Blended learning with everyday technologies to activate students’ collaborative learning

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A review of the Mikko,Teemu,Jari,Sari,Anu &Sirpa (2010) paper

Research Findings:

This study examines the use of Qaiku (similar to Twitter) and Wikispaces as social media constructs to explore the potential of mobile learning thus eliminating the need for a computer lab.  Participants of the study were undergraduate university students in a Teaching Programme.  The evidence is interpreted from a socio-constructivist and a socio-cultural viewpoint which highlights ‘conversational interaction’ where learners can become fully immersed in participation and collaboration.   In this way learning can be placed in context,flexible and available 24/7,additionally students can learn from one another and develop their own resources.    Two cases of blended learning form the foci for the study;the first examines students’ use of the micro blogging platform Qaiku to create shared lecture notes.  The second involves students creating a collaborative book through Wikispaces.   Students’ feedbacks regarding the use of ICT in both observations were positive.  The learning encouraged collaborative participation and reflective thinking resulting in deeper understanding.

Implications for Practice:

Utilising mobile technologies,whether it is mobile phones or wireless networks,poses a set of challenges for the design of lessons for teachers but the efforts develop another dimension to collaborative learning.    An orientation overview of the tool to be used helps remove any technical barriers to learning.  Similarly by dividing the class into small groups’ students can learn from one another.  One of the barriers to the micro blogging style of note taking was the difficulty around linking Qaiku notes with the appropriate PowerPoint slides.  A solution to this could simply be adding a numbering   system with a #hashtag to each slide or using Slideshare where comments to the slide can be made privately.   Creating a book in Wikispaces gives students the opportunity to develop their own resource collaboratively.

Reference:

Mikko,V.,  Teemu,V.,Jari,K.,Sari,H.,Anu,H.,Sirpa,K.2010
Blended learning with everyday technologies to activate students’ collaborative learning
Science Education International,Vol.21,No.4,December 2010,272-283

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