EXPERIENCES WITH USE OF NEW AND MODERN DIGITAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS IN MATHEMATICS AT ENGINEERING EDUCATION
Sør-Trøndelag University College (HiST) (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:This article will present experiences obtained in the period 2009-2012 with utilizing new digital learning environments in an engineering education at Sør-Trøndelag University College (HiST), Trondheim, Norway.
Over the past three years, the Department of General Science at HiST has developed and refined new digital learning environments for students. Collaborative learning activities are performed using digital whiteboards, and the activities are designed to stimulate the students to work together as a group, rather than just in a group. To facilitate this, the tasks, exercises and discussion questions which the students work on, have been optimized for student collaboration and to enhance the learning outcome in the student group.
One of the aims of the digital learning environments has been to reduce the amount of traditional lectures, and to replace these with activities in which the students work more actively with the curriculum – thus shifting the teacher’s role from lecturer towards that of a facilitator. The student groups of this article spent three out of eight hours of every week in the digital learning laboratories, working with designed tasks and assignments that were handed in at the end of every session.
The assignments, tasks and exercises given to the students have been based on the Activity Based Training (ABT) methodology developed through the European Union funded Leonardo da Vinci pilot project Mecca (2005-07), and that is currently being used in institutions both in Norway and several other European countries. This article will outline the basic principles for ABT.
The results shown in the article are based on both quantitative and qualitative data: surveys have been done in three different student groups over a period of three years (each survey with a sample size of 60-90 students). Additionally, differences in academic performance between users and non-users of digital learning environments have been measured, and indicate positive learning outcomes and student satisfaction with this method of learning. Thirdly, focus group interviews have been used to go gain in-depth knowledge of the students’ experience with the digital learning environments.
The developments of the digital learning laboratories are co-funded by the EU-Commission.
Keywords: Mathematics, digital learning laboratories, facilitators.