Tag Archives: SIGML

Picks from the App Store


Tony Vincent hosted a free professional development session for ISTE’s SIGHC yesterday called, “Picks from the App Store”. The session lasted for about an hour and was very-well attended. For more info on this session, links to the archived video and the apps that Tony demonstrated, please see his blog post.

Image Credit: www.ISTE.org

It’s a Busy Time for Mobile Learning, but a Good Time…


It’s been a very busy year for mobile learning, and I haven’t really had the time to write much about it. So, long overdue, here is a sampling of some of the many recent activities:

Following the Mobile Learning o9 Conference in Washington DC, I virtually participated in the 3rd WLE Mobile Learning Symposium at the end of March (some references to the symposium are here; the book of abstracts can be found here (our papers on the GeoHistorian project and mobile math are on pp. 63-68).

About two weeks later I did meet some of the Symposium’s organizers, as I served as the discussant on their forum session at AERA in San Diego, entitled “Symposium proposal entitled “Outside in and inside out: interdisciplinarity and mobile learning research”. Presentations included:

The presentations were followed by some lively discussion, as evidenced by the fact that most attendees in the audience stayed for an extra 30 minutes. For me, the forum was one of the highlights of this year’s AERA.

Today, I just finished participating in Tony Vincent’s uStream.tv session (archive video is here), sponsored by ISTE’s SIGHC. The hourlong session, attended by roughly 65 participants from all over the US and Canada, went virtually without a glitch, and attendees were very pleased with the content and the level of participation that uStream.tv allows, with live video broadcasting, chat, a twitter stream, and the possibility for members of the audience to discuss and ask questions “on the air”. I think we’ll see more of these sessions in the near future. Of course, Tony did a stellar job on his presentation! He blogs at http://learninginhand.com/blog/ and there are quite a few recent posts on the iPod Touch.

And speaking of blogs, Elliot Soloway and Cathie Norris recently launched a blog called Tech Disruptions, hosted by District Administration. They “address topical issues that arise as technology continues in its inexorable way to engender changes in K12. Here is your opportunity to express opinions about the changes that technology has wrought.” More about Elliot and Cathie’s work in the area of mobile learning can be seen in this video by the Mobile Learning Institute.

Two new publications of note are a 320-page book entitled “Mobile Learning: Transforming the Delivery of Education and Training” edited by Mohamed Ally and published by Athabasca University is available for sale or as a free PDF download. (Click on eBook for the PDF download.); the second one is a new issue (Vol. 3, No. 2 (2009)) of the International Journal of Interactive Mobile Technologies (iJIM), providing us with a broad range of papers that are prefaced by John Traxler’s “Mobile Learning – A Snapshot of 2008”, in which he states that “Mobile learning has gained greater clarity about the significant issues and a more sharply defined research agenda” (p. 4).

Finally, I’m gearing up for NECC, where SIGHC will be renamed SIGML (Mobile Learning) and host a forum at the World War II Memorial in Washington DC (the forum is sold out already). Handheld Learning 2009  (keep an eye open for the research strand) in London and mlearn 2009 in Florida are not too far off either.


Never a dull moment …

Image Credit: “analogue-clock” from Mark Birkbeck’s photostream:

NECC 2008, Monday June 30, SIGHC Forum


SIGHC held its first forum at NECC this year. We had presenters from both the US and the UK. Even though I had to moderate the event, I was able to listen in on Tony Vincent as well as David Whyley and Jill Purcell from the UK.

Tony Vincent’s breakouts focused on web apps (and netbooks like the EeePC)

Web apps: platform agnostic, that’s a strength. A lot of people now spend the majority of their time in their browser (I know I do!).

Mini pcs: EeePC ($299 with Linux and Open Office), HP MiniNote, Dell, Tangent MiniPC. There are many netbooks out there now.

Pros: cheap, open source
Cons: battery life, screen size

This seems similar to handhelds/mobile devices in the past. Discussion of screensize, small v. big. Kids are used to small screens and that’s what they want.

Lots of discussion about the hardware, and how it can be used in different situations, like for homebound students. There is an advantage over the use of laptops in that they are cheaper to use/maintain/replace, especially in “high-risk” situations (e.g. with potential drop-outs etc.)

Some discussion about software: Kerpoof: cartoon software (almost teaching them how to program)

Cradlepoint: to use wireless through your mobile phone service. Helps to get around blocked sites, or hotel charges! Mobile broadband speeds.
David Whyley and Jill Purcell Wolverhampton project (Learning2Go)

Implementation: integrating technology and improving pedagogy at the same time.
The device itself does not deliver everything it needs. They look at mobile devices as the 21st century equivalent of reporter’s notepad.

UK context: get lots of money to do their projects: what do you want to spend your money on? Laptops won’t work, will get stolen, especially in areas like Wolverhampton, a very deprived area. Use of technology seen as an additional benefit for the future. Replacement of schools in the UK is going on as well. Technology seems key to that.

Mobile learning goes way back to the hornbook. We are now replacing that same concept with digital tools.


Mobile devices are in Dave’s opinion still very different from something like an EeePC, because it’s a different device you’ll do different things with in different ways (e.g. voice v. keyboard input -> on the go v. you have to set it down to type).

How do we bridge between school life and e-life? Youngsters now have more technology in the home than before. Kids aren’t wowed by technology anymore, or a computer lab.
UK spends lots of money: every teacher has a laptop with a SmartBoard with audio.
• learning platforms for all learners (by Dec. 2008): mobile will be the conduit
• e-portfolios: for assessment
• computers for pupils
• learning beyond school
• engaging parents

Started with Windows, but are looking at different devices (HTC Advantage, Nokia N810)

Motivation is important
Attendance up 32% in mobile classes (as compared to avg city attendance down by 0.5%)
For girls it was personalization of the device, for boys, it was the coolness factor.

Showed video of one day in the mobile life, which was a nice way to show mobile learning by students in different settings.

Use of EDAs
Use of GoKnow stuff
Hook up to SmartBoard (Bluetooth)
Bluetooth for push and pull of content
Integration of mobile stuff with existing systems

Safety and Security: working with parents and help them understand. Naivety issues (kids hacking into unfiltered home wireless and parents not realizing that they should filter that).

Teachers need time to explore v. device market and how fast it’s changing. Therefore, stuck to one OS for now (Windows Mobile).

All in all, this was a great session. Participants had a chance to spend a good chunk of time in discussion instead of listening to talking heads. Even the presenters told me they learned a lot!


Image Credits:

NECC logo, NECC 2008 website:

Hornbye Hornbook, from Wikimedia Commons:

NECC 2008

I’ll be off to San Antonio for NECC in a little more than two weeks. The venue sort of makes things come full circle, as my I attended my first NECC there in 2002. Here are the events that I will be involved in this year:

SIGHC Forum: Mobile Devices Are Reshaping the Way We Learn 
Mark van’t Hooft, Kent State University with Cathie Norris, Elliot Soloway, Tony Vincent, David Whyley, and Jill Purcell 
Monday, 6/30/2008, 10:00am–12:00pm; HGCC 217 D
(We’re increasingly mobile and so is our learning. What is learning while mobile? How does technology support it? Hear from the experts).

SIGHC Annual Meeting
Mark van’t Hooft, Kent State University
Monday, 6/30/2008, 4:45pm–6:15pm; HGCC 101 B
(Learn more about SIG activities, network with colleagues, and engage with SIG leadership).

Using Technology to Think with Data across the Curriculum
Karen Swan, Kent State University with Evren Koptur, Annette Kratcoski and Mark van’t Hooft
Tuesday, 7/1/2008, 2:00pm–3:00pm; Grand Hyatt Seguin A/B
(Data literacy is often taught in isolation. Technology can be used to teach it across the curriculum, using digital tools to represent/manipulate data sensibly).

If you’re at NECC, stop by and say hi!