Tuesday, January 26, 2010

mLibraries seminar with Professor Mohamed Ally - morning sessions

Yesterday, I attended the mLibraries symposium featuring Dr. Mohamed Ally from Athabasca University, Alberta, Canada.

Dr. Ally’s visit assisted by LIANZA, Ako Aotearoa (where the presentations at this seminar are archived), ExLibris and various universities and polytechnics in NZ. In Christchurch, his visit in Christchurch is hosted by the University of Canterbury.

Day began with welcome from Sarah Jane Saravani including usual housekeeping matters.

First keynote from Dr. Ally on ‘global action in terms of mobile libraries and mobile learning’. A change from the library itself being mobile to students being mobile and wanting to access learning anytime and anywhere. In much of Asia & developing countries there is a direct move into the information highway is wireless and therefore mobile. Concerted national and international moves into harnessing mobile services (banking, , libraries, education etc.) to reach populations who currently are disadvantaged by lack of access to mainstream (wired) technology. In education, important to not only provide mlearning but also other student services (leanring support, library etc.) which support their learning.

Then a session on ‘implementing mobile library, mobile learning and preparing the business case’ focused on strategies possible to leverage mobile learning in NZ. Classrooms & workplaces without walls and countries without boundaries along with students expecting access to learning are already here now. Uses Patti Mae’s TED presentation as an example of where technology is moving towards including technology as sixth sense. To cater to nomadic computing, a nomadic environment needs to be considered. Instead of a digital divide, there is more a learning divide, caused by lack of access to mobile wireless devices. Therefore, need to account for move into the wisdom age, a progression from agriculture, industrial, information and knowledge age.

Second keynote on’ effective practice with m-learning in tertiary and vocational education, trends, measures and emerging resources. Need to break content into small chunks, design as learning objects, store in repositories for easy access and metatag, retrieve and reuse. Intelligent learner objects the next step in order for student learning to be maximised. In presenting learning content, need to chunk to prevent info. overload, use advance organisers to help process details, dual-coding hypothesis – present in both visual and textual/verbal and use concept/information maps to assist in organising the information. A example of one mobile phone for everything from collegemobile with an example from the University of Saskatchewan (iUsask) who have set up an iphones app for use by their students to easily access their class notes, timetables, records (grade book) which provides assignment feedback, news at the university, library catalogue, campus map linked to Google maps & GPS, webcams situated around the university, events including up & coming workshops on academic skills etc., link to research news, podcasts, online videos, search facility of university site & campus facilities, recreation facilities, updates on latest campus news, student journal, individual faculty contact, news, video blogs etc. plus a feedback button to allow users to provide recommendations on how to improve the app. MIT has a similar system which is open source which can be customised by individual institutions.

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