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Making differences to learning - realising the potential of digital resources at Key Stage 3 Don Passey Senior Research Fellow Department of Educational.

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Presentation on theme: "Making differences to learning - realising the potential of digital resources at Key Stage 3 Don Passey Senior Research Fellow Department of Educational."— Presentation transcript:

1 Making differences to learning - realising the potential of digital resources at Key Stage 3 Don Passey Senior Research Fellow Department of Educational Research Lancaster University

2 Alec Swift Assessment Data and Timetable Manager

3 The Maestro Project The Maestro Project was initiated in 2003, with the participation of 33 schools, and followed the progress of pupils from Year 7 to Year 9 It was set up to explore how the introduction of RM MathsAlive into a number of mathematics departments might impact mathematics learning and teaching MathsAlive is a range of digital resources that provides a complete curriculum for Key Stage 3 mathematics learning This includes specific resources created to meet each of the objectives in the Secondary National Strategy framework for teaching mathematics It ended in 2006, with a three-phase evaluation across the three-year period focused centrally on looking at impacts on learning Findings show that when certain resources are used, and in certain ways, differences in terms of learning are recognised by pupils, teachers, independent observers, and through attainment results


5 Impacts on SATs attainment? Harrison et al. (2002) identified in their study of impacts of ICT on SATs and GCSE results, that: “A statistically significant positive association between ICT and National Tests for science was found at Key Stage 3, but there were no other clear-cut associations at Key Stage 3”. Is it reasonable to expect a statistically significant positive association between subject outcomes and uses of digital resources?

6 Quantitative results The Fischer Family Trust looked at and compared results of the 9,926 students in the 19 schools that completed the project Compared each student’s actual attainment with that estimated from their prior attainment Looked at how pupil progress varied with the level of digital resource usage for all schools in the analysis, for individual schools and for teaching groups within schools Adjusted results on the basis of the school‘s contextual added value measures



9 Supporting inner speech? Vygotsky (1962) discusses how thought itself develops socially, with external speech leading to inner speech through a gradual process of internalisation, such that the thinking through inner speech itself becomes embedded to the point of its not being recognised consciously. Does use of digital resources support the development of learning through inner speech?

10 Wide use of resources There is a visual backcloth, probably for quite a lot of the time. Digital resources will be left on the screen, and learners will have a point of reference that is additional to reference provided by the teacher. The point of reference is visual, and that is important for some learners. Teachers provide an auditory point of reference, but digital resources offer visual forms of reference. Using digital resources widely means that different forms of resources are likely to be used at different times. These different digital resources will offer variety, and will focus on different learning aspects, likely to impact on different individual pupils or pupil groups. A backcloth may well provide visual hooks, and certain digital resources will certainly offer these. Learners can ‘see’ what they can when they wish, if digital resources are left in accessible forms.

11 Supporting discussive interactions? Pask (1975) discusses processes through which learning can arise, and how learning occurs through conversations about subject matter, with the idea of making knowledge explicit. The idea here is that conversation exposes the subject matter to a series of discussive interactions, which can illuminate and heighten understanding. Does use of digital resources support understanding through discussive interactions?

12 Enhancing visual clarity Developing conceptual understanding






18 Enhanced discussion Pupils had time to discuss questions or concepts in pairs or small groups (in 3 cases observed). The teacher drew out pupil solutions first, and then only after exploring all pupil solutions, offered the teacher’s own solution. Pupils were given opportunity to describe how they produced answers or solutions, how they completed tasks, and strategies used to tackle questions (in 5 cases). The teacher responded to pupils by offering ideas of strategies (in 2 cases).

19 Supporting ‘authentic’ learning? Both Bonnett and McFarlane (1997) talk about the role of ICT in supporting ‘authentic’ learning. They describe this as a ‘subjective’ aspect of learning that engenders educative emotion or empathy, an integration of aspects such as bringing ‘real-life’ feeling to learning, bringing ideas of undertaking learning directly to the learner experience, offering experiential learning and an ownership of learning together. Do digital resources support ‘authentic’ learning?

20 Encouraging participative learning









29 ‘ Authentic’ learning Teachers refer to ideas about ‘real’ contexts, and the perceived value to pupils of sophisticated resources. Pupils refer to their involvements in learning in terms of ‘real’ discussion, ‘real’ outcomes, and ‘real’ interests. Pupils said it helped them remember things when they were actively using the resources but did not have to copy and write (17 pupils). Helped their understanding through visualisation (11 pupils) and ‘simplicity’ (1 pupil) (when animations and diagrams were used). Helped all the class to work together, so that everyone was involved (6 pupils), so that pupils helped each other (2 pupils), and some said that competitive activity ‘gets brains working’ (3 pupils). Were ‘exact and clear’ (having an exact image meant that they could remember ‘a real image’) (5 pupils).

30 Supporting internal cognition? Passey and Rogers (2004) described research that suggested the main focus of teacher interest and drive when using ICT was upon aspects most commonly reported as leading to positive motivation (engagement, research, writing and editing, and presentation), and that internal cognitive aspects of the learning process (aspects such as reasoning, comparing, analysis, evaluating and conceptualising) were being given less attention overall, and might not be supported positively to the same extents currently by ICT. Do digital resources focus on internal cognitive aspects of the learning process?

31 Developing conceptual understanding






37 Internal cognition Helped understanding through visualisation (11 pupils) and ‘simplicity’ (1 pupil) (when animations and diagrams were used). Helped with understanding certain topics, particularly shape (10 pupils), trigonometry (8 pupils), mental mathematics with addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (7 pupils), algebra (3 pupils), graphs (3 pupils), fractions and decimals (3 pupils), times tables (3 pupils), co-ordinates and grids (2 pupils), averages (1 pupil), stem and leaf diagrams (1 pupil), scatter diagrams (1 pupil). Pupils were given opportunity to find out when they were right or wrong, being able to address misunderstandings or misconceptions, or identifying how to do better next time (in 5 cases).

38 Supporting the transfer of learning? Bransford et al. (2000) highlighted the importance of the transfer of learning within the wider context of effectiveness, and how referring to previous and existing ideas and knowledge, and considering how ideas and knowledge might be used in other contexts and situations, was an important aspect if learners were to be successful with their learning. Do digital resources support a focus on the transfer of learning?

39 The transfer of learning Through reviews of previous work, asking pupils to recall terms, and activities (in 3 cases). Providing visual hooks, and hooks concerned with ideas that pupils produced and generated, encouraging discussion and ideas of possible solutions (in 2 cases). Providing links to real-life examples (in 1 case). Ensuring that hooks linked to key terms or ideas throughout the lesson (in 1 case). Producing notes that could be applied to other situations (in 1 case).

40 Supporting concentration and attention? Wall, Higgins and Smith (2005) found that there was a relationship between uses of interactive whiteboards and pupils’ views of learning, with the way in which information was presented, through colour and movement in particular, motivating and reinforcing concentration and attention. Do digital resources reinforce concentration and attention through use of colour and movement?

41 Clarifying a process






47 Concentration and attention 426 pupils provided responses to a series of questions about uses of resources (164 were girls, and 251 were boys, with 11 pupils not indicating their gender) 58% indicated they agreed or strongly agreed that they enjoyed playing mathematical games. 69% indicated that they agreed or agreed strongly that the playing of mathematical games helped them to remember things. 87% indicated that they agreed or agreed strongly that they enjoyed using interactive whiteboards in mathematics lessons. 71% indicated that they agreed or agreed strongly that they found it easier to remember things when they used the interactive whiteboard. They said it broke down the work into steps rather than being ‘in big chunks in a text book’ (4 pupils). The use of colour and brightness enhanced learning (4 pupils).

48 The findings suggest that digital resources support learning through enhancing perceived kinaesthesia as well as other sensory routes Movement and colour allow pupils to internally associate with a perceived ‘real-world’ environment With movement and colour they engage actively and feel movement For those who might be considered to be kinaesthetic learners, this is clearly potentially important; they can ‘think in movement’ But, just as importantly, digital resources allow active engagement and thinking for those who might be considered to be visual or textual learners, as well as social or auditory learners Digital resources can provide a backcloth that allow learners to engage and associate through a range of different sensory and cognitive aspects The learning environment becomes challenging, in that it can demand attention and seek participation Conclusions

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