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Linking mobile enhanced collective learning to open educational practice (OEP)

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John B. Stav
25 February 2014

Authors: John B. Stav, Katerina Zourou, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway.

The enhancement of collective learning for teachers and students through mobile devices is the building block of this ‘idea’ paper. We address the connection between mobile enhanced collective learning and Open Educational Practice (OEP), as teaching and learning practice with Open Educational Resources. The aims are to develop an understanding of the connections between mobile enhanced group learning and OER/OEP, to discuss points of convergence and the pedagogical value of such convergence. Group learning will be situated at learner level and at teacher level. At learner level, we explore how learning processes can be fostered by mobile enhancedresponse systems through which teachers use the results of a test or an exam to provide immediate feedback and to identify ill-defined areas of knowledge through group activities (test results are gathered and displayed by software connecting student mobile devices). At teacher level, we discuss future developments from an OEP perspective, in which group learning facilities are offered to teachers teaching the same subject and benefiting from materials and resources created by their peers.

In terms of designing m-learning artefacts that effectively support learning, Pachler, Bachmair and Cook (2010) call for more “focus on the strength of mobile devices, such as immediacy of communication and access to information, context-sensitivity and location-awareness” (p. 71). Regarding ‘immediacy’, in this paper the term will be understood as the provision of immediate feedback in a learning context and its pedagogical value for collective learning, and not merely as immediate access to information (e.g. ubiquity, Viberg & al., 2010, Sharples et al., 2009). From this point of view, ‘immediacy’ is contextualized and put in the service of learning, thus moving from access to information to its transformation and the shaping of the learning context.

The paper builds on findings from research we are conducting at HiST into mobile enhanced immediate feedback provision in the classroom and in vocational learning settings, and its potential as a group learning affordance and within an inquiry based training paradigm (Arnesen & al., 2013; Nielsen et al., 2013). A challenge for mobile learning design is whether mobile devices “serve as tools for capturing immediacy or situations rather than enabling pupils to access and generate situations and contexts in situ” (Pachler, Bachmain & Cook, 2010: 210). This paper addresses the latter, presenting two software applications developed for mobile devices (SRS and PeLe) that are used in learning contexts in several countries and for a variety of learning subjects (cf. the portal http://www.one2act.no). The software collects and displays the results of a test immediately after students submit their answers. The learning potential of immediate feedback provision will be explored, namely the possibility for a teacher to identify ill-defined areas of knowledge, to cater to learner needs at the time when it is most needed (after a test or exam), and to initiate collective learning activities based on the test results with a view to explanation and elucidation. We argue that the gap between ad hoc pedagogical support and knowledge construction is narrowed and assessment comes closer to the co-construction of learning, as this occurs through group interaction and classroom collaboration that is initiated after teacher explanations of test results. Engagement and motivation are more likely to occur through these group learning processes.

Moving a step further, the paper discusses one of our R&D priorities, namely group learning at the teacher’s level, by linking it to Open Educational Practice.

While the OER concept is often criticized for its static dimension (pieces of licensed content made available through a repository), more recently emphasis has been given to OEP due to its repurposing potential in new learning contexts (Conole, 2013; Weller, 2010). Furthermore, the affordances of knowledge co-construction and scaffolding advocated by sociocultural views of learning meet the developments in the area of OER/OEP and lead us to think that sharing of materials (such as tests, exams, exercises, etc.) among teachers using response systems is a natural outcome of the (mobile) learning pedagogies that call for a more inclusive and collaborative approach to learning and training, avoiding teacher activity in isolation. From a design point of view we set the ground for a database containing tests and exams by subject that will be enhanced by networking functions (tagging and recommendation possibilities) allowing teachers to learn from each other and exchange practice on mobile enhanced immediate feedback as a trigger to collective learning.

Arnesen, K., Korpås, G., Hennissen, J. & Stav, J.B. 2013. Experiences with use of Various Pedagogical Methods Utilizing a Student Response System – Motivation and Learning Outcome, The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, Vol. 11, Issue 3, pp 169-181.  http://www.ejel.org/issue/download.html?idArticle=255

Conole, G. 2013. Designing for learning in an Open World. Springer

Nielsen, K., Hansen, G., and Stav, J.-B. 2013. Teaching with student response systems (SRS): teacher-centric aspects that can negatively affect students' experience of using SRS, Research in Learning Technology, Vol. 21, 2013, 13 pages. http://www.researchinlearningtechnology.net/index.php/rlt/article/view/18989 

Pachler, N., Bachmair, B., & Cook, J. (2010). Mobile Learning. Boston, MA: Springer US.

Sharples, M., Inmaculada Arnedillo-Sánchez, M. M., & Vavoula, G. (2009). Mobile Learning: Small devices, Big issues. In N..Balacheff, T. de Jong, A. Lazonder (Ed.), Technology-enhanced learning: Principles and products (pp. 233–249). Springer US.

Viberg, O., & Grönlund, Å. (2012). Mobile Assisted Language Learning: A Literature Review. In 1th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning, mLearn 2012.

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