C. Finger, T. Sommer, Y. Romanyuk, P. Raemy, H.U. Grunder

University of Teacher Education Northwestern Switzerland (ZSE) (SWITZERLAND)
Over the last years research on education with devices that are independent on time and location, so called mLearning, gains more and more importance.

One of the mobile electronic devices which is used in schools of Northwestern Switzerland is the portable educational software on a flash drive. Even though many schools in Switzerland use the educational flash drive as a learning tool, no investigation was conducted to explore its impact on students’ learning improvement and its effectiveness. Therefore we study (duration: 24 months) the effects of the use of the educational flash drive on primary student's social, emotional and personal competencies (especially: 5th/6th graders).
The main thesis is that the new, straightforward, fast and technically unproblematic application of the education flash drive has a positive effect on the acquisition of competences and opens up innovative didactic and methodological approaches when m-learning is integrated in classroom teaching.

The theoretical framework of this project includes subject-scientific based learning theory, which is centered around a pedagogically underscored learning and achievement concept as well as a moderate constructivist approach influenced by Piaget. The model is also based on 'instructional education' founded on a multiple perspective change centered on a wisely chosen external reference. Furthermore, the use of the live flash device is to take place in a classroom atmosphere conducive to furthering a psychologically efficient learning process, in a locality enabling digital acquirement, a locality resembling a life-world. A further theoretical underpinning of this research project (which cross-references school effectiveness research, homework research and parental involvement research) is competency theory, which currently dominates empirical research in teaching.

This online-study with a control group-design (with a total of approximately 1000 students) has been carried out in two waves which were realized a time distance of three months in schools of Switzerland's northwestern region, the participating students being between eleven and twelve years old. Additionally, school-officials, teachers and parents, were questioned (in half-standardized investigation method) on their opinion about the effects of the educational flash drive usage in schools and at home. We aim at observing the changes in the competencies mentioned.

The latest results will be presented and discussed. They indicate that the educational flash drive is an effective and qualified learning tool. With the help of the educational flash drive, m-learning can be realized even in schools with limited financial recourses. The study also ought to provide an important insight into pedagogical, didactical, technical and organizational aspects of the educational flash drive's application in schools