Archive for the ‘conclusion 14-15’ category

Conclusion

June 16, 2015conclusion 14-15
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It has been two years since Cathy decided to pull together the iPads to create a class set. Up to that point she was reluctant to answer questions around how they can be used in class as she felt mobile technologies were personal devices which had lots of potential to support learning, but were not ‘teaching’ tools to be used in a class.

At the end of the project last year she had a clearer idea of how the iPads could be used, and she reflected on how these activities could be divided into student-led or teacher-led activities. The questions for this year’s project felt a natural progression. During the year these questions felt problematic, but having pulled this report together it is becoming clearer how these have been answered:

What are the educational benefits of using mobile technology in a classroom setting?

What is the impact of using mobile technologies in the classroom on students’ use of their own devices?

It is interesting to reflect on these findings and how they relate to Cathy’s inital notion that mobile techologies are personal devices and how the the tutor can allow students the time and space to explore the devices themselves to allow informed decisions about how they can be used. However, it also raises a question about why tutors are not engaging more in teacher – led activity. Is it a case that tutors lack the pedagagical and technical knowledge to know how to direct students in how to use mobile devices?

If we include Farah’s own action research project here there is a pattern with the adult students. The lower level students (Yvonne’s E3 maths students and Farah’s E1 ESOL students) have needed technical support in accessing the iPads before being directed to explore maths and ESOL apps. These students either don’t have their own devices or it is others in the house (often their kids) who monopolise them.

Looking at the younger students in this project it appears they need a different kind of guidance. Cathy had more of a balance between teacher- and student-led activities and didn’t have a set time in lessons for students to use the ESOL apps on the iPads. Cathy found that when using the class iPads there was less of a classroom management issue than when students used their own devices. Many students liked to use their own phones to use a translation app or a dictionary, but Cathy was always aware of the temptations of texting, facebook and other diverstions.

Mo also had this issue, but this was with the class iPads. When she gave them ‘reward time’ at the end of a lesson, to use the iPads to practice their English she found that she still had to monitor this closely and repeatedly remind students that they shouldn’t log into facebook or other social media sites and that this time should be used for English practice.

 Toyama (2015) suggests a Law of Amplification, that is technology can be used as a tool  to ‘amplify good systems already in place’  (Gorman 2015) He states “Technology’s primary effect is to amplify human forces. In education, technologies amplify whatever pedagogical capacity is already there.” (Tyoama K. 2015)

For our adult students, who are motivated to attend classes, giving them time to use technologies to further support their studies is embraced. The lower level students need technical support and guidance in doing this, while the higher level students are more confident in using their own technologies in their own time to support their studies. When they come to class they want to engage with the tutor, not with the technology.

But for younger students, who already are technically competent and use their own devices for leisure, Taoyama suggests they should not be left to choose between learning activity and distractive alternatives like facebook and online games as “distraction seems to win out when there’s no adult guidance.” (Tyoama K. 2015)

With these issues in mind, it seems that this small action research project has yet to fully address the question of the benefits of using mobile technologies for teacher-led activities. Tutors new to the iPads valued the opportunities to take an iPad home to explore themselves to ensure they are confident in how to use them & through doing this have ensouraged their students to take similar approaches to exploring their own devices. Further research is needed to continue to explore the teacher-led potential.  

references

Gorman, N. (2015). Opinion: Technology Cannot ‘Level the Playing Field’ of Learning. Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_news/opinion-technology-cannot-level-playing-field-learning-572169056#.

Toyama, K. (2015). Technology won’t fix America’s neediest schools. It makes bad education worse.. Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/06/04/technology-wont-fix-americas-neediest-schools-it-makes-bad-education-worse/.