Tag Archives: handheldlearning2009

Handheld Learning 2009, Day 3, Research Strand and Grand Finale


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:

  1. Phil Marston (Further Development of the Context Categories of a Mobile Learning Framework)
  2. Karl Royle (Teaching Kids How to Hold Productive Learning Conversations Using Pictochat on the Nintendo DS)
  3. Marco Arrigo (Mobile Learning for All
  4. Rhodri Thomas (Mobilising the Open University); presentation slides
  5. Domizio Baldini (Mobile Science Laboratory: A Project)
  6. Andy Pulman (Mobile Technology as a Mechanism for Delivering Improved Quality of Life)
  7. Peter van Ooijen (A Novel, Image-Based Voting Tool Based on Handheld Devices)
  8. Arturo Serrano (Implications on the Evolution of 4G to m-Learning)
  9. Rowena Blair (Fun, Fizzy and Formative Approaches to Assessment: Using Rapid Digital Feedback to Aid Learners’ Progression)
  10. Lyn Pemberton (Language Learning with Mobile Peers)
  11. David Avery (Digital Mythography: Towards A New Mythology For Our Times
  12. DivyaViswanathan (New Metaphors from Old Practices. Mobile Learning Technologies That Could Revitalize Education)
  13. Marco Arrigo (Integrating Handheld Devices in Secondary School Curricula: A Two Years Experience)
  14. Keren Mills (The OU Library in Your Pocket)
  15. Judith  Seipold (Mo-LeaP – The Mobile Learning Projects Database)
  16. 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 …

Handheld Learning 2009, Day 2:Where Is the Handheld Learning? Part II


 Day 2 of Handheld Learning 2009 and the first day of the conference part featured a variety of speakers. Funny (or ironic) part, there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about mobile or handheld learning, as the session titles indicate (Reflections on Learning, Creativity and Innovation, Games for Learning, Social Media for Learning). Maybe a sign of things to come??

In the afternoon I saw parts of the Games for Learning and Creativity and Innovation sessions, while trying to follow what I was missing in the other rooms online. Talk about an information overload!!

Games for Learning

I attended this session before the break, which consisted of three presentations on mobile learning games. Best one of the three was the presentation by the Waag Society on their Games Atelier project, a logical progression of their Frequency 1550 project. In Games Atelier, the concept of Frequency 1550 is still present, but Games Atelier consists of a set of tools that can be used to create your own games that can then be played. As James Gee said in his speech earlier today, you learn even more from creating/modding games than playing them.  The presenters demoed the tools, which look good but unfortunately aren’t free. They also discussed a game played with students played in New York and Amsterdam in to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of the relationship between New York and Amsterdam, called the Island.

The work that’s being done by the Waag Society is some of the very best I’ve seen in mobile learning, as it takes advantage of the affordance of mobile technologies, while still being able to tie what students do on the go to classroom learning. In contrast, some handheld/mobile learning projects in which learners are stuck in the classroom with mobiles sometimes seems to be an oxymoron, as the devices aren’t even used to bring the outside world into the classroom.  

Creativity and Innovation

Phyllis Hillwig discussed Mobile Opportunities in the US. Having followed mobile learning in the US since 2001, I feel that I have a reasonably good grip on the field, and I was somewhat surprised by some of Phyllis’ statements. Most of what she said sounded very familiar to me, including the question of “how” we can be successful in the US, which is complicated because of where today’s content is created and resides, and how we pull together content, pedagogy, user experience, cognitive science (unloading working knowledge into long term), etc. I think this is a universal problem, not one that is unique to the US. In addition, she noted current trends in US education, including budget and achievement gaps, and mentioned the Koontz report, Pockets of Potential. The most surprising statement Hillwig made was that “mobile learning is not focused on much yet” in the US, despite the fact that there have been a substantial number of mobile learning projects in the US, going back to the Palm Education Pioneer Project in 2001. I do agree with her that the US can learn a lot from other countries in Europe (UK, EU countries) and Asia (e.g. Korea and Taiwan) with regards to a “mobile learning culture”. I’m not sure exactly what she meant by that term, but in the large scheme of things it seems to make sense.

Linda Hahner‘s focus was on the importance of application design that is educationally appropriate. She flew through a bunch of apps and discussed what was wrong with each of them. I wish she would have shown some examples of how things should be designed, other than pointing to her own site that, according to her, shows how things should be done. Now I’m no expert on visual design, but I do think her session could have been a little more balanced and not a “rip-the-ipod-app” diatribe.  

Naomi Norman: presented on two projects she is working on at Epic for the British Army that run on the Nintendo DS platform: one that addresses Entry Level 3 Numeracy basic skills for new recruits; the other, vehicle maintenance training for Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. While the first one, Numerika, seemed pretty basic drill and kill, Epic did a good job of researching their clientele and its needs ahead of time, providing math instruction within context, using a minimum of text (but just enough) and on a platform that makes sense for a variety of reasons (robust, portable, anywhere/anytime and opportunistic learning, motivation for repeat learning), especially when comparing it to the way math is taught currently using workbooks. The vehicle maintenance training looks like much more of a guided problem-solving tool, which is interesting because it can be used as a stand-alone or on the job.

Tony Vincent: discussed the use of iPod Touch apps to create comics (ComicTouch and Strip Designer), using images from the web (including Google Maps and Street View) and iPod Touch screenshots. For all of the details on how to do this, see Tony’s blog post. This was one of very few presentations I attended today that focused on mobile learning, and a good way to end the day. 

So what does the relative lack of focus on mobile learning at Handheld Learning 2009 mean? Maybe it’s a shift of focus in the conference itself, which makes me wonder what next year will bring. Will there be a Handheld Learning 2010 or will Learning Without Frontiers do something different, e.g. combine its three conferences into one. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing. Maybe it’s a sign that even those who are purely working in mobile learning need to broaden their thinking and focus more on learning with digital technologies in general. This shouldn’t be too difficult to do as there already is a tendency for mobile learning to be less self-contained on devices and more dependent on the web for content, communication, and collaboration. It all comes down to providing learners with the appropriate tools to meet their learning needs, whether these tools are mobile, web-based, or something else.

And finally, the phrase coined for the day is John Davitt’s “struggleware”: apps that make students scratch their heads and think. I don’t think we have enough of those…

Handheld Learning 2009 Awards Voting Is Open


Great excitement as the finalists for this years Handheld Learning Awards for Innovation & Best Practice have been announced and are now online for public voting via non-premium rate SMS. This means that for those people who have free txt messages as part of their phone contract voting costs nothing, the system also accepts SMS votes from Skype and in an effort to be fair to those voting from overseas we count every vote from a non-UK origin phone as 2 votes.

You can review the finalists and voting details at:

Information about the awards event can be found at:

Voting ends on Monday 28th September and the winners will be announced at the Handheld Learning Awards Party hosted by Jason Bradbury on Monday 5th October so put this date in your diary!

Please show your support and appreciation for the innovation of international practitioners and tell us who you think should take home the most prestigious awards in the field of learning, teaching and mobile computing.

The Awards party brings the 12 hour, FREE to attend, Handheld Learning Festival to a close on Monday 5th Oct before the main Handheld Learning Conference begins on the 6th Oct.

If you’re not a delegate for the conference but would like to come to the free Festival then please register at:

There are still full conference passes available as well as day passes for the conference on Wednesday register at:

Review the amazing programme – from Malcolm McLaren to Ray Kurzweil at:

Confirmed speakers at:

Image Credit: http://www.handheldlearning2009.com

Handheld Learning 2009 Deadlines

Dear Colleague

This newsletter is to remind you about some important deadlines that are fast approaching for this years Handheld Learning Conference – the #1 event for innovation in learning assisted by mobile computing technologies from smart phones to netbooks and the technologies already embedded in the lives of learners.

  • Early bird registration, free iPod touch & save £100* >>>
  • Handheld Learning Awards for Innovation >>>
  • Learners Y Factor >>>

*conditions apply

Early Bird Registration before July 31st

Register by July 31st for £325, save £100 and receive a free iPod touch!

We have just 750 seats for the main conference this year, more than half of these places have already been taken. Please book now to avoid disappointment.

For international delegates we also recommend early booking of flights through our official airline carrier, Virgin Atlantic, who are providing at least 5% discount off lowest published fares.

Register here

Conference programme here.

Confirmed speakers here


Nomination deadline: July 10th

One of the best award parties of last year with a refreshing, benchmark setting, approach to identifying and celebrating innovation amongst international practitioners and organisations.

See photo’s from last years Awards here

Without commercial or agency bias, anybody is free to nominate themselves or those individuals or organisations who they believe have innovated to improve learning, teaching or training using mobile computing technologies. A panel of independent judges produce a shortlist of finalists from these nominations, then the winners are decided by public vote using non-premium rate SMS.

Winners are announced at a free to attend party for 600 people on Monday 5th October.

This is your opportunity to celebrate your colleagues and the fast paced innovation happening in this area.

Please nominate here


Submission deadline: July 10th

A very successful part of our free Handheld Learning Festival day where 5 teams or individuals aged 6-16 are selected to present their innovative learning techniques or projects to an audience of up to 100 delegates and a panel of friendly judges.

See photo’s from last years Y Factor here

A terrific way of involving learners in the conference whilst providing the opportunity to share some of their experiences and knowledge of the technologies that are already embedded in their everyday lives. All participants receive gifts with the winning presentation being given the opportunity to present to the main conference the following day.

If you know of young learners that are doing something wonderfully new and innovative then please encourage them to make a submission and get involved, it is entirely free and great fun.

Make your submission here

Thank you for reading. Please help us spread the news about this event by forwarding this email to your colleagues and do not hesitate to contact us if you require any further information.

Register now and see you October!

The Handheld Learning Team (meet us)
The Advisory Group (meet us)

brought to you by Learning Without Frontiers

Proposal Submission for HHL 2009 Research Strand: Only One Week Left!!


This message serves as a friendly reminder that there is only one week left to submit your abstract proposals for Handheld Learning 2009. We are looking forward to receiving a substantial number of quality proposals by Friday, June 12, 2009. We currently have enough reviewers. If you have any questions about the paper submissions, please contact the chair of the HHL 2009 research strand, Mark van ‘t Hooft, at mvanthoo@kent.edu. Details about submitting a proposal as well as the online submission form can be found here

Thanks for looking (and submitting)!!

Image Credit: http://handheldlearning2009.com

Handheld Learning 2009: Award Nominations


Dear Colleague

Are you a practitioner, service provider, organisation, developer or manufacturer doing something innovative or transformational in learning, teaching or training using mobile computing technologies?

Do you know of someone or an organisation that is?

We very much want to hear about them as part of the Handheld Learning and Innovation Awards 2009, otherwise known as the “Handys”!

Nominate here.


The Categories

There are award categories for

  • primary learning
  • secondary learning
  • tertiary & higher learning
  • training & business
  • special needs

In each category we are seeking a practitioner and an innovation. There is also a special achievement award for the individual who it is believed has had the most impact on learning, teaching and mobile computing during the past 12 months.

Now in its second year the Handys is a rare opportunity to celebrate the hero’s who are often at the sharp end of innovation in the world of learning and teaching practice – where real innovation is often not recognised or rewarded.

Rather than being a stuffy dinner jacket affair, like so many back-slapping award shows, the Handys is almost unique in its accessibility for real practitioners to attend (it’s free) and the democratic and unbiased way in which finalists and winners are found.

That doesn’t mean that it’s a slapdash affair. Far from it. More than 600 people attended the 2008 Handys and enjoyed an evening of spirited entertainment, snacks, dancing, socialising and a good hearted celebration of each others achievements in one of London’s most agreeable, award winning venues. See the pictures here & find out who won last year here.


How does it work?

Nominations can be made by anyone for anyone including themselves. It is the same process for organisations or businesses.

You can make as many nominations across all categories as you wish although duplicate nominations for the same person or organisation won’t affect the shortlisting process.

Nominations must be received by Friday July 10th.

After this date an independent panel of judges will shortlist the nominations and the finalists will be announced. Then all awards, with the exception of the special achievement award, will be subject to public vote via SMS.

The winners will be announced at the party on the evening of Monday 5th October.

Ask anybody who came last year, this is one party not to be missed!

So what are you waiting for?

Get nominating & good luck!

The Handheld Learning Team (meet us)
The Advisory Group (meet us)

Follow us on Twitter

brought to you by Learning Without Frontiers


Image Credit: http://handheldlearning2009.com

Handheld Learning 2009, Learners Y Factor



Dear Colleague

Do you know of learners under the age of 16 that are doing something innovative, different and interesting that gives their learning the “Y” factor?

Would they like to share their story with others and enter a fun game where the final will be held in London on Monday 5th October?

Apply here.


What is the “Y” Factor?

Well, it means different things to different people ranging from ” Y bother?” to “Y it works” or if you want to be a smarty pants you could say that it represents a learning style characterised by Millennial learners or learners of “Generation Y” – the children of the digital revolution.

But whatever the meaning, here is a great opportunity to showcase the innovation and ingenuity being demonstrated by young learners everywhere who are using the latest digital technologies to enhance their formal or informal learning.

Such technologies might include:

  • inexpensive mobile computers, including netbooks
  • social media
  • smart phones
  • mp3 and personal media players
  • game consoles

But feel free to “innovate within the rules” because that’s the key to the game – a bit like British politics! 😉


How to enter?

It’s all free!

The Learners Y Factor takes place as part of the free to attend Handheld Learning Festival in London that precedes the annual Handheld Learning Conference – the worlds largest conference about learning, teaching and mobile computing. A free iPod touch for every delegate (conditions apply).

Entries may be from individuals or teams of up to 4 players who are aged between 6 and 16 on October 5th 2009.

Entries will be reviewed and those successful will be invited to London to present their work to a panel of judges and a live audience. Those invited will receive gifts and the entry that, in the opinion of the judges and audience, demonstrates the most “Y” factor will be invited to present in the main Handheld Learning Conference on October 6th.

Closing date for entries is July 10th.

See last years winner – Radstock Primary School – here

For more information and to make an application click here

Good luck!

The Handheld Learning Team (meet us)
The Advisory Group (meet us)

Follow us on Twitter

brought to you by Learning Without Frontiers

Image Credit: http://www.handheldlearning2009.com