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Can mobile technologies mobilize teaching and learning?  An exploratory study of teachers’ thoughts and practices  concerning the use of tablet PC’s
 

Can mobile technologies mobilize teaching and learning? An exploratory study of teachers’ thoughts and practices concerning the use of tablet PC’s

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  • Teachers usually integrated tablets in ways that aligned with their daily practices. Multiple criteria were used by teachers to decide in which lessons and how tablets would be used. These criteria include: 1) compatibility with course plan/content, 2) compatibility with available apps, 3) compatibility with previous use of ICT, and/or 4) compatibility with personal goals and/or intentions.
  • While teachers integrated tablets within activities that they would normally do, adjustments were usually made. Sometimes these adjustments were minor and did not affect the nature and/or characteristics of the learning activity (e.g. use of a new technology to support the same learning activity). In other occasions, however, adjustments included the incorporation of new elements that increased the complexity and/or expanded the scope of the learning activity at hand (e.g. active student engagement in the creation of a learning product).
  • Teachers perceived that the use of tablets in the classroom resulted in increased student motivation; however, they also acknowledged that this could be attributed to the “novelty” of tablets and therefore may “water down” with time.Next to increased student motivation, teachers noticed that students were more actively involved in their learning process. In the view of some teachers (n=3), active student involvement often led to a better understanding of the content at hand. This was particularly observed in those lessons where the use of tablets was closely integrated with course content.All nine teachers also acknowledged that students were able to develop and/or demonstrate competences that normally do not receive much attention in the curriculum, such as creativity, problem solving, or the ability to search and critically assesse information on the Internet. While the opportunities to support other types of competences in the classroom could be attributed to the multimedia possibilities offered by tablets, it could also be related to the type of activities students engaged in (i.e. more student centered and task oriented).
  • Teachers acknowledged that the characteristics of tablets (i.e. small and portable, multimedia, Wi-Fi connection) facilitated the integration of technology in the classroom by making it more efficient (e.g. no problems with cables, no need to go to the computer room, multiple resources in one single device) and flexible (e.g. mobility of teachers and students, access to Internet anywhere and anytime). The opportunities for increased interaction with and between students were also acknowledged as a potential advantage of tablets, and more specifically of the possibilities offered by the Apple TV to share and display individual screens (n=4). One teacher further acknowledged that the non-obtrusive nature of tablets facilitated interaction with students by enabling eye contact. Finally, another potential benefit of using tablets identified by teachers was the opportunity to bring diversity and variety into the classroom, and thereby increase student motivation and/or facilitate student learning.
  • While all teachers perceived that tablets had a positive impact on student motivation and involvement in the learning process, not all of them were fully convinced about the extent to which tablets contributed to improve student learning. Some teachers (n=3) found it difficult to integrate tablets with the course content and therefore wondered about the extent to which tablets may contribute to student learning and thereby result in improved outcomes. Moreover, when comparing tablets with other technology normally used in the classroom, some teachers (n=3) wondered what was the “added value” of using tablets, instead of other technology.
  • While the use of tablets was generally perceived as simple and effortlessness, the use of specific apps sometimes required additional technical knowledge and skills from teachers, and occasionally also from students. Furthermore, the fact that most apps are in English demanded extra efforts from teachers as they searched for apps as well as from students as they worked with the app.Beyond getting acquainted with the apps and the potential restrictions related to language, what seemed to have demanded most time and effort from teachers was finding (suitable) apps for their course. The limited information available about the apps made it difficult for them to, within the large range of available options, 1) differentiate between educative and non-educative apps and/or 2) identify those apps that are most suitable for their specific subject domain. This was perceived by all teachers (except one) as a time-consuming and frustrating experience. Searching for suitable apps as well as finding ways to integrate them in their lessons demanded an important investment of time from teachers. Seven out of nine teachers experienced that lesson planning demanded more time from them. Nevertheless, they also acknowledged that time investment would reduce as they become more familiar with the apps and gain more experience with the use of tablets in the classroom.
  • A perceived risk associated with the integration of tablets relates to the sense of “loss of control” over classroom management and over the way in which the lesson would unfold. All the teachers who participated in the study believe that the use of tablets may significantly increase students’ “temptation” to go on social media or play games, and thereby distract them from the task. Teachers identified three factors that may potentially increase the risk of student distraction -and overall make classroom management more difficult: 1) group size, 2) age, 3) group type.Next to the sense of “loss of control” over classroom management, a couple of teachers perceived that they had less control over the lesson and the ways in which it unfolded. On the one hand this relates to the fact that the use of tablets in the classroom was something new for teachers, and therefore difficult to predict. On the other hand, the sense of loss of control relates to the implementation of learning activities where the control over the learning process relies not only on the teacher but (mainly) on the student.

Can mobile technologies mobilize teaching and learning?  An exploratory study of teachers’ thoughts and practices  concerning the use of tablet PC’s Can mobile technologies mobilize teaching and learning? An exploratory study of teachers’ thoughts and practices concerning the use of tablet PC’s Presentation Transcript

  • #ISATT2013 Can mobile technologies mobilize teaching and learning? An exploratory study of teachers’ thoughts and practices concerning the use of tablet PC’s Natalie Pareja Roblin Jo Tondeur Johan van Braak Ghent University Joke Voogt Petra Fisser University of Twente Griet Mathieu Bram Bruggeman Het Perspectief
  • Tablets in the public spotlight…
  • Little attention to teachers’ perceptions Would it fit with my course content? What can we achieve with them? How should we use them?
  • Goals of the study • Analyze the ways in which teachers use tablets in their teaching practice. • Understand the rationality underlying teachers’ decisions regarding the use of tablets in their teaching practice. How? Why?
  • Practicality Ethic (Doyle & Ponder 1977; Janssen et al., 2013) – Expression of teachers perceptions of the potential consequences of attempting to implement a change proposal in the classroom. – Central ingredient in the initial decision teachers make regarding the implementation of a proposed change in classroom procedures.
  • Practicality Ethic (Doyle & Ponder, 1977) INSTRUMENTALITY Specification of procedures that have classroom validity COSTS/BENEFITS Relationship between effort and resources required and the return teachers might expect from it CONGRUENCE Correspondace with teachers’ present teaching philosophy and practice
  • Research context Project: “Path to the digital world in the class” • 3 technical/vocational secondary schools in East Flanders (n= 9 teachers). • Each school received 16 tablets for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. • External support: • Kick off session • Workshop about tablets and apps • Online support
  • Research context Characteristic School 1 School 2 School 3 Number of students 414 720 500 Number of teachers 75 120 100 Subjects involved in the project Dutch History Public Relations Dutch History Mathematics French Bikes Bikes & Motors # Students Year Specialization 9 students 6th year Public Relations 9 students 4th year Technical Sciences 7 students 5th year Auto motors Period where tablets were used April – May 2012 May - June 2012 September – October 2012 Remarks Tablets remain in the school *Workshop for students *Students take tablets home Tablets remain in the school
  • Methodology • Exploratory multiple case study (Yin, 2003) – Case  School (n=3) – Units of analysis  teachers (n=9) • Data sources Why? • 14 classroom observations • 9 teacher reflections • 3 focus group discussions • 9 recall interviews How? • Data analysis – Deductive + inductive analysis (Miles & Huberman, 1994) – Constant comparisons (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000)
  • Participants School Teacher Age Teaching experience in years Subject # Lessons taught with tablets Personal tablet School 1 Karen 33 8 History 4 (1h) No Laura 51 26 Dutch 3 (2h) No Susan 42 17 Public Relations 1 (4h) No School 2 Valerie 48 11 Dutch 5 (2h) Yes Martha 57 32 History 3 (1h) Yes Melanie 60 25 Mathematics 3 (2h) Yes School 3 Wouter 37 5 Bikes & motors 4 (2h) No Frans 39 4 Bikes 3 (2h) No Bert 50 28 French 3 (2h) No
  • USES OF TABLETS Results How?
  • Fix a bike with the help of a tutorial Search for and critically assess information on the internet Film and critically assess their own presentations Draw a time line of historic events Make a movie-clip with the characteristics of first films Overviewofmain typesofuses
  • EXAMPLES OF TABLET USE Video
  • TEACHERS’ PRACTICALITY CONSIDERATIONS Results Why?
  • Congruence Extent to which the use of tablets is aligned with teachers’ present teaching philosophy and practices Compatibility with: • Content • Available apps • Previous ICT use • Personal goals/intentions “When the project started, one thinks about ones lessons and how to force the apps into them. But then I turned this around, I looked first at the apps and at what I wanted to teach, and what I could do with this app to achieve it. Then it works much better, I believe” (Valerie, S2)
  • Congruence Similar activity, diff erent technology Similar activity, different context Similar activity, different roles Similar activity, new elements DAILY PRACTICE
  • Congruence Similar activity, different technology Similar activity, different context Similar activity, different roles Similar activity, new elements “[...] I used to do that [filming students’ presentations] with the video camera […] But now we were able to do it in a different way. I also let my students take turns in recording small movie clips, but they now had their own video material on their tablet …” (Susan, S1) DAILY PRACTICE
  • Congruence Similar activity, differe nt technology Similar activity, different context Similar activity, different roles Similar activity, new elements “Normally I would have given this [search on the Internet ] for homework, so I would have not been able to do this in the classroom, but thanks to the tablet …” (Valerie, S2) DAILY PRACTICE
  • Congruence Similar activity, different technology Similar activity, different context Similar activity, different roles Similar activity, new elements “One needs to just supervise them more with the apps and the rest they can do more independently, I think” (Wouter, S3) “I believe that it turns into a more informal communication […] they [students] help you and you are in a position that you almost know as much as they do” (Valerie, S2) DAILY PRACTICE
  • Congruence Similar activity, different technology Similar activity, different context Similar activity, different roles Similar activity, new elements “I also always give that lesson [about the history of films], but in a totally different way […] for so long I found it a missed opportunity that so little creativity is addressed, and this seemed to me the right moment to give it a try […] I let them create a short movie clip in which they apply the characteristics of first films” (Karen, S1) DAILY PRACTICE
  • Benefits – Student learning Teachers’ perceptions about the advantages of using tablets in their teaching practice Motivation (?) Active involvement New competences “They were obviously more enthusiastic, but the question is whether that was because it was something new for them” (Bert, S3) “They can now do something creative and that is also what I liked so much about it, that you see talents of students that would have otherwise not been seen” (Karen, S1)
  • Benefits – Teaching “[…] you can combine quite a lot of it by using the tablet, because then you have that for ICT, for ongoing issues, you have connection to the internet, you can easily integrate that in your lessons” (Valerie, S2) “That they can see each other […] then they can also see and hear the results of other groups, for that it is very interesting” (Bert, S3)
  • Benefits – Teaching “Purely taken that was, well, I won t say a waste of time because it is always good for that basic vocabulary, that can never harm, but it did not really connect to those things they need to know” (Bert, S3) “I will be honest, I can do a better job with that on my active board. On my active board I have the entire class, so I put on my Google and show it to them” (Martha, S2)
  • Costs Teachers estimation of the extra effort, time and risks associated with the use of tablets in their teaching practice Finding (suitable) apps “At home I looked what [apps] I could use, I found that to be very frustrating” (Valerie, S2) “The searching for apps, looking for what fitted best to the lesson content. So, looking what I could use, that cost the most time, was the hardest” (Melanie, S2)
  • Costs Teachers estimation of the extra effort, time and risks associated with the use of tablets in their teaching practice Loss of control over: • Ways in which lessons unfold • Classroom management “In groups that I have of 24 students it would be much harder. That I can hardly see myself being able to control”(Martha, S2) “At this moment I have very tough classes, very large groups and I do not find them ready to work with it right now, so I will certainly not risk it now” (Laura, S1)
  • Conclusions and discussion • Tablets were used in ways that aligned with previous practices: only minor changes were made. • Access to (suitable) apps, and integration with course content (TPACK) are perceived as major challenges for integrating tablets. • The costs (e.g. finding suitable apps) and risks (e.g. classroom management) of integrating tablets were experienced by most teachers as higher than the perceived potential benefits for student learning and for their own instructional practices (cf. McGrail, 2005). • How can professional development programs: – help teachers see and understand the ways in which tablets can be used to facilitate teaching and learning? – inspire and challenge long held routines and beliefs? – contribute to bridge practicality considerations and change? (cf. Janssen et al., 2013)
  • #ISATT2013 THANK YOU! Contact: Natalie Pareja Roblin: natalie.parejaroblin@ugent.be Jo Tondeur: jo.tondeur@ugent.be Griet Mathieu: griet.mathieu@hetperspectief.net Bram Bruggeman: bruggeman.bram@gmail.com