Cathy’s story

This project brings together two of my passions: collaborative action research and technology.

Last year’s project focus was on the collaboration and asked ‘What can a group of tutors learn from each other in making effective use of mobile technologies?’

I wanted to follow this up but switch the focus onto the technology. Yvonne and I had worked really well together on the project last year so I was really happy when she agreed to do a joint bid for the emCETT practitioner research project.

In 2013 there had been two main challenges. The first was around the technology. I learned a lot about bringing a set of iPads together to create a class set. I also had a very steep learning curve in what to do with the iPads & I still remember that feeling of being out of my comfort zone. The meetings with the other tutors in the project were so vital in overcoming this. However, the second challenge had been around meeting – timetabling meant that there was not a single time where all the tutors were able to meet together. I was the lucky one that got to meet with everyone and I learned so much from this.

Switching the emphasis of the research from the collaboration between tutors onto the technology I was interested in Bring Your Own Device. I’d explored activities that I could ask students to do with college equipment, what activities could we reasonably ask them to do with their own devices? What were the students’ opinions on using mobile technologies? I also wanted to include the students in the research at an earlier point of the year.

With this in mind two research questions were written:

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?

Last year I’d predominantly used the iPads with my Entry 1 16-18 ESOL class & Yvonne had used them with her Entry level maths group. This year we agreed to include more classes and thought it would be interesting to compare different level classes. I was the new tutor for the year one Cert Ed/PGCE group so thought this would be an interesting group to include and Yvonne has an E3 maths groups again and a GCSE group, where most of the students were members of staff at the college.


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