Research and Evaluation: A Work in Progress

In conjunction with the latest iPad Pilot underway at Trinity College Foundation Studies, there is research and evaluation work in progress to determine how we can best develop the most engaging and challenging programs for our Foundation Studies students. If you are interested in knowing more about this research, please look here at some excerpts from the Literature Review which has been undertaken, including the interim research questions, rationale for the research focus, and a selection of the Works Cited from the Literature Review. Our first pilot was also extensively evaluated in the Step Forward Report, which is also still available

As educators all around the world consider the fast developing options for personal mobile technologies available to their students, it is essential to share experiences, discuss, debate and engage with one another. As our last post demonstrated, collaboration between institutions, and sharing information and experiences really adds to the feeling of being embarked on an exciting journey as educators – an experience which students should be invited into, and enabled in many ways to shape for themselves.

It is also important to consider the systems and supports which are required to maintain the programs and curriculum – including the ways staff are engaging in professional development; the ways students are using their iPads in and out of the classroom for learning, and from these findings, to determine how to direct our future plans in ways which will maximise the benefits for our students. One key reference text which is guiding the research process is a collection of essays edited by Vavoula Giasemi, Norbert Pachler, and Agnes Kukulska-Hulme. Researching Mobile Learning: Frameworks, Tools and Research Designs.(2009) Oxford, Bern, Berlin: Peter Lang Verlag.

If you have any questions about the research, please comment here, or at the Academia.edu site. Comments and questions welcome.

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3 thoughts on “Research and Evaluation: A Work in Progress

  1. I would be interested to know if anyone has produced any qualitative research that looks at the wider educational and psychosocial impact of having access to handheld learning devices – e.g. motivation, self-esteem, participation and engagement, friendship bonds etc.

    • Hi John,
      Thanks for your comment and question. I haven’t yet come across qualitative data related specifically to the psychosocial aspects of students using hand-held learning devices. However the key text I have referred to in my post, Researching Mobile Learning, has a number of excellent chapters which explore the ways students are engaging in informal learning networks, and learning in shared settings outside of class time via mobile devices.

      In addition to some quantitative survey data, our next phase of research at Trinity College will involve focus groups with students where some qualitative data will be gathered. We will also be holding focus groups with teaching staff, to gather their observations about classroom learning and teaching in a 1:1 iPad setting. We certainly see our students using their iPads around the college outside class time, and they report in our survey data that the iPad has become a ubiquitous element of their student experience. They are using it for both study and personal / social engagement with peers and family, which is not a surprising or unexpected finding.

      As to whether these informal learning behaviours are having a positive impact on the learning experiences of students using iPads or tablet devices, depends very much on what measures are being used to evaluate learning quality, and learning improvement. Such parameters will differ across student cohorts, contexts and countries.

      Check back to our blog in a few months for some updates to our research findings.

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