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Case Study Story: Designing Maths Games (Spain) Case Study Story: Designing Maths Games (Spain)

 This case study story is the one of a Spanish teacher engaged in the SMART pilot group in cycle 3 (Sept-Dec 2012). It grives an overview on what happenned in the classroom and on the impact of these activities as analysed by the teachers and the students.    

Background

  • Age of students: 13- 14
  • Number in class: 15
  • The subject: Maths
  • Over what period of time? 10 weeks  (1 h/week)
  • Location of lessons? Computer suite, school library, homework
  • Resources used: Team Up, Facebook, Scratch, Blogger, Dropbox, SMART Notebook, SMART Learner response system, SMART widgets.  

What happened ? Teachers and students experiences

  • Preparation: During the first few lessons, students prepared for the project by setting up the technologies they would require, for example, a Dropbox account and a blog.  Teams were created using TeamUp.
  •  Idea generation: The next stage was to search for existing games on the Internet to help them to produce their own idea.  Students analysed the advantages and disadvantages of the games they found.
  •  Design: Students then designed their own games, initially on paper and then later using SMART Notebook.
  •  Peer feedback and review: Students presented their designs to the rest of the class who offered feedback using Learner Response System handsets.  In the following lesson, the groups reflected on this feedback and made any changes to their design. 
  •  Reflection: Students maintained a blog of their progress throughout the project and at the final stage, they reflected on their experience overall.

Key innovations: What was new or different overall ?

  • Using technology for peer evaluation and sharing: “I have learned a lot about the power of blogging and how sharing their improvements improve their self-esteem and motivation. ” (Teacher)
  • Using technology in subjects where this is not commonplace: “It has been a nice change. The pilot here has been done in maths and usually ICT is not used in maths classes.” (ICT Co-ordinator)
  • Using technology for a ‘real’ purpose, rather than for its own sake: “before the project, in ICT class, they’ve used blogs but not with a real use, the project has allowed them to really see what it means to publish information and work through a blog, they could see how many people would visit them and really understand that their information was public. Checking the visits was very motivating for them.”

Teacher's comments

  • On the changing role of the teacher and increased student engagement in learning: “What has changed a little bit is that until now they used to see me as a heroine of the IWB and during this project that have seen me struggling with blogs and Dropbox, they have had the opportunity to explain me things, so it’s been very positive for them to have the possibility to help me the same way that I can help them.”
  • On the students’ response: “Amazing, not only in my class, but the other classes of the same level were demanding to work like that, to participate in the project.”
  • On school restrictions on the use of social media: “I would have love to use twitter to communicate but school policy doesn’t allow us to use twitter in the classes…It’s such a pity since they are actually using twitter on their daily basis, so to include that in the project would have been great...Blogging was allowed but under control, so we have to check every time something is published.”

Student's comments

  • On enjoying greater autonomy: “The differences are that during this project all the students have used a computer not like the rest where only the teacher uses the computer. And that instead of answering questions, we have created our own questions. We have chosen the exercises done in the classroom. More autonomous.”
  • On group work and greater personal responsibility : “It also implies personal responsibility, your work affects the group work, it can slow down the group work and that would be ok if you don’t understand it but not if its caused because of a lack of responsibility.”
Main enablers
 
  • Involvement of headteacher: The headteacher was highly supportive and obviously aware of many of the issues involved in the introduction of technology into teaching and learning, “…they need skills to find the information and decide which information is relevant by using their critical thinking. And then, learning how to process that information, this is not about “copy and paste”.
  • A flexible approach: The teacher had to contend with several infrastructure and organisational problems, so a flexible approach was needed.  “Electricity problems, changing sessions due to exams, or planned trips, where the computer class was full and we had to change it on the way. But the library has saved me on that since we had all the software also installed there so they could use those computers instead.”