Using Short Message Services (SMS) for exam preparation


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Using Short Message Services (SMS) for exam preparation

  1. 1. Using Short Message Services (SMS) for exam preparation Dick Ng’ambi and Angie Knaggs University of Cape Town South Africa IADIS International Conference on Mobile Learning, 11-13 April 2008, Algarve, Portugal
  2. 2. r Cape Town
  3. 3. Outline <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Case Study Description </li></ul><ul><li>Technology Mediated Actions </li></ul><ul><li>DFAQ tool used by students </li></ul><ul><li>Observations </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>To exploit existing technological literacies among students </li></ul><ul><li>To use existing tools to manage complexity within constraints of time, space and distance </li></ul><ul><li>√ To facilitate knowledge sharing and consultation for cognitive and affective student support </li></ul><ul><li>To effectively use real-world ubiquitous tools i.e. mobile phones </li></ul>
  5. 5. Case Study Institutional LMS used on campus Integration of On/Off campus learning Texting used for cognitive / affective support Time to learn in isolation Exam Preparation week Texting as Social Practice (not seen as ed.) Too busy to learn for exams Cognitive /Affective support
  6. 6. On-Campus Affective Peer Support
  7. 7. On-Campus Cognitive Tutor/Peer Support
  8. 8. A Cognitive / Affective Knowledge Resource
  9. 9. Technology Mediated Actions <ul><li>Technology mediated action means two things: technology as a medium and technology as a tool. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>media view of mobile phones allow information seekers to communicate with information givers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>tools view is that information seeking is a part of human activity and a mobile phone is used whenever a need arises for which consultation is required </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>Course code identified forum </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. Fam1001. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>SMS course code to 31642 </li></ul><ul><li>Access course news / notices from virtual notice board </li></ul><ul><li>All incoming messages wait in a queue, and automatically emails course convener </li></ul><ul><li>Any member of class can respond </li></ul><ul><li>Responses sent back via SMS </li></ul>Dynamic Frequently Asked Questions (DFAQ) tool
  11. 11. Student uses DFAQ: an anonymous consultation tool
  12. 17. Observations <ul><li>Twenty-five SMSes were posted into the system during the semester constituting approximately 4 months. </li></ul><ul><li>Observed that system was under-utilised during term time </li></ul><ul><li>So we wanted to find out why. Questionnaire was given to students: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did you use the SMS system? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Yes/No </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If yes, how often? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Once/2-4 times/More than 5 times </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If not, why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Cost/Difficult Technology/Complicated process </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Comments </li></ul></ul>
  13. 18. Term Time: Positive feedback <ul><li>Very good, convenient system for our age group. </li></ul><ul><li>It’s awesome! Helped a lot! </li></ul><ul><li>Never really had a reason to, but I think it’s a good system that should remain in use. </li></ul>
  14. 19. Term Time: Negative feedback <ul><li>I haven’t had airtime so it’s no 1’s fault really. </li></ul><ul><li>I AM BROKE. </li></ul><ul><li>Too Expensive  . </li></ul><ul><li>Airtime is a rare commodity. </li></ul>
  15. 20. Exam Prep Time <ul><li>75% of the total number of SMSes were received. This is an increase of almost 200% as compared to messages sent during term time </li></ul><ul><li>Students viewed SMS as a necessary medium through which they could receive help </li></ul>NB: Were students suddenly able to afford the cost of SMSes?
  16. 21. <ul><li>Term time concerns were. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>students had no need to use the system and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>they were concerned about the cost. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Observation: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Once study week had begun, the students’ circumstances changed and their interest in the system peaked. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>As value of messages sent increased, cost became insignificant. Exam prep questions had high stakes and negated the cost of sending SMSes. </li></ul>
  17. 22. Conclusion 1/2 <ul><li>There were fewer SMS mediated interactions in the DFAQ environment during the semester but use of SMS increased when students were off campus. </li></ul><ul><li>Circumstances created opportunities for using mobile phones not only to consult with the teaching staff but with fellow students. </li></ul>
  18. 23. <ul><li>Students described the use of SMS during the examination preparation period as “cool”. </li></ul><ul><li>Questions asked during the preparation week were both about seeking to understand content as much as about anxiety. </li></ul><ul><li>SMS did support students during examination preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Further work will explore whether use of mobile phones impacts on examination performance. </li></ul>Conclusion 2/2
  19. 24. Questions / Discussion Contact: Dr. Dick Ng’ambi [email_address] Centre for Educational Technology University of Cape Town