Monthly Archives: October 2007

Carnival of the Mobilists #97

It’s Monday so it’s time for a new Carnival of the Mobilists! This week’s episode is hosted by Andreas Constantinou at VisionMobile. A more industry-oriented piece this week, although I did find one interesting post by Antoine Wright about the challenge of being an early adopter of technology. Here’s a snippet of his post:

I do understand the pull of doing something new as some methods of doing work and socializing come about and am willing to try what might help me do it better regardless of the opinion of others. Its a relevant point in my life to make sure that for whatever tech does, that I am not managed by it but that I manage it. But I also understand that others won’t understand that unless they can see the relavancy in their lives as well. And that is where I see a lot of the web/mobile 2.0 movement failing. There are a ton of services and applications out there. But very little that has made Joe and Suzie Consumer run out and try it.

Interesting post and one that definitely applies to teachers…..

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo: http://www.mobili.st/images/cotm-button.jpg

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Carnival of the Mobilists #96, and Issues of Mobility

This week’s Carnival of the Mobilists is hosted by Rudy de Waele at m-trends. Lots of links to new developments in mobile hardware and software, as well as an update on various mobile events. My favorite post of the week is probably Russ McGuire’s post on Mobile 2.0: Mobile Internet vs. Mobility, in which he asks,

what about mobile is a fundamental driver of change into the economy?  I think there are three pieces that come together to answer that question.  The first is the truly “always on, wherever you go” nature of mobility.  The second is that mobility is the first truly personal information technology with mass adoption.  The third is that the mobile device can have greater visibility into the context in which it’s being used than previous technologies – obviously starting with location and presence, but with potential for so much more.

… If mobility is simply taking the Internet to new places, then I’ve just wasted a couple of years of my life writing a useless book.  If, however, mobility enables things that were impossible before, then mobility can change the rules of competition across industries and I hope lots of business people read my book and take critical lessons from it.

While McGuire focuses on commerce, I think you could easily replace “economy” with “education”, or better yet, “learning”, and “competition among industries” with “education”, and so on, and his quote would still make a lot of sense. What do you think?

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo: http://www.mobili.st/images/cotm-button.jpg

Net Neutrality Debate Still Far From Over

Click here 

As an update on my previous post on the fight over net neutrality, here is an article from MSNBC that discusses how Comcast has been blocking some Internet traffic on its networks. According to the article by Peter Svensson:

Comcast Corp. actively interferes with attempts by some of its high-speed Internet subscribers to share files online, a move that runs counter to the tradition of treating all types of Net traffic equally.

The interference, which The Associated Press confirmed through nationwide tests, is the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider. It involves company computers masquerading as those of its users.

If widely applied by other ISPs, the technology Comcast is using would be a crippling blow to the BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella file-sharing networks. While these are mainly known as sources of copyright music, software and movies, BitTorrent in particular is emerging as a legitimate tool for quickly disseminating legal content.

While the article mostly discusses the issue of blocking content in general, especially with regards to file-sharing, an interesting question remains how this type of practice can potentially affect education, both formal and informal.

There is also a lively discussion about the Comcast practice, which can be found here. Most posts seem to oppose Comcast’s practices.

Image Credit: http://www.savetheinternet.com

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 2, Hands-On Mobile!

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A little late, but nevertheless…..

The Friday afternoon session “Hands-On Mobile” was, as the name suggests, hands on. After the different speakers talked a little bit about their respective projects (slideshow, slideshow), we split into groups and talked to each presenter, who in turn demonstrated their mobile and digital learning materials, such as MLEs on cell phones, including videos, text, and quizzes. Navigation was not very difficult. In fact, a lot of it was pretty intuitive, and you figured it out quickly, even without clear directions and using an unfamiliar device. Most of the content was created using Flash and Java.

 Here are a few things to take away from the session:

Lillian Soon’s site: http://www.xlearn.co.uk/sms

A resource for 3gp videos to use on mobile phones: http://www.videojug.com

A great (and free) converter for all kinds of media: http://www.media-converter.com

Learning games and other mobile software: J2ME: http://www.getjar.com

Various bluetooth servers:
www.bluebroadcast.com
www.bluetooth-advertising.co.uk
www.bloozy.co.uk/bbcradio1.php

Image Credit: “_B6B1855.jpg”; Handheldlearning’s photostream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/handheldlearning/1605827344/in/set-72157602480692897/

Carnival of the Mobilists #95

This week’s Carnival of the Mobilists is hosted by the Smartphones Show. Great timing for this carnival for me, as I saw plenty of smartphone related stuff for learning at Handheld Learning 2007 last week. More about that later. For now, enjoy this week’s Carnival!

Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo: http://www.mobili.st/images/cotm-button.jpg

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 2, Post-16/Adult Learning Session

This is the session I moderated this morning. While the audience was small, I thought the presenters were very good and the audience inquisitive. Here is a brief recap of the presentations (aside from my own):

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Geoff Elliot’s NEETS project (slideshow)
Geoff talked about mobile phones used and the installation of wireless hubs across the Pembrokeshire area in order to provide some context for his project, which is working with difficult-to-reach youth who can be disengaged, irresponsible, feckless, dishonest, lost, who have missed out in school, lack confidence and self-esteem, and have personal issues youth. They’re the kind of kids whom the system has failed.
Characteristics of the project:

  • One on one
  • Negotiate individual development plan
  • Develop trust, then
  • loan a phone
  • Remote mentoring via phone
  • Weekly meeting with students

Good things that came out of the project:

  • 115 referrals
  • 90 young people helped
  • at least 8 got jobs
  • 12 have achieved a qualification
  • 3 are completing college courses
  • 5 more have applied for a college course

Showed a video example of a girl in the project,who now is working on qualifications (exams?), has increased confidence, and feels she has more opportunities. More succes stories can be found here.

Lessons learned 

  • Communication tool for mentoring
  • Enabling 24/7 communication is key
  • A3 learning – sofa surfing
  • Phones ok for learning resources but GPRS is too slow (compared to broadband)
  • In a wireless environment – need mobile-moodle
  • Developing for small screen format needs new specialized skills (e.g. Flash, Java)
  • Wireless hubs
  • Tech too techy and too glitchy. Are they robust enough?
  • Need technical expertise
  • Buckets of styluses
  • Use of multiple service providers (problems)
  • SMS v (virtually) free email
  • Use pay-as-you-go
  • Can’t wait for multi-provider phones

Resource: Mlearn.pembrokeshire.ac.uk (final report will be there)

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Adam Blackwood: Pod and vodcast, what/how/why (slideshow)
Adam did a very engaging presentation on podcasting basics and how they can be used for adult-level learning. It was so engaging, in fact, that I didn’t take any notes. Adam did a nice job on starting from scratch and clearly explaining what a podcast is (using simple artifacts), showing examples of vodcasts, and discussing a wide variety of uses.  

Resource: rscsoutheast.jellycast.com

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Pekka Pirttiaho: Mobiletools (www.mobiletools.fi)

eTaitava: Student feedback (daily; easy, fast; also video learning diary; divided on web and mobile interface) for vocational learning, also going to universities and companies.

Role of teacher is changing, from sage to facilitator. Refocus on expert work instead of pushing paper.vIn Finland: on-the-job learning is becoming more important (teacher, workplace instructor, student).

  • Teacher: main contact person, expert on evaluation, supervises/guides
  • Student: Learns in workplace, learning diary, does learning tasks
  • Workplace instructor: supervises on the job, expert on job skills and tasks

Challenge: how to provide one-to-one guidance and evaluation when groups of 15-25 student per teacher.

In eTaitave, the teacher chooses ready-made questionnaire and edits as needed.

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A mobile application is installed on students’ mobile phones (Java). Note that this is on students’ own phones; they are not supplied by the learning institute!!! About 85% of students in Finland have phones that can handle the application. The students answer questions every day, the workplace instructor once a week or so.

Interface is a star selector, like a bull’s eye. Multiple questions can be answered using this bull’s eye and the toggle keys on the phone(up to about 10 questions).

The second part of the interface is a simple learning dairy, where students can shoot video, record sound, and take pictures with their phones. Easy interface, has to be intuitive or students won’t use it.

Teacher checks student answers from a web page, reacts and provides feedback.

The key aspects (in sum):

  • Daily feedback
  • Transparent learning process
  • Fast response time
  • Motivation via tele-presence

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Di Dawson: Kool for Kats – mobile credibility and the older learner (slideshow)
How mobile devices can make a learning experience a more inclusive one for many adult learners. We looked at the theory of cultural capital- the ‘koolness’ and consider how this links to acceptance of handheld technologies regardless of issues relating to size or fiddliness of use. We played around a little bit with some cell phones and bluetooth to do a brief exercise that could be useful for ESL learners.

Resource: www.niace.org.uk/mobiletechnology

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Reflections on Pedagogy, Pat Triggs and Marie Gibbs

Last presentation: LA and CLC projects (Becta funded):

  • 1:1, 24/7 ownership, mobility (home and school).
  • Three primary, two secondary schools

What happened to teachers and students when handhelds entered the classroom?

Making sense of a complex story, and looking for pedagogic shift by looking at very small pieces of learning through analyzing video. The following examples were used:

  • Minibeasts clip (using Wildkey software): were there issues of novelty that increased motivation? Everything in one place, instant availability
  • St Stephen clip (retelling a well-known story), using Sketchy to tell a story in a different way
  • Sketching graphs video (HS science), the teacher let the student struggle with making the graph, never succeeded (autonomy v. success, and the dilemma of where to draw the line)
  • Video about videos on PDAs: there was a clear purpose for using the device, and this worked well

Conclusions:

  • Obstacles included contextual constraints, teacher priorities, perceptions, and attitudes
  • Shoehorning the learning into the technology? (i.e. going about it backwards)
  • Potential of devices for learning under-exploited
  • Challenge of linking formal and informal learning (this is a key challenge)
  • What is the technology adding?
  • Implications for professional development (a well-known issue)