Meeting after the term’s work…

Yesterday, I met with the others in the Bolton street campus. Was nice to get outJ

As it’s now nearly the end of term, it was a good time to reflect on how things have played out.

From my perspective as an eLearning developer/learning technologist, it has been quite a rollercoaster. As identified by the lecturers involved, it is important to think of your feet when implementing mobile technologies for learning. Whether it be from managing connectivity for a group of students or deploying mobile content. It is important to maintain agility in every aspect of the process.

What has been interesting in this is that both lecturers would map to different level’s in the SAMR model.

Charlie has been able to explore the inclusivity of students by using mobile technologies and allowing students use their devices but more than this, he has found out how it lead to self directed/independent learning and could possibly have an effect on retention of students in his discipline. From initial feedback from the students in his class, Charles has seen an improvement in their understanding and being able to keep up to speed with the progression in the module. The future direction Charlie is planning also has the potential to make a big difference in how the discipline is taught.

I actually got to meet Avril’s students as they showcased their apps which will be described on her site if they gave their permission. Interestingly as Avril was not deploying content via mobile devices but rather addressing  two objectives(see below) there were several hairy moments along the way but it all came together brilliantly.

  1. Using the development of an app (as an artefact) to foster the development of professional skills such as working in groups.
  2. Using the affordances of the mobile devices (location services, GPS, etc) to teach about and showcase applications of  Geo spatial principles.

As a bystander, I was very impressed with how the teams performed on both objectives. Their presentations came across as very well thought out and cohesive. It was obvious that they had done the prep. And most importantly, they dressed for the occasion. It was nice to see students really presenting themselves so professionally:-) SO welldone to Avril and her students!

On the second point, while I don’t know about geospatial studies, I do know mobile phones and apps as an avid user and it was very difficult to rank them.  Every app showcased had potential and it would be nice to see them on the appstores. A couple can even be used as a theme for a catalogue of apps! Here’s hoping the students decide to make some money out of their work too!!

One thing that is clear from both implementations is that for mobile learning to work, there are some simple key things:

  1. The lecturer needs to know how the device works.  This one seems fairly obvious and I don’t mean know the engineering of the phone, but you do need to be comfortable using  the device yourself. This is the essence of a loan scheme such as this one.
  2. There needs to be a clear benefit or value for the students. It should not be a gimmick or bolt on. It should be such that it makes natural sense to use the mobile in the scenario.

Once these are in place, the rest can usually be worked out as has been the case in this programme.

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