Friday, October 19, 2007

mLearn2007 day 3

Day three started with 15 minute sessions! First presentation on portable devices in innovative classrooms from Megan Iemma (Heathdale Christian School, Victoria) and Paul Rodney (Christ’s College, Christchurch, NZ), using ipods in music, languages and literacy. Provided good examples, mainly using ipods (mogopod, Iwriter quiz programme, Iquiz, text2go, ghostwriter, tubesock) but also the use of ComicLife to develop comic based video material for languages and Garageband and Audacity to record pronounciation (via Bluetooth) and musical podcasts.

Then Roger Carroll from Victoria University, Australia on how mobile technology could be the catalyst between the workplace, learner and the educational institute. Generational differences, workplace practices, workforce demographics & technology changes need to come together in order enhance learning. Examples in using a moblog (photos mainly plus also videos which must be narrated) to engage carpentry students in learning. Mobile support, assessments, content and formal assessments costing AUS$1.50 for each download. Using constructivist, collaborative and collective learning to provide individual students the ability to create their own content and assessment.

Next, Julie Turnell from University of Teesside, UK on an investigation into students’ use of mobile devices and why they use for social activities but not for learning. Has a high proportion of ‘non-traditional’ students & text messaging has been used to support and retain students. Out of 469 students, only 3 did not own phone, 335 owned mp3 players as well. 84% used phones to share photos and videos, 60% used calendar etc. for personal use but only 30% used it for their study schedules. Therefore differences between how students use their phones in social community compared to their learning community. Might creation of a Virtual Community of Practice (Kimble, Penrod & Perry) help turn social interaction into activities that support learning.

Last item for the conference was a panel session on “how did we get here?” with Charlie Schick, Mike Sharples, Peter Le Cornu, Marc Niemes & Robyn Archer. Introduced by Jo Pearson, the scenario was that we were now at mlearn2017 where wireless is ubiquitous, batteries are self charging, nanotechnology is well established and the web has imploded on itself and has been replaced by smaller, more intimate virtual worlds. Virtual schools and virtual workplaces are the norm.

Mike Sharples, (University of Nottingham) quoted William Gibson with “the future is already here, not just evenly distributed”. Entertainment has changed, even banking has changed, so why not schools?

Mark Niemes, ( schools willing to spend on mortar & bricks but not on more ‘ephemeral’ items like web sites, intranets and mobile learning. Devices become ‘disposable’, the easier to use will win. Content – too much around but not all useful, how do we sieve through all the knowledge to find out what we need? Context, personal, private or public depending on role.

Peter Cornu (St. Johns Ambulance), organizations have fewer buildings, most learning flexible & web available. People learn the skills & then come in to institutions to have recognition of their skills when they are ready. Teachers still practicing good pedagogy. IT working with their organizations to bring about learning effectively.

Charlie Schick (Nokia), not a techno-optimist but if we look back 10 years, education has not been changed fundamentally & in 10 years time, there will not be significant changes. But changes will take place gradually, especially if led by consumers, learners, parents, industry etc.

Robyn Archer (Connex, Melbourne) changes in how we travel. Travel to train stations not by car but via bus or bicycle & rush hour not as crowded. Achieved by using technology to improve how transport systems can be more efficient. Aging population has now retired. New workforce more in tune with use of technology, training is just in time with need for constant retraining. Customers also need to be trained by providing them with updates on how the transport network is working based on tracking systems.

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