A case study on using the iPad to encourage collaborative learning in an undergraduate web development class

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Published on March 31, 2014

Author: nicossouleles7

Source: slideshare.net


Since its release in 2010 the iPad has become the leading computer tablet in the market. Due to its popularity, the iPad is widely used in different higher education (HE) institutions around the world. However, the research on the use of this tablet in HE remains limited. This paper describes how the iPad was used in an undergraduate web development class to encourage collaboration through participatory exercises. Firstly, the students were provided with the tablet in order to contribute to the class exercise, and then the iPad display was streamed real-time to a projector. The device was passed from student to student, thus bypassing the need for them to individually walk up to the lecturer's computer. This instructional approach also eliminated the use of laptops or workstations, and encouraged collaborative and active learning. Data was gathered through surveys and interviews with participating students, and a mixed methods approach was appliedto the analysis. This paper reports on the user experience and the perceived learning outcomes, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using this instructional approach for the specific lesson.

iPads in Higher Education 2014 1st International conference acasestudyonusingtheiPadto encouragecollaborativelearninginan undergraduatewebdevelopment class Aekaterini Mavri, Fernando Loizides, Nicos Souleles 1

motivation programming|web development ✤abstract concepts ✤difficult to apply + produce compound code structures ✤lack of assistance ✤design students, WYSIWYG tools + code ✤consecutive lecture + practical (tutorial) session 2

related research points to active learning ✤ can effectively facilitate knowledge assimilation ✤ students are „actively engaged in the learning process‟ ✤ deep learning approach collaborative learning can increase student motivation + engagement mobile learning sophisticated mobile devices can garner a lot of excitement 3

the iPad iPad related initiatives due to: portability multi-modality cost savings sustainability Apple mac technology - prevalent in Design courses 4

looking at ✤ student experience in using the iPad as part of an active learning process in learning web design + development ✤ the perceived impact of this method on the students‟ learning outcomes ✤ the device enabled or hindered the learning process 5

study design: module web design + development II elective module period: 13 weeks o 3 four-week units o duration: 3 hours code development of client + server side technologies: html, css, javascript, xml, php, mysql 6

study design: participants 10 students o final year o 6 females, 4 males o completed prerequisite module: web design + development I 7

study design: teaching methodology student-centered | active learning approach intervals of short lecture units + problem solving exercises basic syntax + simple examples coding entities were gradually constructed by students 8

study design: phase 1 ① informal communication setting ② no impact on marks ③ problem and required solution were fully understood ④ identified steps needed + translated into programming lingo 9

study design: phase 2 ✤single input exercises ✤groups-of-two exercises 10

single input exercises ✤ voluntary implementation ✤ exercise preloaded on editor software ✤ RDP(Doceri™), installed on iPad + instructor‟s workstation ✤ user-input projected in real time on whiteboard ✤ assistance from group was encouraged ✤ device was passed-on 11

groups-of-two exercises ✤ compulsory ✤ teams of two students ✤ exercises preloaded on IDE (JS Bin) ✤ independent completion ✤ time-constraint ✤ solution of first-group-to-finish displayed on whiteboard 12

 survey  2 focus group sessions lessons 1 + 4  observation research & analysis 13 ⎬ ⎬ quantitative|qualitative qualitative

pre-study survey: results ✤ average to excellent previous experience ✤ easy to learn + use ✤ mostly undecided about whether it : o can help in the general learning process o can help when learning programming 14

key findings ✤active learning ✤problem-solving ✤collaborative learning + equality ✤single input vs groups-of-two exercises ✤device affordances 15

1|active learning ✤ practice-based learning ✤ better comprehension + assimilation ✤ ...through scaffolding o exchange of data + initiatives amongst group o build from previous knowledge ✤ able to create more compound coding structures ✤ minimal instruction prior to practice 16

2|problem-solving ✤ mistakes deemed important ✤ trial and error ✤ arrived to a better understanding of programming concepts + methods ✤ more effective than a solution-ready approach ✤ reflection of experience vs reflection of instruction 17

3|collaboration + equality ✤ movers + stoppers o persistent + successive contributions from the entire group o exposed a realisticpicture of the problem-solving process ✤ synchronized level of knowledge acquirement ✤ sense of equality 18

4|single input vs groups-of-two ✤ enthusiastic to help but unwilling to do it - risk of exposing: o ignorance o inability o shortcomings ✤pressing time constraints ✤peer pressure ✤intrinsic pressure ✤can lead to confusion 19

4|single input vs groups-of-two ✤ favored by female participants o collaboration was found crucial for comprehension and performance in coding tasks o peer tutoring ✤ male participants: o heterogeneity in personal coding styles 20

5|iPad affordances 1. obscured screen „real estate‟ ✤when keyboard is activated (keyboard-screen asymmetry) ✤ simultaneous overview + code segments focus ✤ additional physical effort (pinching + spreading, swiping) 21

5|iPad affordances 2. inability of native keyboard to cater for coding needs ✤absence of certain characters + symbols required ✤increased cognitive load ✤small size of keys (read-tap asymmetry) 22 < > {} = + ( ) “”

5|iPad affordances 3. point-to-click inaccuracy ✤efficient coding hindered by difficulties in: o cut|copy-paste o select ✤resorted to re-typing entire code statement “too hard to point to the exact spot” ✤built-in lens feature was found to be confusing o ambiguity in actual fingertip versus virtual position 23

5|iPad affordances 4. lack of code-editing affordances ✤no isolated code + preview panel actions o select, magnification, scrolling occurred in both ✤scroll bars appeared too thin to handle ✤lack of code auto completion 24

general outcomes ✤ substitute one-way lecturing with active participation, collaborative problem solving ✤ enhanced perceived learning outcomes ✤ theory should not be entirely precluded in favor of practice ✤ technology|mobile supported learning ✤ responsibility lies with the educator: o quantity of content, quality of content, order, treatment ✤ perceived learning experience was hindered by device- specific interface limitations 25

iPad-specific outcomes ✤ problematic typing on touchscreen ✤ inability to point and select with precision ✤ accidental error-prone activation ✤ keyboard-to-screen asymmetry ✤ read-to-tap asymmetry ✤ lack of control and feedback in the gestural interface 26

27 what next? sample of participants scope of experiment device-related limitations o processing power o screen resolution o external keyboard + mouse

Thank you questions? 28

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