Thursday, October 21, 2010

mlearn 2010 day 1 afternoon

After long lunch concurrent sessions begin. I hop between ‘user-centric development’ and ‘applications’. First up, ‘social flow in mobile learning’ from Ryu, Cui and presented by David Parsons (Massey University). Raises the question, does mobile learning also mean social learning? Based on Csikszentmihalyi’s work on ‘flow’ – balancing challenge (excitement) with apprehension (fear). Walker (2010) proposes ‘social flow’ where doing things together enhances the experience and dampens anxiety. Can social flow be enhanced with mobile learning? Compared experiences of students (some on solo mlearning, others in collaborative synchronous groups and a face to face group but delayed) to see if social flow occurs. Mobile collaboration increased cognitive curiosity and interest.

Then R. Douch, G. Parker and presented by Jill Attewell on ‘mobile technologies for work-based and vocational learning’. Overview of MoLeNET which undertook mobile learning research and then embedded into educational institutions. Workbased learners’ challenges included limited access to ICT at work/home, workplace not set up for learning, disconnect from college and limited interaction with peers/tutors, collecting evidence can be a chore, impatient to complete theory and low literacy/numeracy, difficult to engage with learning, bored by key skills requirement and assessor visits can be disruptive. Case studies available on practitioner led action research encouraged so that research led to improvement in teaching, learning and outcomes. Including mobile learning tools improved engagement and attendance, retention and achievement. Learning more flexible, relevant and teaching could be differentiated and personalized more often. Quantity and quality of homework and coursework improved. Advantages also to employers, assessors and colleges involved. resources and video resources  available,

Cooney from learnosity on ‘dialing for success in spoken learning and assessments’ firstly used in Ireland to assess spoken Gaelic and run on mobile phones including ipod touch and through Skype. Now scalable and used across Australia and Saudi Arabia as well. Use for spoken formative assessments, spoken self-assessment, spoken assessments practice and summative assessments. Assessments are recorded and available to teachers. Teachers able to generate own questions. In Ireland, increased spoken Gaelic practice for students leading to increase in competency. Future development to allow for peer learning so that students able to speak to each other instead of just running through set questions.

After afternoon tea, another lot of concurrent sessions beginning with mobimaths from a group from Dublin (Trinity College and the digital hub) represented by Brendan Tangley. This project uses smartphones in teaching mathematics in particular to address maths anxiety and to try to improve current maths teaching which is still didactic, behaviourist and assessment driven. Project creates contextualized, collaborative, constructivist learning opportunities for students based on set of standards-aligned maths learning activities and instructional materials.

Then a follow up on a Canadian nursing project I have been following – mobile self-efficacy in a Canadian nursing programme from Vancouver, presented by Rick Kenny (Athabasca University and Jocelyn Van-Neste Kenny from North Island College. Used Bandura’s self-efficacy (magnitude, strength /confidence to perform and generalizability) theory to find out how nursing students were engaging with mobile learning opportunities. Compared distance students and full-time students but only small sample responded to computer self-efficacy (Compeau and Higgins, 1995) questionnaire. Findings indicate familiarity and confidence in using various mobile phones /devices (ipod touch) however will need to repeat the study with a larger sample.

Next up, teachers’ perspectives on implementing science lessons using mobile phones from Ekanake and presented by Jocelyn Wishart from University of Bristol. Study undertaken in schools in Sri Lanka. Support of mobile phone required for teachers’ managerial processes, assisted teachers to link lesson to students’ prior learning and to implement a student- centred approach. Greater student participation, student-teacher interactions and student-student interactions. Challenges presented to students using a range of mobile phones and usual mobile phone technical issues. For teachers, challenges included time required for technical mobile phone support and cost of phones and data. In general, both teachers and students provided positive feedback on using mobile phones to enhance science learning.

Last one today on SCROLL: Supporting to share and reuse ubiquitous learning logs presented by Hiroaki Ogata with work also by Mengmeng, Hou, Uosaki, El-Bishant and Yano from University of Tokushima. How can we record learning experiences as they happen in the real world in anytime, anywhere? Idea of life logging not new (65 years at least!) but currently many apps usable eg. Evernote, 3banana. Aim of learning log project to record learning processes, primarily of overseas students learning Japanese. Based on some studies on ubiquitous learning log object (ULLO) and adapted to create SCROLL which is android OS, running off a web server to allow smart phones the capability of capturing learning on the move (text, photos with location, audio (asking questions of other users). Also allows organization of LO collected as evidence organized in a timeline and also locations of evidence so that the user is aware of these when they return to the same place. Quizzes used for formative assessment. Evaluation using pre and post-test of vocabulary words indicate improvement in recall.

A good start to the conference, good to catch up with various peopled from other mlearns. At least 20% of the attendees have ipads and well over 70% attend sessions with their netbooks / laptops on to take notes. Wifi a bit patchy when many people accessing the net at the same time 

Evening filled with conference dinner which includes a multimedia presentation on the history of Malta - the Malta Experience and dinner. A long but fruitful day.