Pedagogic & Active Learning Mobile Solutions Project
Welcome Message from the Project Leader, Dr. Fridolin Ting!
Actively thinking about learning by Professor Carmel McNaught
CELL Game by PALMS
Version 2 of Badaboom! by PALMS
YoTeach! New Features and Updates
Shortlisted for Two QS Reimagine Education Awards 2019
Finalist for Four EDUTECH ASIA AWARDS 2019
Finalist for the 2019 International e-Learning Excellence Awards
PALMS Project Media Feature
Active Learning Strategies Inventory (ALSI) Inventory
Collaborative Problem-Based Learning and Peer Assessment
PALMS SOTL 2019
As project leader, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the second issue our PolyU PALMS newsletter, chronicling our 3-year UGC-project under the “Funding Scheme for Teaching and Learning Related Initiatives (2016-19 Triennium).” The focus of this newsletter is “Active Learning Pedagogies in STEM Education.” The newsletter marks the second year of our Pedagogic & Active Learning Mobile Solutions (PALMS) project and serves as our lens to spotlight the ongoing efforts, progress and milestones of the project through insightful news, updates and highlights of our ongoing inter-university collaborations with our project partners. Our PALMS project continues to cross milestones by seamlessly integrating active learning pedagogies with technology and subsequently bringing a unique collection of apps to support the best possible teaching and learning experiences. This newsletter serves as a platform to highlight the work that best exemplifies our relentless commitment to transforming student learning through innovative technologies and active learning pedagogies as well as a showcase of our achievements, successes and journey thus far.
In this newsletter, we’ll also be introducing our newest bespoke online game-based learning platform for students called CELL Game. The first iteration early prototype build of the game was unveiled at our symposium in July of this year and immediately spurred attention, garnering interest and opening doors for potential opportunities and collaboration. It’s still early days but we have reason to be optimistic about Cell Game taking off and are excited about the opportunity to get word out. Promoting CELL Game and “YoTeach!” through various social media platforms has been key to increasing our visibility to help us better engage with followers and monitor our success. We’ve redefined our social media presence by creating engaging content, sharing ideas and ensuring a more active presence with set goals for what we want to achieve and how we communicate with our target audience and encourage them to engage with our posts.
We’re also pleased to announce that we’ve not only been short-listed for various educational awards but also passed significant milestones as we continue to advance the PALMS project towards our goals and beyond. In the short space of time, our “YoTeach!” web-based app has surpassed our expectations and continues to gain traction, garnering over 35,000 users per month since its launch last year.
I hope this newsletter gives you an overview of the exciting things we are doing and provides you with an update of our ongoing work and achievements. More importantly, we must not lose sight that a significant goal of this project and the other UGC-funded projects, is to encourage members and partners to work together to support inter-institutional collaboration, with the objective of enhancing the scholarship of teaching and learning through the adoption of necessary pedagogical changes and innovations, subsequently enhancing the quality of teaching and learning. This aligns well with PolyU’s strategic plan (2019/20—2024/25) "to enhance the student learning experience through the use of interactive pedagogies.”
An old African proverb that I think of often says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” This African proverb perhaps best sums up the great strides our PALMS project is making In addressing complex educational challenges, which not only benefits colleagues and students of all our partner institutions, but also facilitates inter-institutional exchanges and interactions on teaching and learning through sharing of expertise, engagement in reflection, professional discourse and collaboration. As such, we continue to spare no effort in investing our time and energy towards ensuring the success of this project!
Professor Carmel McNaught
Why feature the terms active learning and learning design in a newsletter where there is a strong emphasis on technology tools that teachers can use? Let’s start with active learning. In this context, ‘active’ refers to cognitive activity: to developing mental models to explain concepts to oneself, to working out how to find reliable and rigorous information, to planning strategies for solving problems, and so forth. The physical activities involved in discussing ideas, collecting data, doing experiments, producing reports, etc., are important only as support to the activity of thinking. An active classroom is one where students think. It is possible to listen to a lecture while sitting quietly and still be actively thinking. However, in my experience, there are too many lectures where students are cognitively passive. In addition, if students are not doing anything, how can a teacher know if they are thinking actively? This brings me to the term learning design. This is a relatively new term in the education literature. It puts the focus for planning teaching on what students actually do in learning tasks, rather than on what the teacher does at the front of a class. The teacher is the learning designer, the one who sets up the learning environment in order to provide tasks which will require students to think actively. Good learning tasks support students in learning concepts, solving problems, etc., as well providing you, the teacher, with feedback about how well students are learning, what misconceptions they might have, and how engaged they are in the course you are teaching.
So, where does technology come into learning design? What is the importance of the cool tools that the PALMS team have produced? The value of technology is that well-designed tools can support students in working through learning tasks. We often describe useful technology as scaffolding learning. Note that the technology alone is not valuable; it is only a real asset when it supports students in working through a defined learning task. So, enjoy learning about the PALMS project; their tools add to the options you have for designing fresh learning environments where students are engaged in learning and you, as teachers, get good information about how well your students are learning. A win-win scenario.
Actively thinking about learning
Cell Game is a multiplayer competitive survival game that incorporates a host of gaming elements to incentivize players to compete with each other by answering an assortment of pre-built questions correctly in order to protect their cell core. In order to survive, players need to strategically amass as many cells on the board as skillfully as they can, with the ultimate goal of absorbing their opponent's cell cores to become the most dominant player on the game board. Moreover, the teacher interface of the game
not only allows an instructor to upload questions to a question bank but also create rooms, define the number of players to that room and generate a password for players to enter the room. Using the “Question Builder” teacher interface, an instructor is able to create different rooms for different classes, label a new room with a name and define a set of questions for the students to solve by selecting various question-type options. By simply creating a room, students can then join CELL Game via the room name and password generated by the instructor.
Arguably, the most defining pedagogical feature of CELL Game is it motivates students to learn and review knowledge by delivering a more immersive and impactful learning experience, thereby keeping students active and engaged. The pedagogical value of CELL Game is further enhanced by the integration of a Math handwriting recognition feature, embedded in the question and answer format of the game. This allows students to handwrite mathematical expressions, which are then instantly recognized and automatically converted to text using a LaTex handwriting recognition software engine. Moreover, the competitive nature and player-paced play of the game involves deep strategic and tactical decisions of the player within the context of their opponents anticipating their possible actions and reactions. To our knowledge, CELL Game is the first ever attempt to integrate gameplay elements of a board‐style into a functional educational game-based platform that focuses on strategy, skill and replayability. We envision CELL Game being actively used in university classrooms, primary and secondary school classrooms and beyond. Furthermore, we believe CELL Game is a breakthrough in the educational gamification realm in that it perfectly combines content knowledge learning with strategy and skill into a deeply rewarding and challenging gaming experience for all levels and all students.
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Let's explore our CELL GAME!
Get started now with version 2 of Badaboom!
If you thought Version 1 of Badaboom!, was impressive, version 2 is EVEN BETTER! We're excited to announce the release of version 2 of Badaboom!, our game-based student response system. Version 2 incorporates all the features of our first release version with new improvements including a smoother user interface for enhanced performance and functionality. We’ve also completely revamped the look and feel of the instructor dashboard and the result is an easier to navigate, slicker and more user-friendly interface albeit with enhanced features, sharper graphics and smoother controls. If you are looking for a fun way to liven up the delivery of content in your classroom, look no further than Badaboom! What are you waiting for?
or find out more at http://palms.polyu.edu.hk/educational-apps/badaboom/.
YoTeach! New Features and Updates
Introducing our new "Needs Help" functionality: students can request answers to their questions by highlighting them in blue, and teachers can make sure they've answered them "unhighlighting" them.
(1) "Needs Help" Features
Introducing our collaborative online whiteboard integrated into our YoTeach! backchannel chatroom called Spaceboard! Spaceboard is designed for collaborative problem-based learning in the class and it has image upload and annotating functionalities, so you can introduce group activities in your class. As many as 100 students may work on the same board!! Just press the "Spaceboard" icon, give your whiteboard a name, and start collaborating on the same board!
(2) New Collaborative DrawBoard
DO YOU NEED TO KEEP TRACK OF STUDENT QUESTIONS, and when you've answered them?
Once the overarching concept of the app and the app’s design elements and framework were developed in consultation with our team, a prototype was created. Token-based multifactor authentication gives the user the option to login through Facebook or email, ensuring a secure verification and login process. The user logs in with their Facebook login name or email address and then receives an SMS message to their registered device that contains a verification number or one-time passcode used to help verify their identity and sign-in to create their profile.
We’re also excited to share with you a sneak preview of our upcoming iOS & Android version of YoTeach! soon-to-be-released to the App Store and Google Play for download. Our YoTeach! iOS & Android native app version will feature all the familiar functionalities of our mobile web-based version with an enhanced UI design (user interface) and UX design (user experience) to create a seamless and engaging user experience. User interface (UI) mockups/proof of concepts and wireframes served the purpose of moving from a conceptual idea to a prototype of the app in order to fully comprehend how the app functions and how it
A key feature of our iOS & Android version of YoTeach! is the graphical user-interface (UI) of the chat component that is similar in layout and feel to WhatsApp, WeChat and a number of other instant messaging apps on the market. Our YoTeach! app chat user-interface (UI) combines modern aesthetics with an intuitive design that is simple and straightforward and encapsulates all the functions of our web-based version and more. A distinct feature of the app is a drawing tool with a drawing canvas with simple features for lines and circles, allowing for drawing and annotating on images, illustrating concepts, drawing equations and solving problems. Finally, our flagship feature is the integration of a Math equation editor with a free-form drawing and handwriting recognition feature that allows both instructors and students to handwrite mathematical expressions on their mobile devices, which are then instantly recognized and automatically converted to text using a LaTex handwriting recognition software engine.
REIMAGINE EDUCATION CONFERENCE & AWARDS
8-9-10 DECEMBER 2019 | LONDON
YoTeach! shortlisted for ICT Tools Award and Best Educational APP Award
In recognition of our innovative teaching and learning pedagogies, the PALMS project has been shortlisted for the prestigious Wharton-Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) Reimagine Education Awards 2019, in two categories: (i) ICT TOOLS FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING AWARD category for the project entitled YoTeach!; (ii) HYBRID LEARNING INNOVATION AWARD category for the project entitled Pedagogic and Active Learning Mobile Solutions (PALMS) Project. The first award recognizes the most innovative ICT tools and applications in online education that facilitate and support learning. We are honored that YoTeach!, our backchannel chat app has been recognized among the most innovative and impactful tools in ICT TOOLS FOR LEARNING AND TEACHING AWARD category. The second award recognizes innovative new technological tools, or any project that uses existing electronic learning tools in an innovative way to facilitate and support learning through the use of information and communications technology. We are honored that our PALMS Project has been shortlisted in this category. The Reimagine Education Awards (https://www.reimagine-education.com/) is a global event also known as “The Oscars of Education” and is sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and QS Stars. The competition aims to reward those most successful in creating transformational educational initiatives across the educational sector by providing outstanding educational innovators with the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of judges and industry experts.
Being shortlisted represents a great achievement for the PALMS team and PolyU, given the fierce competition this year that attracted over 1500 submissions with an international panel of judges representing 38 countries, who evaluated the projects among a diverse pool of applicants, based on five main criteria: project approach, project engagement, project impact, scalability and competitor comparison/uniqueness. We look forward to attending the Conference on 8-10 December, 2019 in London (UK), with the opportunity to showcase YoTeach! in front of a global audience of educators and decision-makers from the higher education space as well as investors in education-related and government startups.
PALMS Project shortlisted for the Hybrid Learning Award and E-Learning Award
Please VOTE and show your support for the “Edtech Leadership in Asia Award - Tertiary” category by clicking on the following link: https://form.jotform.me/92173334719460
Finalist for the 2019 International e-Learning Excellence Awards
E-Learning has not only become a global trend and significant hallmark in the delivery of instruction in higher education but also a mechanism for propelling learning further through digital education and technological advancement in education. The International e-Learning Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding achievements in the field of e-learning and innovative use of technology in education. We’re delighted to be a finalist selected to go through to the next round of judging for the 2019 International e-Learning Excellence Awards at the 18th European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL), 7-8 November 2019 held at Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark. The competition had 27 initial submissions and 20 competitors were invited to submit full case histories. After the evaluation of these case histories by a panel of judges, 12 finalists have been selected to present in the next round. We’re looking forward to presenting our shortlisted project entitled “YoTeach! – A Backchannel Chat App with Machine Learning for Symbol and Math Hand Writing Recognition for use in STEM and non-STEM subjects,” in the hopes of bringing home the award this year! We believe we are a strong contender for the award given our originality, impact and innovative use of technology for a pedagogically and sustainability-driven e-learning innovation.
The media exposure helped generate coverage of the significant strides our PALMS project has made since its inception, including the various mobile tools/platforms we have developed. We hope the media coverage not only increased awareness but also provoked interest and generated curiosity on our PALMS project work as we continue to apply innovative teaching methods to increase student engagement in STEM higher education, by conceiving and turning innovative active learning pedagogies into practical mobile learning solutions. Inevitably, we hope the media attention we garnered resulted in growing emphasis on creating and raising public awareness and understanding of STEM education in the context of Hong Kong.
Nothing helps catapult us into the public eye more than being in the media spotlight! Organized by the Communications and Public Affairs Office (CPAO) of PolyU, a press conference was held on 30 August 2019, which included a media interview to respective local media outlets. Subsequently, our PALMS project was featured, profiled and covered in various local media outlets including the Sing Tao Daily, which boasts a broad readership base of over one million combined print and online readers, the Ming Pao Daily News with a readership of over 400,000 and the Hong Kong Economic Times (HKET), which commands an average daily print circulation of 80,000 copies. Links are provided to these pieces below:
Active Learning Strategies Inventory (ALSI) Inventory
As academics, we should be asking ourselves, “In today's education movement, how do we create a generation of learners who see the world as their classroom and how can we provide a bridge from the classroom to real world applications for expanded learning?” Moreover, how can we deepen our understanding of the theoretical and pedagogical perspectives to support active learning? With a thorough understanding of the different theories applied to active learning, we can begin to explore the ways in which instructional strategies are able to support, enrich and transform learning for a diverse community of learners. This involves conducting research into active learning pedagogies that are evidence-based and underpinned by research and innovation, using appropriate methodologies and approaches. An important outcome of our PALMS project has been the design, development and validation of a new instrument, the Active Learning Strategies Inventory (ALSI) Inventory. This validated and reliable scale utilized a 3-stage instrument development process, to collect relevant evaluation data by assessing student’s perceptions of their active learning strategies within an active learning context. The survey items were designed to measure five aspects (interactive engagement, problem-solving skills, interest and feedback) of students’ active learning strategies and were verified using a formalized card sorting procedure as well as confirmatory factor analysis of a small- pilot survey. The results demonstrated that the ALSI scale is theoretically and empirically sound and provides a reliable and valid method for researchers and academicians who wish to measure students’ perceptions of their active learning strategies in an active learning context. Our ultimate goal is that this instrument will serve as a valid, comprehensive gauge of an individual's perceptions of active learning that can be used by academics, researchers and teachers as we continue to engage in dialogues on the pedagogical frameworks relating to active learning approaches for effective transformation in 21st century learning and beyond.
Collaborative Problem-Based Learning with Peer Assessment (Co-PBLa-PA) is a novel new active teaching pedagogy developed by the PALMS Team. According to the ICAP (interactive, constructive, active and passive) framework for active learning [Chi, 2014], cooperative problem-based learning falls under the "interactive" pedagogy, the highest rated active learning pedagogy in the framework. The teaching strategy involves forming groups of students who have the common goal of correctly solving problems proposed by the students or the instructor, and correctly peer assessing other groups’ solutions. This active teaching strategy Co-PBLa-PA was enhanced using an interactive online whiteboard. We piloted Co-PBLa-PA on a first year university Calculus tutorials and found statistically significant evidence that active learning increases students’ conceptual understanding and graded assignment performance in a first-year calculus class in Hong Kong [Ng, 2019].
[Chi, 2014] Chi, M. T., & Wylie, R. (2014) “The ICAP framework: Linking cognitive engagement to active learning outcomes”, Educational Psychologist, 49(4), 219-243.
[Ng, 2019] Ng, O., Ting, F., Lam, W.H., Liu, M. (2019) "Active learning in undergraduate mathematics tutorials via cooperative problem-based learning and peer assessment with interactive online whiteboards", The Asia Pacific Education Researcher, 1-10 https://doi.org/10.1007/s40299-019-00481-1
Collaborative Problem-Based Learning with Peer Assessment (Co-PBLa-PA)
Symposium on Emerging Innovations and Evaluation of Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) Pedagogies in Tertiary Education
Following the success of last year's mini-symposium we were delighted to host the “Symposium on Emerging Innovations and Evaluation of Technology Enhanced Active Learning Pedagogies in Tertiary Education,” held on 10 July 2019 at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The success of our symposium was the direct result of not only the attendees and presenters but also the efforts of our PALMS team who worked hard to make the symposium a success. Academics, experts and advocates of active learning pedagogies from a wide range of interests and disciplines from Hong Kong tertiary institutions explored various approaches to technology enhanced active learning in tertiary education and shared insights from their experiences. Moreover, the event presented an opportunity to showcase our project’s achievements and activities and raise awareness of new pedagogies and technologies to advance active learning in tertiary education.
The highlight of the symposium was a keynote address by prominent psychometrician and specialist in assessment and evaluation, Dr. Jenny Bergeron, Director of Educational Research & Evaluation at Harvard's Derek Bok Centre for Teaching and Learning, where she oversees evaluation and research of Harvard's leading educational initiatives. Following the keynote session, a moderated panel discussion, representing a cross-section of academic experts from different disciplines, drew participants into the conversation on the perspectives of strategies
If you’d like the full scoop on our PALMS project you can check us out at: http://palms.polyu.edu.hk/.
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used to evaluate the effectiveness of innovative active teaching pedagogies. Poster presentations and hands-on sessions were held during a joint lunch and poster session. The afternoon programme featured a combination of parallel and hands-on workshop sessions on novel active teaching strategies and e-tools to support their implementation.
We’d like to express our sincere thanks to everyone who attended this event. We also would like to thank all our university partners for sharing their ideas and expertise and for making this event possible. From the entire PALMS team, we look forward to seeing you at our International Symposium next year!
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BOOK CHAPTER ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION
PALMS Scholarship of Teaching and Learning
PUBLISHED PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL PUBLICATIONS
Ng, O., Ting, F., Lam, W.H., Liu, M. (2019). Active learning Ng, O., Ting, F., Lam, W.H., Liu, M. (2019). Active learning in undergraduate mathematics tutorials via cooperative problem-based learning and peer assessment with interactive online whiteboards. The Asia Pacific Education Researcher, 1-10.
Shroff, R., Ting, F., & Lam, W. H. (2019). A conceptual framework for immersion and flow in digital game-based learning: An example of a game-based classroom response system. Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal, 12(3), 41-60.
Shroff, R. H., Ting, F., & Lam, W. H. (2019). Development and validation of an instrument to measure students’ perceptions of technology–enabled active learning. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 35(4), 109–127.
Ting, F., Lam, W. H., & Shroff, R. (2019). Active learning via problem-based collaborative games in a large Mathematics university course in Hong Kong. Education Sciences, 9(172), 1-22.
Chan, L. K., Shroff, R., Yang, J., & Cecot, T. (2019). Promoting active learning in the gross anatomy laboratory. In L. K. Chan & W. Pawlina (Eds.), Teaching Anatomy – A Practical Guide (2 ed.). Switzerland: Springer