Tuesday, November 04, 2008

reflections on mlearn 2008 & Hand Held Learning 2008

Spending over a week of immersion in the world of mobile learning provided me with a large amount of information to digest. However, looking back at my notes, I see several patterns emerging that I will carry into the mlearning projects at CPIT.

My basic premise for using students’ own devices (ie mobile phones) & web based platforms is sound. The ongoing work on making computers smaller (ie netbooks like the Asus eee, mobiles more web capable plus increased mobile access to the web means that we are well placed to make use of the building capabilities of cloud computing.

I will need to stay with the overall vision to form eportfolios based solely on mobile phones. There are now many more sites that are mobile accessible, including sites like wirenode, winksite & mob5 which allow mobile phones to be used to set up mobile websites. Capabilities for these for forming eportfolios are still basic but things are moving along to make our vision possible.

Mobile phones will still be the most ubiquitous mobile tool as they now number over 3 billion. The ability of game consoles to take on various operating systems (eg the Nintendo DS) will hopefully be replicated at some stage with mobile phones as well. Although material can be accessed direct via the web, having the ability to distribute content etc on SD cards or similar might be more convenient for some learners. The use of game consoles might be an option to explore with other projects at CPIT

The use of netbooks opens up many possibilities for bringing ICT into the classroom & creating blended learning opportunities in any learning space. In particular, the ability to work on collaborative projects, find information easily, create individual & group resources & to make use of serendipitous learning opportunities. Most web capable mobile phones are also suitable for this teaching method but the cost of web surfing on the mobile phone & the poor reputation mobile phones have in the education sector put mobile phones into the ‘too hard basket’ for this. Will need to lobby for better WIFI coverage at CPIT & to investigate the funding options available to provide class sets of netbooks.

Sharing of resources, content, eportfolios etc. need not be only via the web, bluetooth capabilities on many devices, memory sticks, SD cards etc. are also methods that can be useful for mobile learners to archive & share their work. Need to explore this with regards to the various learner profiles we cater to at CPIT to see which option for transfer of digital material is going to be most useful.

Smartboards seem to be standard in British classrooms. Using smartboards with powerpoint presentations seem to be a real waste of smartboard technology. I will need to have a better play with the ones we have at CPIT to work out the best way to model the interactive capabilities of smartboard technology. In particular, the possibilities for collaborative work in conjunction with mobile devices & blended learning.

There is a great deal of innovation taking place around the world. Passionate teachers are going that extra kilometre to make learning more realistic, authentic, creative & collaborative for their students. Mobile learning enables the classroom to be more easily networked with the ‘real world’ & for students in one geographical location to make contact with students studying similar topics in other places. These are skills we all need to make the world a better place to live in. Teachers who model these skills not only teach their students the importance of these skills but also reap the benefits from their own connectivity.

Flexibility combined with a good underpinning of pedagogy is important when working with any project that is of a cutting edge nature. Persistence combined with the ability to make pragmatic choices are also important attributes!

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