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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”.

Self esteem

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 community.

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 learners.

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.