Friday, October 10, 2008

mlearn2008 day 2 afternoon

The afternoon keynote was from Vanessa Pittard who is the Director of eLearning Strategies at BECTA on assessing the value of mobile learning : the evidence challenge. Very few schools actually making use of the potential of wireless (access of Wifi) & mobile learning. There is a need to provide evidence that using mobile technology would enhance learning. Generally, teachers need to be convinced that using any form of technology will provide for better learning without having to invest more time. There is evidence of success in various mlearning projects in the UK. Of note is the McFarlane (2008) report on the Wolverhampton based Learning2go project whereby there was an improvement in boys ‘writing’, exam revision & games based practice.

Stayed in the’mobile learning, mobile knowledge & mobile societies’ strand this afternoon. There were two rooms with presentations in this strand, so I hopped between rooms.

First up was Christopher Murray (University of Leeds, School of Medicine) on capturing transformative learning using mobile devices. Digital stories were created by first year medical students of their first patient visit. The ELGG platform was used to collate the photos etc collected using PDAs. The taking of photos of the experience & creation of their digital stories provided the impetus for students to face transformative attitudinal changes required of them as future health professionals.

Mlearning initiatives in the British army was then presented by Major Roy Evans. iPods were used to learn Iraqi by soldiers posted to Iraq. The Nintendo DS lite console was used to provide remedial numeracy learning to new soldiers and work based learning for upgrading soldiers’ skills & knowledge.

Then attended a session on evaluating mobile learning by Giasemi Vavoula (University of Leicester). Six challenges in evaluating mobile learning are presented. These are capturing learning content across learning contexts, mobile learning outcomes, changing ethics, technology, seeing the bigger picture and formal or informal learning. A three level framework (micro, meso & macro) & 3 stages (design, implementation, deployment) can be used to assist in measuring the six challenges.

Day ended with Gill Clough from the Open University on informal learning amongst geocachers:mobile & web 2.0 technologies in action. Data was gathered via public domain data from geocaching website, web survey with recruitment via geocaching forums and a case study of 5 of the survey participants. The entry trajectory of novice geocachers was studied. Geocaching sites are social networking sites which allow the geocaching to share their finds & to learn more about the site via links provided by other people. This is then an example of how technology can now be used to enable collaborative forms of knowledge to be formed.

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