Tag Archives: mobile phone

eTech Ohio 2010: St Marys Mobile Phone Project

I’m at eTech Ohio this week and will blog some of the sessions I’m attending. Here’s the first one (my comments in italics):

Stepping into the Future With Mobile Learning Devices
Date/Time: Monday, February 01, 2010 > 08:00 AM – 08:45 AM

Presenters:  Menchhofer, Kyle – St Marys City SD (Auglaize)
  Menchhofer, Kyle – St. Marys City Schools
  Van Gundy, Jennifer – St. Marys City Schools
  Newcomb, Scott – St. Marys City Schools

Location: D233-235

• 3rd-6th grade smart phones: 630 plus, including 30+ staff.
• Current technology was not sufficient enough. Had to get district, parent, and community buy in.
• Financial support (they have no tech budget, but worked with eRate and Verizon to make it financially feasible).

Adminstrator concerns
• Parent meeting (had to have one)
• Sustain program for future years (this is definitely an issue with mobile projects. Most original PDA projects died after about 4 years, when the devices died and couldn’t be replaced)
• Mobile tech committee
• Stress PD

Argument that schools need to have tech that matches what students use/have at home. Don’t want students to step backwards when they get to school. Have students step into the future (funny to hear this, this was an argument for use when we did the PEP projects in 2001-2002, and has been an argument for use since).

Classroom goals
• Level the playing field (increase test scores; 11 points on average last year)
• Limit restrictions
• Access technology together
• Assignments can be completed quicker (is this really a goal? Should it be?)
• Differentiated instruction

3rd Grade:
Getting started
• Start slow – journaling (Elliot Soloway’s idea of evolution not revolution)
• Let students explore MLDs (Mobile Learning Devices)
 • Allow students to show you how to do something on the MLD
• Add new tools to create projects

(Nothing really new here, this all sounds very familiar when thinking about past mobile learning projects)

Writing projects
• PicoMap: planning
• Word Doc: paragraph writing
• Editing is faster: no rewriting
• Sketchy: illustrate writing
• Share projects: connect phones to projector or share side-by-side

(seems a little too basic almost, but then, this is third grade. Would have liked to have heard a little more about use of mobile phones by students outside of the classroom. At the end of the presentation, Kyle did talk a little about syncing pictures from a phone to a server when students were riding the bus home from a field trip).

Differentiated projects
• Gifted students: extension
• Special needs: shortened with adaptations
• Students unaware of differentiation (very important!!)
• Everyone is successful

(this is key!! Teacher didn’t really discuss the logistics of making this happen, but it didn’t sound like it’s a problem)

Traditional v non-traditional
• Planning: How would you do lesson traditionally? How can you use the MLD instead?
• Paper/pencil = boring
• MLD: engaging and exciting (yes, but….)

(This is a start, but there is so much more……)

Math achievement data
• 95% passed v. 81% (MLD v no MLD)
• Pass avg 439.72 (18 points higher)
• Homeroom ~3/4 special needs students passed math (75%)

(The question is though: was this attributable to the use of the phones? Or changes in pedagogy/instruction because of the phones? Or something different?)

Use no cell phone service or texting (blocked): hence the use of the term MLD.
Students take the phone home at the end of the day (parents sign permission slip; students are responsible for devices)

4th Grade
• Uncertainty. Will students be responsible? Screen size.
• Nothing broken or stolen in district.
• Will typing transfer to pencil/paper?
• MLDs are very motivating
• More communicating and sharing among colleagues
• More student participation
• Making learning memorable
• Students are engaged in what they are creating
• Everyone wants to share and participate
• Result: takes less time to cover material (e.g. long division).
• Record audio, take pictures, Internet (many students don’t have it at home).
• Again, start out slow
     o Incorporate into the curriculum that you currently have set in place
     o Don’t be afraid to let students teach you.
• Importance of support
     o Tech coordinator
     o Admin support
     o Fellow teachers

• Funding: District purchase (phones are free through govt pricing, pay for broadband $34/month/phone (eRate)). PDAs are dead. Verizon. Rates will go down; competition Sprint, AT&T
• Lack of teacher buy-in; not too much of an issue
• How will next phase be implemented?
• Lack of parent support due to parent knowledge
• Rapidly changing technology (e.g. iPad now)

Want to go to mobile devices for grades 3-12. Doesn’t want to look at netbooks: too expensive to buy, maintain, etc. Smartphones for students in 3-8. High school: different device (e.g. iPad)? Easy to maintain smartphones: if one goes down districts has replacements.

Only pays for phone contract during the school year, not during the summer.

Says they get a lot of visitors: open invitation to come visit (also see their website at www.smriders.net).

Using GoKnow for software, with syncing to the web (GoManage)

 At the end there were lots of questions about filtering (Facebook, MySpace, etc.) and whether students are trying to subvert the filtering. Phones are filtered through Verizon. District can call to get something blocked. Also lot of questions about logistics such as charging devices.

Also, teachers can see everything that students have on their phones (one issue with student taking inappropriate pictures).

All in all the St Marys project is an interesting one in that it has been able to implement the use of mobile phones on a relatively large scale (630 or so). However, listening to Kyle made me realize how much of what he was talking about sounded exactly like what people’s impressions used to be of the Palm Education Pioneer project in 2001-2002. The only difference really is the device used. I understand their decision to turn off mobile calling and texting (aside from cost of service, which adds up to about $160,000 for a 9-month contract in St. Marys), and the dilemma of access v. safety/appropriate use is becoming increasingly difficult and public (see for example this story on MSNBC). In that respect, I’m not sure how far we’ve come in the last ten years, as it seems that in most cases mobile technology use is either banned or heavily restricted.

Image Credit: eTech Ohio: http://www.etech.ohio.gov/images/conference/2010/2010_ohio_etc_logo.gif

Carnival of the Mobilists #164


It’s Monday, and time for another issue of the Carnival of the Mobilists. It’s an honor for me to be able to host the Carnival, and for the third time already. While the economy is hitting on some lean times, the same can not be said for the amount of submissions to the carnival this week. Thanks to everyone for some great contributions this week on a wide variety of topics. And off we go….

Mobile Applications and Development

Lots of interesting news in the area of mobile applications and development this week. Jamie Wells at Mobilestance wrote an interesting post about Google’s development of the Android OS, and wonders if Google is really commited to native app development or whether it will move its apps into the cloud once web app performance is more up to snuff. Tom Deryckere shares his visions for making Drupal a mobile CMS system. James at mjelly took the UCweb mobile browser for a test drive . Take a look at James’ post to read his review and download the browser for yourself.


Mobile Communication

We use our mobiles to communicate in lots of different ways, but Tsahi Levent-Levi at Radvision argues that mobile VoIP apps are “not really made to stick“; hop on over to his blog to find out why. On the other hand, Toni Ahonen posted a long and well-thought-through anwer to the question: 3 billion use SMS, what does that mean? In addition, Andrew Grill over at London Calling discusses a “Eureka moment with twitter + mobile + search that should be worrying the heck out of Google”.

Mobile Content

Besides communicating, we use our mobiles to access all kinds of content. Aaron Chua from Wild Illusions makes the case for the mobile ebook market picking up pace. However, Judy Breck questions whether we need to duplicate information that is already available online into packaged content for one app or another. Interesting juxtaposition…


Mobile Marketing

Some of the content comes to us in the form of advertisements. Matt Radford at allaboutiPhone.net discusses that advertising on mobile phones is most effective when you get consumers “to want to install it themselves”, by focusing on two movie tie-in iPhone apps that don’t need connectivity to deliver their message. And, once you’ve come up with that brilliant marketing strategy, Russell Buckley at mobhappy reveals 10 secrets to winning advertising awards.

Mobile Statistics

Of course, to be a successful advertiser you need access to demographics and statistics. Chetan Sharma’s wireless data market update is a comprehensive update of said market in 2008, focusing on the 4th quarter, while Andreas Constantinou looks at 8 Megatrends that are shaping the mobile industry in 2009. Volker Hirsch also chimes in with a post entitled Recession? Where?” Asks the Smartphone… “. There’s lots to be gained from these three posts, but even so, Barbara Ballard cautions us to be careful with your statistics, as published reports on mobile use leave her with more questions than answers.

Post of the Week

A difficult decision this week, but the honor of best post goes to Andrew Grill at London Calling, with Toni Ahonen’s coming in a close second. Congratulations to both on some insightful writing!

Next week’s Carnival of the Mobilists will be hosted at VisionMobile. Keep up the great writing and don’t forget to submit your posts for next week to mobilists@gmail.com. As always, both new and seasoned writers are welcome to contribute 🙂


Image Credits: various pictures called Carnaval Weert 2009 from FaceMePls photostream:

Carnival of the Mobilists #159

Boy, I really missed the ball on this one this week, but the 159th edition of the Carnival of the Mobilists has really been online since Monday. As always, the Carnival makes for some great reading, and it’s great to see a new host. Welcome Ram!!

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Carnival of the Mobilists #158

Another edition of the Carnival that is bursting at the seams this week, thanks to Tsahi Levent-Levi over at the Radvision blog!

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Horizon Report 2009

Besides the other important event 😉 , the Horizon Project issued its annual report for 2009 today.  According to the report, technologies to watch within the next five years include mobiles, cloud computing, geo-everything, the personal web, semantic-aware applications, and smart objects. Put them all together and you have a vision of ubiquitous computing similar to what Weiser (see also here) envisioned back in 1991 and which has since been used, reused, revised, etc. by scholars such as Bell & Dourish (2005), and Rogers (2006).

This is the third year in a row that mobiles are a part of the Horizon Report, and their importance for education can no longer be ignored, really. However, the key trends I found to be most important have to do with teaching and learning, and research. With regards to teaching and learning the report states (p. 7):

There is a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy; and Students are different, but a lot of educational material is not.

With regards to research, the report indicates that:

Significant shifts are taking place in the ways scholarship and research are conducted, and there is a need for innovation and leadership at all levels of the academy. A challenge cited as critical now for several years running, academic review and faculty rewards are out of sync with the practice of scholarship. Clear approaches to assessing emerging forms of scholarly practice are needed for tenure and promotion. Students who are living and learning with technologies that generate dynamic forms of content may find the current formalism and structure of scholarship and research to be static and “dead” as a way of collecting, analyzing and sharing results.

Change seems to be the key in all of this.

Just a glimpse at the report and my initial and cursory thoughts….. Definitely worth a read.

Carnival of the Mobilists #157

Great Carnival this week over at mjelly, lost of posts and the variety is better than it has been in a while. Not sure yet which post I like best this week, I’m still reading….

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Carnival of the Mobilists #156

Hosted by WAP Review, this week’s issue of the Carnival lists more predictions for 2009, and the best writing in mobile about Software and Service, Design and User Experience, Events, Marketing, and Strategy.

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