How Mobile Learning Can Support Global Student Engagement

An advanced version of a web-based instant response system, CloudClassRoom (CCR), which incorporates gaming features (competitive and mentally stimulating) entitled GEARS (Gamified Electronic Audience Response System), has been developed by Dr. Chun-Yen Chang’s research team. CCR-GEARS is written in HTML 5.0 and works on every Internet-capable device without software or plug-in installation. CCR enables teachers and students to participate in question-answering activities by using their own mobile devices, such as laptops, smartphones, or tablets. By this means, every student in the classroom can express their thoughts instantly as well as anonymously. CCR provides the teacher with a rough picture of student learning progress in real-time. Leveraging the capacity of mobile devices, CCR supports text and multimedia responses. We recently added a gaming feature (GEARS) to CCR, which, to the best of our knowledge, is the first instance in the world of incorporating gamification into an Instant Response System. GEARS encompasses the following functions: 1) learners will gain points when providing a correct answer; 2) learners may use the earned points to exchange ‘weapons/props’ to answer the following questions; 3) the weapons/props enable the features of ‘time extension’, ‘option deletion’, ‘the whole-class answer patterns’ and ‘peek into someone else’s answer’; 4) a completion board is renewed after each question, and finally 5) winners are able to ‘make’ their public statements. There will be more gaming functions added, and research conducted about this new adventure. Findings suggest that CCR can stimulate students’ learning motivation and improve their achievement in science.


Given the prevalence of smartphones, mobile devices, and access to high-speed Internet, an increasing number of K-12 schools are embracing the Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) policy to make learning more engaging, enjoyable, and effective. In keeping with this trend, edtech offerings are being developed to transform smartphones into powerful interactive tools for classroom learning. My team at National Taiwan Normal University developed one such tool, CloudClassRoom (CCR), which was featured as a mobile learning exemplar project in the 2019 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report Higher Education Edition.


To date, approximately 50,000 teachers and students have registered in CCR, and more than 500,000 classroom activities have been conducted using the technology. We designed it to work on every Internet-capable device without further software or plug-in installation, and it operates across platforms, including iOS, Android, and Windows. Once teachers connect their devices, they can easily initiate anonymous quizzes. In addition to the traditional, forced-choice answer format, we ensured that CCR would allow students to respond both verbally and visually, with short texts, pictures, or even emoticons. Students’ answers are then automatically aggregated in real-time and analyzed, which provides the teacher with a snapshot of their current learning progress. Animation-based questions and collaborative problem-solving animations are other features of CCR.




Incorporating cultural context to encourage participation

Especially within East Asian classrooms, where students are customarily silent and hesitant about expressing their ideas, CCR appears to be a promising tool that will improve interactivity. I am currently leading an international project to investigate the impact of CCR on classroom learning across Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, and other Asian countries. In these, high context, predominantly collectivist cultures, students are typically more sensitive about openly disagreeing with others, and decisions are frequently made collaboratively in a group setting.

We expect that the outcomes of incorporating CCR into classrooms in this region will further inform researchers, teachers, and policymakers regarding how to better leverage the potential of mobile technology in a way that boosts learning and teaching.

Not only does the use of CCR make conventional classroom teaching easier, but its newly developed Gamified Electronic Audience Response System (GEARS) also has the potential to make classroom teaching and learning more fun.

For teachers, GEARS enables a more diversified approach in posting questions to the class, and provides students with an exciting game playing experience through their responses. With GEARS, teachers can preset the following settings:

  1. Shortening or lengthening the permitted response time
  2. Providing rewards for students’ correct answers
  3. Selecting available props to be used in student answers
  4. Displaying students’ scores and rankings instantly
We have found that the incorporation of the above settings can transform regular questions and answers into a contest mode. In the future, students can be grouped according to different types, which can allow small-group competitions in the classroom.
From the students’ perspective, GEARS encompasses game props (i.e., special power) which enable the following features:
  • Time Extension: students can extend the time allotted to provide answers.
  • Answer Deletion: students can delete one of the answer options in a multiple-choice question.
  • Answer Distribution: students can access an overview of the answer distribution for the whole class.
  • Designation: students can opt to view a particular classmate’s answer.
Students are entitled to rewards when they provide correct answers in GEARS. Their accumulated rewards can then be used to redeem desired game props. For example, if by default, students need to provide their answers in a time frame of 30 seconds, they may use their accumulated rewards to redeem the Time Extension game prop to extend their time to 60 seconds, which would give them more time to think and come up with a final answer. Since the props can only be redeemed through rewards, it helps increase the students’ motivation, through class engagement, to answer questions correctly. With the use of props, they may increase their chances of achieving the correct answers. Many teachers offer the student champions of a contest the opportunity to share a few remarks or words of encouragement for the rest of the class. We are currently planning on developing more game props including attacking or defending props to make the gaming more fun.
In the future development of this technology, we will endeavor to make CCR more interesting, convenient and efficient to facilitate classroom teaching and learning. We anticipate that through the use of CCR, more ideas will be generated, teacher-student interactions enhanced, and stronger bonding established as a whole.
  • Author(s)

    Chun-Yen Chang
  • Biography

    Dr. Chang is a science education scholar in Taiwan. Currently, he serves as National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) Chair Professor and Director of the Science Education Center. Over the past few years, he has been a Visiting Professor at the the Education University of Hong Kong and the Paris 8 University.

  • Academy/University/Organization

    National Taiwan Normal University

Source:GASE Taiwan Research Highlights