ERG SES D 07, Pecha Kucha Session
Pecha Kucha Session
This paper examines application and perceptions of textual communication with response technology (RT). As defined by Caldwell (2007), response technology includes any system through which students make contributions which are tallied and presented for the teacher to respond to. Bearing this fundamental characteristic in mind, not only clickers and the many software systems developed qualify as response technology, but, according to its usage, software originally intended for collaborative writing as well. With the advent of open text response in RT, a new pedagogy of dialogical writing became possible. Students no longer had to choose from the teacher’s list of alternatives, but could submit longer segments of text. This provided not only a considerable expansion of the communicative potential in the classroom, but also a need for adaptive didactics for education with applied response technology.
There is an urgent need for research into applied RT in secondary language education, as most of the limited research have been aimed at the technical properties of software and focussing on the higher education level (Aljaloud, Gromik, Billingsley, & Kwan, 2015). Furthermore, the majority of research has been aimed at STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, leaving a knowledge gap in the area of language education, amongst others (Kay & LeSage, 2009). Also, while there exist considerable research on collaborative writing and feedback on writing (Yim & Warschauer, 2017), there is less research on the communication resulting from the teacher’s digital presence in online collaborative writing, and the nature of the text which replaces multiple choice in RT has not yet been studied. In a Norwegian context, speaking, writing and digital skills are three of the five basic skills guiding the formulation and execution of curricula (Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training, 2012). Despite the Norwegian education system being endowed with considerable resources in terms of infrastructure and technical solutions (OECD, 2015; Hatlevik et.al., 2013), teaching with these tools remains teacher-centred, leaving the students to apply their devices for entertainment rather than learning (Blikstad-Balas, 2012). There is therefore need for student-centred approaches which train students in these three basic skills, RT writing has the potential to alter the dynamics of any classroom, providing this training as well as increasing student participation and involvement.
Taking a pragmatic and interpretivist theoretical perspective, this paper identifies two predominant forms of RT textual communication; short, quick responses and longer prose. The first form tends to replace oral responses in class, or to provide a mode of communication when oral responses fail. The second replaces longer, individual textual production in class or at home. In both cases, the teacher gains access to the students’ production or potential production in a seamless way and can direct the teaching accordingly. The student can communicate with a receptive and non-intrusive teacher in a manner afforded by the privacy and social distance of text but the immediacy of the writing and classroom process. Both make a collaborative effort to produce an interwoven progress in the lesson, one which provides learning legitimised by both. By studying these expressions of RT textual communication and students’ and teachers’ perceptions of them, this paper answers the research question; How is textual communication with RT used in secondary school language education and how is this application perceived by students and teachers?.
Within the bounded system of 1 ½ year of language education in a Norwegian upper secondary school, this case study followed a qualitative-dominant mixed methods research design. Initially, textual material and data gathered through observations and interviews of 18 teachers and their classes were analysed abductively in a constant comparative coding process using Nvivo 11. This informed a survey, the data from which was analysed through descriptive statistics, flagging significant Pearson correlations with IBM SPSS Statistics 24 (p<0,05). The approaches and attitudes towards textual communication with applied RT identified and explored in the synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data guided an intervention. Here, the outcome of these approaches were studied in depth, applying the same qualitative data gathering and analysis methods previously used. Textual responses from students and teachers, interview transcripts and field notes underwent first cycle holistic and process coding and second cycle focus coding, resulting in categories which were first tested against survey data and then against intervention data to achieve data saturation and ultimately theory formulation. This triangulation as well as frequent member checks provided validation of findings on what influences and characterises textual communication with RT, and how it is perceived by the agents of this communication. Textual communications between students and teachers as well as their context were observed and recorded with me as researcher acting as a “participant as observer” (Gold, 1958). This allowed me to repeatedly blend into the context, copying text responses verbatim and recording my observations with extensive field notes, comprising a descriptive and reflective component (Emerson, Fretz & Shaw, 2011). The individual and focus group interviews followed Kvale & Brinkmann’s (2015) seven stages of interviewing. Having initially explored teacher and student experiences of RT text communication in observed lessons and in general, later interviews in addition included discussion of motivations behind and interpretations of text responses given. This provided review and validation from teachers and students of the analysis of text responses. The survey explored frequency and perceptions of RT application in language education. Primarily administered to the students, an adapted version queried the teacher’s attitudes towards the same (Ns=1100, Nt=41). The analysed results allowed me to read and re-read textual responses and relate them to the larger context in which they were given. All data collection, analysis and storage were approved by the Norwegian Social Science Data Service (NSD) and complied with their ethical standards.
Both teachers and students found that text response transferred the responsibility for production and learning to the students, and allowed them a wider range of expression. Furthermore, the textual production provided a starting point for discussions, and thus trained the students in both digital, writing and speaking skills. Student text responses, 85,5% of which were genuine responses to the teacher’s request, showed a relatively high participation. Textual teacher and student comments in collaborative writing were fewer, but interviews and observations indicated that student texts were monitored and formed the basis for oral feedback and activity in the classroom. Correlated with results from the survey, interviews and observations, these findings indicate that students and teachers highlight the collaborative learning environment short text response can provide as relevant for language education. The increased student involvement and participation perceived by both is conductive to creating this environment, and these conclusions are also true for longer text production. Applying various collaborative writing platforms, the teacher adopted a supervising role, supporting production with a level of error acceptance as a digital presence. Students did not find the teacher reading and commenting their text during production disturbing. On the contrary, they welcomed the teacher’s competence and availability for feedback requests in their language production and found the physical absence conductive to this process. The teacher, meanwhile, liked the ability to monitor several writing processes simultaneously and identifying and addressing individual or class problem areas immediately. These results highlight the relevance of RT text for language education. Further research should aim to replicate and validate these findings, primarily in lower education and language education context internationally, but also beyond. Additionally, studying how to build on student contributions and cyclical application of RT text and response in language education would yield more valuable insights within this new field.
Aljaloud, A., Gromik N., Billingsley W., & Kwan P. (2015). Research Trends in Student Response Systems: A Literature Review. International Journal of Learning Technology, 10(4). 313-325 Blikstad-Balas, M. (2012). Digital literacy in upper secondary school - What do students use their laptops for during teacher instruction? Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 7(2), 81-96. Brinkmann, S., & Kvale, S. (2015). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Caldwell, J.E. (2007). Clickers in the Large Classroom: Current Research and Best-Practice Tips. CBE Life Sciences Education, 6(1), 9-20 Emerson, R.M., Fretz, R.I., & Shaw, L.L. (2011). Writing ethnographic fieldnotes (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Gold, R. L. (1958). Roles in sociological field observation. Social Forces, 36, 217-223. Hatlevik, O. E., Egeberg, G., Gudmundsdottir, G. B., Loftsgarden, M., & Loi, M. (2013). Monitor skole 2013: Om digital kompetanse og erfaringer med bruk av IKT i skolen. Oslo: Senter for IKT i Utdanningen. Kay, R.H., & LeSage, A. (2009). Examining the Benefits and Challenges of Using Audience Response Systems: A Review of the Literature. Computers & Education, 53, 819-827 Norwegian Directorate of Education and Training (2012). Framework for basic skills. Retrieved 19.01.2018 from https://www.udir.no/ OECD (2015). Students, computers and learning: Making the connection. Paris: PISA, OECD Publishing. Yim, S., & Warschauer, M. (2017). Web-based collaborative writing in L2 contexts: Methodological insights from text mining. Language Learning & Technology, 21(1), 146-165.
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