Ar reseach conf_02_09_11_holley
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Abstract Submission for the “The Anglia Ruskin Research Conference 2011 – Celebrating excellence through research”....

Abstract Submission for the “The Anglia Ruskin Research Conference 2011 – Celebrating excellence through research”.
Names of Author/s

Debbie Holley*
Faculty of Education
debbie.holley@anglia.ac.uk
Sue Sentance
Faculty of Education
Claire Bradley
Learning Technology Research Institute
London Metropolitan University
*corresponding author

Research Funded by….ESCalate (the HEA Education Subject Group)

‘Because it wasn’t compulsory, I didn’t do it.’: challenges with supporting students using mobile technology

It is now accepted that mobile devices have a number of important characteristics which make them attractive from an educational perspective, including increasing portability, functionality, multimedia convergence, ubiquity, personal ownership, social interactivity, context sensitivity, location awareness, connectivity and personalisation (Pachler et al, 2010). A mobile phone pilot ‘texting’ students study tips indicated that all students own their own mobile phones of varying sophistication. Student feedback indicates they are keen to use mobiles for studying (Bradley & Holley, 2010). In the education field, Wishart (2009) carried out research with trainee teachers and PDAs to facilitate better communication with trainees, and to offer support to students to prevent isolation.

At Anglia Ruskin, our student trainee teachers typically struggle with their placement /academic work balance and rush their research project at the end, and have reported disappointment with their grades. Students also find it difficult to develop the level of academic skills required, in particular the critical review of literature when embedded in their placement school. We mapped the key intervention points when students most needed support according to the students’ school experience and academic preparation for the project. A series of readings were posted onto the University VLE, and we then engaged the students via txttools, a medium for both sending and receiving SMS messages. These key readings and supported ‘chat via text’ focused on very short bursts of information over a 24 hour period, aimed to support student writing over the period. Thus the students had the opportunity for critical engagement with their peers and tutors at key points on their placement experience. Students were loaned ‘flipcams’ for the duration of the project, and asked to keep video diaries of their reflections on the ongoing project. Our paper will report on the project evaluation and lessons learned from the project.

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Ar reseach conf_02_09_11_holley Presentation Transcript

  • 1. ‘ Because it wasn’t compulsory, I didn’t do it.’: challenges with supporting students using mobile technology Debbie Holley* and Sue Sentance Department of Education Claire Bradley, expert evaluator, Learning Technology Research Institute Questions to debbie.holley@anglia.ac.uk
  • 2. TxtTool Demo
    • To take part please enter this number into your phones
    • 07950 080672
    • Save as ‘text’
    • (if you decide to take part, your number will be held on a secure server and deleted after the demo, cost is the standard cost of an SMS message)
  • 3. Our project: funded by ESCalate
    • ESCalate - HEA funded education subject centre
    • Our bid was a small grant in the ‘ Developing Pedagogy and Practice’ series
    • Our interim report (August 2011)is available : http://escalate.ac.uk/8140
    • We follow Escalate and key bloggers and writers on mobile technology via twitter, and so had access to the early call for funding
  • 4. Context
    • Anglia Ruskin University recruits trainees who live all over the East Anglian region
    • Secondary PGCE trainees in ICT, Maths, English, Modern Foreign Languages, Science, Art
    • 11 PGCE ICT trainees
  • 5. The problem
    • Trainees are unused to academic writing
    • Trainees are full-time on placement
    • Trainees feel isolated from the university
    • Trainees struggle to find time for reading
    • Trainees do not reflect on their reading
  • 6. Our ICT trainees and their mobiles
    • All have a mobile phone
    • All use text messaging
    • Some have internet access via phone
    • Most have phone contract; some on pay as you go
    • Some use Facebook
    • Some use Twitter
  • 7. The suggested solution
    • Use mobile technology to help support trainees
    • Why mobiles?
    • How to support?
  • 8. Why mobiles?
    • 98% ownership of mobiles
    • 6.1 trillion texts sent in 2010 (only 96.8 billion texts sent in 2009) .
    • For every second that goes by, another 200,000 text messages will have changed hands
    • 95% of text messages are read
    • 75% of text messages are read straight away.
    • (statistics from James Lasbrey, O2, May 2011 & International Telecommunication Union, October 2010)
  • 9. Our investigation
    • Purpose:
    • To find out if mobile technology (eg TxtTools software) could be used support our trainees on placement.
    • Approach taken:
    • Four key interventions 24 hours long, four weeks apart
    • Each based round a reading for their assignment (Curriculum & Pedagogy)
  • 10. Extract from student messages
  • 11. Focus Group in June:
      • Large amount of feedback data collected
      • Considerable difference of opinion between trainees on specific issues relating to timing and format of the interventions
      • Invasion of free time (this only happened in the first intervention – after that the timing was changed so the messages went out at 9am, after one student complained in the questionnaire about getting messages in the evening).
      • Because it wasn’t compulsory, I didn’t do it.
      • Already have too many different things to do.
  • 12. What the trainees said…
    • Positive points – academic benefits
      • Offered academic support
      • Did read readings that they would not have done otherwise
      • Did use readings and comments in their assignments
      • Did start assignment earlier (three trainees)
  • 13. What the trainees said…
    • Positive points – use of technology
      • Using mobiles more convenient than PC-based system
      • Liked to view others’ responses
      • Good to be concise
  • 14. What the trainees said…
    • Negative points – mostly about use of this technology
      • Conciseness was difficult – 160 character limit
      • Did not like forwarded messages being anonymous
      • Some concerns about invasion of privacy
      • Wanted to see complete thread of responses
      • “ We already have too many other things to do”
  • 15. What the tutor said…
    • Educational benefits
    • Encouraged trainees to read
    • Encouraged trainees to reflect on the reading rather than just skim read
    • Encouraged concise writing and discouraged descriptive comments
    • Trainees commented on each other’s comments
    • Compensated for lack of university sessions with trainees to a small degree
    • Set the focus on their assignment
    • Informal assessment is that May assignments had more critical reference to literature than January assignments
  • 16. Conclusion
    • Some academic benefits gained from intervention
    • Insight into how mobiles could be used – list of requirements generated
    • Scope to develop a more sophisticated tool that would address these requirements
  • 17. Work still to be done:
    • Complete focus group analysis
    • Review and analyse student video diaries
    • Consider taking project forward
    • Any questions?