Another dot in the blogosphere?

NIE collaborative classroom data

Posted on: March 7, 2011

I am part of a research group that is investigating mobile learning in NIE. One of the components is the impact of the environment in such a venture. One such environment in NIE is our prototype collaborative classroom, an example of which is shown above.

There are five such classrooms at the moment and the plan is to convert the classrooms at the ground level to this less traditional format.

We asked the tutors assigned to these classrooms what they thought about the facilities there (see below). The scale is 1 for “not useful at all” (orange) and 5 for “very useful” (green). The easy way to interpret the chart is “green is good”.

[Click to see larger version]

The items rated most highly were wireless Internet access (4.51 out of 5), group-seating arrangement (4.49) and power supply (4.41). The least valued items were the visualizer (3.98) and the IWB (3.29).

I am glad that the tutors favoured the features that help make the classroom potentially more connected and collaborative. The IWB and visualizer do not do much to challenge pedagogy.

I would add that you don’t need an elaborate room to do this. All you need in terms of infrastructure are a good wireless network and mobile devices. Most existing classroom furniture will do, but having a flexible layout does send a subtle message to all who use the room.

2 Responses to "NIE collaborative classroom data"

Excited & encouraged to see such efforts that I feel well represents the spirit behind the late Gandhi’s quote ‘.. be the change you wish to see in the world’.

I know it’s still at an early stage of exploration and experimentation but I’d be interested to find out in time to come, beyond perception on usefulness of various facilities, consequential behavorial changes (and non-change) that might emerge when teachers use these facilities. Taking a further step, how would these changes differ between new and experienced teachers?

How could the positive changes and benefits derived from experiencing this collaborative classroom be sustained when teachers often operate within a less well equipped environment back in the classrooms?

Also wondering aloud if & how the way a physical facility is designed and used might surface opportunities to re-frame and help shift paradigm.

Referencing your later entry titled ‘Natural Learners, Unnatural Learning’, can a set of design principles useful as a guide for our teachers and school administrators involved in creating and using facilities of similar nature within their schools be articulated?

Apologies for this laundry list…

As far as laundry lists go, that is a good one!

Some background: There were many other questions we asked in our study and they were in the context of our 1:1 computing programme. The users of the collaborative classrooms just happened to be a good convenience sample since the venues were optimized for the use of laptops.

So our focus is more on how the ownership of a laptop and its regular use influences learning and teaching. The learning environment certainly plays its part, but it is not core to our research.

That said, the questions you asked would be a great starting point for a longitudinal study!

Then again, the research cycle might hold such developments back. I have brought former student teachers and in-service teachers to these rooms. I have also hosted visitors from places like the US, Korea, Vietnam and Thailand in such rooms. If they were interested in implementing similar systems, their approach has always been to ask questions and document by way of photos and videos. Things just move faster that way. Thinking more systemically, this becomes an opportunity to do a comparative, longitudinal study across different systems. :)

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