The following are results from the self-reporting survey that the 194 students from Primary 2 and Primary 5 participated in during the course of the second trial.
Although the data was not complete from the self-report, due to our inability to enforce the timings and instances the teachers made their students do the report, there are some interesting outcomes from the data gleaned from the trial.
Average cognition and emotion did not increase or decrease significantly during the trial, so there cannot be any claims to the fidget modules making students “smarter” or “happier” during the trial. There is however, a slight correlation between cognition and emotion, which might suggest that students generally perform better cognitively when they are happier or more emotionally stable.
Average positive and negative behaviours as recorded by the students also did not show any significant change over the course of the trial, indicating that the fidget modules did not affect their overall behaviours; the downward trends are mostly indicative of lesser students completing the report towards the end of the trial.
This heat map was generated to explore the variance of “active students” between classes and the positive/negative behaviours they displayed. Teachers were asked to identify their most active students in class, and the data was filtered from there. Class I2 was classified as the highest achieving class (academically), followed by I5 and I7 respectively.
The darker spots correspond to a higher display of positive behaviours, in this case by the higher achieving class (I2). It is a stretch to conclude that their academic excellence has an impact on their behaviours, given that the students from I7 also display such characteristics, but the data could also expose the biases of higher achieving students in self-reporting surveys.
With respect to the negative behaviours reported, the most commonly reported was talking to friends in class while the teacher in class was conducting a lesson. Although not critical to this trial, it could inform the way teachers handle these more active kids in class.
Although there were no hard conclusions we could derive from the second trial around the fidget modules affecting student engagement and behaviour/emotion, we feel that a longer trial with more controlled circumstances would work better. The self-report system, although effective in theory, remains difficult to execute in practice because of the large number of variables involved. From the perspective of a 2-man team executing this project, there were many things we feel could be better handled in order to derive a more complete data set, but are overall satisfied with the outcome of the project.
We did find the entire experience highly educational, and would like to thank Canberra Primary School, the leadership (who agreed to our unorthodox experiment), the teachers (who took the time off their hectic schedules to accommodate us), as well as the students for their participation in this trial.