Our emerging findings

Final Research Report – Triad Sweden 2

Final Research Report – Triad Sweden 2

 

Peter Werner, Mikael Jonsson

 

  1. Teaching context

We are working at three different schools in Västerås, Sweden, grades 10-12: Wijkmanska gymnasiet, Rudbeckianska gymnasiet and Carlforsska gymnasiet. All three schools are run by the municipality and the IT-infrastructure is considered good. Peter is teaching in the technology programme grade 10 with approximately 30 students. Mikael is teaching in the social science programme grade 10-11 with two groups of 30 students each. Karin is teaching in the economy programme grade 11-12 with approximately 40 students divided into two groups. Every student had approximately 2.5 to 3 hours of math each week.

 

Regarding gender and ethnicity, the classes correlates to the Swedish society as a whole with the only major difference is that Peter’s group consisted of only boys.

 

Year 1 of the project

 

  1. The problem

We had a problem with students that were not engaged in their learning and homework between classes were sparse. We knew this because of the low results on tests.

We needed a way to activate the students and have them spend more time with math. We needed a tool that could encourage them working with math without the teacher being present.

 

  1. Research question

Our enquiry question for the first year of the project became “Can preconception of mathematics be increased using zaption.com amongst students aged 16-19?”.

 

To increase preconception and work done between classes, we decided to use an IT-tool called Zaption.com. With the tool the teacher can import YouTube-videos and add questions to them. You can also monitor the frequency of views and student responses.

The specific questions were variants of the examples given in the video and were supposed to be quite easy. The reason behind this basic questioning was to involve all the students. Our expectation was not that the students would fully understand the subject, but rather be able to benefit more from the following lesson.

 

The math content varied depending on school and group specifics.

The students were expected to watch the videos between the classes

The time and extent of the intervention varied between the classes, from 5 to 30 videos. The number of hours used also varied between the classes and the individual students but generally we tried to use videos of maximum 6 minutes.

 

When designing the intervention we had a lot of collaboration with the other triad from Sweden, since they were using Zaption as well. We were also influenced by research done by Patrik Gustavsson and Paul Drijvers.

 

  1. Data collection

Afterwards, we evaluated the intervention together with the students. We used different methods to collect answers using multiple choice questions, open ended questions and interviews.

 

  1. Data analysis

Quantitative data were summarized with charts and categorized quotes. The qualitative data was summarized in a short text. For charts and quotes, see Appendix I.

 

  1. The findings

The key findings in the analysis were:

  • Students were better prepared before lessons.
  • We saw increases in understanding.
  • Most students appreciated Zaption and believed it was helpful in their learning.
  • The class climate during and especially after reviews, became more harmonious and less stressed.
  • The Zaption format with shareable links was practical and easy to use.
  • Zaption gave us feedback before lessons on student pre-knowledge.
  • The students that needed the videos the most, were often the ones using them the least.
  • The quality of the videos used was really important.
  • Videos featuring the teacher had a clear advantage over other videos.

 

Did the students used more time on homework between the classes? Yes, some of the students did to some extent, but we think we would see a bigger effect if the intervention would have been a part of a larger remake of teaching as a whole. If this would have been done within a “flipped classroom”-pedagogy and for a longer period of time, we think that the impact on students would have been greater.

 

  1. Reflections on the collaborative process

We have been collaborating with the other Triads of the project during the meetings in our respective countries. Just by having this dedicated time to discuss teaching and student learning during the meetings, the intervention could be better planned and implemented. From our colleagues in the project, we developed a deeper understanding of our current teaching.

The sharing of ideas and knowledge regarding ICT, resulted in changes in our practice. The Romanian Triad inspired us to think about how to actively use the students in our lectures. Furthermore, the English Triad made us question the border of the physical classroom and traditional ways of teaching.

 

Year 2 of the project

 

  1. The problem

We wanted a more efficient way of giving feedback to the students. We didn’t want to use lesson time for individual performance reviews. There were three main areas of feedback that we wanted to address: feedback during the learning process, making FAQs before examination and individual feedback after examination. We anticipated that recording videos would address this issue.

 

  1. Research question

Our enquiry question for the second year of the project became “Will

Recorded videos using Screencast-O-Matic free up lesson time?”.

 

We decided to make videos using the tool Screencast-O-Matic to make individual feedback as well as general reviews on material before tests.

 

Screencast-O-Matic is a tool that records a chosen part of the computer screen with an option to include your own voice and/or webcam. For the individual feedback we scanned student assignments and tests, and then recorded voice feedback while reviewing their work on screen. For the general reviews, materials from the lessons instead were used as a visual background.

 

  1. Data collection

Afterwards, we evaluated the intervention together with the students. We used different methods to collect answers using multiple choice questions, open ended questions and interviews.

 

  1. Data analysis

Quantitative data were summarized with charts and categorized quotes. The qualitative data was summarized and shared in the triad. See Appendix II for more detailed information.

 

  1. The findings

The key findings in the analysis were that the intervention were too time consuming when used with bigger tests. On the other hand, when used correctly it can be an important asset. In essence, Screencast-O-Matic freed up lesson time, at the price of more work for the teacher outside of the lesson.

 

We concluded that Screencast-O-Matic was best when used for

  • qualitative feedback to specific students
  • materials that were not too extensive
  • general reviews

 

For example

  • diagnostic tests
  • areas on test where many performed badly
  • study guides before tests
  • guides to be used with homework

 

 

  1. Reflections on the collaborative process

Due to time constraints, we had to divide the types of intervention between us in the triad. This meant that we had different perspectives and results to share between us afterwards. Just like the British triad, we felt it was hard to motivate the students to watch the videos. Considering the specific circumstances, i.e. short time period, this was expected. It was also clear that we all share similar challenges and problems in our day-to-day teaching. When the other teachers of the project visited Sweden, the discussions following the observations of our lessons reinforced this insight.

 

Summary of both years of the project

 

  1. Conclusions

Using Zaption, Screencast-O-Matic or similar software can enhance the learning experience for the students and help students and teachers manage time. They can also be a crucial part of a “flipped lesson”-philosophy, where they help the teacher to structure the lesson cycle.

 

To successfully improve learning with ICT, it is important that the students are familiar with the concept, methods and software used. The methods should be used more consistently and over a longer time period and as a teacher you still have to adapt to different student strengths and needs.

 

  1. Next steps

Next semester we plan on implementing a “flipped classroom”-philosophy enhanced with the findings from this project. We will use software based on our experiences from the project, both for the lesson-cycle and for student feedback. We will also continue disseminating our experiences using ICT-tools in mathematics.

 

 

Appendix I – Student answers regarding the Zaption tool

 

Appendix II – Student answers regarding the Screencast-O-Matic tool

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