Practice Strand – Jon Trinder – Have you got your PDA with you? Accusations and denials

Talking about his 2005 project with Palm PDAs Using a logging system to give accurate usage information. In Jon’s opinion, student’s devices not really used that much.

Data logging on PDAs was automatic, however the transfer of logs relied on the students and this was failing. So they offered incentive of free games. But 1st week 2 people sync’d 2nd week, only 1.

So, instead of syncing – asked them to beam information. Having got the information from a few students, Jon then started to try to analyse this quantitative information. Regarding application use, straight data was not that useful, but if you filter by apps used more than 10 times, becomes much more interesting.

Jon displays many really interesting graphs of the information. I think the key thing about this approach is that you are using actual data on usage, not reported data or interview data. As an aside, you can see some lovely charts which make for good presentations. One of Jon’s issues was how do we detect that they’re using the device with something else, such as a VLE.

About Gill

Having worked as a Research Fellow with the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University, I have now semi-retired but retained my association with the OU as an Honorary Associate.
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