Situated-Technology – enhanced learning through development of interactive etextbooks on net tablets
The overarching theme from this participatory action research project is the need to enable students and staff to utilise technology for learning. The research informed the development of guidelines to assist vocational education institutions to introduce net tablets into trades-based learning spaces.
Selena Chan, Katrina Fisher and Peter Sauer – Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT).
Date completed: December 2011
About the project
In this report, the authors outline the bringing together of 2 aspects of learning technologies, mobile learning and eBooks. Students and tutors, using Net Tablets engaged in 7 iterative cycles of participative action research in which they generated their own content through the production of interactive etextbooks.
Findings from the research
The findings from the project show an increase in student engagement brought about by a careful match of learning outcomes to the use of situated-technology-enhanced learning. The 4 pedagogical approaches of mobile learning, constructivist learning, situated learning and encouragement of multimodal and multiliteracy modes to showcase students’ work, were made possible through the capabilities of net tablets. The introduction of net tablets also led to tutors’ increased understanding of teaching and learning processes.
Guidelines to assist vocational educators to implement situated-technology-enhanced learning into their programmes/courses are included.
- Underpin learning activities with sound pedagogical frameworks.
- Set aside sufficient time for tutors to familiarize themselves with the technology.
- Encourage tutors to ‘learn by doing’.
- Tutors prepare ‘how to' guides as a precursor to using the activities with students.
- Support students to develop appropriate digital literacy skills for using apps specifically for learning.
- Explain to students the reasons for using technology in learning activities.
- Encourage students to contribute to improvement in how net tablets are used for meeting learning outcomes.
Selecting appropriate learning activities
- Match learning activity to learning outcome.
- Pilot activities with other tutors before using in class with students.
Setting up learning activities
- Provide tutor support and student-accessible support for each learning activity.
- Encourage students to experiment and feed back on aspects they found difficult to follow.
- Make the activity fun.
- Encourage peer learnin.
- Identify students who are reluctant to engage and offer assistance.
- Trial the ‘how to’ guides with other tutors or student volunteers.
Using net tablets for learning activities
- Integrate technology into learning activities seamlessly.
- Brief students on the role of technology in the activity.
- Ensure activities provide extrinsic rewards for students in the form of a ‘product’.
- Remember, the use of technology is to enhance learning.
Be prepared to be flexible
- Acquire sufficient capability to use net tablet so as to be flexible, if required, to change learning activities.
- Listen and act on student feedback.
- Provide students with opportunities to learn additional digital skills.
It is important to ensure there are structured and supported processes for introducing students and tutors to learning activities which are matched to appropriate technology tools and delivery. The approaches detailed in the report, ensure vocational students not only meet programme and qualification outcomes, but gain important digital literacy skills and become constructive learners.
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