Using the power of research to inform ICT integration in education

Archive for October, 2012

How can Elementary School Children be better supported in their Web Searches at School?

Eickhoff, C., P. Dekker, and A. P. de Vries (2012) Supporting Children’s Web Search in School Environments, 4th Conference on Information Interaction in Context (IIiX)

Nowadays, the Internet represents a ubiquitous source of information and communication. Its central role in everyday life is reflected in the curricula of modern schools. Already in early grades, children are encouraged to search for information on-line. However, the way in which they interact with state-of-the-art search interfaces and how they explore and interpret the presented information, differs greatly from adult user behaviour. This work describes a qualitative user study in which the Web search behaviour of Dutch elementary school children was observed and classified into roles motivated by prior research in cognitive science. Building on the findings of this survey, we propose an automatic method of identifying struggling searchers in order to enable teaching personnel to provide appropriate and targeted guidance where needed.

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Is Grassroot Communication a Modern Myth? A critical perspective on social media use in land conflicts in Cambodia

Tomas Hultman Tessan Nordeman (2012) A modern myth of grassroot communication, A critical perspective on social media use in land conflicts in Cambodia, Linnaeus University, School of Social Sciences

The results showed that the organizations were using social media in many different ways, and on different levels in their communications work. We could however not see any clear interlinkage between the usage of social media and a success in neither agenda setting, social mobilization nor advocacy work; even though there are success stories we could not see consistent patterns in them. Our conclusion is therefore that a more objective and rational picture of social media is needed, that acknowledges the potentials but also shows the obstacles. Our hope is that this study can give a more balanced approach to social media’s place in developing countries in general and Cambodia in particular, helping actors to understand the different factors that need to be addressed to make it a successful tool of communication.

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iPad: A New Classroom Technology?

Alma L. Culén, Andrea Gasparini (2012) iPad: A New Classroom Technology? A Report From Two Pilot Studies, INFuture2011: “Information Sciences and e-Society”

In this paper we discuss two pilot studies involving the use of iPads for active reading in a teaching/learning situation. This is part of a broader study of how introducing tablet PCs may transform the work and learning practices of learners. One of the pilot studies was conducted in a graduate level course, involving 40 university students. The other study involved 26 fourth grade elementary schoolchildren. The results concerning acceptance of the technology were vastly different in the two studies. We find the comparison to be very interesting in several aspects, most notably on the issue of ownership and perceived useful- ness. We hope that our experience with these pilot studies may be of use and interest for a wider community. Our research method is based on ethnography (in-class observations), enriched by workshops, questionnaires, group and individual interviews involving students, faculty and, in the case of elementary schoolchildren, families. The data from interviews has been consolidated and mapped out into an affinity diagram. The resulting diagram shows clearly issues that should be further addressed, as well as areas where changes in study- related work practices may occur. This paper offers some reflections on differences and similarities observed in the two study situations.

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How does the coolness of the iPad affect its value and usefulness: in education and banking?

Alma Leora Culén, Andrea Gasparini, Roni Hercz (2012) iPad – the space between the cool and the useful, Oslo university

It is generally agreed that the iPhone and the iPad were Apple’s truly cool products that have permanently changed some things about mobile phones and finally made a tablet into a marketing success. In this paper we discuss the space between iPad’s coolness and its value and usefulness to users in two quite different settings: education and banking. In the first example, we consider the product ecology of an iPad in the classroom setting and try to capture something about how the coolness of the product affects individuals and groups as they take it into action. Our reflections are based on several studies that we have conducted related to the introduction of the iPad as an educational tool in elementary and high schools as well as the university. In the classroom setting, students, both individually and as a group, have quite a large degree of autonomy in defining the use (including production and consumption of information, communications, gaming etc) of the iPad. In the banking example, iPads are used individually and privately. It is the bank that decides which services are made available and what constitutes the best way of interacting with their services. Cool service design is still not a goal in itself. Rather, solid interaction design should make users perceive the service as really good and subsequently, cool. The boundaries between cool design, hype and trend-following are still blurry in the race for competitive advantage.

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Can the use of blogs and e-mail enhance writing skills at primary school level?

Sofia Funenga (2012) Developing Writing Skills in English Language Teaching Through the Use of Blogs and Email at Primary School Level,

After reflecting on the findings of this action research cycle, with the purpose of providing an answer to the research question Can the use of blogs and e-mail enhance writing skills at primary school level?, it is possible to conclude that, throughout the writing workshop sessions, young students not only improved the content and language used in their texts, but also adopted a better attitude towards writing.

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