The University of Bristol is conducting research into the impact of 1:1 access to mobile learning devices at KS2 and KS4. Five schools, which are part of the Learning2Go or Hand-e-Learning projects, are being investigated.
This Development and Research project is using mixed methods to evaluate impact in terms of learners’ learning skills, attendance, behaviour and attainment. It will also review the success of the implementation and sustainability of the schools’ PDA initiatives and provide examples of emerging good pedagogic practice.
The final reports from the project will be available in Winter 2008.
The Summer 2007 Interim Report is available here.
Emerging recommendations include:
Implementation – policy
- The initial implementation of mobile projects is logistically challenging.
- The open negotiation of contracts of acceptable and responsible use with learners and parents can be very useful in clarifying issues and building mutual trust.
- When learners expect devices to be used, they are more likely to bring them to school every day and keep them charged. When all pupils in a class have their devices with them, the learning benefits are optimised.
- Teachers need to play an integral role in choosing software and content to ensure that it is relevant to learners’ needs. They are then more likely use the devices.
- Where possible, all relevant staff – especially teaching assistants, ICT co-ordinators and teachers – should be provided with mobile devices.
Implementation – technical
- It is beneficial to ensure reliable wireless connectivity.
- It is useful to consider systems for dealing with breakages and temporary loss of use of devices. This may involve planning for temporary loan stock.
- Systems for storage of and access to work need to be developed. Teachers and learners need to access digital work to provide and receive feedback.
- Consideration can usefully be given to possible software solutions to teachers’ issues around observing process, tracking progress and formative assessment.
Professional development of teachers
- Teachers benefit from having time to explore what the devices can do before integrating their use into planned learning.
- Using mobile devices is likely to increase learner autonomy. Teachers need to ensure that learners are able to evaluate resources, think critically and reflect.
- It is important to consider the ways in which mobile devices are integrated with other (ICT and traditional) tools in learning at home and at school.