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Pad-agogy: Working with mobile devices in a 1:1 Laptop school

by Christian Welsch

jeudi 13 février 2014/Catégories: Travail de candidature, Branches, Anglais

Abstract

Research aims

Educators across the globe are looking for ways to improve learning and teaching in the Information Age. The consensus is that it would be truly revolutionary if students were able to fall back on a device that would accompany them in their learning and if this device could be easily taken with them, so that learning could potentially take place anytime, anywhere.

This travail aims to carefully dissect how mobile devices can significantly enhance a 1:1 learning environment, with a focus on socially constructing knowledge and skills. This thesis also aims to create, on the one hand, lists of tools/apps — in accordance with Bloom's taxonomy — for mobile devices (tablets and smartphones). These lists should help teachers as well as learners to choose the tools that are relevant for their individual learning outcomes. On the other hand, I will devise two lesson sequences that use said tools/apps in context, thus delivering classroom examples that can be imitated or adjusted for individual classroom needs.

Methodology

Popular conception has it that mobile devices primarily encourage consumption rather than creation. In order for this perception to be overcome, a paradigm shift needs to occur. To help raise awareness of the pedagogical potential of mobile devices a number of methods will be put into practice. Students are required to use (their) mobile devices for classroom activities as well as homework. Activities take into account the entire spectrum of cognitive skills elaborated by Bloom and thus range from mind-mapping to more creative problem-solving tasks.

Students are thus introduced to a manageable number of applications that can enhance their learning in a variety of ways. These applications range from rather straightforward remembering tools to more demanding creative tools, thus gradually moving up Bloom’s taxonomy ladder. Since I will also make use of these tools myself, this thesis will indirectly focus on my professional development and teaching methods as well.

Outcome

What it all comes down to is to put learning quite literally (back?) into students' hands. Tasks that favoured collaboration, sharing and communication made students appreciate not only mobile technologies but also their peers as valuable resources for learning. Throughout the mobile learning sequence, increased motivation, productivity and autonomy were recorded. The learning environment also profited from mobile devices through increased spontaneity and flexibility. As far as the teacher is concerned, he took on the role of the facilitator, the guide on the side who is a resource as well as a means to additional resources. He introduces the tools and thus makes new ways of learning (and teaching) possible.

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