Thursday, October 09, 2008

mlearn2008 day one afternoon sessions

The after lunch keynote is from Marc Prensky of digital natives fame. Marc covered the topic ‘Quo Vadis, Mobile’ providing a quick look into possibilities that technology and changes in teaching and learning bring. Pace of change is very rapid & perhaps in 30 years devices will be nanoscale, implanted, multi-sensory, thought driven, personality driven & sentient! Teaching will become more a partnership to prepare young students for the knowledge based economy of the future.

The conference continued & I attended a couple sessions in the mobile learning landscape stream.

First off, Paul Doherty with Deb Polson & Colleen Morgan on students using mobile phones to transform city gardens into dynamic learning games. This was an application of MiLK where design paths lead people through places using mobile phones. Event paths are made up of checkpoints & were originally conceived to be teacher created. However in this project, student teams also created the questions and answers for the various checkpoints during a field trip to the Adelaide botanical gardens. User generated content is an underutilised concept for mlearning. MiLK is a finalist for the Innovation award at Handheld2008. Text votes need to be in by 9th Oct. so vote for this great mlearning tool.

Then ‘evolutionary snapshots of mobile learning landscape’ by Elizabeth Apsden from Sheffield Hallam University provided an interesting contrast to Marc Prensky’s presentation. The mobile landscape of a group of students was studied for two weeks. It looked at how students use technology combined together in to a one day profile. This provides examples of how students access the internet, multitask (laptop plus watch TV), transport their work from home to café to university, read or revise work on the train, surf the web on the train, work with others in café on group project, read in the pub (so not distracted by access to a computer!), have to cope with operating systems that are a barrier & at home where access to the library would be good but the internet also OK. Therefore, people make use of their time in ways which are not always digitally based. Some people need a break from computers & access to the internet in order to reflect, read & create. The presentation also featured future possibilities included audio ebooks, telepresence (video conferencing), solar powered / wireless recharging, flexible / foldable screens, free wireless broadband, access to experts via vidmail, touchwalls, phones / location based embedded in sunglasses & 3D virtual learning spaces.

After afternoon tea, moved back across to the ‘mobile learning, mobile knowledge & mobile societies’ strand to hear John Pettit & Agnes Kukulska-Hulme from The Open University Institute of Educational Technology present on the topic ‘do mobile devises make smart learners?’ The presentation focused on the formal evaluations of a project (also presented at mLearn2007) in which lecturers, administrative & support staff were presented with Qtek 9100 smart phones and provided with support & development to use the technology for their professional development and teaching practice. Results included participants making use of the smart phone for a range of activities. Support included formal qtek club meetings which were useful for most. Challenges included using the keyboard, using the phone & problems with Wifi.

The day ended with session from Cecile Tschirhart, Chris O’Reilly & Claire Bradley from RLO-CETL (Centre for excellence in teaching & learning – reusable learning objects), London Metropolitan University on ‘language learning on the go’. Presentation on two current of projects, RLO-CETL embedding m-learning in various higher ed. courses & MOBILA (mobile phone interactive languages) by providing LondonMet epacks. Flash was used to provide learning objects that would support language learning including audio content, revision activities, quizzes and video clips.

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