An overview of the research strand I moderated this morning. We saw and heard about a lot of interesting and innovative projects related to mobile learning.
Mark Kramer, Vienna, Austria
Mobile learning foresight: Examining learning now and in the near future.
This presentation mostly focused on the idea that when we look at technology and education, we need to look at broad impacts, and look for example at health and/or social impacts. With regards to learning, technologies allow us to be discursive, flexible, ubiquitous, convenient, everywhere, and adaptive.
Adele Botha, Meraka Institute, South Africa,
Digital literacy for 21st century digital learners
Adele talked about the diversity of her country (including education), and how unrestricted access to technology and information are creating new opportunities but also responsibilities. She sees students who are proficient with technology but tend to be naive. In addition, adults are buying into rules that teenagers make with regards to new technology use. Now more than before, the more virtual you get, the more teens are interacting with and through technology.
The message of this presentation really is that we need to teach kids how to survive in the virtual world [I think this is true anywhere]. Adele compared being in the virtual world to traveling to a different country, and teaching to a guide, not a police officer or immigration official. In both, there are places to go, things to see and do, local customs (think netiquette), what can you take, exchange rates and money, and things to look out for.
Sometimes the two worlds overlap and you get cultural developments, which she dubbed the Silent Revolution, with examples such as the “please call me” culture, the umbrella lady, the mobile tree, and the use of multiple phones and sim cards.
A session devoted to the use of drama as a vehicle to engage students in discussions about mobile use (e.g. mobiquette and cyber bullying). David showed a couple of examples, including Mantle of the Expert (simulations, scenarios, what-if situations, with a comparison of drama to video games); an archaeology training unit; and a set-up on Bebo that can be used as a scenario to talk about appropriate use of phones and SMS
The focus here was on engaging students in discussions about technology using technology.
Designing Learning Experiences
1. Acceleration of change
2. Design divide: in design knowledge (need to find ways to share)
3. The void between prophet (too high) and explorer (too low) presentations
Yishay argued for the need to return to design science (Simon, 1969). A detailed description of what design science is and how the Planet project uses stories to create design patterns for problem solving can be found in the presentation slides.
Cathy Lewin discussed a mobile project at Holywell High School (Wales), an example of a project that puts more technology in schools to enable teachers to do more. The positives here are the headteacher’s vision that the desktop model is not the right one and that there is a need to design effective learning environments, and the involvement of students in choosing the device to be used (Asus eee PC). The project has just started so there were no real results to report, other than the usual list of challenges.
Rhodri Thomas & Keren Mills, Mobile Learner Support, Open University
Mobile Digiquest: Developing rich media reflective practitioners
A presentation that described the digital initiatives at the Open University’s Digilab with rich media on mobile devices and associated professional development, both f2f and online (blended). The presenters stressed the impotance of mobile collaboration tools.
An overview of projects that allow users to do real research with mobile technology and control data (scroll, zoom, decompose), to let users do stuff, not just look at data on a device. Carl showed lots of cool examples of what is possible today given the increases in scanning, mapping, and capturing our world; reconstructing the world; pattern recognition; and object embedding.
Teaching and Learning
Megan Smith, Leeds Metropolitan University
Our City, Our Music: using mScapes to map new narratives
mScapes is the use of audio/video/text combined with GPS to create and consume content. Our City, Our Music is an initiative that will yield a location-based music album by June 2009. Other successful examples include adventure games, historical guides, and walking tours. Current technology has its limitations; content needs to be preloaded, and the platform is not designed for interactions between multiple devices. Future technology to be added includes RFID, bluetooth, and infra-red.
Suzaan Le Roux, Cape Peninsula University, South Africa,
Implications of utilising mobile handheld devices in teaching undergraduate programming learners in a developing country
According to the abstract:
This research chronicles the results of the investigation into the integration and use of mobile handheld devices as teaching tools in an undergraduate computer programming subject at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology in South Africa. This research also explores the wide reaching implications of utilising mobile handheld devices and the possible advantageous alternatives it can provide to traditional classroom-based instruction in teaching predominantly previously disadvantaged computer programming learners in a developing country. The relevance of mobile handheld devices in teaching programming, its perceived benefits and the potential barriers to its use are discussed.
In this study the experimental group consisted of 55 programming learners who have been provided with personal digital assistants (PDAs) preloaded with the Basic4PPC application for use at university and home. This enabled and encouraged learners to design and develop mobile applications in the Visual Basic programming language anytime, anywhere without the necessity of a computer. Learners reported their experiences through interviews and a survey.
The study found that students want access, and that mobile devices enable access, mobility, and the opportunity to learn at your own pace. Issues included screen size, fragility of devices, stylus input, and the perception that the mobile was not a phone. There was some novelty effect, and long-term research is needed to validate current findings.
Jane Lunsford, Researcher and Lead Instructional Designer, Open University
Mobile media and devices to support students at the UKOU
Didn’t get any notes here. From the abstract:
The talk will consider two research projects designed to investigate how the support provided to around 200,000 students at The Open University (UKOU) might be improved and extended with the use of mobile media and devices, to suit a diversity of study needs. It will then show how these research projects have led to enhancements in the support offered by Student Services.
Interesting talk about changes in journalism in the US, a class in experimental journalism at Temple, and how mobiles can play a part in news coverage. The examples provided here included the coverage of elections using an election day moblog, combining the use of utterli and a livejournal blog.
Mobiles are being used by journalism students for traditional news stories, live interviews, prerecorded sound bites, and personal reflections (esp. the latter tends to happen more).