Thursday, October 26, 2006

mlearn day 3

The gala dinner last night was well attended despite the weather changing to rain. We were treated to a good meal & a wonderful display of first nation dancing including the spectacular hoop dance (picture of hoop dancer at bottom of page). Day 3 dawned fine with a cold Northerly wind.

I have had to choose one presentation out of six at each session. There were several papers I would have liked to also have attended but will need to catch up with them once the conference proceedings have been published. I find attending presentations bring life to papers which are often couched in academese. The personalities of the presenters does not shine through in many academic papers, so I find that attending the presentations brings better focus to my later reading of the actual papers.

The day starts with a 2 hour panel discussion on cultural perspectives from around the world convened by Jill Attewell.
Elizabeth Hartnell-Young (now based in at Nottingham, UK) provided the Australian perspective on mlearning.
Herman van der Merwe gave a South African overview & in particular the need of low cost, easily accessible, low threshold applications.
Mike Sharples presented the UK view, starting with the historical background that in the UK, learning taking place in the community & lifelong learning would have be active in the UK from 300 years ago. Mlearning provides greater opportunities for people learning in their communities to share knowledge with a wider audience than before. Check out http://www.infed.org/ on the informal learning network.
Tak-Wai Chan’s 10 minute powerpoint on the Asian perspective provided a great deal of information . Asian countries are producing most of the hardware for mlearning & many Asian governments (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore) have put in policies to introduce mlearning into schools. Many interesting examples were provided on the application of mlearning.
Rory McGreal talked about the North American viewpoint. He posited that due to less discrepancy between the cost of voice & text communications in North America, that the North Americans would bypass the SMS stage & move more fully into the development of 3G based mlearning applications. An example is the elibrary that has been developed at Athabasca University which provides free content not only in the form of text but also in all other forms of digital media.
During the questioning session, the following were brought up:-
the cost of using mobile phones came out. The cost of both voice and text messaging is actually very low, it is the price that is high! So it is important for educational organizations in individual countries to lobby their telecommunications providers for cheaper prices.

What would be the next killer application for mobile learning. Mike thought that language learning using games on mobile devises would push the use of mobile learning in the far east. A member of the audience suggested that it would be using browsers on mobile devices. Another suggested the importance of ensuring that there was interoperability between various devices, applications and systems.

There was agreement that the device that would support future mlearning would be the current 3G phone & the future 4G phone. However, there was a need for phones to have better battery life, more memory, better screen displays and the ability to Bluetooth data to peripherals like data projectors & printers easily.

Last presentation was from James Wen from Positive Motion on user-interface techniques for using flash-cards on small mobile devices. He took on the view that the limitations provided by small screen size, limited keyboard etc. actually made the production of customised user interfaces easier.

The conference was officially closed with a keynote from Dr. Mohamed Ally on mobile learning bridging the learning divide. The digital divide is disappearing but the learning divide has now appeared. Who is going to help provide learning material for mobile learning to take place?

Mlearn2006 was then handed over to mlearn2007 to be held in Melbourne from 16th to 19th October. Caryl Oliver & Elizabeth Hartnell-Young invited delegates to meet next year at the Melbourne Convention Centre.

After lunch, the first annual general meeting of the International Association for Mobile Learning (AML) was held.

4 comments:

Ford said...

Hi Selena. Its swell to read of you having such a fantastic time. There is so much going on. I wish i was there.

Did you see Rory McGreals C.V? The guy is prolific.

Positive Motion said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Positive Motion said...

Actually, my talk was not about flashcards - which is fairly simple - but about some rather more sophisticated study tools that "go beyond flashcards" (which is the title for the talk).

Also, I didn't say that the limitations made customized interfaces simpler; quite the opposite is true: it is more challenging to make usable interfaces on severely constrained devices.

I did, however, note that the limitations created a situation where the complexity of the user experience may be manageable enough to allow the designer to visualize the user experience and I described a method to do so using a mobile experience graph or mobex for short.

Just wanted to clarify - thanks for the mention!

Jerry Gene said...

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