First keynote from Prof. Angela McFarlane, University of Bristol, UK. She reported aon several BECTA projects and the learning from this, in particular to not assume that ALL young people are able to cope with technology just because they were born into it. Students also often do not have the metacognitive schools to be able to contextualize which technology to use and how to best use them. Mlearning best at providing opportunities to reiterate, reinforce or reflect on leanring.
Second keynote from Mark Niemes from the elearning Industry Association of Victoria. He made good use of clicker technology to bring across the message of devices, content and context & how these were interrelated and that each needed to be taken into account in any form of learning.
Paper presentations started after lunch. First paper I attended from Dr. Elizabeth Hartnell-Young, providing a need to have some philosophies of learning to underpin mlearning practice. Good examples from the use of mlearning (1 mobile phone, 2 PDAs) in English schools. Teachers with a good grounding in classroom teaching and interested in utilizing technology to enhance student learning were the most effective.
Then Leonard Low’s good overview of the Australian standards on mlearning. Mostly work on the areas of content creation, content support, content delivery and platforms.
Report recommends to develop for capability with ‘minimum requirements’, exploit capabilities of more advanced devices either adaptivity or by providing alternatives, minimize demands on processor, memory and display and use open formats. A easy guide by John Smith & Mary O’Connell also available.
Simon So’s study of the preception of mobile phones for teaching and learning with pre-service teachers (in their early 20s) at Hong Kong Teachers College. These teachers were studying to become IT teachers & it was important to find out if they were comfortable with the concept of using mobile phones in their future roles as teachers. Usage rates of mobile phones was high (over 1000 minutes talk time a month) and their curiosity on using mobile phones for teaching and learning was high. The future for mobile learning in usage in Hong Kong schools looks bright!
A more efficient way of transmitting videos over the mobile network was presented by Dr. Ankush Mittal from Mentor Graphics. A challenge is the many mobile phones on the market and videos have to be customised to the different screen sizes, OS and the size of the video file to be downloaded. A solution is to select objects on the video and to classify them by importance for learning. Import objects are encoded to be viewed as video but less important objects can be viewed as stills plus audio. Learnt lots about the technical aspects of video compression, transmission codes and how mobiles handle video files.