control of their learning. The learners also provided footage of external visits and activities, road safety exercises, shopping in the community and independent living activities (see attached video). Furthermore, all person centred plans and individual learning plans included personal images and ‘visual CVs’ were created for learners to take on work placement interviews. Learners’ reactions Learners said that they are often overlooked when new ‘gadgets’ are introduced to learning and many do not have their own mobile phones. Using the netbooks gave them the opportunity to use equipment that they see other people using; they could take ownership of the filming and one learner said that she liked ‘doing it herself’ rather than having something ‘done to her’. All the learners were very proud of the way they answered their questions and in spite of their memory problems they were able to look back and self-assess their responses. Each learner had their own pen drive containing their work and evidence of their skills and progress, which they were able to take home to show parents. Teacher’s reaction One teacher talked about the other mobile technologies that these learners used effectively to support their learning: Sat nav technology has been used by the learners to promote turn-taking, listening and following instructions. This has taken place during some of the community sessions - finding their way around the local shopping centre, visiting Connexions, on a residential trip to Plas Menai, and going to the bowling alley. It made travelling on foot and in the minibus fun. Learners could type in the postcode, and when directions were given – right, left – they would hand-signal to show they understood which direction to go in. Some learners were able to see how the Sat nav could help them find somewhere new. The Busbi recorders have been used in the kitchen to validate health and safety achievements and support knowledge and understanding. Simon’s video speaks volumes! Managers’ reactions Mobile learning has helped enhance the provision for learners with complex learning difficulties. Ruth Jones, Curriculum Leader for supported Entry level provision, has shared the benefits of mobile learning with the Wirral post-16 group for learners with learning disabilities and difficulties. A major focus for this group has been transition for post-16 learners and brokerage of new learning opportunities and support services. The chair of the group said: Learning that Wirral Metropolitan College is using mobile technology to promote inclusive learning is an exciting development. We can be confident that young people will have access to a wide range of learning activities and equipment which has not been accessed before by young people who have complex learning difficulties.


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The college will expand its provision for people with complex learning difficulties by 100% next academic year. Lessons learned Patience and perseverance are essential. Be prepared to think outside the box and do not underestimate the ability and motivation of learners with complex learning difficulties. Mobile learning can provide access to gadgets so learners can ‘do things for themselves’. Next steps Mobile learning definitely has a place in supporting the development of independent living skills and transition to employability skills. Work aspirations for learners with complex learning disabilities need to be reinforced through a supported employment approach in vocational education and training.

Typographic booklet with embedded Key Skills Tresham Institute (Moulton Consortium), academic year 2008/09 Introduction Tresham Institute is a further and higher education college in Northamptonshire. Two cohorts of National Diploma graphics learners were chosen for this trial; a group of 12 generally high-ability year one learners and a group of 8 mixedability year two learners. Aims The learners in these groups had separate Key Skills sessions, delivered independently of the National Diploma courses. Most of the learners found this an inconvenience as they did not feel it was what they had signed up to do and it distracted them from their first choice of study. The aim, therefore, was to use the mobile technologies to embed Key Skills into the main course delivery, so that it became part of their main coursework and was therefore not perceived as ‘extra work’. Addressing the challenge A design brief was selected which had been run with previous National Diploma graphics learners – to design a typographic booklet consisting of approximately 12 pages of typographic studies, 6 pages of which required research and written work. The assignment brief outlined exactly what was required to fulfil the unit criteria, as well as the Key Skills Level 2 communication and ICT criteria. To direct learners to appropriate sites for research, links were added to the Moodle, which could be accessed via the mobile devices inside and outside college, as well as other material specifically uploaded to provide support. It was also intended that the mobile Qwizdom kit be used to run a typographic quiz for the learners, however the appropriate hardware update was not available. Outcomes and reactions The majority of learners left positive feedback on the MoLeNET learner feedback forum. They liked the fact that Key Skills communication and ICT could be integrated into their graphics assignments, and the PDAs and iPods were favoured for their ease of use.


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Learners’ reactions The learners’ first reactions when the trial was mentioned were sceptical – mainly because it was seen as ‘something to do with Key Skills’. However, once the MoLeNET trial was explained in detail, most were happy to take part and keen to use the devices. I think embedding Level 2 Key Skills with the graphic design typographic booklet is a good idea. Some people don’t do Key Skills, so having it in a project makes sure people do it. Also combining two projects saves time, helping students concentrate more on their chosen subject and get better grades. I haven’t noticed the Key Skills embedded into the course. I think this is good because it enables me to focus entirely on the course I chose. I’m glad I don’t have to go to a separate lesson to do the Key Skills; it’s much easier incorporating it in. The time is now 00:01 and I’m sitting here in my room using this Nokia internet device. When connected to YouTube for video research the videos render great with no glitching (has sound too). (There is a) very useful memory slot if you need to access files to view on this device’s application like PDFs. Nice quick and easy access to e-mails like Gmail, Hotmail etc. Useful internet calls if you need to contact someone to say about work or you will be late. One of my favourite features I came across on this device was the ability to media share files, which I had on my laptop. Teacher’s reaction I feel the trial has generally been a very positive experience. Certainly within the graphics area the embedding of Key Skills is a fairly natural progression and I feel that I could make good use of Qwizdom and the VLE but I personally found the small mobile devices very fiddly to use – small keys and tiny screens. I would naturally veer towards using the netbooks to avoid these issues. Managers’ reactions MoLeNET was a useful project for the School of Creative Arts & Media. The additional equipment has helped with the limited access to IT suites in the organisation. Lessons learned The project could have been more meaningful if priority had been given to planning and development of content before the hasty ordering of hardware. Once hardware was available, staff had to work back from how it could be used to develop content. Next steps Many staff in this school did not use ILT extensively because they come from backgrounds in different craft-based professions such as printmaking, ceramics and illustration. The staff who took part in the project, however, came from the graphic design and media production areas, where Apple Macs were the industry standard. They were the staff staff who were able to drive the use of ILT within the school, and assumed a lead role in the development of the VLE and the continued use of technology in the delivery of Key Skills.


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Using netbooks in an ICT Key Skills activity: job searching Moulton College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Nineteen learners with mixed abilities were involved in this case study in which netbooks were used to support the development of ICT Key Skills, which normally they found challenging. In this particular activity learners were investigating job searches and applications. Aims It was hoped that the netbooks could incorporate ICT Key Skills into the learners’ regular classroom activities, making it more fun and improving engagement and motivation. Addressing the challenge Each learner had to use the netbooks to complete a four-part activity sheet as follows: Part A: learners used Microsoft Word to type up three jobs that they were interested in within the animal care industry. Part B: learners were asked to identify an employer near where they lived from one of the jobs in part A. This involved the learners researching on the internet then typing the information into the Word document. Part C: again using the internet the learners were required to research and find a job they could apply for once they had completed their course (FDAN). They had to save the link or cut and paste the advert into their Word document to evidence what they had found. Part D: the learners were asked to find three pieces of job specification-related information within the advert and to state how they met those requirements. Once the learners had completed all four parts they saved the work so they could print it out at a later date. The whole activity took around 45 minutes. Outcomes and reactions The learners greatly benefited from using the netbooks because it saved time and the learners were able to improve their ICT Key Skills without even realising. It was felt that although it took a while for the learners to get used to the technology the activity was more achievable with access to the devices, as access to the internet was not usually available during these sessions. The only issue the tutor highlighted was that it would have been ideal if they could have printed out the work in the same session, rather than coming back to it at a later date. Lessons learned There wasn’t really any extra effort involved in preparing for this task apart from booking and collecting the devices. Next steps The netbooks will be a useful resource for all types of lessons in the future.


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Using netbooks to support the development of Key Skills in ICT and communications Moulton College, academic year 2008/09

Introduction Nineteen learners with mixed abilities were involved in this case study in which netbooks were used to support the development of ICT and communication Key Skills. In this particular activity learners were observing and recording animal behaviours. Aims It was hoped that the netbooks would enable ICT and communication Key Skills to be incorporated into the learners’ practical activities and therefore improve motivation and relevance for the learner. Addressing the challenge The learners used the netbooks to conduct internet research; record observed behaviour on a spreadsheet; and create tables and graphs. Each pair was given a netbook, along with an activity sheet directing them to use the internet to research their chosen animal (housed in the Animal Welfare Centre), then produce an ethogram of behaviours. The learners created a check sheet to enable them to record behaviours at 30 second intervals for a total of 30 minutes. Finally, the learners presented the results and wrote an evaluation of the activity.

Outcomes and reactions The learners greatly beneďŹ ted from using the netbooks, because they were able to apply ICT & communication Key Skills practically. They commented that they enjoyed the activity and that the mini netbooks made it a lot easier for them to record the behaviour they could do itdirectly onto a spreadsheet, instead of writing on paper and then transferring onto a spreadsheet later on. The netbooks meant that all aspects of the activity could be carried out in the same learning environment and this saved time and organisational issues.


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Lessons learned The activity worked very well although it would clearly be unsuitable in poor weather! Next steps The netbooks will be used for similar activities in the future and the use of the devices should allow sta to bring Key Skills out of the classroom and make it more relevant for the learners.


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Development and assessment of wider and combined Key Skills Electrical engineering apprentices – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot St Helens College, academic year 2008/09

Ten 16–18 year-old electrical engineering apprentices used Sony PSPs to support them in their Key Skills units. They used the devices to collect video and photographic evidence of their skills; carry out internet research through the wireless connection; practise literacy and numeracy skills using the games software; communicate with others using Skype; and to access pre-loaded resources. Learners were able to use the PSPs very easily and quickly; they appreciated being trusted with them and enjoyed working independently and finding new ways to use them to support their learning. Although the workbased learning providers involved were initially sceptical, they soon saw the benefits of using the PSPs, and the assessors were impressed with the portfolio evidence collected The evidence gathered was of an excellent standard and demonstrated a more creative method of producing portfolio assessment material. The teachers were at first unsure about the benefits of the devices but very quickly began to see their potential: Management were also very impressed with the initiative and next term the college plan to provide wiring diagrams on the PSPs for learners to refer to in the workplace and flash-based animations to provide learners with short informal assessment opportunities.

Supporting wider Key Skills through m-assessment Gloucestershire College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Part of the MoLeNET project involved 16–19 year-old Levels 1 and 2 engineering, plumbing and electrical learners working towards their wider Key Skills qualifications.


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Aims The aim was to personalise evidence collection, and improve achievement rates in wider Key Skills. These learners were studying practical vocational courses and many of them had become disengaged from the standard written portfolio assessment approach and could not see the relevance of the wider Key Skills sessions. It was hoped that introducing m-assessment would reengage these learners. Learners were to supplement the traditional written workpack approach, with multimedia evidence generated using a range of mobile technologies including Activ Expression, Nintendo DSi, PSP with camera attachment, eeePC mini laptops and Sanyo Xacti. Addressing the challenge The devices were used in both classroom and workshop environments to aid evidence capture and as an engaging learning tool. The learners were introduced to mobile technology as a teaching and assessment tool as part of their general course, which allowed a natural progression to the use of the devices for the specific demands of wider Key Skills. The learners were initially asked to evaluate the equipment and make judgements and suggestions on how they might use them to capture evidence for their portfolios. The purpose of this was to engage the learners with the project and give them ownership from the start. The following feedback from the learners describes their perceptions of the various technologies available to them (as a general observation most of the usage eventually came from video or photographic capture of evidence to support and enhance portfolios): PSP with camera attachment They could see how this might be used to capture evidence and, because of the size of the screen, share what had been captured with other learners and their tutor. All the learners were comfortable with the devices but it was noted that some of the functions were accessed by very small buttons thath could pose a problem in the workplace. The learners found it very easy to upload from the devices and could use the standard windows media player to view their activities and evidence. eeePC Initially these were very well received, but the only reported use (besides as a mini laptop) was the use of the video function. It was generally reported that they were a ‘bit fiddly’. At the time of issue they were not internet ready so Key Skills materials could not be accessed from the college or external sites. In general the learners could not report any specific uses that could not be replicated on a standard laptop. Sanyo Xacti video cameras These devices were widely used and liked by the learners. There were some issues around the viewing of video evidence due to the format, which some learners found frustrating, but this was overcome by the use of Apple software. The learners reported that the device was very robust and easy to use. Activ expression units These were viewed as a good and involving method of learning and testing knowledge, especially in group work exercises where results could be captured, shared and personalised.


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The learners also evaluated the iPod as a learning tool but there was no specific use noted in relation to wider Key Skills. Outcomes and reactions The tutors involved readily engaged with m-assessment and invested a large amount of time in creating learning opportunities for the learners. There was a multi-level approach to the familiarisation with both the equipment and the opportunities for the assessment of wider Key Skills, which involved all of the equipment mentioned. This was achieved by giving mobile learning a showcase during all staff development days, specific presentations and one-to-one support. As a result, teaching practice changed greatly, and this could be seen in schemes of work and lesson plans, and the creation of new and dynamic materials and assessment strategies. Consequently, not only were learner engagement and behaviour improved, but ultimately levels of retention and achievement increased, with a 5%+ improvement in achievement in this cohort compared with the previous year. The use of devices allowed the tutors to engage with learners and tailor evidence collection and presentation to their learning styles. It was noted that the wider Key Skills of ‘problem solving’ and ‘working with others’ often happened naturally during many of the learners’ sessions, and that the mobile devices provided the learners with the opportunity to capture evidence of these skills as they happened. Furthermore, the ability to integrate Key Skills into their main course of study in this way made the Key Skills qualification relevant for the learners, which in turn improved engagement. The learners had relatively free choice and access to the technologies and reported that they were impressed by the quality and choice of equipment. They particularly embraced using the devices for evidence capture, which they then used to support their written reflections. Some learners did report that they did not like the idea of being in the videos but were happier videoing product and outcome, and didn’t mind being in photos. In addition, learners were able to use the mobile devices to access the college Moodle to download resources such as online workpacks. They could then study these in their own time, often outside the normal learner day, and could create and contribute their own resources. Being able to access the college wireless also encouraged learners to use their own devices, including laptops, which they are often keen to share with one another. Lessons learned Having robust and user-friendly equipment with which the learners were familiar directed the learners away from the fascination with the ‘toy’ element and focused them on assessment. Although the mobile technologies were used extensively to collect evidence, it was reported that learners would have liked to be directed as to the suitability of the evidence generated. It was notable that most learners eventually submitted ‘traditional’ types of evidence such as a written portfolio, supported by photographs where appropriate, and standardised workpacks because of this lack of guidance. There were also some issues around technical compatibility that introduced some tension into the evidence collection and while there were no reports of lost work there were reports of time taken by lecturing staff in resolving these issues. The issues raised were covered in subsequent college training and the result was a more enabled body of staff who were better placed to support the learners. Links The project’s blog - http://shinymolenet.wordpress.com


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Using netbooks effectively in outdoors sessions Moulton College, academic year 2008/09

Introduction This case study involved 18 learners aged 16+, taught in an outdoors vocational context. Aims The purpose of this study was to determine if Key Skills could be taught more interactively with the use of mobile devices. Specifically the intention was to use netbooks in the field to monitor and record data instead of the conventional paper and pen approach. Intended outcomes included: ●

increased levels of interaction and motivation during the Key Skills sessions

increased awareness of the functionality of netbooks in an educational context

learners engaged in a more realistic, industrial and professional manner. Addressing the challenge The learners involved used netbooks to collect and record field data straight into the relevant software programme without having to return to a classroom. All learners were able to take part in data collection using a system that enhances computer literacy skills and synthesises practices in the work lace. Outcomes and reactions


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The netbooks helped to raise awareness of the functionality of computers in the workplace and levels of participation were enhanced during the session as candidates were able to gather around the device and have a go themselves. Levels of success were certainly raised and the temptation for learners to lose interest was greatly reduced. Information collated was able to be quickly and easily placed on the VLE for further analysis and learners appreciated not having to work with pen and paper. Additionally, from a tutor’s perspective, not only were the learners engaged and able to achieve the learning objectives, but they had greater flexibility to facilitate other groups. Lessons learned

It is important to take into account the time required to set up and charge the devices and to ensure that a record is kept of who has been given a device. Next steps Further use of the netbooks will be planned for during the course.

Using netbooks to improve personalised support for plumbing learners Moulton College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction Moulton College by tradition is a land-based college with a history of preparing learners for vocational activities for future employment. The construction department is now a large section within the college activity with the majority of the plumbing learners on technical certificate courses and in the 16–19 age group. The learners in this case study used Netbooks in Key Skills and portfolio activities. Aims The main aims were: ●

to engage learners in Key Skills and portfolio activities that required the use of IT when based in classrooms or workshops that would otherwise lack this facility

to enhance differentiation by allowing learners to carry out extension tasks or work at their own pace to develop a better understanding of the set task.


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Addressing the challenge The netbooks were used as an individual learning tool to engage the learner in a specific task relating to their own individual learning aims. Outcomes and reactions The devices helped keep learners fully engaged and working on set tasks, which helped with classroom management issues. This in turn freed the tutor to engage in a support role as required with learners as opposed to spending a disproportionate amount of time on discipline issues. Learners’ reactions The learners embraced the chance to use the netbooks and soon became fully engaged in the range of tasks they had been set. In Key Skills sessions as the course progressed the differentiation needs within a group of learners became greater but in classrooms with no fixed IT facilities this issue could be addressed with links to the Moodle via the netbooks to allow a good range of support and extension activities for all learners. The feedback was positive from all learners using the devices, as one of the criticisms in mid-course review was a lack of computer stations available to learners and this went a long way to address the issue.

Teachers’ reactions The tutors in the plumbing department found the devices beneficial for the learners and made a point of using them as required in lessons. It was noted that the learners could be engaged with a range of tasks specific to their own learning needs and this helped with classroom management and in turn with learner achievement. Lessons learned Surprisingly very little extra preparation was required when using the devices and the benefits far outweighed any extra work required. Next steps The teaching team will explore new ways of using the devices and will share good practice amongst the teaching team. Links Video created for plumbing learners, about creating a ‘pass over’ – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=74IEI


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Using online forums – Key Skills teaching and learning snapshot Moulton College, academic year 2008/09 Moulton College found that the amount of communication between teachers and learners (studying Key Skills in animal care Levels 2 and 3) increased during the MoLeNET project. They felt that this was attributable mainly to the fact that the Moodle forums were accessible via the UMPCs. These forums were used to provide support, discuss course related activities, provide information about sessions etc. One lecturer, however, considered that the forums might provide a useful tool for evidencing one of the wider Key Skills: ‘working with others’. Basing a discussion on a forum would be good especially for L3 where they have to show a lot more complex ‘working with others’ skills, and at the moment they have to do minutes which obviously they don’t do – they just talk about stuff and then forget to write it down. We didn’t use forums for assessment; it was just to get information. But I think now that I’m more familiar with it, and the students are, I’ll definitely use it for my ‘working with others’ assessment now, next year, guaranteed. It’ll work really well because it’s an absolute nightmare getting evidence to show they’ve worked together. Part of the assessment criteria is ‘discussed with other people, shared information’ and this is all what they’ll be doing on the forums. I hadn’t thought of it at all before the project because I didn’t really know much about the forums. I’ve only just started using them, but now that I have it’ll be really good. We used to think, ‘Why don’t we video it?’, but that’s time consuming and when you’ve got 55 students you can’t video them all, whereas you can get them to discuss things on forums.


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5. Teacher training

Introduction The period of initial training for teachers is often considered highly stressful and challenging, with a huge number of new and unfamiliar skills to develop and combine in an environment that demands excellence from the beginning. Introducing mobile devices into this situation may seem like raising an extra unnecessary barrier. However, the experience of several MoLeNET projects demonstrated that mobile devices can be of great benefit throughout the training process, from initial teaching skill development, through teacher assessment, to supporting the newly qualified teacher in the classroom. Challenges faced by trainee teachers Major hurdles encountered early in the process of training to be a teacher include learning effective ways of managing the classroom, engaging the learner, differentiating learning, and planning and cascading lessons effectively to a potentially large cohort. Many trainee teachers have difficulties communicating effectively with their classes during early classroom experiences. Often the trainee teacher’s perceptions of their performance are different from those of the assessor or trainer, with the trainee not aware of their own deficiencies. Many trainees have family commitments or face geographical challenges that restrict their attendance at training sessions. Addressing the challenges MoLeNET projects in the 2008/09 academic year introduced mobile devices in ways that attempted to address or analyse the challenges mentioned. The problem of communication with the learners and classroom management was addressed by using a video camera to record the trainee delivering a lesson. As explained in the Cornwall College case study that follows, the trainee could then use these recordings to assess their own performance with a trainer to see areas for improvement that might not have been obvious otherwise. Part of the work of Accrington and Rossendale College looked at how Skype could be used for online conferencing between trainers and trainees to address the social and geographical challenges that restrict attendance at face-to-face sessions. One challenge encountered by all teachers was introducing innovative teaching techniques. In view of the perception that the process of becoming a qualified and excellent teacher is challenging enough. Accrington and Rossendale and St Helens colleges wished to assess the validity of that theory, providing their trainees with a range of mobile technologies and allowing them to experiment. The aim of this was to assist with the development of innovative and forwardthinking teachers, capable of engaging and motivating their learners while approaching the challenge of introducing technologies into the classroom with a fresh perspective.


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Main findings MoLeNET projects in 2008/09 explored several interesting ideas relating to the use of mobile technologies with trainee teachers. Cornwall College’s experiment filming trainee teachers delivering a lesson and then allowing them to evaluate their own performance proved highly successful. One trainee commented: I never realised I tend to focus on ¾ of the room, I always thought I was addressing the whole room, ... but I was ignoring anything to my far right ... not neglecting the students on that side but not addressing towards them ... I was really taken aback by that ... for that purpose it was amazing. I’d like to think that it has improved my teaching, which has improved their performance. Cornwall’s lead teacher trainer confirmed that this experience extended to all those who took advantage of the devices: It turned the full-time programme around for those who have opened up to using them ... those students with cameras have had better grades on their final module – not better progress in lessons but a noticeable difference in their observation grades and their performance – because they are reviewing their performance more with the use of the camera and are also less nervous about being observed ... students that haven’t used the camera haven’t progressed as well – their observation grades have stayed the same. The use of Skype at Accrington and Rossendale College was very successful. As detailed in the case study that follows, it was an effective way of keeping trainers and trainees in contact when in different locations. The only drawback was the need for a reliable internet connection. On the whole, giving trainee teachers the opportunity to use mobile devices in their classes was received very positively, with most considering the technology to be a great benefit rather than an additional worry. Accrington and Rossendale College reported: Many learners did not necessarily feel that it had helped them to complete the course, but did feel that it had added a completely different dimension to learning for them and this in turn had been passed to their learners. They felt that having completed this aspect of the course they were more confident in taking this kind of learning into the classroom. This would suggest that introducing the technology at the teacher training stage could really help future embedding of mobile learning in colleges. As detailed in the case studies, trainee teachers at Accrington and Rossendale College and St Helens College used the devices available to them in diverse and interesting ways. Trainee teachers at St Helens College were very pleased with the impact the devices had on their learners: The (optional) use of the Sony PSP with demonstrational videos was again a great example of proactive differentiation. One learner chose to take up this option, observing the multiplication grid method. This learner’s body language seemed to signal that she felt overwhelmed by the complexity of the mathematical formula she was trying to understand. After watching the video, her demeanour changed. She was able to access the learning material privately, work on her own and not hold the rest of the class up. These videos are now available on MoleTV.


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The use of the head-cam was excellent. Everyone was included, assessed and given great feedback from you, through self assessment and through their peers. Finally, St Helens College reported that trainee teachers’ performances in written IT assignments as part of their course significantly improved from the previous year, possibly as a result of increased familiarity with the available technology.

Key messages The following key messages regarding the benefits of introducing mobile technologies with trainee teachers, both in their training and for their teaching practice, are drawn from the MoLeNET action research findings and case studies of good practice. When used to support teacher training, mobile technologies can improve: ●

Delivery of learning by the trainees: the use of handheld video cameras had a very positive impact on the way trainee teachers delivered lessons, making them more aware of their shortcomings and areas for improvement.

Innovation: an occasional barrier to innovation in mobile learning can be that teachers who have been teaching for a long time have habits that are difficult to change. Trainee teachers without ingrained teaching habits have been able to innovate with their use of technology.

Communication between the trainer and the trainee: the use of Skype allowed improved communication between trainer and trainee where the two were based on separate sites. Trainers could deliver sessions and through screen-sharing this delivery could be interactive.

Trainees’ performance in assessment: familiarity with technology aided the performance of trainee teachers, particularly in relation to their use of ICT in lessons.

Embedding of mobile learning in an institution: by training teachers to be aware of mobile technologies and think about their potential use from the beginning of their careers, there is the potential to develop a generation of forward-thinking and modern teachers not afraid to try new ideas.

Key recommendations ●

When filming trainee teachers as they deliver classes, a small unobtrusive handheld camera is more effective than a larger traditional camcorder, being more discreet and less likely to make the teacher or their learners feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.

When introducing mobile devices to trainee teachers, it is often preferable to use technologies with which they are already familiar. Many teachers will naturally feel that they don’t want to ‘look silly’ in front of their learners by using a piece of equipment ineffectively, and this issue can sometimes be exaggerated among trainees.


Assessment Communication

Title

Promoting retention and achievement in teacher training using mobile devices 112 l l

Supervision of trainee teachers 114 l

Encouraging trainee teacher innovation 115 l

Page

l

Engagement

l l

l

l l

l l

l l

l l l

MP3/MP4 players including iPod Touchr

UMPC/Netbook

Sony PSP

Smartphone

PDA

Curriculum area

Nintendo DS

Digital camera

Social sciences

Science and Mathematics

Retail and Commercial Enterprise

Preparation for Life and Work

Leisure, Travel and Tourism

Languages, Literature and Culture

Information and Communication Technology

History, Philosophy and Theology

Focus

Health, Public Services and Care

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies

Education and Training

Construction, Planning and the Built Environment

Business Administration and Law

Basic/Key Skills

Arts, Media and Publishing

Agriculture, Horticulture and Animal Care

SSkills development

Differentiation

110 Teacher training 111

Teacher training case studies index

The following table provides an overview of the case studies in this section, indicating the focus, curriculum area and technologies used in each case.

Technologies used

l

l


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Teacher training case studies Promoting retention and achievement in teacher training using mobile devices Accrington and Rossendale College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The Accrington and Rossendale College research project explored how mobile learning technology can be used to improve retention and achievement, and what the organisation needed to do to embed mobile learning and make it sustainable. It included work to develop training for teaching staff, including the next generation of teachers by embedding mobile learning into teacher education. Aims Retention and achievement on teacher training courses at Accrington and Rossendale College were always strong, but staff involved in delivery felt that allowing trainee teachers to develop mobile learning methods of teaching might have the capacity to affect the retention and achievement of their own groups as their professional competence developed. Addressing the challenge In terms of teacher education it was agreed that one way to ensure the development of mobile learning technology in the college would be to embed sessions into the teacher education suite of qualifications in college. They included PTTLS (Preparing to Teach), CTTLS (Certificate to Teach) and the Cert Ed/PGCE course. One member of staff who was part of the super-user group was identified to run sessions in the professional development units of all the courses to ensure that staff left with a working knowledge of both e-learning and m-learning. One teacher education student used a head cam and tried to find the best way to use them. On the head seemed like a good idea, but it could be difficult to focus and keep what was being filmed as any slight movement of the head could lose the picture that was needed. He developed a way of securing it to the shoulder, which worked better as there was more control over where it pointed. This was used very effectively in construction classes. In one instance the tutor demonstrated a skill area while a learner videoed the session using the head cam. This was then uploaded to the VLE for all the learners to refer to. He was also then able to encourage his learners to film and photograph using their own mobile phones both for evidence and for later reference. The iPod Touch was used by some learners and the free applications were explored as possible ways of working with learners. In construction the scientific calculator, conversion application, and spirit level application were all interesting, and learners in their groups saw this as a very novel way of working that in itself was engaging. Modern Foreign Languages teachers used the translation packages, and catering staff used the recipe facilities. The teacher education students also used the iPod Touch to access the internet and download lectures from universities for their own research and study.


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Skype was introduced and used very successfully by some HE tutors for tutorials. Learners could screen share with the tutor and converse over Skype. Outcomes and reactions The introduction of head cams made learners much more efficient about gathering evidence for the qualification. Staff indicated that the iPod Touch was easy to use and required very little technical knowledge so that all learners were able to use them quickly and easily. They had some value in increasing retention and achievement but more value in how the trainee teachers then used those skills with their own learners. The devices were excellent for accessing the internet although some tutors suggested that phones that used Windows Mobile appeared to be less versatile. Some of the learners had their own iPhones, which were extremely versatile, with the 3G internet access enabling them to access the internet at any time. Teacher education staff felt that the most efficient way to promote e-learning and m-learning was to encourage staff to use what learners had in their pockets and look at lending equipment where learners did not have access to technology. Some staff were considering using pocket projectors plugged into mobile phones, which was particularly valuable for teaching in areas with few facilities.

Use of Skype meant that learners who found it difficult to attend all sessions because of family and other commitments could keep in touch with the tutor and have real-time feedback on work. HE staff on the course were very enthusiastic that this could therefore improve retention and achievement if implemented across provision because using this technology meant that they felt less isolated if they were unable to attend. Staff were also using the VLE to make sure that learners could access all course materials, and were encouraged to use the messaging facility to keep in touch with each other. Staff on the teacher education programmes felt that a potential barrier might be lack of learner access to broadband internet and a computer outside the classroom, but that this could be overcome with the loan of equipment. The feedback in terms of the impact on their professional practice was very positive. Learners’ reactions There was a mixed response from students on teacher education courses, ranging from extremely enthusiastic to very cautious. The students felt that embedding information into the VLE and encouraging learners to access it worked very well. Most felt that the iPodTtouch was an extremely sophisticated and vey versatile piece of equipment. The apps are fantastic–- you have everything you need in one gadget. Spirit level, scientific calculator, conversions … then get on the web and show the students examples of what they need to be creating.


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Teachers’ reactions Teachers felt that their learners enjoyed learning in this way and found mobile learning both interesting and engaging. Using Skype was considered to have a great deal of potential in terms of screen sharing to work with learners offering tutorial support out of college. Key messages and lessons learned Involving the teacher education courses in mobile learning meant the college made an investment in future teachers who will be able to take the knowledge and expertise into their own teaching. This will have a multiplier effect in that a substantial number of new teachers will take then this to their learners both inside and outside college.

Supervision of trainee teachers Cornwall College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction The School of Education and Training, (SET, based at Cornwall College) led a project strand in which departmental staff and their students (teachers in training) were given video cameras to film their own and peer practice, and make film-based resources for their learners in the post-compulsory sector. In this example, one of the SET teaching team was tasked with supervising a trainee teacher enrolled on the Diploma in Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (DTLLS) who was struggling in her teaching practice, and as a result had failed her first observation. Aims The aim of the project was to allow the trainee teacher to watch her practice retrospectively, both in the presence of her tutor and on her own, and in doing so observe her emerging strengths and areas for further development. The trainee’s mentor could also watch the film for further comment. Addressing the challenge Having discussed the immediate issues surrounding her practice with mentors – that there was no definitive structure to the lessons – the student was unofficially filmed during the first 20 minutes of one of her sessions, using an unobtrusive Mino Flip camera. Outcomes and reactions In an informal lunchtime meeting the same day, the student was able to watch the film and discuss the content with her tutor and mentor on separate occasions. Furthermore, strengths within her practice were highlighted, and suggestions were made in discussion regarding how areas for development could be worked on. The tutor was officially re-observed a week later, and the student passed. Students’ reactions The trainee teacher was delighted that she had passed (her place on the DTLLS programme would have been in jeopardy had she failed the observation once again).


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Teachers’ reactions Being able to fly into a session and do some guerrilla filming with a discreet and simple to use camera adds a superb dimension to the notion of supervision. Before, I would have written notes then gone over these with the trainee teacher retrospectively – on this occasion both the trainee and myself were able to watch her practice together, stop and play back key parts of the film, then simply and quickly email the film to her and her mentor for further viewing and discussion. I now use the Flip camera for all supervisory observations!’ Assessors’ reactions The tutor (as official observer) was delighted to see the trainee had tightened the start of her lessons to such an extent that she was awarded a pass for her next officially observed session Key messages and lessons learned It is often the most simple methods that are the most effective, and using a small, discreet and unobtrusive camera as opposed to spending time setting up a more ‘standard’ camcorder meant that neither the trainee teacher’s learners – nor the trainee herself – felt uncomfortable or acted differently, giving the exercise far more relevance. Next steps As cited above, the SET delivery team will now all be offered the opportunity to obtain their own Mino cameras to use in their own unofficial observations of peers, trainees – and themselves. Links Video of a trainee teacher discussing her use of video cameras for self and peer evaluation - http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=I5XQY

Encouraging trainee teacher innovation St Helens College, academic year 2008/09 Introduction St Helens College is a large FE provider in the North West. Part of their MoLeNET project looked to answer the question of how trainee teachers introduce mobile technologies into their teaching practice and what impact they have on planning, delivery and assessment. Aims As part of the CTLLS, trainee teachers completed an assignment entitled ‘Planning and Enabling Learning’. Part of the task covered how they would integrate an ILT intervention into their teaching. The task is stated as follows: Analyse the strengths and limitations of a range of resources, including new and emerging technologies, showing how these resources can be used to promote equality, support diversity and contribute to effective learning


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Previously, this module had been delivered theoretically and trainees had to research mobile technologies without the benefit of a hands-on approach. The aim of this research project was to make the process of completing this module less arduous, and to provide trainee teachers with the opportunity to carry out their ideas in practice. Addressing the challenge A few trainees selected either simple cameras or camcorders because they had limited expertise or confidence when using the technology. One learner quickly recognised the application of a ‘head cam’ in relation to recording and immediate playback within tutorial classes. Another trainee wanted to encourage her learners to become more self-evaluative by recording a practical activity and immediately being able to reflect on their performance. Yet another explained that they had chosen a voice recorder simply to record question and answer sessions, which may limit the amount of writing they had to complete. This trainee stated at the focus group that she was in a cold sweat when she saw the equipment. Another trainee recognised very quickly the potential of the Sony PSP as a tool to video mathematical equations to promote differentiation in a family learning environment. Several trainees chose the Sony PSP to use with their learners during role play, so that learners could assess their own performance, and to record assessments. Outcomes and reactions After some initial apprehension, confidence among the learner group built very quickly. The project generated discussion and the sharing of ideas, which resulted in many trainees returning regularly to the CPD centre to see if they could change their equipment, or add to their inventory. The changes requested reflected a growing understanding of the technological applications and confidence in using them. Part of the trainee teachers’ assessment involved submission of a written IT assignment relating specifically to their use of mobile technologies. All candidates were able to submit their written task on time and there was 100% success confirmed at marking and internal verification. Last year 20% of assignments were delayed, probably due to the onerous nature of the task. Teachers’ reactions One of my trainees is dyslexic and the voice recorder avoids numerous written knowledge questions, which could have been a barrier to her completing the qualification. I found my candidates eager to use the voice recorder; as a result the quality and duration of the professional discussions have greatly improved. The PSP was useful in assessing trainees as they could immediately view their role play and determine how they had performed. Assessors’ reactions The use of the head-cam was excellent. Everyone was included, assessed and given great feedback from you, through self assessment and through their peers.


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Key messages and lessons learned There no doubt that the quality of the assignments was dramatically enhanced in comparison with the previous year’s groups. Observations were inspiring, and the teachers/observers were delighted that trainees had taken every opportunity to incorporate the devices even though they were not compulsory. Next steps Teachers were keen to participate in a separate qualification in the use of mobile devices next year or the year after. During the coming year the college will be introducing access to e-registers through the internet. This will mean that it will also be possible to mark registers on-line using mobile phones, Sony PSPs and other mobile devices. Links Video of a teacher discussing how he uses mobile technologies – http://www.moletv.org.uk/watch.aspx?v=S63DC


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References

Attewell, J., Savill-Smith, C. and Douch, R. (2009) The impact of mobile learning; examining what it means for teaching and learning. London, England: LSN. Attewell, J., Savill-Smith, C., Douch, R. and Parker, G. (July 2010) Modernising education and training: mobilising technology for learning. London, England: LSN. Chan, S. (2009) ‘E-portfolios using mobile phones and social networking sites: workplace skill acquisition and identity formation’ in Same places, different spaces. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009. www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/ auckland09/procs/chan-poster.pdf COMPORT: A Comparative Study of e-Portfolio Implementation in Work-Based Learning. Implementation 1: City of Sunderland College available at http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/elearningcapital/heinfe/comport Wishart, J., McFarlane, A., and Ramsden, A. (2005): Using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) with Internet Access to Support Initial Teacher Training in the UK. mLearn 2005: 4th World conference on mLearning 


MoLeNET research indicates using mobile technologies to support work-based and vocational learners can improve: flexibility of learning, learner retention and achievement, personalisation of learning and assessment processes, access to learning resources, efficiency of assessment, standard of assessment evidence, portfolio management, access to assessors and tutors, speed of assessor and tutor feedback, integration of key skills or skills for life learning into vocational training, engagement with learning and learner behaviour. Cost effectiveness can be enhanced by reducing the number and/or length of assessor visits, reducing time to complete, taking advantage of learners’ own technologies and free wifi.

Work-based and vocational mobile learning

MoLeNET (The Mobile Learning Network), which has involved 40,000 learners, supports the use of mobile technologies to enhance teaching and learning in post compulsory education and training. Mobile technologies used include smartphones, MP3/4 players, SonyPSP, NintendoDS, cameras/headcams, UMPCs, netbooks, specialist scientific handhelds, GPS and voting devices.

Work-based and vocational mobile learning Making IT work

This publication includes more than 40 case studies and examples from the first two years of MoLeNET (2007/08 and 2008/09) focusing on the use of mobile technologies in the context of work-based and vocational learning.

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Work-based and vocational mobile learning - Making IT work