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Smart Centre

Understanding Understanding

Innovative ICT - Engagement, Inclusion and Interaction

Important social issues – crime, drugs, health – involve the interplay of multiple factors.  Can ICT help students across the ability spectrum to reason effectively with multivariate data, and relate evidence to what they read in newspapers? We created ‘mashups’ on alcohol use amongst young people – web-based syntheses of interactive displays on alcohol use (using authentic survey data) and 8 newspaper accounts (UK hit by booze girls’ crimewave etc.).  See http://www.dur.ac.uk/smart.centre1/mashup/alcohol.htmAbout 300 children, aged 13 – 15 years (KS3 and KS4 in the UK) from 10 classes of varying ability in 5 schools took part.  Students worked in small groups to produce accounts (letter to the editor, video, newspaper article). Examples of the work can be viewed here:  

Children were enthusiastic; lower attaining students in particular enjoyed exploring and creating knowledge (as opposed to being told what to think);

  • Over 80% of the reports used data, with about 60% using it accurately and appropriately;
  • About 15% of the reports mentioned 2-way interactions.

The results we achieved are important pedagogically because they show that ICT can facilitate reasoning at ages 13 – 15 which is thought to be beyond 17 year olds on specialist statistics courses (A-level students). The results we achieved are important politically because they show that naïve users can reason effectively with complex evidence.


 

Full report available on line here  or download a MS-Word version here or .pdf version here.