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Technology in the Further Education classroom

A summary of action research into technology use at Great Yarmouth College.

Carly Hill

on 29 June 2014

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Transcript of Technology in the Further Education classroom

Carly Hill, Great Yarmouth College
in the Further Education
Purpose and objectives
Background information
Future action
So, how can
help education?
What is
Gamification uses ideas from video games to encourage learning, including:
Leader boards
Unlocking achievements
Earning badges
These elements work well with online learning and mobile technology, making them ideal for todays' learners

Gamification shares similarities with Blended Learning and the Flipped Classroom:
Some online learning, including off-site access
Encouraging deeper learning and high order thinking
Differentiated instruction and varied teaching and learning methodologies
Collaboration and problem-solving
Builds intrinsic motivation and learner agency
I am an IT and Computing Tutor at Great Yarmouth College. I have an interest in the educational value of mobile technology and how it can be used by learners in class.

I also have an interest in gamification and badging and the impact these can have on learner achievement and motivation.

Investigate the impact of technology on learning within Further Education classrooms, through examining current use and barriers, leading to a proposal of potential solutions and opportunities for further use.

Systematically exploring current technology use across Great Yarmouth College subjects and levels
Critically analysing potential solutions to barriers preventing technology use
Critically evaluating opportunities to improve learner achievement and engagement through adopting mobile devices and applications within classrooms
Discussing technology benefits for both Tutors and learners
Providing learners with a method of presenting and discussing achievements with employers using subject-specific badges
Prototyping a platform for employers to assess and evaluate learner skills using subject-specific badges

Research questions
How is technology currently used in a range of FE classrooms?
What are the barriers to technology use in classrooms?
How could gamification be used to increase learner achievement and engagement?
How could badges be used to display learner achievements to employers or universities?

Action research as defined by Lewin (1946)
Small-scale, practitioner lead research to improve practice through cyclical reflection and development
Validity and reliability ensured through participant and methodological triangulation
Quantitative data collected through questionnaires and room audits and will be graphed
Qualitative data collected through interviews and observations and will be quoted to support arguments made

Completed by learners
Completed by both IT and non-IT based learners
At least 20 respondents
Questions cover mobile device ownership, experiences of using mobile technology in class, attitudes towards gamification ideas and attitudes towards using mobile devices in the classroom
Responses will be used to generate graphs:
Pie chart showing attitudes towards gamification
Bar graphs comparing device ownership between IT and non-IT learners
Line graph showing learner opinion of playing games to help learning, comparing IT and non-IT responses

Room Audit
Used to assess the available technology in a range of classrooms at Great Yarmouth College
Record functional and non-functional equipment
Compare resources available within and outside the IT department
Conducted to ensure recommendations use available equipment to reduce costs
A bar graph will compare the percentage of functional equipment found in IT and non-IT departments

Five interviews to be conducted with Great Yarmouth College Tutors from both IT and non-IT departments
Questions concern mobile device use in the classroom, atittudes towards gamification and barriers to mobile technology use
Responses will be used to support questionnaire and room audit findings

Pilot Study
An example badging system will be created
An example set of employability badges will be created
Observations will take place to observe learner responses to these ideas
Depending on Moodle, gamification elements may be piloted

For more information about mobile technology, gamification and badging, visit:

Professor Kevin Werbach on Gamification

Following this research into technology use in Great Yarmouth College, some recommendations have been formulated.
These have been classified as either 'urgent' and requiring immediate attention, or 'recommended', featuring ideas which may be developed in the future.

Upgrade Moodle to 2.0+ for gamification features
Administrator activate gamification features such as conditional labels
Administrator activate access to Moodle mobile application
Ensure equipment remains functional and encourage staff to report issues
Review content and structure of Employability provision

Demonstrate how mobile devices can be used in the classroom
Construct exemplar gamified courses that can be accessed by all Tutors on Moodle
Raise awareness of gamification techniques amongst teaching staff
Upgrade Moodle to 2.5+ for compatibility with Mozilla OpenBagdes briefcase

A summary of findings from this research can be seen in the video infographic below:
For further information related to this project, including detailed background reading, original data collection and references, read my full report here:

Watch my video describing implementing Blended Learning at Great Yarmouth College:

Several elements of gamification gained favourable responses from learners, most popularly collaborating with peers and the use of achievements. These are two key ideas from gamification, proving it may be a success with learners.
Surprisingly, IT learners are polarised regarding the use of games during class, showing both very strong agreement and disagreement. This may be due to the continual use of technology during their courses and that most of them list gaming as a hobby. Learners from non-IT departments show an average response.
As expected, mobile device ownership is almost universal. Interestingly, learners who own a smartphone generally do not also own a tablet. Most learners have access to a laptop outside college.
In most cases, the IT department has access to more functional equipment, which is unsurprising. As shown in the previous video infographic, the amount of non-functional equipment is worrying and needs to be addressed.
An example gamified Moodle course from
Nevers at iTeachWithMoodle. Conditional labels have been used as badges (available on Moodle 2.0+) and can be unlocked by reading documents, completing quizzes and submitting assignments. Learners and Tutors can see individual progress at a glance.
Attempting gamification with Great Yarmouth College Moodle beta (v2.6). Required features are not yet activated, so conditional labels could not be used.
Exemplar badge awarding using ClassBadges, a free alternative to Mozilla OpenBadges.
Badges created for an event-driven programming unit (shown left) and awarded to a learner using the web-based dashboard.
A small scale observation of a programming class was conducted both before and after using badges awarded by ClassBadges.
The results can be seen below, however, there is not enough data to make any reasonable conclusions
Frederic Nevers at ITeachWithMoodle: http://www.iteachwithmoodle.com/2013/01/20/increase-student-engagement-with-moodle-conditional-activities/ and http://www.iteachwithmoodle.com/2013/03/27/gamifying-a-moodle-course-what-difference-does-it-make-week-1/

Blended Learning at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation: http://www.christenseninstitute.org/

Flipped Classroom at http://www.flippedclassroom.com/

Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants by Marc Prensky at http://www.marcprensky.com/writing/Prensky%20-%20Digital%20Natives,%20Digital%20Immigrants%20-%20Part1.pdf

James Paul Gee - Good Video Games and Good Learning at: http://www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf

Mozilla OpenBadges at: http://www.openbadges.org/

ClassBadges at: http://classbadges.com/
Todays' learners are Digital Natives (Prensky, 2001) who have grown up with technology and this can shape their learning preferences (Pei-Luan, 2008 and Hirumi, 2009).
Common mobile devices are:
Smartphones like iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S5
Tablets like the Nexus 7 or iPad
Games consoles like the Nintendo 3DS or PS VITA
When these devices are used in the classroom, it is called EdTech (EdTech Review, 2012)
Popular mobile applications for Tutors include:
ClassDojo - Android, iOS and online. Create groups and monitor behaviour. Can generate charts and breakdown good and bad behaviours, for example, 62% of bad behaviour was talking out of line.
QuickKey - iOS. Create quiz sheets and mark them instantly using an iPhone or iPad.
Popular mobile applications for learners include:
ExitTicket - android, iOS and online. Learners can reflect on the session, targets and class content.
Socrative - Android, iOS and online. Create collaborative games and quizzes where learners can respond using their mobile devices.
Watch this video at: youtube.com/watch?v=wfivasin9j4
What could go wrong?

Learning can take second place to clicking to unlock badges or content
Technology has been linked to compromised high order thinking, social and concentration skills (Carlson, 2005)
Can reduce effectiveness of traditional teaching methods (Carlson, 2005)
Full transcript