The last day of Handheld Learning 2009 was also my busiest one, as I spent most of the day chairing the mobile learning research strand. We had 22 interesting papers from a variety of speakers, who came from countries including India, Mexico, the U.S., the U.K., Italy, Scotland, Ireland, and the Netherlands. The papers covered the areas of theory, research, and application, including topics such as mobile learning frameworks, assessment, developments in mobile learning hardware and software, and mobile learning for science, language arts, and special needs populations.
Most of the papers will be published in the Spring 2010 issue of RCETJ, but I will give you a flavor here of the types of papers presented. John Traxler kicked things off with a very interesting and illustrated talk that addressed the tension between educational institutions aspiring to provide students with the technology for learning, and supporting students using their own devices. According to John, resolving this tension is crucial for innovation, inclusion and transformation, but we don’t have the answer quite yet.
Next up were Robin Deegan, who discussed usability issues peculiar to m-learning applications, and Nicola Bedall-Hill, who shared her initial findings from a study involving GPS devices, and asked if mobile tools may also possess many of the characteristics of a ‘boundary object’ in that” their meanings are constructed through discourse and practice.” Lucianne Brown discussed her findings from a study that used mobile phones for learning reading.
Following a brief break we had two more long paper presentations, one by Scott Perkins and George Saltsman, who discussed the implementation of iPhones and iPod Touches at Abilene Christian, and the other by Jane Lunsford, who talked about mobile learning for student support.
The long papers were followed by three round tables with a total of 16 papers. Presenters and their papers included:
- Phil Marston (Further Development of the Context Categories of a Mobile Learning Framework)
- Karl Royle (Teaching Kids How to Hold Productive Learning Conversations Using Pictochat on the Nintendo DS)
- Marco Arrigo (Mobile Learning for All
- Rhodri Thomas (Mobilising the Open University); presentation slides
- Domizio Baldini (Mobile Science Laboratory: A Project)
- Andy Pulman (Mobile Technology as a Mechanism for Delivering Improved Quality of Life)
- Peter van Ooijen (A Novel, Image-Based Voting Tool Based on Handheld Devices)
- Arturo Serrano (Implications on the Evolution of 4G to m-Learning)
- Rowena Blair (Fun, Fizzy and Formative Approaches to Assessment: Using Rapid Digital Feedback to Aid Learners’ Progression)
- Lyn Pemberton (Language Learning with Mobile Peers)
- David Avery (Digital Mythography: Towards A New Mythology For Our Times
- DivyaViswanathan (New Metaphors from Old Practices. Mobile Learning Technologies That Could Revitalize Education)
- Marco Arrigo (Integrating Handheld Devices in Secondary School Curricula: A Two Years Experience)
- Keren Mills (The OU Library in Your Pocket)
- Judith Seipold (Mo-LeaP – The Mobile Learning Projects Database)
- Steve Bunce (Nintendo DS Consoles as a Tool for Enquiry)
As I stated earlier, most if not all of these papers will be published in early Spring 2010. Suffice it to say that even though the round table format is something that was new to many presenters and participants (unbeknownst to me until right before the conference), everybody made the best of it and with a little tweaking we can have even better sessions next year. It was good to see that there was a substantial amount of interest in mobile learning research this year, as all of the research strand sessions were very well attended.
The conference was concluded by Ray Kurzweil’s keynote via a live HD video feed. Instead of me trying to recap what he said more than a week after the fact, you can see the speech for yourself here. It’s worth watching …