Technology-Enhanced Learning and Math Coach

Technology-enhanced learning is the overall theme of the research performed by Stefan Hrastinski, Associate Professor of Media Technology, and colleagues at several departments at CSC. In the project Math Coach Online in collaboration with the School of Education and Communication in Engineering Science (ECE), his role is to strengthen the scientific part of the work.

“There is a tremendous need for education and continuous learning in the society. Used in a smart way media technology can be a powerful tool to meet this need, providing for instance active learning and training supported by the Internet”, says Stefan Hrastinski.

Issues regarding how Media Technology can support learning is an area that researchers and groups at the CSC School has been engaged in for a long time, he points.

“Lately there has been a renewed interest at KTH in how we should relate to the Internet as a support in the education. This in turn, gave us a part of the KTH strategic funding which made it possible to employ two PhD students who will study and suggest improvements in the online learning area. “

One of the projects within the area technology-enhanced learning is the very popular and awarded e-learning project Math Coach Online. The project started the spring of 2009, and it is collaboration between the CSC School and the Department of Learning at the ECE School at KTH.

In Math Coach Online teacher students from KTH coach pupils, primarily by helping them with math homework via the chat software Windows Live Messenger. The service is open on weekday evenings for all pupils from 12 to 20 years old and adult education at upper-secondary level. Currently there is activity at four universities and seven municipalities in Sweden, including collaboration with Microsoft.

“This is an example of successful cross-disciplinary work. My role is to strengthen the scientific part in the project.”

All the conversations between the coaches and the pupils are archived which enables analysis and statistical compilation. Math Coach project leader and teacher Stefan Stenbom at ECE is as PhD student, supervised by Stefan Hrastinski, also doing research on the project.

“Our aim is to develop this concept further and the research can support this development, says Stefan Hrastinski.”

At the 17th Annual Conference on Online learning a research paper on the Math Coach project was selected by the Sloan Consortium as the 2011 ”Best-in-Track” session.

“We will also look at ways to develop the concept of Math Coach Online for KTH students and more subjects, by using older students and PhD students as coaches, says Stefan Hrastinski.”

Furthermore, Stefan Hrastinski leads a research group together with Olle Bälter, Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, that explore mobile learning, how to design large online courses, online assessment and feedback, and the use of social media in higher education. The group has recently been strengthened by the recruitment of Guest professor Martha Cleveland-Innes from Canada.

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