University of Oulu

Measuring intragroup dynamics in an elementary school setting using mobile devices

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Author: Kopytin, Sergei1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, )
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : S. Kopytin, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-03-14
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Malmberg, Jonna
Järvenoja, Hanna
Reviewer: Malmberg, Jonna
Dindar, Muhterem
The aim of this thesis is to track and study the changes in intragroup dynamics during an authentic collaborative project at elementary school. The main focus is to study the impact of group members’ geographical proximity on intragroup dynamics. In addition, by implementing methods that capture group members’ collaboration-related experiences, the study discusses how mobile instrumentation and Experience Sampling Method (ESM) combined with the location tracking data can enhance teachers’ understanding of their students’ intragroup processes. The specific research questions are: (1) How do different groups experience collaboration in the course of the project work?; (2) Are there any discrepancies between teacher observations and student self-reflection via ESM?; (3) How is the impact of geographical proximity on intragroup dynamics visible in the data collected via mobile devices, instrumentation, and sensors? The participants of the study were students from the 5th grade (n = 15, age 10–11, 60% male) from Oulu University Teacher Training School. In this study, the mobile devices, which were using AWARE middleware framework for mobile sensing and were given out to every participant, functioned as the main tool for multi-source data collection, set to track collaboration-related intragroup processes. The data was collected from three different sources, namely (1) student self-reports obtained via mobile devices using the Experience Sampling Method (ESM); (2) RSSI location data for individual student localization purposes along the whole duration of project work; (3) qualitative data from the semi-structured face-to-face interview with the classroom teacher. The results show that all of the groups experienced collaboration differently due to not being equally successful with the project. ESM data analysis results show that the level of success influenced intragroup dynamics of all the groups the most, and impacted the students’ level of willingness to continue working together and degree of importance of the project work. 5 discrepancies between teacher interview data and student self-reflection via ESM were found (enjoyment of working together, the influence of low achieving pupils on intragroup dynamics and students’ motivation level). The geographical proximity of students had an impact on intragroup dynamics, as the data analysis shows students had influenced the rest of the group members and, as a consequence, project work’s success and outcome both positively and negatively by being physically present in the group. The paper contributes to the issue of using the mobile devices and instrumentation in the classroom for research purposes. It argues that the usage of mobile devices and instrumentation in the classroom could provide the teachers and researchers with new insights into the classroom-related processes, and discusses both the technical and social obstacles unique to this context. Such obstacles should be taken into an account before and during the data collection as well as at all stages of data analysis. Moreover, the used approach can be utilized in future research designs and by class teachers in classrooms to gather information on students’ learning progress and difficulties.
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Copyright information: © Sergei Kopytin, 2018. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.