ABSTRACT: The Danish Ministry of Education and the Centre for Teaching Development and Digital Media (TDM) are implementing a project, “Experiments with Assisted Distance Education in Municipal Primary and Lower Secondary Schools” January 2017 - June 2018. The purpose of the project is to contribute to a national challenge, the difficulty of attracting  educated teachers to rural and remote areas. This project looks at new opportunities using “assisted teaching,” where a person with another relevant education is present in the classroom to facilitate the learning process through online teaching or digital medias.

Municipalities and schools were able to apply to join the project in December 2016. University College Nordjylland applied to give the pedagogue students the qualifications to design learning activities using technologies and digital media during their internship, with the goal of using assisted teaching to add resources to the classroom.

Our contribution and the purpose of this thesis is designing and conducting a workshop with 25 pedagogue students from University College Nordjylland. Our goal was to increase the students’ ability  to design activities using technologies and digital media in pedagogical processes.  

To conduct our inquiry, we used the method Design-Based Research, in which the design process develops through these phases: 1. knowledge of the domain, 2. development of prototypes, 3. iterations and redesigning and 4. documentation and reflections. We supplemented this method with human-centred design, where our focus was on the reflections of the students.

With a social constructivist approach, we developed the content of the workshop during two iterations before we completed the final workshop in Aalborg the 3rd - 7th April. To document our qualitative data we used video observations, participant observations and focus group interviews. To supplement we used evaluations, photos and netnography.

Through video observations we tried to understand and interpret situations, since we could see the students’ physical actions and hear their verbal interaction. Combined with our own observations, this allowed us to analyse if the content of the workshop had any influence on the students’ understanding of technology and creativity skills.   

The final workshop consisted of three main activities supplemented with two presentations, in which we covered the themes of programming and coding with children and the benefits of using the network to include authentic knowledge persons in the classroom through digital media.

The first activity, “Remix an activity or game,” introduced students to new and fairly unknown technologies: Ozobots, Captain Hack, Makey Makey and QR-codes. The goal of this activity was that the group should, through a collaborative process, create a new game or activity by remixing a well-known activity with the technologies. Besides giving the students a new experience with making pedagogical processes using these technologies, the activity also showed us group members’ understanding of technology and their creative skills.

With this indication we were able to compare after the last activity of the workshop, which consisted of a design process made by the students, where they had to design an activity for 4-6 second-graders that included either technology or digital media.  

Through our analysis of our qualitative data, we discuss in this paper the importance of the group structure, relevant design elements and teaching using digital media.

The group structure highly influences the development of competencies within the fields of understanding technology and creativity through collaboration. Our analysis showed when there were diverse competencies represented, especially within the field of understanding technology, it increased the opportunities for reaching a higher level in general. But if the competencies represented were both convergent with a low understanding of technology and no intrinsic motivation for improving, it decreased the opportunities for reaching a higher level. Group work support appeared to be the key, where different areas of expertise and creative thinking styles combine and combust in exciting and useful ways. Moreover, focusing on collaboration meant focusing on teaching the students  the process of producing an output together through discussion, argumentation, questioning and answering.

We focused on different kinds of feedback to the groups during the workshop: extrinsic feedback, which is based on comments and responses from either an expert or a teacher, and peer modeling, which is based on comments and responses from the other students at a peer level. We saw in the second iteration that peer modeling used with the right conditions had a positive effect on the learning environment, but due to time pressure, we were unable to set up these conditions at the final workshop, which may have decreased the learning opportunity.

We used different digital media in the workshop. During the students’ design activity we used extrinsic feedback, in which an online coach gave feedback to the groups through Google Hangout. We intended to use blogs as a knowledge-sharing media, but due to organisation challenges, we changed it to Facebook. This gave us the option to use Facebook Live to live stream different tasks to the students, and also show them the opportunities of always having access to network and information.

Overall, our analysis shows that the content of the final workshop was able to boost students’ competency, especially when the teacher focused on the group work support, allowing time for creativity and peer modeling. Furthermore, is it important that the teacher's role changes to a facilitator, who initiates learning processes through authentic cases, where the motivation and engagement are intrinsic in the students.     

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Styrelsen for IT og Læring (STIL) og Center for Undervisningsmidler og Digitale Medier (CUDiM) indledte efteråret 2016 et samarbejde omkring "Forsøg med Assisteret Fjernundervisning i Folkeskolen". Læs om projektet her. Vi deltager i dette projekt i forbindelse med vores speciale, som er tilknyttet UCN i Aalborg Kommune. Vi har designet en workshop gennem Design-Based Research, som kan bidrage til et kompetenceløft af pædagogstuderende inden for brug af teknologi og digitale medier. Bloggen har været vores elektroniske dagbog i perioden februar - juni 2017.

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