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Contextual Enquiry case study
Contextual Enquiry case study
Contextual Enquiry case study
Contextual Enquiry case study
Contextual Enquiry case study
Contextual Enquiry case study
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Contextual Enquiry case study


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  • 1. IRITH @irithwilliams 1 DISSERTATION CASE STUDY This Case Study is based on the research project I did for my Honours Degree. It presents the results and is an exercise in rendering a large complex document into an easily accessible short piece. The dissertation title was: Primary School Teachers’ Attitudes to Multimedia: what educational publishers need to know. 1
  • 2. QUESTIONHow can a textbook publisher invest in digital products without losing money?ANSWERFind out how teachers decide what to buy...then produce what they will like anduse.What did we already know?A literature search showed widespread dissatisfaction with educational technology, but the causes were varied andsometimes unclear. There were contradictory reports about how teachers used technology but there was consensuson how they evaluated digital material (multimedia).In order to make decisions a publisher would need to know patterns of use, as well as what was valued.How could I find evidence?I designed a contextual enquiry to gather both quantitative and qualitative data on primary school teachersimplementation of technology; I hoped to identify patterns that could support conclusions about purchasing behaviour.And...?The results were a rich source of data on how much educational technology was used in the classroom and teachers’attitudes to the technology and products they were using.They confirmed teacher frustration and the varying experiences and skill levels of teachers.I was able to recommend how to better meet the needs of teachers in the classroom, address problems with lack oftime and skills, and to ensure well-designed, relevant and accessible educational products. According to the literature... Social and Professional issues, The search revealed three areas that define the CONTEXT of technology Computer Mediated Learning, and in the classroom and thereby directly affect the buying choices of teachers. Product Design are the areas that These three areas are: define the context for technology use in schools. That is: Social and Professional Issues Examples CONTEXT ƒƒ Lack of access to adequate technology (including poor supply and outdated equipment) ƒƒ Lack of media literacy ATTITUDES Computer Mediated Learning Examples DECISIONS ƒƒ Computers too outdated to run relevant software ƒƒ Level of teacher supervision required ƒƒ Equipment not accessible to students CHOICE Product Design Examples ƒƒ Products that were difficult to implement in the classroom ƒƒ Products with poor quality content 2
  • 3. The literature search also supplied a set of six criteria for EVALUATING educational technology:1. Content and Coverage: Quality of information, credibility, tone, balance of text/non-text presentation.2. Currency and Accuracy: How recent is information? How reliable? Fact or opinion?3. National Curriculum: How closely is it linked to the curriculum and at what stages?4. Reading Age: How accessible is the language for intended students to read independently?5. Facilities and Features: Can information be printed/saved? Can content be tagged, bookmarked, recorded?6. Design, Construction and Flexibility: Quality of usability, navigation, accessibility, customizable, quality of graphics, affective elements. So what was unclear?“The skills and experiences of teachers From the literature, the skills and experiences of teachers varied greatly.varied. I needed to get a ‘snapshot’ of My aim was to get a ‘snapshot’ of computer use in the classroom to gaugecomputer use in the classroom to check how relevant these issues were. There was conflicting information on:the status of these issues.” ƒƒ teacher adoption of computers ƒƒ ‘embedding’ of IT into the curriculum ƒƒ availability of quality software ƒƒ numbers of IT-trained staff in schools Designing the research My first idea was to ask teachers to critique their existing multimedia titles... but then I realized: that’s expecting a lot of effort and thought from a teacher, and if I get a pile of opinions, how do I analyse them?...Which got me thinking.. How should I gather data? What time and money do I have to spend“Principles: on it?ƒƒ Don’t make them work With limited resources, how do I prioritise what data to aim for?ƒƒ Gather as much measurable data as Should I go for quantative or qualitative?...Can I get BOTH? possible. Which is easiest to gather? Which is going to deliver interestingƒƒ Give an opportunity for comments” insights? What tools should I use? Questionnaire? Interview? Observation? I realised I needed to ask questions directly related to the three areas of influence, and to develop guiding principles for the enquiry, these“So I designed a postal ‘tick the box’ became:questionnaire.” ƒƒ DON’T MAKE THEM WORK ƒƒ Gather as much measurable data as possible. ƒƒ Strive to provide an opportunity for voluntary comments. And led me to make some decisions: use a questionnaire, maximum two pages, mainly ‘tick the box’ with a postage paid return envelope. I planned to follow up the questionnaire with a handful of interviews to gain“The strategy proved highly effective. It more qualitative data. The response proved this method highly effective.elicited a large quantity of quantative and It elicited a large quantity of quantative and qualitative data. It seemed toqualitative data.” really ‘hit a nerve’ with the teachers. 3
  • 4. The Response“I got:132 respondents (including 132 respondents (including 120 comments) from 90 schools.120 comments) from 90 schools. This The questionnaire offered sixteen questions, three of which were purelyequalled a 31% response rate.” for comment. This was a rich source of data which made follow-up interviews superfluous. Analysis“Analysis: Questions were designed to provide data on the three issues affectingƒƒ View data in relation to the relevant teacher attitudes and behaviour. Patterns of use and trends in attitude criteria/issues were looked for. Extrapolations were made based on the data.ƒƒ Identify trends in attitudes and patterns For example: of behaviour Government policy was for all schools to have internet access,ƒƒ Extrapolate for recommendations” yet at the time of the study only 6% of the respondents used the internet. For an educational publisher this implied that planning for CD-ROM design and production was necessary. Questions related to CD-ROM use showed that only half of teachers used them. So a publisher would need to do further research on barriers to CD-ROM use before deciding to produce them. The teacher comments fell into six themes, these were: ƒƒ Funding ƒƒ Training ƒƒ Affective Elements ƒƒ Access to equipment ƒƒ Curriculum ƒƒ Time These were all anticipated from the literature and it was useful to have those issues confirmed. Conclusions“Conclusions Teachers’ direct comments ranged from criticisms to enthusiasticTeachers were frustrated with a lack of advocacy for multimedia technology.time and other ‘deal breakers’. These were: By far the most persistent tone was teachers’ frustration at the manyƒƒ Lack of pedagogic value limitations experienced in their efforts to implement IT in the classroom.ƒƒ Technological constraints The most persistent problem was a lack of time; many of the commentsƒƒ Class management issues specified that lack of time prevented further use of computers or multimediaƒƒ Lack of technological literacy” packages. The analysis revealed that there are several ‘deal breakers’ when teachers are choosing multimedia products. These are: ƒƒ Lack of pedagogic value ƒƒ Technological constraints ƒƒ Management issues ƒƒ Lack of technological literacy ƒƒ Perceived no added value (above traditional learning materials) 4
  • 5. What can a publisher do? IT Policy/ Implementation Hire/use people who Include this expertise at every Decision to understand these stage of design, development and purchase issues implementation. PedagogyCreate Design GoalsState design goals, and stick to them. I suggest:ƒƒ Design for constraints (environmental, technological, literacy, etc)ƒƒ Start with pedagogic objectivesƒƒ Ensure content is curriculum specificƒƒ Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate (i.e. test in the classroom)Product RecommendationsTeacher training/preview timeBuild ‘proxy’ teacher training into products by including preview ‘tutorials’ and guided explanations of ‘how to use’and the content covered.Design for group work, always.Look for ways to support access to computers that can run multimedia.Explore marketing strategies, licensing structures, play a role in the penetration of IT into schools.Impact?The anticipated outcomes from implementing these recommendations are described on the following page... 5
  • 6. Applying these recommendations should lead to a FRUITFUL outcome forteachers and publishers: Products Rich content market tested for success Investment in good practice Lesson gives cross- management fertilisation support IT literacy skills developed Good fit with Enriched curriculum = Flexibility relationships valued helps to Access to with market = overcome training Able to cull opportunities time and unprofitable constraints support product early Targeted investment Group needs Motivated and evidence- anticipated Fun students based interactions productAny product design process mustSUPPORT Business Requirements for Commercialthe ‘tree’ to survive. Viability = SustainabilityThese research recommendations are thesoil that will FEED Teacher Requirements and Support PedagogicBusiness Requirements Design for technology goals Curriculum Test in penetration flexible specialists classroom IT policy into schools training Design for (Contextual specialists groups evaluation) No time for Curriculum training Reliable, Fun, accessible Control and motivational Pedagogic relevance computers flexibility Group work interaction value Teacher Requirements (determined by context) are the ROOTS of the design 6