22 SES 07 A, Teaching, Learning and Assessment in Higher Education
Innovation in teaching and learning is nowadays often associated with technological progress and the emergence of new devices, such as tablets. While optimistic positions acclaim fundamental changes in the way we learn and teach today (e.g. Johnson et al., 2013), educational research has to explore carefully possible effects that mobile devices have on learning. By focussing on the academic field as an area where learning is practiced in many facets and forms, the paper investigates effects the implementation of tablets has in an undergraduate degree program in Germany and tries to answer the following research questions: What influence do tablets have on students’ everyday life and their academic practices? Which effects do occur in the students’ learning behavior and how can these effects be characterized and explained?
In order to answer these questions it is important to take a differentiated perspective on university learning. Learning is a complex and extensive process and therefore the paper takes a holistic perspective on the phenomenon instead of only focusing on single aspects. Students act among complex networks of formal and informal contexts, collaborate with fellow students and use different technologies and (social) software in order to accomplish various tasks (Adler et al., 2013; Kumar et al., 2012).
In addition, academic learning in postmodern societies is strongly shaped by a „dissolution of boundaries“that affects different levels (Kirchhöfer, 2005; Arnold, 2011). The term „dissolution of boundaries“ refers to the change of learning cultures and means an „annulment of existing structures and forms of regulatory limitation of learning“ (Kirchhöfer, 2004, p. 109) – a process that has been strongly influencing the academic context over the last years.
The dissolution of boundaries in academic learning exemplifies the continuous blurring of formal and informal contexts. In recent years, this development is promoted particularly by social media and mobile devices which enable ubiquitous learning and versatile practices of knowledge acquisition (Mayrberger & Bettinger, in press; Barnes & Herring, 2011). As a result, limitations related to time, space and social forms of learning are no longer binding.
A concept to grasp the compelexity of such a learning process is the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) (Attwell, 2007; Panke, 2011). In this approach learners are regarded as being capable of self-direction and responsible for their own learning process. By flexibly using different (software)tools according to altering requirements, they are said to be aware of their own learning and can organize their media arrangement in a productive way. In this ideal case, learners develop a better sensibility of their own learning and regard it as a diverse concept, which can result in better learning outcomes (Purdie & Hattie, 2002).
Based on this theoretical framework the paper tries to answer the research questions by surveying 45 students in the BA and MA program „Media and Communication“. The students were equipped with Apple iPads (2nd Generation, without 3G) for the whole duration of their studies.
As mobile learning in Europe is being promoted on a broad basis – which is reflected by many founded projects in this area (e.g. UNESCO, 2012) – the paper contributes to the discussion by giving insight in the phenomenon on a micro level. Though its specific professional and regional focus has to be considered as limitation, its strength lies in grasping the complexity students’ learning with tablets by a broad and deepening approach. Therefor it can give important clues for future implementation strategies.
Adler, F., Bettinger, P., Dürnberger, H. & Mayrberger, K. (2013). Persönliche Lernumgebung als Rahmen für persönliches Wissensmanagement - Pilotstudie zur Rolle von Tablets im Studium. In F. Lehner, N. Amende & N. Fteimi (Eds.), Konferenzbeiträge der 7. Konferenz Professionelles Wissenmanagement (pp. 7-23). Berlin: GITO mbH Verlag. Attwell, G. (2007). Personal Learning Environments – the future of eLearning? eLearning Papers 2 (1). Barcelona: P.A.U. Education. Available from: http://openeducationeuropa.eu/en/download/file/fid/19297. Barnes, J. & Herring, D. (2011). Learning Their Way: Mobile Devices in Education. In M. Koehler & P. Mishra (Eds.), Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2011 (pp. 127-129). Chesapeake, VA: AACE. Behnken, I. & Zinnecker, J. (2010). Narrative Landkarten: Ein Verfahren zur Rekonstruktion aktueller und biographisch erinnerter Lebensräume. In B. Friebertshäuser, A. Langer & A. Prengel (Eds.), Handbuch qualitative Forschungs- methoden in der Erziehungswissenschaft (3. Ed.) (pp. 547-562). München: Juventa-Verlag. Dahlstrom, E., Walker, J.D. & Dziuban, C. (2013). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology. Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Analysis and Research. Available from http://www.educause.edu/ecar Johnson, L., Adams Becker, S., Cummins, M., Estrada, V., Freeman, A. & Ludgate, H. (2013). NMC Horizon Report: 2013 Higher Education. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium. Kirchhöfer, D. (2004). Lernkultur Kompetenzentwicklung. Begriffliche Grundlagen. Berlin: ESM. Kirchhöfer, D. (2005). Grenzen der Entgrenzung. Lernkultur in der Veränderung (pp. 75–103). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. Kumar, S, Liu, F. & Black, E. W. (2012). Undergraduates’ collaboration and integration of new technologies in higher education: Blurring the lines between informal and educational contexts. Digital Culture & Education, 421, 248-259. Mayrberger, K. & Bettinger, P. (in press). Entgrenzung akademischen Lernens mit mobilen Endgeräten: Nutzungspraktiken Studierender in ihrer persönlichen Lernumgebung. In R. Kammerl, A. Unger, P. Grell & T. Hug (Eds.), Diskursive und produktive Praktiken in der Digitalen Kultur. Jahrbuch Medienpädagogik 11. Wiesbaden: VS. Mayring, P. (2010). Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse. Grundlagen und Techniken (11. Ed.). Weinheim und Basel: Beltz. Panke, S. (2011). Personal Learning Environment und Open Online Course: Neue Formen offenen Lernens im Netz. Available from: http://www.e-teaching.org/materialien/artikel/langtext_offen_lernen_panke_2011.pdf Purdie, N. & Hattie, J. (2002). Assessing Students’ Conceptions of Learning. Australian Journal of Educational & Developmental Psychology, Vol. 2, 17-32. UNESCO. (2012). Turning on Mobile Learning. Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications. Paris: UNESCO. Available from http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0021/002161/216165e.pdf
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