By Kay Gerkling, Duale Hochschule Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe/Baden-Württemberg (DHBW) and Seray Ibrahim, University College London (UCL)
*Please note, this update was written prior to school closures. We hope we can continue to build on this great work in the coming months.
One of the challenges of introducing new digitally-mediated teaching activities into school routines, is finding the time for teachers and researchers to work directly with individual students in a busy classroom environment. At DHBW, Kay Gerkling and university students have been working with primary aged students to develop their skills as ‘expert students’ who can support other students.
As part of the process, two children are guided through how to log into the apps and access games and activities. As they become familiar with the apps, they quickly learn what to do when technology issues occur, for instance, when an app crashes or doesn’t open. Following this, these two students are then asked to pick two additional students and explain to them what they have learned. As experts, these students are then encouraged to offer support to other students when independently using the game and reader apps in the classroom.
In addition to this, the team has initiated a special ‘iRead-day’ within one of the schools with very many students participating. During iRead days, researchers are based in a particular room in the school and students and/or teachers are welcome to come and visit to play, work or ask questions. Whilst this is still in its early stages, teachers have expressed they are very happy about this new offering.
For the future, the team in Germany hope to build on these activities by including the expert students in supporting one-on-one training sessions as well as hosting the iRead room.