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):


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)


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


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.


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


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

One response to “Handheld Learning 2007, Day 2, Post-16/Adult Learning Session

  1. I thought this was a great session – particularly the one from pembrokeshire college.

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