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