Author Archives: Mark Gaved

Talk 4th March: Mobile learning with Math Trails

On Thursday 4 March between 11:00am -12:00pm, Professor Dr Nils Buchholtz will present a CALRG session, reporting on the experience of students’ mobile learning when working with digital supported math trails in maths education.

“The fact that mathematics takes place outside the classroom for once is a welcome change from everyday school life”, shared Prof Dr Nils Buchholtz, Professor of Mathematics and Didactics at the University of Cologne’s Institute for Mathematics Didactics.

Presenting research conducted with school-age maths students, Prof. Buchholtz’s CALRG session will expore Math Trails, a mobile learning activity that allows students to experience maths with objects in their immediate environment.

Math trails take students on a guided tour through their city or the close surroundings of their school. On these tours students can solve different maths problems by estimating, measuring and calculating sizes, providing an dynamic layer to activities pupils would do in the classroom.

The CALRG session will provide insight from video-recorded research conducted with ten groups of students from two maths classes, showing students complete math trails supported by the app Actionbound.

Analysis of the math trail videos revealed different phases of the modelling processes and how mobile devices supported and scaffolded students’ mobile learning during their work on the trail.

Discussing these findings, and the importance of encouraging students to learn maths outside of the school setting, Prof. Buchholtz stated: “The fact that mathematics takes place outside the classroom for once is a welcome change from everyday school life. However, since the tasks on Math Trails also involve objects and phenomena from the students’ immediate environment, this can provide a special content-related motivation (e.g., when regular mathematical patterns are suddenly discovered in floor tiles, or the climbing frame on the playground suddenly becomes the subject of discrete math considerations, for example, when vertices and edges are counted).”

“The use of digital devices when supporting math trails digitally can provide additional motivation, since smartphone use is not permitted in many places, at least in Germany.”

“The results are encouraging. We can observe at many points as students work with the tasks that they engage in a variety of different activities, ranging from strategic planning to interpreting and validating mathematical solutions.”

To attend the session contact

CALRG talk: OU leading community education in Zimbabwe

​​​On Thursday 11 February, Tom Power and Dr Alison Buckler presented a CALRG session how community champions in remote communities in Zimbabwe are providing digital learning resources to learners.

“The community came to me and said ‘Mrs Dumisilele, should we let these children fail because of COVID? Are we saying this is the end of everything because of COVID?’. That is when I started to negotiate with them. I said ‘OK, if you are willing to let your children come to my house, I will teach them’” (Community Learning Champion)

Presenting alongside project members Claire Hedges, and Dr Margaret Ebubedike, research conducted by WELS, and project partners World Vision Zimbabwe, has explored the complexities of learning being remote for many children in low-income countries who are offline.

Record numbers of children worldwide have been required to not go to school. It has been predicted that a prolonged absence from school will be devastating for millions of children’s futures. However, questions about when or how to re-open schools, particularly in poor contexts, are highly complex.

OU researchers have explored how technology can be used as a creative solution to support the learning of children in these contexts. This CALRG session will share key findings from the CHILD (Community Help for Inclusive Learning and Development) study, carried out in collaboration with colleagues from World Vision Zimbabwe.

The seminar will also share these experiences of Community Learning Champions who have been delivering education materials, as well as propose recommendations for mobilising community volunteers to support children’s learning during emergency school closures.

Discussing the findings which will be shared in the session, Dr Alison Buckler stated:

“Sporadic disruptions and unpredictable and uneven returns to school are likely to be features of education for millions of children for the foreseeable future. Exploring how community education champions can be mobilised and supported is crucial to understanding more about the diverse and creative ways children’s learning can be maintained”.

Read the project report here

For more information contact

Welcome to CALRG and the new Autumn term

Welcome back to CALRG as we start the Autumn term. We continue to hold our events online, building on the success of the CALRG2020 conference where we were joined by 100 participants from seven countries.

We have an exciting series of talks and events in the Autumn 2020 term for those in the Open University and beyond interested in how computers and other information communication  technologies may support teaching and learning.

Take a look at the events page – we have speakers from the Open University and beyond, but to bring us all together in these extraordinary times, we start on 15th October with a social, informal event – the legendary quiz by IET PhD graduate Vicky Murphy! (now appointed as a Grand Union Fellowship in the Faculty of Business and Law).