Pushing the boat out - using multiple hooks to improve student engagement - with your two fishermen for this session: Paul and Dragos who competed this project at the University of Leeds in the 2009-2010 academic year.
Chances are everyone has seen e-voting in action (or at least its effects) at some stage in their life: be it Who Wants to be a Millionaire, political debates, or various other things involving people’s more or less anonymous participation. This is a photo from a glamorous event which took part at the University of Leeds. At one stage in this event the participants were asked to vote for a project which they felt changed the world. Prizes were then awarded based on the anonymous public vote that had just taken place.
This is a slide from one of Paul’s teaching presentations. For the first couple of sessions, until the students got used to the technology, it did help to have a list of simple and clear instructions which would enable them to connect their radio frequency handsets to the e-voting receivers. If you are using an infrared kit (a bit less reliable than the radio frequency one), you can skip this stage, as students do not need to connect it to the infrared receiver.
This is an example warm-up question where the participants are required to watch the beginning of this video. At some stage the facilitator will pause the video and will ask the participants to vote using the e-voting system on what they think will happen next in the video. Once the responses are in, the facilitator would play the video until the end and will see whether the outcome of the video is the same as the outcome anticipated by the participants.
By this point our audience had had some hands-on experience of e-voting in the session, but we were very curious to find out what kind of background and general experience with e-voting they actually had. So we asked this question, and our participants would click 1 if they were trainers using e-voting regularly; 2 if they were end users of e-voting (perhaps participants in sessions where the facilitators were using e-voting technology, just like Paul and I were on that day); and finally 3 if they had some level of interest in the technology, but they had been too busy to experiment with it.This slide also illustrated the point that you don’t need to have only text as options in a multiple choice question. Clearly labelled images and instructions would do the same job, while also making your slide look a lot more appealing.
We had done quite a lot of reading before initiating our project and we were wondering whether our audience had any additional knowledge of the current literature on e-voting. We therefore asked the participants’ opinion on what we may or may not have found in our initial literature review. The question was “What is not mentioned in the literature discussing the use of e-voting in higher education (or at least we haven’t been able to find it)?” and the graphics on this slide represent the following:Fun factor - e-voting is viewed almost like a toy and a way to bribe students into learningResults - e-voting is considered to be an effective tool whose use can lead to improved student gradesIntegration in a blended learning approach: VLE (virtual learning environment) +e-voting+F2F (face-to-face) sessionsIt was a bit of a relief to see that our audience felt as we did: namely that the current literature does not speak of an effective integration of e-voting technology in a blended learning approach. However we would be very grateful if anyone knowing have any study that addresses this third issue could let us know, as well.
And so we came to discussing the approach we adopted to integrate the e-learning technology into the module that Paul was leading at the time. We did not want to bolt the technology on to existing sessions and we recognised that the technology needed to be built-in coherently for the students to appreciate its value and make the most of it. We sat down and discussed the redesign of the module and the most important aspect was identifying what we wanted to achieve. Our ultimate goal was deep learning, engaging the students and encouraging them to become active learners (both F2F & online).
So we got our thinking caps on and got creative.
Our design eventually looked like this (the learning path):Before the session: Start on the VLE with recommended resources for the sessionDuring the session:Come to the session and start off by answering questions about the VLE resourcesThen 2 blocks of 30min lecturing + 10min questions to monitor progress and whether students are following the lectureFinally, reiterate the learning objectives of the session and have students vote on the ones they were comfortable with and the ones they were uncomfortable withAfter the session:Making voting results available as revision materialsBased on the student final vote, make additional resources (such as relevant interactive resources produced with Articulate Studio) available regarding what they were least comfortable with
This is an actual example of a question which Paul would ask in one of his sessions. Given the split response, a discussion would follow to clarify why a particular answer is right and the others are wrong. At this stage Paul made the observation that, as he and his colleagues were using the clickers more and more to check that the students are following the presentation, he was also teaching a lot more through the questions because after choosing an answer to a question, a discussion in which students would be actively involved would follow and very often a lot more than just the question would be addressed and cleared up.
We were after active learning, so we decided to make learning more active by introducing Bluetooth interactive tablets, as well. However, because of previous experience with the technology, we were aware that at that stage they were not the easiest pieces of kit to use ever. We could not thereforemake the Bluetooth interactive tablets an integral part of thedesign. I guess we were looking for a proof of concept to see if there was any point to wait for tablet PCs to become very cheap.However, in the meantime, the company that produced the original Bluetooth tablet we used brought out a new version of an interactive tablet with radio-frequency connectivity called the Mobi. This is a much more reliable piece of kit but unfortunately it was not available to us at the time of our project.
This is an example of a question slide which would come at the end of the session. The students would be reminded of the aims of the session and they would be asked to say anonymously which ones they were happiest with. Supporting materials would then be made available in the VLE to address the session objectives with which the students were least happy with. In this example it would be session objectives 1 and 4. This way the students felt they actually had a say in the organisation of the VLE area, where rather than putting up everything available, the tutors would only make available the resources that the students actually needed. This was another technique to involve the students in designing their learning.
By putting up resources which had been requested by the students, we were trying to hit the nail on the head in terms of student support and engagement. At this stage in the ALT-C presentation, Paul demonstrated a few of these additional multimedia interactive resources which had been created using Articulate Studio 09.
Before our session at ALT-C we have made available at link to a short and quite amusing movie that Paul and I did to document our experience with the use of remote interactive tablets and clickers. We were now wondering whether our audience had taken the time to watch this movie in advance of the session. It turned out that the majority had not, so we played a few minutes of the clip, namely the following stages:Tutor uses remote tablet to annotate scan image while explaining to the students (handwriting recognition, too)Students annotate scan image in response to tutor-set taskStudents work collaboratively to answer question (handwriting recognition): “describe blood supply to the liver”Here is the web address of the full video: http://lutube.leeds.ac.uk/smldc/videos/1950
We went through some of the feedback that we had got from students following our project. We had evaluated how they perceived our use of technology in several ways: first of all, through the end of module survey, then through a dedicated feedback form regarding the use of technology, and finally through a series of focus groups with the students.It turned out that the clickers were one of the highlights of the module. All but two of the 30+ students enrolled stated so unprompted. It was also very rewording to notice that the students saw a clear link between the online resources that would be available to them before or after the session, and the session itself.
The students were generally very happy with the use of the clickers, and they also had more specific comments about the use of technology in this module.Feedback from students:Clickers are easy to use, have made significant impact on the module (they score higher than other resources, like the module blog, and the PPT handouts), but need to be set up before the session starts; happy to put up with a few minutes’ set-up because they really see their value
The situation using the remote tablets were slightly different because in the sessions in which we trialled the tablets we split the students into four groups and given one tablet to each group. It turned out that the students who actually got the chance to use the tablets saw the value and were happy to put up with technical glitches like unreliable Bluetooth connection, while the students who were only contributing to the groupwork but not actively using the tablets did not appreciate them as much.
It looks like once they get used to certain technologies that arewell-implemented in the design of the module, the students would like to see them used in other modules, as well. That comes as no surprise really.
The road ahead:Plans for the future:Tablets were appreciated by those who used them and the tasks completed using them were valuableChallenge: find an easy-to-use environment which would allow such tasks, as well as interaction with students: polls (like clickers) + texting, perhapsWe have two solutions: Adobe Acrobat Connect Pro http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobatconnectpro/because of the many interactive features of this Flash-based intuitive online classroom environmentDrawtivityhttp://www.drawtivity.org/ (by Webducate) inside interactive online resources - for instance produced with Articulate Studio. At this stage of the presentation we demonstrated how Drawtivity would help create engaging online activities.
We then demonstrated how Acrobat Connect Pro could help one kill several birds with one stone thanks to its many features, among which:Interactive whiteboardsOnline PPT delivery & annotationGroupwork spaceChat with which one could interact using a free iPhone app, as wellOnlinepollsMany, many more
You are a very welcome to e-mail us. If you are on Twitter, as well, Dragos’ Twitter name is @suchadrag
Pushing the boat out
Dragos <br />Ciobanu<br />firstname.lastname@example.org<br />Paul<br />Arnold<br />email@example.com<br />Pushing the boat out -using multiple hooks to improve student engagement<br />
Using the clickers<br />1. Switch clickers on <br />- the second green light should start flashing<br />2. Key in the channel number<br />displayed on the screen - e.g.- you should get a green tick (if not, key in the number again)<br />3. When prompted, press a button to vote (you will get a green tick on your handset if the vote has been registered)<br />
What happens next?<br />Car behind crashes into Mercedes<br />Barrier hits driver<br />Driver starts howling<br />
According to T3 magazine, what percentage of the apps of a 16-24 year old are used regularly?<br />20%<br />30%<br />40%<br />50%<br />
I wonder if the audience has really watched the suggested video beforehand…<br />
Did it work?<br />Did you see a link between the online module and the face-to-face sessions?<br />Yes, there was a link because things we struggled with were put online<br />
[The technology] helped everyone interact and stay focussed.<br />It needs to be used in all the modules.<br />
Tablets were fun because it was difficult.<br />
How did the use of technology in this module compare with other modules?<br />We haven’t used any technology in other modules. This module was better with the use of technology<br />
Do you have any suggestions regarding the use of technology and the VLE in your programme?<br />I would like it if other modules could include more technology interaction to keep me engaged.<br />
Do you have any suggestions regarding the use of technology and the VLE in your programme?<br />When used, make sure that the technology is set up before we start as it used up valuable lecture time.<br />