What Really Makes Students Like A Web Site
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What Really Makes Students Like A Web Site

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    What Really Makes Students Like A Web Site What Really Makes Students Like A Web Site Presentation Transcript

    • What really makes students like a web site? What are the implications for designers of language learning sites? Jane Hughes, Claire McAvinia, Terry King Department of Education & Professional Development University College London jane.hughes@ucl.ac.uk; c.mcavinia@ucl.ac.uk; terry.king@ucl.ac.uk
    • Overview of Presentation
      • Context/background
        • ATLAS project (Arousing a Taste for Languages at school)
      • Description of work done
      • Findings and possible implications
      • Discussion and questions
    • A levels and first degree take-up in MFLs in UK
      • Good news or bad news?
      • A level and first degree take-up
        • pre-Curriculum 2000
        • Post-Curriculum 2000
      • Future unclear
    • Research Questions, Project Aims
      • ATLAS addresses decline in language study
        • Focus on school students (14-19)
        • Research attitudes, perceptions, experiences
        • Aim to motivate, create interest, enthusiasm
        • Less widely taught languages = fresh start
      • Web-based tasters
        • Teachers develop with web designer
        • Language element but not beginners’ courses
        • Key points: interest, enjoyment, motivation
    • Outline of Research
      • Questionnaire 687 14-19 year olds, 9 schools
        • Covers language learning experience, opinions, perceptions
        • Asked to identify a web site they liked
        • Asked to give a reason for liking it
      • Focus group follow-up (Year 12 and Year 10/11)
      • Analysis categorised and identified themes
      • Students and teachers gave feedback on new taster web site
        • Online (students); face-to-face (teachers)
    • Problems Arising
      • Anticipated problems with questionnaire
        • Identifying web sites: not a problem
        • Joke responses: a small number
        • Interpreting non-responses: for discussion
      • Categorising reasons
        • Some unspecific praise: “it’s good”
        • Sometimes needed to refer to the chosen site in order to categorise the reason: “it’s interesting”
      • Context may have influenced responses
      • First focus group less successful than second
      • Search engines – eg. Google, Yahoo
      • Academic support sites – eg GCSE Bitesize
      • Enthusiasms – eg. music, sport, ornithology
      • Heritage – eg Armenian culture, Indian dance
      • “ Magazine” sites – eg BBC, Urban75
      • Games – to play and download
      • Shopping – eg fashion, unusual items
      • Communication – email, chat, text msgs
      Questionnaire: range of sites
    • Reasons given for liking sites Support for study? Humour?
      • “ Lots of text” off-putting (unanimous)
      • It was not quantity but arrangement of text that mattered
        • small blocks, clearly headlined,separated
        • students wanted to scan, not read
        • “ searching” the web page
      • They liked lots of links
        • but wanted to know, before clicking on them, what they would find
      • This may explain why these two sites were nominated, despite having “lots of text” . . .
      Focus groups - more detail
    • BBC
    • Urban75
    • Appearance
      • Colours and pictures
        • Students are sensitive readers of these
        • Eye-catching but “not too in-your-face”
        • Can colours be patronising?
        • Cartoons vs photographs? Space ships and monsters?
      • Layout
        • Simplicity and lack of clutter valued
        • One reason for liking Google more than Yahoo
    • BBC
    • Bitesize revision site
    • Dislikes
      • “ Things that mess up your eyes”
        • backgrounds, blinking, flashing
      • Annoying sounds, or music that can not be turned off
      • Having to download helper applications
        • Flash and Acrobat Reader mentioned
        • “ It doesn’t have to be all flash”
    • Design questions
      • No gimmicks; but how to avoid ‘patronising’ design?
      • How much material in one place? How best to manage text and links?
      • Unusual subject matter a strength but could still include music, sport, fashion – how best to present this?
      • Reflecting teachers’ interests, design ideas
      • Whether/how to include a gaming aspect?
      • Would our design align us with particular sites that students liked/disliked?
    • ATLAS taster site - homepage
    • Russian taster – homepage
    • Danish taster - homepage
    • Russian Alphabet exercise
    • Hot Potatoes for Danish
    • Hot Potatoes for Polish
    • Initial feedback from students
      • MORE of everything
        • Interactions, pictures, information
      • Most liked the look of the site
        • Colour again was cited often
      • Most liked the map but not the space round it
      • Wanted pictures of people
      • Usability enhancement needed
        • Clearer menus
        • More obvious links and headings
        • Possibly site map, drop-down menus
    • Possible areas for discussion
      • Web and visual literacy
        • huge range and changing
        • How can we take account of the speed of change in this area?
        • What are student bringing to their reading of web pages?
      • Is this kind of information something that language teachers need to know?
        • Or is it up to technical staff or VLE designers to provide templates?
    • Future work
      • Taster site to be developed further, responding to the feedback from students and teachers
      • Pilot use in schools, November-December 2003
      • Complete site in all partner schools, January 2004
      • Site publicly available
    • Thanks to the following
      • All the students who took part in the survey.
      • The school language teachers who helped with the survey and gave us feedback on the web site.
      • The UCL language teachers who developed the Taster courses. They are from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, the Department of Scandinavian Studies and the Language Centre.
    • ATLAS - A Taste for Languages at School
      • The ATLAS project is funded by
        • The Nuffield Foundation
        • CfBT Research & Development
        • UCL
      • Partner Schools:
        • Ashcombe School, Surrey
        • City and Islington College, London
        • Cranford Community College, Hounslow
        • Elliott School, London
        • Haverstock School, London
        • Haydon School, Pinner
        • Parliament Hill School, London
        • Weald of Kent Grammar School for Girls, Kent
        • William Ellis School, London