Wednesday, October 20, 2010

mlearn 2010 day 1 morning

In Valetta, capital of Malta for mLearn 2010 this week.  Arrived yesterday to a wet and windy Malta. however, over the course of the afternoon, managed to walk around most of the sights in Valetta ( a UNESCO world heritage site).  The walls, several metres thick and at least 10 metres high are an impressive sight. Staying at the cheap Hotel British (room the size of my wardrobe at home) but the Grand Harbour views from the window are stunning – rated 10 plus and definitely better than the ones from the window of the hotel where the conference is being held! 

Conference begins with usual welcome from the conference committee and two keynote sessions. First up ‘conversations en route to learning’ from Prof. Agnes Kuklska Hulme from the Open University (UK). She overviewed forms of communications before, now and into the future. Humans have a innate preference for face to face conversations, so how can technology assist the process? Social networking assists somewhat and increase in ubiquitious computing furthers enhances the process. Examples in teaching include use of Twitter with trainee teachers and students using MXit mobile chat to assist peer interaction. Work by Pask 1976, Sharples 2003 and Laurillard 2002, 2007; provide a start in learning more about the role of conversations in learning. Work still needs to continue as conversations are now many layered, multilogues straddle multiple media, speech acts become artifact; more conversations with self (eg. this blog :); any questions answered etc. Some interesting initiative now emerging exampled by donate your SMS text to research; research data from conversation with self (mobile app mappiness mood monitor); digital jewellery as conversational prop; innovative ways of starting conversations; Perhaps, mobile communication is opening the door for a wider range of communications beyond just text to take place.

Second keynote from Andy Goff, from ConnectED (distributors of Playstation games) on augmented reality in learning. Began by setting the context of education and engagement and the status of augmented reality. Engagement not only with the students but also with teachers and with students using educational content. AR is when real life is enhanced by real time interactive digital media. Showed examples of AR on PSP games, android OS phone. Types of AR include mashup with GPS, accelerometer and compass, marker based tracking using camera reading a marker or markerless tracking.

Basically camera in phone or PSP reads a coded piece of paper and a 3D image comes up onto the screen eg. Shows up organs of body when you hold up a marker superimposed on to the person holding up the marker, or triggers a video to run.  Plus games exampled by eyepet (updated AR tamagochi), second sight – Romeo and Juliet pilot, safety for vocational education in Scandinavia, English heritage (Wroxeter Roman City) etc.and a workplace example with scaffold safety on-job training session. Various projects underway include links to text books, 'questing', accessibility (sign language and other langues) etc. Moving away from PSP, AR needs to move into other mobile devices and include capabilities for image tracking, face tracking, connect with interactive whiteboards, 'lustucru' app on iphone, citroen and BMW, olympus camera, alstom adverts; interactive book which triggers 3D images which you can interact with (move, tilt).