Academic journal article Education Research International

Three Social Classroom Applications to Improve Student Attitudes

Academic journal article Education Research International

Three Social Classroom Applications to Improve Student Attitudes

Article excerpt

Academic Editor:Shu-Sheng Liaw

Department of Computer and Information Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Sem Saelands Vei 7-9, 7491 Trondheim, Norway

Received 6 May 2014; Revised 28 August 2014; Accepted 30 August 2014; 11 September 2014

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

1. Introduction

The introduction of technology in classrooms has opened new ways of interacting in lectures. More and more classrooms are being equipped with smart boards or video projectors, and it is becoming common to have access to wireless networks throughout school campuses. Teachers usually have access to laptops or tablets used for teaching, and some schools even provide every student with a tablet or laptop. For schools where students are not provided with tablets or laptops, the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach is an alternative. A survey from 2013 showed that more than 85 percent of 500 educational institutions in UK and US allowed some form of BYOD [1]. The survey also showed that the devices were increasingly being integrated into the classroom and learning experience. Introduction of technology into the classroom can provide many benefits if it is done correctly. Success depends on the teacher's knowledge, skills, and motivation, what applications are being used, the managerial and technical infrastructure and support, and how the applications are implemented and integrated into lectures. Further, users' perception factors such as environmental characteristics, environmental satisfaction, collaboration activities, learners' characteristics, and environmental acceptance must be taken into account [2]. One example of successful use of classroom technology is student response systems. Student response systems have been found beneficial for both students and teachers in terms of improved student performance on exams and creating a more positive and active atmosphere in classrooms [3]. Similarly, research has shown that introduction of games in the classroom can provide positive results. Games have been found to be beneficial for academic achievement, motivation, and classroom dynamics in K-12 [4] as well as for higher education [5]. In recent years, a new kind of tools has been adopted in academia, which can be used beyond the classroom. Social software such as blogs, wikis, voice-over-IP, and social networking tools is used to a larger degree for learning and communication [6]. To use software for collaborative learning is not new, for example, the use of virtual classroom to provide collaborative learning [7, 8].

The introduction of BYOD together with the needed technological infrastructure has now made it possible to enhance the lectures themselves through technology. This paper presents the results of a quasiexperiment where three social classroom applications were tested. The two first applications provide support for brainstorming or collecting student responses using the virtual post-it notes and visualization of keywords in word clouds, respectively. The last application is a game where the goal is to relate various terms to two defined categories. All three applications are multimodal and provide one common screen for the whole class and one individual screen for each student. The focus of the quasiexperiment was to investigate how the differences of these three applications affected the students' motivation, engagement, thinking, activity level, social interaction, creativity, enjoyment, attention, and learning. Further, we investigated how the integration of the applications in the lecture affected the results. In addition, this paper describes the results of evaluating the usability and the technical quality of the three applications.

The rest of this paper is organized as follows. …

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