UCF Educators Survey Flipboard Magazine Effectiveness Among Students
Educators / July 22, 2015
The only thing hotter than the growing field of technology in education is trying to quantify its results—and at the University of Central Florida, Aimee deNoyelles, Baiyun Chen and Steven Hornik are trying to do just that.
In 2013, Hornik, a professor of accounting, had been looking for a better way to bring current events into the classroom. After years of dabbling in programs like Wikipages and more, he decided to give Flipboard a shot in his graduate-level class on Advanced Accounting Information Systems. “I thought Flipboard would be a great way for students to create their own content—and maybe take more ownership of it, because they could see what they were creating,” he says.
Hornik instructed his students how to use Flipboard to share articles into their class-wide magazine, CyberSecurity. He says it was easy for students to find content once they “had their radars turned on about IT security.” During weekly meetings, he would engage the students in a discussion about the articles they had flipped.
At the same time, deNoyelles and Chen led the research component of this study, surveying over 100 students who had taken the course over four semesters. Students were asked about their basic attitudes and beliefs regarding the use of Flipboard, as well as level of engagement and device choice. The findings were positive.
Students responded that Flipboard was “easy to use and useful to learning.” The majority of them found that Flipboard made discussions and assignments “more relevant and interesting,” and that they were encouraged to read and participate more because they were curating their own class content. 80% of the participants flipped 1-20 articles into the magazine, while 20% flipped 21 or more articles. Interestingly, men flipped either the fewest or the most articles into the class magazine.
69% of respondents indicated that they used a mobile device (smartphone or tablet) most frequently to complete the curation activities. However, a number of participants indicated they frequently used multiple devices to complete the assignments. Device choice did not affect how many articles were flipped, although participants who used a mobile device read significantly more articles in the magazine than participants who used a desktop or laptop computer.
“One of the open-ended comments that I thought was really amazing was: ‘Flipboard allows the course material to be tied to real-life problems and solutions,’ ” deNoyelles shared. “That one caught me off-guard. That’s what we were hoping.”
Even after the study ended, Hornik continued to see activity in the class magazine.
“It is surprising to see students continuing to flip when the semester is over—it’s hard for me to believe that they don’t know the semester is over,” Hornik says with a laugh. “But you still see them flipping for a while and, I’m hoping, reading through the material, even after the class is over.”
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