About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1330-1337
Publication year: 2016
ISBN: 978-84-617-5895-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2016.0130

Conference name: 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2016
Location: Seville, Spain

EMPOWERING LEARNERS THROUGH CO-DESIGN: VALIDATING A WEB-BASED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT CREATED “FOR THE CHILDREN-BY THE CHILDREN”

Z. Yiangou, I. Nicolaidou

Cyprus University of Technology (CYPRUS)
Actively engaging young students in participatory design attempts for the creation of technologically supported learning environments is historically limited (Druin, 2002) and has not yet become common practice because it is thought to be difficult and time consuming. However, children’s involvement in co-design can have a positive effect for the design of interactive learning environments that address students’ needs.

Co-design is a form of participatory design, in which all group members are actively involved in designing a product, which will be useful and will address its users’ needs (Melonio & Gennari, 2012). Given current attempts in participatory design to actively engage students in the design of technologically supported learning environments (LE), this action-research study attempted to engage six 6th grade students in co-designing a web-based LE with their teacher over 11 weekly meetings for teaching a fifth-grade history unit. History was selected given difficulties often encountered when teaching this subject matter. The six students took the role of “design partners” and acted as equal partners (Druin, 2002) in the process that lasted for three months.

The study had two research questions. First, it aimed at exploring what motivated students in continuously participating in the design of the unit, and at documenting the difficulties they encountered during the design process. Second, it examined the effectiveness of the web-based LE which was designed “for the children”-“by the children”. Using a pretest-posttest control group design, the LE was used to teach 23 5th students over nine 40-minute lessons (intervention group), while 24 5th grade students of a second class were taught the same history unit over the same period of time using the book (control group).

Data sources for the first research question included 11 weekly videotaped 90-minute design meetings between six 6th grade students and their teacher, reflective diaries kept by these six students on a weekly basis, and a focus group conducted with these six students at the end of the design process. Data sources for the second research question included 47 pretests and posttests and 47 pre- and post-enactment attitudes questionnaires.

The data analysis for the first research question documented the motivation that empowered students to actively engage in design. Students’ motivation referred to, among others, “their engagement with something new”, “the collaborative environment of the design team” and the “realization of the value of the project”.

The second research question focused on the effectiveness of the LE by comparing the learning gains of two groups of students in knowledge and attitudes. The two groups were equivalent in terms of their performance prior to the enactment (Mann-Whitney, U(45)=206.50, z=-1.48, p=0.14). The difference in the mean scores of both groups’ pre and post-test was statistically significant (Mann-Whitney, U(45)=140.50, z= -2.72, p= 0.01) in favor of the intervention group. After the enactment, the intervention group also had statistically significantly higher attitudes towards history in 3 out of 8 items of the attitudes questionnaire.

The study pointed to the positive contribution of engaging students in designing technologically supported LE and provided evidence for the effectiveness of the LE through a statistically significant progress in enacting students’ pre- and post-tests.
@InProceedings{YIANGOU2016EMP,
author = {Yiangou, Z. and Nicolaidou, I.},
title = {EMPOWERING LEARNERS THROUGH CO-DESIGN: VALIDATING A WEB-BASED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT CREATED “FOR THE CHILDREN-BY THE CHILDREN”},
series = {9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2016 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-5895-1},
issn = {2340-1095},
doi = {10.21125/iceri.2016.0130},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/iceri.2016.0130},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2016},
year = {2016},
pages = {1330-1337}}
TY - CONF
AU - Z. Yiangou AU - I. Nicolaidou
TI - EMPOWERING LEARNERS THROUGH CO-DESIGN: VALIDATING A WEB-BASED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT CREATED “FOR THE CHILDREN-BY THE CHILDREN”
SN - 978-84-617-5895-1/2340-1095
DO - 10.21125/iceri.2016.0130
PY - 2016
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2016
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 9th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2016 Proceedings
SP - 1330
EP - 1337
ER -
Z. Yiangou, I. Nicolaidou (2016) EMPOWERING LEARNERS THROUGH CO-DESIGN: VALIDATING A WEB-BASED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT CREATED “FOR THE CHILDREN-BY THE CHILDREN”, ICERI2016 Proceedings, pp. 1330-1337.
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