Starting off with Dan Passey (Lancaster University) on using mobile technologies to convert ‘digital natives’ to ‘learning natives’. A gap analysis is used to detect learning domains that may be considered in encouraging better learning. Domains are mega-cognitive, cognitive, meta-cognitive, motivation, social & societal. A large number of affordances that supported learning were compared so that affordances that are well supported, poorly supported or not supported by mobile learning were presented. Activities that support learning should therefore be ‘snap & show’, ‘review & reflect’, ‘think forward’, ‘listen to my explanation’, ‘this is what I’ve done & how I have done it’ and ‘tell me how I could improve this’.
Followed by Thom Cochrane’s presentation on the mobile trials at Unitec began with a Vodaphone TV advertisement that has been running recently in NZ. The overall concept is to use access to web 2.0 via Nokia smart phones to collate the evidence of learning and to organise their learning (Gmail, calendar etc.) & to construct an eportfolio using Vox. Moodle is used to hold supporting material for the students. Evaluations from students indicate that students were receptive to the use of mobile tools to provide evidence of their learning.
‘How informal is mobile learning’ by comparing mobile VLEs & mobile PLEs was the topic of Wen Pin (Ben) Chen and David Milliard’s (University of Southampton) presentation. Firstly, there was a comparison between VLEs & PLEs. The key difference is that VLEs place control of learning on the teacher & PLEs on the learner. A four dimensional model of formal learning (why, where & when, who & what & how) along with whether the learning is teacher, student led or negotiated is used to analyse the papers presented at mLearn2007 to see what types of mlearning is currently taking place. Only 3 of the 17 papers presented fell into the formal learning environment therefore mlearning supports informal learning.
The day’s formal presentation sessions ended with Christopher Plimmer from Switzerland who investigated the area of workbased mobile learning to find answers to the question ‘How can mobile devices be used to support employee learning processes’?
Scenarios of the use of mobile learning in the workplace were presented to research participants to find out how feasible the scenarios were. Guidelines that were distilled included the need for content that would be just in case but well integrated into the work that needed to be completed, opportunities for social interaction that included coordination, coaching, collaboration and reflection & the production of learning sequences.
The afternoon was taken up with the AGM of the Association of Mobile Learning.
Conference ended with handover to mlearn2009 which will be in Orlando, Florida under aupices of University of Central Florida. Plus forward information for 2010 which will be held in Malta (organisers are the University of Malta).