Daily Archives: October 11, 2007

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Reflections on Pedagogy, Karin Andersson and Dale Hinch

Third presentation: Karin Andersson (Malmo University), Dale Hinch (Edexcel); Paper-Works (slideshow is here).

Integrating paper technologies, using novel displays and presentation devices, applications and cross-media/blended media content, understanding practices of publishers, supporting alternative forms of assessment…..

e-Scape (Goldsmiths College, University of London): the development of a system to facilitate design work: making it possible to assess the ability to generate and develop ideas, as well as prove them.

Prototype A. There’s a booklet to capture these that is used during the design task/project exam (by students), and during assessment (by the assessors/teachers).

Prototype B. A3 paper and PDA to capture sketches.

How can augmenting a paper-based design process support collaborative sketching? Technology-based sketching has limitations.

Prototype C. digital paper and digital pen. Can be time stamped. Opening up of the collaborative process because the drawing limitations of the technology are lifted. Teacher can also draw with his/her own pen.

The point is to augment an existing process with technology WITHOUT introducing a new gadget (that could disrupt the process), as is the case with the digital pen.

Sketching is a central part of the interaction.

The technology supports collaboration and cooperation.

Interesting presentation on a relatively simple and useful technology, especially for collaborative problem solving. The question is how kids know which pen is theirs when there are 25 in a room.


Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Reflections on Pedagogy, Jocelyn Wishart


I don’t have notes for the first session from the London Knowledge Lab.

The second presentation in this session was by Jocelyn Wishart from the University of Bristol, entitled, “Cs (seize) the moment: Engaging with the theory and pedagogy of m-learning.”

Big ideas: 

Control: informal learning is more motivating because learners have more control and freedom.

Constructivism: built on ideas of Piaget, further developed by Papert who created the concept of constructionism. It involves learners making their thinking and understanding visible, e.g. using Sketchy to show a science concept, or teachers reflecting on notes they’ve taken.

Challenge, Curiosity, and Complexity: motivation to learn with mobile devices. We learn because we’re curious and drive to achieve competence (e.g. Bruner, 1966).  Mobile software can evoke challenge, curiosity, and complexity.

Conversational Learning: the mobile device acting as a communication channel (Roschelle & Pea, 2002). Conversation also reinforces and illuminates the process of coming to know by constructing knowledge in a two-way interaction between student and mobile device (O’Malley, 2005). The technology can take the place of the teacher/peer, or provide an environment that enables conversations between learners (Sharples et al., 2007).

Confidence: linked to challenge, also to successful learning.

Context: using mobile devices for fieldwork (Soloway, 1999 for early examples). Booted up Bristol Project (Squire, 2005).

Collaboration: using mobile devices, but usually web-based. Can be with peers (Ramsden, 2005), or experts (Wishart, 2005). Also mentioned the EDUINNOVA project.


  • building the above concepts into software and activities designed for mlearning
  • however, the theories and cognitive aspects are inter-related and create a complex web creating motivation and understanding.

From the audience: there is a need to build in space for reflection somewhere. There’s also a need for scaffolding of learning. Also, the complex web of the concepts should be dynamic, not static (you could use Sketchy for it).

For a more detailed account, see

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Opening Session, part II


The international speakers…..

Tarek Shawki, Section Chief, ICTs in Education, Science, Culture, Information Society Division, Communication & Information Sector, UNESCO.

On ICT Utilization towards Building Global Knowledge Societies

UNESCO as a laboratory of ideas and standard-setter; also a clearing house to disseminate info to member states.


  • Access to networks and high quality content
  • Dealing with cost of access; capacity building
  • Content development
  • Freedom of expression
  • Media development
  • Knowledge preservation

E-knowledge requires a lot of (different) players

Mr. Shawki then continued to talk about organizational structures and partnerships, which I won’t try to describe here, but which is important in that it shows how ICT developments are happening globally.

Final comment: UNESCO is working on a report comparing all of the different mobile devices for individual governments who are confused with regards to what’s out there.

Next up, Francesc Pedro from OECD’s CERI. His presentation is pretty much the same thing he did at NECC, which I blogged here. He did show some interesting MacArthur-Foundation-made videos.

Francesc’s key point I think is that there is a real need for solid, research-based information in the area of ICT for learning, especially on an international  level, and a need to focus on the changes that learners are bringing.

Not a lot of talk about mobile learning in these two presentations, but more big-picture issues to think about …

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Opening Session, part I


First session of Handheld Learning 2007, the room is packed, just as the underground was earlier this morning. Graham started off by talking about how things have changed over the years, from a large “mobile phone” in the 1980s to today’s iPhone, and how advanced technologies are being used by younger and younger kids all the time. He showed an example of his 2-year-old daughter training a virtual dog (which begs the question: is there something being lost here or gained? Is she losing out on interacting with real pets or is she getting an opportunity to do something she can’t in real life? It also goes back to a quote by John Naisbitt about the danger of technology becoming an obstacle to experiences our lives as we live them:

Technology distracts us with its promise to document. … Do cameras document life’s most important events, or do they distract us from experiencing the emotions, the sights, the sounds of the occasion? Perhaps they cause us to actually miss the moment rather than capture it. Just owning a camcorder or camera may make us feel compelled to use it, then archive the images. We have become a documentary society, but to what end? (Naisbitt (2001), High Tech, High Touch, p. 30))

Graham is followed by a series of keynote speakers. The audience can text questions to the moderator while the speakers present. Pretty cool.

First, a speech by Jim Knight, UK Minister of State for Schools and Learning of the Department for Children, Schools and Families. No real news here, mostly talked about how kids are growing up in a multimedia society, the investment of the British government in ICT, and the increasing importance of personalized learning for kids, engaging parents (to keep kids safe on the www), and closing the achievement gap. He finished by showing a video about how (mobile) technology has changed to enable learning, communication, anytime/anywhere appropriate access.

Next up, Stephen Crowne from BECTA (slideshow is here). He discussed BECTA’s priorities in getting to

  • universal access
  • online safety
  • improved use of technology by schools and colleges
  • improved use of technology to support personalization of learning
  • saving money (of course)
  • securing solid technology policy.

He also discussed some of the challenges:

  • Building of e-maturity in education is slow
  • Technology/technical hurdles
  • Current progress in learning and teaching is only about enhancing existining practices, not transforming them
  • New practice that works happens in isolated pockets (I think that’s true everywhere).
  • Learner access to devices, connectivity, tools, resourcers, networks

Crowne continued by laying out steps to take next:

Looking at what’s important: ed systems must be responsive to what learners bring with them and the world we’re preparing learners for (he’s quoting Diane Oblinger of Educause here).

Effective learning: successful learning being based on construction, conversation, and control (Mike Sharples)

Importance of building new practices for teaching and learning as well as supporting policies.

Personal access to technology: supports a vision of learning to engage with curriculum and resources beyond school, extend learning in a variety of ways, support families in supporting their children’s learning.

Crowne continued by showing a pretty useful chart of how to improve learning with technology through:

  • Exchange
  • Enhance
  • Enrich
  • Extend
  • Empower

He also showed three videos to support extension, enhancement, and empowerment. What I’m wondering though is how the first two were good examples of personalization though, as they show teachers telling all kids to do the same things at the same time.

Finally, how to make personalization work?

  • develop underpinning ICT maturity
  • new approaches to teaching and learning, and learning relationships
  • effective dialogue with the ICT supply side
  • new skills and competencies for learners and teaching professionals (develop where and how?)
  • understanding what’s possible and works, and share this (what is an effective way to do this?)At this point, texting of questions to the moderator failed….. :(. I wonder why they’re not using other channels, like Twitter.The next sessions are from international speakers, which I’m putting in a separate post.What did I take away from the first two speakers? Nothing really new under the sun with regard to mobile technology; however, both speakers showed how in the UK the government is much more involved with and dedicated to improving ICT in education in a systematic way.