Hard-to-reach, disaffected, non traditional and NEET status learners
The MoLeNET projects found that for hard-to-reach, disaffected, non
traditional or NEET status learners Mobile learning can help with:
Motivation, engagement and behaviour
New College Swindon and Tower Hamlets projects aimed to improve
employability skills for NEET students. New College Swindon
research with learners has indicated “a very positive link between using Podcasting and learner motivation”.
Gloucestershire used PSPs to engage their NEET status learners in a
learning activity, after which the teacher commented on being “impressed by how much time the learners spent on the activity, the way in which they collaborated and worked together.”
Boston College’s project addressed the fact that low levels of
aspiration appear to lead to low levels of motivation and confidence to
engage with learning. Their research evidence suggests that motivation
and engagement is increased when using mobile devices for learning.
In one MoLeNET project tutors based at a local school worked with 15
year old vocational learners, many with literacy and/or behavioural
problems, at risk of becoming NEET. They used Sony PSP handheld
games devices with cameras and substantial improvements in engagement
and behaviour were reported. One of the tutors said “it’s been
a really positive thing and, if you talk to them, a couple of them will
say this is the only lesson we come to because it’s not boring!
and they say we really play up and school but we don’t for you because
we’ve got different things to do.”
A Matthew Boulton College project which aimed to improve numeracy
skills of NEET status learners found they seemed more engaged and were “more well behaved in the classroom” when using the mobile technologies.
Norwich identified a potential spin-off from the MoLeNET project as “marketing could be enhanced by the use of mobile technologies” and that, in particular, this “might help to attract NEETs into the College”.
Norwich aimed to reduce the number of students at risk of becoming
NEET through raising self esteem and one of the strategies for achieving
this was providing different and attractive technologies for learning
i.e. mobile technologies.
For an Oaklands student who was “very close to dropping out”, “The
MoLeNET phone enabled the student’s tutors to keep him on track and
ensured that he completed his course for the year.” Oaklands focused on “providing extra support and promoting self respect and communication” to encourage learners to stay on course".
Keeping in touch, keeping on task an encouraging feelings of belonging for infrequent attenders
Accrington and Rossendale found that NEET students involved in the
project were “motivated to work outside of the classroom when using
mobile devices for learning”. They used group text reminders to
students which they found useful to keep in touch, keep students engaged
and motivated and to ensure they turned up to classes – “they knew that the tutor would text them if they didn’t come!” Accrington
and Rossendale believe that access to the VLE via mobile devices has
also fostered a sense of belonging for NEET status learners living in
sheltered accommodation as despite attendance being “sporadic”, Some
work based learners and some LLDD learners attached to other colleges
involved in MoLeNET projects have also reported that the using the
mobile technologies had made them feel more part of the college
Retention, achievement and progression
In a Matthew Boulton College project, which commenced before the
MoLeNET project, they aimed to improve numeracy skills of NEET status
learners through the use of handheld gaming devices (PSPs) and noted
improvements in attendance and attainment compared to previous years and
Regent College’s MoLeNET project helped to re-engage and improve the
retention and progression of those students categorised as NEET’s.
Of the 17 students who engaged with the NEET programme 13 are
progressing to college programmes next year and “survey responses from NEET students were very positive.”
Accrington and Rossendale reported that eight of a group of nine NEET
status learners involved in mobile learning have subsequently applied
for courses on the main college site
Other MoLeNET projects helping NEET status learners
In 2007/08 seven MoLeNET projects reported focussing on the national
priority of helping young people not in education, employment or
training ( i.e. those sometimes categorised as NEET) and nine projects
indicated that NEET status young people are an important local priority.
Huddersfield used mobile technologies with NEET status learners on
their Xplorer programme (a course that allows students not in education
to taste a number of vocational areas to help them identify a new
direction for study) and with their probation offender students
developing basic skills. Lowestoft aimed to address a local
skills gap and included NEET status construction students in mobile
learning. Lowestoft’s ESOL and Princes Trust learners also
benefited from the MoLeNET project. Cornwall Consortium focussed
on raising the standards of KS4 students at risk of becoming NEET and
Coulsdon’s project involved some of the most vulnerable learners in the
borough including young people with literacy and numeracy needs.