Thursday, December 04, 2008

Creating websites / portfolios using mobile phones

Due to the rejection by the TEC of the CPIT / Unitec mlearning project, I need to chug on with work on exploring how to make eportfolios more feasible using mobile phones. The overall project applied for was to use the pilots that Thom Cochrane at Unitec & myself have been running to come up with concrete guidelines for the use of mobile learning in the tertiary sector in NZ. Our concept has always been to make use of mobile phones & to harness web 2.0 sites so that the mobile phone was used as the ‘computer in my pocket’.

Feedback from the TEC was much better this time around. “This is a well articulated application, however the focus is on technology rather than learning, and the best approach to achieving learning outcomes. The outcomes expected from this project are not clear.” However, it still means that I will have to find another source of $$ to continue with mobile learning research next year.

The eportfolio collation of our project has had to resort of desktop computers to access sites like Google pagecreator, vox, multiply and comiq. However, many of our students still have very limited access to desktops. Therefore there is a need to push the envelope with the use of mobile website creators and to evaluate if they may be useful as eportfolio collators & disseminators. Much of this work will also be relevant to content creation on mobile phones so the project will also inform me with regards to how to best make use of mobile phone websites creators in mlearning.

A trawl through google reveals several sites to work with next year. These include ones that need re-looking at like winksite & wirenode and newer ones like mob5, mobiSiteGalore. swiftmob and zinadoo. For a start, some desktop research using a variety of phones to sort out access & usability issues will need to be completed. Once the sites have been sifted through, we will need to trial them with student phones. A basic eportfolio needs to have photos, short video clips and text. We will still link up the student sites via Moodle so that other students and the tutor are able to view individual sites. Technology has moved along rapidly so our project needs to keep up with the play as well.

3 comments:

Ray Tolley said...

Hi, Selina,

I admire your efforts but think that you have got your argument the wrong way round on several counts.

Firstly, research in to the use of handheld devices has identified that a large proportion of students object to using their personal property for educational purposes. Or were you thinking of issuing mobile phones to all students?

Secondly, the technology is moving fast, mobile phones are getting more sophisticated and thus expensive whilst the Ultra Mobile PC is rapidly dropping in price as more models come onto the market. Presently a Blackberry is more expensive than some UMPCs!

Thirdly, if I understand you correctly, I think that your approach of using the mobile phone to create the e-Portfolio is both time consuming and technically more difficult. In my humble opinion what you want is an existing e-Portfolio that is capable of being used effectively on a mobile phone or any other device or any new 'hybrids' that evolve in the near future. Furthermore, your solution would need to still be compatible with standard laptops or desktops.

However, that said, I agree wholeheartedly with the need to identify how Teaching & Learning will be affected by mobile/handheld technologies.

What we certainly do not want is 'more of the same' whereby teachers adopt the new technologies only to deliver lessons in the same old didactic way! (cf the OHP and the IWB)

Selena said...

Hi Ray,

thank you for you comments. They provide a good counterargument for our project.

One of the other side streams of our project is to extend on what we have already achieved with mobile phones & web 2.0 with the use of netbooks, we are in the process of exploring the use of 'rugged UMPCs' with apprentices who work in workshops & building sites.

The project to create portfolios using solely mobile phones is to explore possibilities. 100% of our target students own mobile phones and over 50% have very limited access to desktops or laptops. This may change as netbooks gain more traction. However our interim tests with apprentices found usability issues with the small keyboard & screen of netbooks. The apprentices still preferred their phones!

So, Yes. there are challenges & issues :) but it is important to explore alternatives & see if these lead to a solution that works for our students.

All the best, Selena

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