Tag Archives: action research

Flipped Learning & Motivation: The Sequel

Recently I reflected on my integration of flipped learning principles in my English foundations program class. In my earlier action research blog, I noted several remarks by students about their motivation, or lack thereof, towards outside classwork. I avoided using the term homework but it doesn’t necessarily need to be completed at home, right? Mobile technologies will remove “homework” from our vocabulary… 🙂

I have reflected more on this and thought more about the learning design and the my employment of flipped learning. As a language teacher, I always want to incorporate language learning elements within all of my lessons. Firstly when I completed the passive learning task within class, due to more than half the class not completing the passive activity, I tried using communicative activities.

I first observed success during an information gap-esque activity where students watched two different videos on the passive voice. The video content had some overlaps but also some different points. Students were given some general questions to help them take guided notes as well as specific questions for students to answer. After watching their separate video, students started their active learning and came together to complete a number of different tasks specifically related to information from the video. Students then proceeded to actively use the passive voice within appropriate texts.

My teaching context involves teaching IELTS preparation and skills and thus I feel hamstrung because the assessment can, to a certain extent, dictate the types of teaching activities. This is especially the case within the education culture of the Middle East. I first start with specific IELTS language input, both grammar and vocabulary, within a passive learning mode and most was completed outside of class. I informed students of the next day’s activity that we would do only if the flipped task was complete.

by Jonathan Kos-Read

by Jonathan Kos-Read

Based on the language input, I used small tasks to integrate language skills and provide ‘authentic’ tasks in which to practice specific skills related to the IELTS. I say ‘authentic’ because they are skills necessary for the test, which is the students’ real world, as opposed to the outside real world. Students use iPad apps like Explain Everything, iMovie, QuickTap Survey App and Keynote to actively create and produce language necessary for the IELTS. When I asked about these tasks, students didn’t automatically see the connection to IELTS practice.

I also observed students working quite hard throughout these active tasks. The tasks caught their attention and they worked for longer periods of time individually and in pairs. I asked several students afterwards and it came down to their preference for the iPad apps we were using. Explain Everything and iMovie were hits as they produced their own videos. They loved the creative expression afforded to them (my words) and the ability to bling their videos (their words).

The principles of flipped learning could be used in contexts without technology, no doubt about that. But the technology certainly affords many more opportunities and modes of content delivery in both the passive learning before class and active learning during class.

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Can Podcasting Play a Role in e-Learning? Part 2

The Action Research Series 02

risa-i

This is the second blog post for the same action research project. See here for part 1. The survey investigated following two research questions:

What are the characteristics of student created educationally beneficial podcasts?

Could podcasting be one component in a course to reduce feelings of isolation in e-Learning?

This reflective blog will focus only on the use of podcasting as a media to reduce feelings of isolation.

Since the development of distance learning in higher education, a common problem has been a lack of social interaction among students and instructors and the resultant student feelings of isolation. McGettigan (1999) spoke of the need to reduce the isolative barrier that makes some students feel like second rate students; a course of action being instructor training in the use of information communication technologies. Lee and Chan (2007) that podcasting has potential to be one element used to reduce feelings of isolation and studies have shown students’ positive reactions towards building online learning/social communities who interact and engage (Croft, Dalton, & Grant, 2010; McInnerney & Roberts, 2004). It is my hypothesis that podcasting could be used as an engaging medium in which students actively interact with the course material, instructor(s) and students.

From the respondents (n=11), 64% felt that misunderstandings in communication and a lack of social contact and academic engagement with students and instructors contribute to feelings of isolation. Full-time or part-time employment was also considered a factor by 54%. However, only four indicated they had felt feelings of isolation during their e-Learning. These four respondents confirmed the above elements as factors but also generally responded that lack of university support, technical difficulties, poor structure of e-Learning and that students’ lack of experience with e-Learning could contribute towards feelings of isolation.

One hypothesis was that the text-based environment of typical e-Learning courses may have an impact on students’ feelings; a “death by document” that is commonly associated with a monoculture of text readings, text support and text communication (Sutton-Brady, Scott, Taylor, Carabetta, & Clark, 2009). However ten of the eleven respondents disagreed with this evaluative statement.

One respondent gave extensive feedback in the open-ended additional comments section which may summarise the results. As an educator, this respondent identifies that podcasting may have potential to be one beneficial medium through which to complete study and to diversify the learning experience through a different learning style. However, from a student’s perspective, some may experience podcasts as being uncomfortable or in a contrived way to interact synchronously online.

To decrease students’ feelings of isolation in e-Learning, podcasting may be one feature. Whilst these views are not indicative of all students, they do add to our understanding and can be used to guide further research.

My gratitude to those eleven who took my survey. Thank you.

Blogged Originally: October 8, 2011 http://www.digitalemerge.net/#/podcasting-in-e-learning-2/4556152588

Last Updated: October 8, 2011

References

Croft, N., Dalton, A., & Grant, M. (2010). Overcoming Isolation in Distance Learning: Building a Learning Community through Time and Space. Journal for Education in the Built Environment, 5(1), 27-64.

Holmes, B., & Gardner, J. (2006). e-Learning: Concepts and Practice. London: SAGE Publications.

Lee, M. J. W., & Chan, A. (2007). Reducing the effects of isolation and promoting inclusivity for distance learners through podcasting. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), 85-104.

McGettigan, T. (1999). Virtually Educated: Student Perspectives on the Distance Learning Experience. Radical Pedagogy, 1(2).

McInnerney, J. M., & Roberts, T. S. (2004). Online Learning: Social Interaction and the Creation of a Sense of Community. Educational Technology & Society, 7(3), 73-81.

Sutton-Brady, C., Scott, K. M., Taylor, L., Carabetta, G., & Clark, S. (2009). The value of using short-format podcasts to enhance learning and teaching. ALT-J, 17(3), 219-232.

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Can Podcasting Play a Role in e-Learning? Part 1

The Action Research Series 01

Can Podcasting Play a Role in e-Learning? Part 1

by Tom 81115

Recently I conducted a small action research project to understand more about the potential of podcasting in distance higher education where students have only off-campus e-Learning classes. I define e-Learning as “online access to learning resources, anywhere and anytime” (Holmes & Gardner, 2006). A survey was used to investigate the following two research questions:

What are the characteristics of student created educationally beneficial podcasts?

Could podcasting be one component in a course to reduce feelings of isolation in e-Learning?

This reflective blog will focus only on the characteristics of student created podcasts that were deemed educationally beneficial.

Eleven participants who had previously studied or are studying an online higher education course completed the online survey giving both qualitative and quantitative feedback. Whilst this action research study lacks academic rigour and a large respondent sample size, it can give us a small indication which can guide further research in this area.

Participants were asked to evaluate statements on a 4 point likert scale (strongly agree to strongly disagree). These statements sought insights on effective podcasting techniques (the process) and podcasts (the product).

All respondents unanimously agreed that effective podcasts should be based on good planning, organisation and structure and be clearly and professionally presented. An overwhelming majority felt podcasts should be free of technical distortions. 72% of participants felt effective podcasts might include creativity and spontaneity. A small majority of participants also agreed that effective podcasts may result in a more personal connection with the content and podcasts stimulate better learning when creating them.

The group was generally divided on a number of issues. When asked if effective podcasts might lead to more personal interaction with classmates or peers and if they might result in less misinterpretations than text based asynchronous communications, 55% disagreed. Other studies had reported that students found less misinterpretations from instructor delivered podcasts as they could hear the intonation, emphasis etc… (Lee & Chan, 2007). The same percentage of the group also disagreed to the statement that effective podcasts help students feel part of the course learning community. I was quite surprised by this as several studies recommended podcasting as one tool in a plan to promote inclusivity in a distance learning community (Lee & Chan, 2007; McInnerney & Roberts, 2004).

Podcasting has been slowly emerging as an educational beneficial digital tool. There is a future for podcasting in higher education e-Learning as respondents did see value in it. Generally this value was based on academic conventions as all thought podcasts should be planned well and ideas organised and structured.

Can I see one less written essay in the future? Perhaps.

My gratitude to those eleven who took my survey. Thank you.

Blogged Originally: October 8, 2011 at http://www.digitalemerge.net/#/podcasting-in-e-learning-1/4556276440

Last Updated: October 11, 2011

Lee, M. J. W., & Chan, A. (2007). Reducing the effects of isolation and promoting inclusivity for distance learners through podcasting. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 8(1), 85-104.

Sense of Community. Educational Technology & Society, 7(3), 73-81.

McInnerney, J. M., & Roberts, T. S. (2004). Online Learning: Social Interaction and the Creation of a

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