Sunday, July 17, 2016

Technology Enhanced Teaching

Technology Enhanced Teaching -
how to work in classes with multiple devices

Technology enhanced learning is a non-precisely defined term. In some context, it is used as a synonym for eLearning, in other context it refers to technology enhanced classrooms and means “learning with technology”.
Many articles and books have been written to this topic. Today technology in the classroom has become reality. Flexible (idealized) pedagogies have been developed and published.

Teachers and Technology

What about the teacher working in a technology enhanced environment? In a class with students using a laptop or multiple device for their learning? How can this teaching be organized, performed and done?
For technology enhanced teaching almost no literature exists. This gap will be filled by my new book “Technology Enhanced Teaching”, which will be available end of August. It describes a sophisticated and well proved method to handle lessons and is in some kind a variety of Blended Learning.
The book presents also a study about the teaching method, the results of five years testing and other interesting content.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How long may learning videos be for young people?

Using a learning platform, it is easy to provide learning videos or videoed material for the learners. The question is if the learners really watch (or even want to watch) these videos. It seems to be obvious that the length of the video stands in direct context of the use by the learners.

Humans have shorter attention span than goldfish, thanks to smartphones
The telegraph, May 15, 20151

The length also is correlated to the attention span of people. This attention span can be estimated with approximately 10 seconds. People who are regularly involved in learning or observation of processes may have a longer attention span.

A study (part of the book "Technology Enhanced Teaching", 2016) gives interesting answers to the question mentioned above. Obviously, there is no difference between male and female students.
The preference lies at 5 minutes, 20 % of the students would prefer a length of 2 minutes.

Results or the study (from: Technology Enhanced Teaching, 2016)
Data of the study: n = 72 (18 male, 54 female), age 16 – 18 years old attending a secondary high school.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Do Students like partner work?

Partner work in teaching physics using a learner-centered approach

Traditional teaching from a teacher centered approach is shifting to a modern teaching using a learner centered approach. Here the active involvement of students is an important issue.
Teaching physics, I tried to bring students to active learning, being active parts in the learning and not passive consumers of the teacher’s presentation, explanations and physical test and lab experiments. I found out that for many students it seems to be difficult to develop skills to be actively involved in the teaching process.

Experience in teaching Physics

As the subject “Physics” enforces a competence based approach to learning and finally should bring the students to specific skills and knowledge to understand and explain background processes and to analyze facts and items of everyday life from a physical (and scientific) point of view I enhanced students’ involvement in teaching.
Aston (1997) and others mentioned that positive group experience are relevant and in context to student learning, retention and learning success. This is also a mentioned issue in online learning (Roberts, 2004). Nevertheless, I got the feeling that student don't like these group experience so much. The joint creation of some learning outcome, based on self-experience and development in small groups brought the expected results. On the other hand, students hinted at their refusal of regularly done joint group work.

Asking students

Therefore, I asked the students about their opinion using a survey. The sample covered 75 students from the target group. I used a token-based tool to anonymize the survey but to be able to control the feedback. Applying this settings, I got a feedback of 92 % within three weeks.
The result was astonishing but in the frame of the expectations. Approx. 41 % did not agree to group work or did totally disagree to use this during lessons. In a focus group I analyzed their intention and found out that many of them think that group work is less efficient as the teacher’s presentation, needs more time and creates a lower level of knowledge. As a positive factor they stated that everything done on their own will build a more intensive learning experience and therefor easier to be reflected or to be reminded for them.

The other 59 percent appreciated more or less the group work, especially done in groups of two with a selected partner (normally the best friend).

Astin, A. (1993). What matters in college? Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Roberts, Tim S. (2004): Online collaborative learning. Theory and practice. Hershey PA: Information Science Pub.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Does eLearning increase the motivation of the learner?

El-Seoud, Seddiek, Taj-Eddin et.alt.1 (2014) mention that “… recent studies indicate that university students who have been enrolled on e-learning courses outperform those being taught on traditional courses”. This would indicate a higher level of success using eLearning included in teaching activities.
From my point of view, the technological approach does not necessarily guarantee neither the increasing learning outcomes. Students must be motivated to learn and for me it no context exists between the use of technology and a higher motivation of students.
Motivation is, simply expressed, the reason of a person to do something. From this aspect, it is of interest, if students are motivated to learn and if the use of eLearning increases their motivation. Teaching science for many years, I made the experience that complex content and relations as often found in mathematics or physics challenge the students. I got the impression, that they rather liked to get explained such complex relations than to elaborate these in group work or using some eLearning.
I started a case study with students of an age of 16 (secondary highschool level) to find out their opinion. In that case study they got a distance learning unit in physics about rotation and the theory’s application to everyday processes. The unit consisted of some interactive simulations (available at their learning platform Moodle) where students could study the forces occurring during rotation. Additionally, some questions related to the shown content were asked and discussed by the students in a (moderated) forum.
A final questionnaire asked the students about their experience and feelings. One of the questions aimed for motivation:
My motivation to concern myself more intensively was increased by the eLearning unit.

The result was astonishing. No one agreed to the question (Values in brackets represent the numeric value).

Agree completely (1)     0%
Agree partly (2)29%
Agree (3)47%
Don't agree (4)24%
Standard deviation0,72
Sample n34

I asked the students for their survey results and got the feedback that students rather prefer to get explained complex matters intensively by a good teacher than to work on their own to gain the findings and context. Some students explained their behavior by learning economy: For them it’s more time sparing to get things explained than to need a lot of time to understand the complex context. The feedback to the way of realization was rather positive: The students appreciated the multimedia material and found it useful and well performed.

1 Abou El-Seoud, Samir; Seddiek, Naglaa; Taj-Eddin, Islam; Ghenghesh, Pauline; Nosseir, Ann; El-Khouly, Mahmoud (2014): E-Learning and Students' Motivation: A Research Study on the Effect of E-Learning on Higher Education. In Int. J. Emerg. Technol. Learn. 9 (4), p. 20. DOI: 10.3991/ijet.v9i4.3465.