Category Archives: handheldlearning2007

Carnival of the Mobilists #101


The Carnivals just keep on coming! Episode #101 is now online at Martin’s Mobile Technology Page. News from all over the world this week, as well as a link to a very interesting post by Judy Breck about an impending cell phone initiative in New York City schools, called the “Million” program.

What are you waiting for! Go check it all out.

Image Credit: Carnival of the Mobilists, Logo:

Handheld Learning 2007: A Few Reflections (Finally)


I wrote down some reflections on the Handheld Learning Conference a while back. They’re finally up on the Handheld Learning website. A couple of excerpts so you’ll go read the whole thing 😉  :

Most Interesting Idea I Heard: Moving towards a model of learning in which learners provide the mobile devices and institutions of learning. Several people mentioned this idea in their presentations, including Pekka Pirttiaho from Mobiletools. As Tony mentioned in his reflections, it is also refreshing to note that the conference’s main focus was learning.

Best New Device I Saw: Samsung’s Q1 (closely followed by Graham’s “mobile” phone from the 1980s ).

Most Obvious Absentee: Palm OS (for me this was a big deal as most of what we’ve done in the US has been with Palm OS-based devices).

Image Credit: Handheld Learning:

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


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:

A resource for 3gp videos to use on mobile phones:

A great (and free) converter for all kinds of media:

Learning games and other mobile software: J2ME:

Various bluetooth servers:

Image Credit: “_B6B1855.jpg”; Handheldlearning’s photostream:

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:

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: (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.  



Pekka Pirttiaho: Mobiletools (

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.


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


  • 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)

Handheld Learning 2007, Day 1, Reflections on Pedagogy, Bob Harrison

Fifth presentation:
Bob Harrison: personalization, portability, and freedom computing

Bob started out by talking about his son Kieran, and how his use of technology helps him in his life (he has Asperger Syndrome). Given the nature of the syndrome, this story is a very good example of how Kieran has available to him technologies like a cellphone and Runescape to overcome some of his limitations as a result of him having Asperger. It was also a good example of how schools as institutions can become an obstacle (e.g. by not allowing him to have a cellphone,and then punishing him for both having one AND his inability to understand why he can’t).

There is a mutual interdependence between personalization and mobile learning.

Personalization has five components:
• Assessment for learning
• Effective teaching and learning
• Curriculum enrichment and choice
• Organizing the school for personalized learning
• Beyond the classroom

Portability helps us do lots of things like motivate, personalize, organize….

Resources mentioned:  

Mobile technologies and learning (from the Futurelab report on mobile tech, report #11):
• Behaviorist
• Constructivist
• Situated
• Collaborative
• Informal and lifelong
• Learning and teaching support

Mentioned Big Issues in Mobile Learning (2006): Mobile learning is about learning across contexts and it does not just mean content to small screens (this is paraphrased from the report)

Mobile usability in educational contexts: What have we learned? IRRODL, 2007