University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

The Use of Mobile Technologies to Facilitate Social Learning in Primary Science

Blackmore, Karen ORCID: (2018) The Use of Mobile Technologies to Facilitate Social Learning in Primary Science. In: INTED2018 Proceedings. IATED Academy, Valencia, Spain, pp. 7756-7767. ISBN 978-84-697-9480-7

Full text not available from this repository. (Request a copy)


Recent literature suggests that the use of mobile technology in the primary classroom is dramatically increasing. There is now a plethora of examples where children’s understanding across the curriculum is facilitated by technology enhanced learning approaches using small hand held devices. In a climate of fiscal challenge, often pupils are required to work in pairs and share devices which are used to observe, record and analyse experimental outcomes. Since this undertaking requires both physical and social cooperation, do aspects of social learning impact on the efficacy of this approach? Previous studies suggested that pairing of children for experimental work could lead to improved cognitive enhancement in science, through social learning. However some pairing were more effective than others, namely girl’s friendship pairings. Since it is well recognised that boys are generally thought to be more confident in STEM (science, technology, engineering & mathematics) subjects this was to a degree surprising and highlights that confidence does not always equate to successful learning. This small scale qualitative study aimed to determine how social learning elements impact on the effectiveness of the use of mobile technologies during investigative science sessions. Semi-structured observations and interviews were used to illuminate the degree of social learning associated with the technology-enhanced learning (TEL) approach and to what degree social relationships impact positively or negatively on learning outcomes. Cluster analysis in conjunction with open coding was used to explore the relationships between the language used by children to describe their experiences of small group work using hand held technology in the form of data loggers. It revealed close associations between children's narratives surrounding access to equipment, science observation and decision making. In addition pooling of ideas, physical and mathematical collaboration and science reasoning were seen to be interlinked. Integration of the observational data with the interview analysis revealed several emergent themes pertaining to the enhancement of learning during social interaction. The children were positive as a whole about small group work using mobile technology and articulate in expressing the learning opportunities afforded them by this approach. As well as the clear enhancement to learning experienced by the children, there was evidence of both social relationships being reinforced by small group work and new relationships being initiated. Since this research was carried out with children the summer before their enrolment in senior school there may be some implications for managing the transition of children to post-11 study. As has been suggested by others, small group work in science (in this case using TEL) may be used as a conduit for both learning and forging effective social relationships. This research will be of interest to classroom teachers, science subject co-ordinators and curriculum leads and those interested in the refinement of primary science pedagogy.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information:

Paper presented at the 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference, Valencia, Spain. 5th - 7th March, 2018.
The full-text cannot be supplied for this item.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: mobile technologies, social learning, primary science, science, hand held mobile technology, social learning, group work, technology enhanced learning
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: College of Arts, Humanities and Education > School of Education
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Karen Blackmore
Date Deposited: 24 May 2019 13:00
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:28

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item
Worcester Research and Publications is powered by EPrints 3 which is developed by the School of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton. More information and software credits.