My name is Kahiwa Sebire. I’m originally from Wellington in New Zealand and moved to Adelaide almost 18 months ago, not long after I joined the NetSpot and Blackboard team. As a Solutions Engineer I get to indulge my passion for the transformational power technology has on teaching and learning. It’s also a nice excuse to spend a goodly amount of time on twitter, keeping up-to-date on news, trends and issues. Outside of the edtech world, I enjoy a very amateurish interest in photography and semi-professional career as a singer-songwriter, which is part of the reason I was so keen to be a part of the Talk Technology event here at The Promethean!
Today I’m going to be sharing the story of a client in the UK, Anglia Ruskin University. Anglia Ruskin is one of the largest in the East of England, United Kingdom, with a total student population of around 31,500. Its campuses are located in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough, England, UK.
Specifically, with students in their Teacher Training qualification. At Anglia, trainee teachers must complete a 16-week full-time placement, while still completing their masters-level study.
The problem was, many trainee teachers were struggling with the academic work required while on placement. In particular, assignments based on key readings were producing lower quality than expected work at the end of their placements. Trainees reported that they got sucked into school placement and forgot about the academic work required.
The workload while on placement, was as for a full-time teacher – taking classes, preparing lessons, reviewing homework, with the addition of further reflection on their experience also required.
This level of work made it difficult for trainees to make the time to read recommended materials, let alone critically reflect on their readings.
Further, many of the trainees were still developing the skills of academic writing and so even more time was required by the trainees to get to an appropriate level of connection with the materials.
All of this, while isolated physically from their classmates, tutors and lecturers.
Teaching staff realised that they needed to provide a scaffold of reflective reading and critical learning and to support trainees through this process. It also documented the ‘invisible’ struggles experienced by students when separated from a traditional learning support environment.
They selected four key readings that trainees should access, made them available on the course LMS and, then, over a 24hour period (9am-9am) teaching staff a number of tasks for trainees to complete that required the trainees to engage with the literature in a critical manner.
Trainees worked as a community of practice, sharing and building collective knowledge that was carefully scaffolded and supported by teaching staff. This approach was selected because the trainees already knew each other from face-to-face sessions in the first semester.
A perceived strength was that it encouraged trainees to be concise and critical. It also supported trainees while off-site in engaging with their ongoing academic assignment.
Focus group data showed initial disquiet from some students with the incorporation of SMS as a communication tool. Findings indicated that all trainees access the materials included in the “interventions” and included them in their final submission.
Results indicate a correlation between the number of messages sent and whether assignment marks went up or down between December and May assignment.
For all involved in the project, reading for the assignment was more focuses and directed, which helped them in developing academic skills appropriate for the qualification.
Student Centred Communciation
Communication to Improve
Engagement and Success
• Trainee teachers
• Full-time on placement (16
• Masters level study
• Trainees are full-time on placement
• Trainees feel isolated from the university
• Trainees are unused to academic writing
• Trainees struggle to find time for reading, do not critically
Photo CC-BY NC ND http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpott/5762135670
• Scaffolded and supported
• Targeted four key readings
• 4x 24hr interventions
Students are ‘expecting academic staff to take a lead’ in supporting
them with ‘learning on the move’
Bradley & Holley 2010
Photo CC-BY SA http://www.flickr.com/photos/idhren/9385792458
Initial survey revealed:
• Facebook – some
• Twitter – some
• Email-compatible – some
• Data connectivity – some
• SMS - all
• 95% of text messages are read
• 75% of text messages are read straight away
Method - SMS
Text sent to all
to study group
by others in
their study group
Student now has
the reading to
Photo CC-BY http://www.flickr.com/photos/english106/4358500584
What the trainees said:
• Immediacy: Texts are good to prod or remind you.
• Convenience: “The thing with the text is that it goes wherever
• Forced conciseness ‘pro’
• Useful and helped for writing assignment – look at answers
and elaborate on them.
• Shared reflection, builds community “I really enjoyed reading
some other people’s responses”
• Encouraged deep reading and concise reflections
• Maintained community of distant learners
• Engaged learners
• More critical reference to literature
The messages helped to bridge the ‘time and
space’ barrier by offering them a structured
Other uses at Anglia Ruskin University
• Weekly study tips
• Encourage discussion during
• Generate and manage
• Used in Teacher Education,
Nursing, Social Work
Photo CC-BY NC http://www.flickr.com/photos/clemsonunivlibrary/6123473401
• Engage at-risk students with text
messages about tutoring services
• Feedback – live and after events
• Application reminders to
• LMS announcements
• Staff/tutor availability
Photo CC-BY NC ND: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpott/5597870429
Involve [first name]
to 0427 933 112
e.g. Involve Kahiwa