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Developing group thinking measure test with mobile technology

1 September 2017 - 31 August 2018

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Awarded to: Associate Professor  Taro Fujita

Co-investigators: Dr Judith Kleine-Staarman

Research partners: Prof Mikio Miyazaki and Mr Koki Yui (Shinshu University)

Funding awarded to Exeter £ 7,000

Sponsor(s): Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation

About the project

The focus of this project is on understanding and assessing quality in collaborative group thinking in Japan and the UK. We intend to develop and trial an app-based test which can measure group thinking. Group thinking is a real and important phenomenon but, while there are many tests of individual thinking there are none for group thinking. Since 2014 we have been working towards developing a group thinking test. Our studies have involved more than 300 students in the UK and about 90 students in Japan. This work has provided insights into effective collaborative group work (e.g. Wegerif,et al. in press,L&I). This was an important step forwards in educational research since this is the first time a simple and easy to use test has been developed for classroom use to rigorously measure group thinking. The current online test requires tick boxes. This project will explore the hypothesis that adding interactivity, so that potential answers can be manipulated by students using their fingers, will help the group thinking process. This project will enable us to investigate the potential difference and added value of converting our test into something that can be done interactively by students on iPads/tablets of the kind that are increasingly available in schools. One of the most interesting findings of our research up to now is that Japanese students do significantly better in our tests of group thinking than the UK students. We want to investigate this finding further by exploring different test question options.

In this one year project we will engage the following four main activities:

  • Development of a new test on iPad/mobile tablets based on the existing group thinking test.The test will be developed by our partner developer Japan systems which we have already worked for the development of web-based learning tools in Japanese and English.
  • Piloting the developed test to up to 200 students (aged 10-13). It will be trialled with both UK and Japanese students. In order to examine general group thinking skills and domain specific thinking skills, we will also implement maths tests. We will undertake rigorous statistical analysis in order to compare test performances as well as identifying difficulties in the test. We also take a sample of video-recorded students'collaborative learning. Using these data, we will identify effective group thinking as well as different features of collaborative work between Japanese and the UK students.
  • Hold a research seminar in June 2018 (Cambridge University) to share the project findings.
  • Produce a bilingual project report and research papers for dissemination. We will also develop a bilingual project website.