Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 review

This year has been a year of consolidation. Running the mlearning pilot has brought together many of the ideas and systems that we have been trialling. I have also started to network better within the mLearning community and am more familiar with the literature associated with mLearning research.

Highlights for the year include:-

  • The opportunity to meet with other NZ mlearning practitioners and to interact with them face to face at MOLTA
  • Witnessing the buzz during my keynote on mlearning at the ITF Research Conference.
  • Winning the Prime Ministers Supreme Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award
  • Catching up with family in Perth & the Karri trees on the South West coast of Oz
  • Viewing sunset at Uluru near Alice Springs plus touching base with vocational education researchers at the NCVER Research Conference.
  • The academic collegially at the annual ASTE conference in Wellington.
  • Mlearn2007 in Melbourne
  • Final assessments of our full time students and the ongoing development in confidence over the year of most of the students.
  • Obtaining funding from the CPIT foundation to get the mlearning pilot going.
  • Working with NZ Diploma in Business tutors to put courses online presented some challenges but we got there in the end.
  • Starting an apprenticeship as a staff mentor / facilitator with the CPIT staff development unit.
  • Teaching staff education courses and observing how adults become more reflective teachers.
  • Completing third year interviews for my research project on how young people become bakers. Now that I have started serious data analysis, I am learning so much from the interview and observations I have gathered.

Things to look forward to next year:-

  • Writing up my thesis
  • Taking on a one day a week role with staff education which includes teaching adults how to become workplace assessors (an area I currently teach) and adults learning about teaching (a new area to get into).
  • Continuing my apprenticeship with staff development and playing a role in supporting staff in their teaching and professional development.
  • Extending the research into mlearning, in particular, how to make better use of Web 2.0 tools using mobile phones.
  • Continued reflection on teaching and learning (my students and my own).
  • Mlearn2008 plus other conferences including Molta2008, efest2008 and Herdsa2008.

Its off for some serious re-creation over the next few weeks. Several good tramping trips should help revive me sufficiently to make a start into thesis writing. I also hope to have time to do some reflection on plans for mlearning and my role in staff education / staff development.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Learning from mlearning pilot 2

Derek Wenmoth has summarised in his blog on the future of reading the discussions triggered by the release of Amazon of Kindle, their handheld reader. Many commentators lament the gradual decline of reading. Along with the decline in reading print based media, comes an alleged decline in the way in which people have a wider perspective on various viewpoints and critical thinking skills.

Then a blog by Will Richardson on yound people’s skills in texting and using the net to complete their homework. A young persons skill level with texting (without the need to look at the keys) and their use of technology to have someone else complete a difficult homework assignment for them, are examples of how technology is being made use of by young people. Whether these skills are ethical or not, is perhaps not the point. What is important is that young people have different skill sets and perceptions of what is relevant to them at different times in their lives.

During our sessions with apprentices, I found the way in which they viewed the use of their mobile phones and their social networks, diverging from our views of how mobile phones could be used. In my blog comparing mobile to computer literacy, the way in which young people view information is not better or worse, just different.

For instance, I would find it intrusive to have my mobile phone track where I go so that I can receive information about the nearest shopping centre, bank, movie theatre I am walking pass. However, if I was travelling around in a strange city, I might appreciate this facility more. Young people tend to take for granted that being tracked on via their mobile phone is ‘normal’. They see the information that comes through their mobile phone as a ‘service’. They are surrounded by marketers who use text messaging to send them updates on the latest competition and TV advertisements for a myriad of material goods. However, from my experience, they are still savvy consumers. Witness the rise and rise of Trademe, young people know when they have a choice and they make use of technology to make that choice.