cn we uz mobz 4 LernN?

At ALT-C this year I am running a workshop entitled cn we uz mobz 4 LernN? or in English, Can we use mobile devices for learning?

The abstract is as follows:

Wouldn’t it be nice if all learners in an educational environment had access to a wireless laptop and free wireless access to their digital resources at a time and place to suit their needs. The reality is that learners don’t always have access to what we as practitioners would like them to have to enable them to access their learning.

However they do have access to some mobile digital devices which could be used, these include mobile phones, iPods, mp3 players, portable video players, PSPs… These devices are used extensively for entertainment, but rarely used for learning.

Should we be exploiting the technology learners bring with them to the classroom? We live in a time where technology changes at an extraordinary pace. Despite increasing expenditure on computer equipment and associated peripherals, such as interactive whiteboards and projectors, many institutions still feel under-resourced and unable to meet the technological requirements demanded by the next generation of learners.

The investment in computer based technology requires a major annual expenditure for most institutions because computer equipment has a relatively short life-span and the requirements for running today’s cutting edge software changes rapidly. This can be a drain on over-stretched budgets and results in a need to look for cost effective alternatives.

In a world where mobile technologies are becoming increasingly mainstream, shouldn’t Universities and Colleges be exploiting these technologies and encouraging their use as part of the teaching and learning process?

Studies are beginning to show that mobile telephones, ipods, mp3 players and other portable devices can be used effectively to deliver learning materials. It should be possible for institutions to capitalise on the successful integration of these technologies into every day life and to exploit the teaching and learning potential inherent in the already familiar devices.

However can we really use mobile devices for learning, can they effectively provide a learning experience via a small screen? What about personalisation, interactivity, communication?

James Clay (at the WCC) researched and developed the use of mobile devices for learning. Now at Gloucestershire College of Arts & Technology (Gloscat) he is planning the embedding the use of mobile devices across the whole college.

This workshop will demonstrate some of the latest devices which can be used for mobile learning and allow participants to try them out and consider how they can start to utilise mobile devices to enhance and support learning in their institutions.

After introducing the concept of mobile learning participants will then be organised into small groups to look through a series of pedagogical case studies on mobile learning and see if they could apply these to their own institution.

Participants will then be challenged in small groups to create a series of exemplar scenarios which they could take back to their institutions to initiate or extend the use of mobile devices to enhance and support learning. These scenarios will then be shared with the community via the web.

I am looking forward to running the workshop as I feel over the years the concept of mobile learning has taken root in the FE and HE communities and has also moved beyond the idea that mobile learning is just about giving PDAs to students.

I will be demonstrating various mobile learning scenarios including the use of mobile video and Bluetooth as well as showing off my new Sony VAIO umpc, the UX1XN.

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3 Responses to cn we uz mobz 4 LernN?

  1. David Sugden says:

    bt u nvr undrstnd me whn I use mbl spk!!!

  2. James Clay says:

    still don’t…

  3. Leonard Low says:

    Good stuff James! Mobile learning has the potential to provide uniquely engaging, immersive and convenient learning opportunities. I note, however, that your write-up seems to focus on “delivery of learning materials”… I would just like to point out the mobile learning is *so* much more than just another way to provide resources (although that’s certainly a valid, and useful, starting point).

    It should also be noted that mobile devices have rapidly increasing resource *creation* capabilities… for example, the vast majority of mobile phones incorporate (still and video) cameras and sound recorders, and can be used to remotely upload media and information to websites or moblogs (mobile blogs). Learners can use mobile devices to record learning experiences, demonstrations, and revision or assessment materials, and to create new knowledge which can be shared with other learners.

    For more ideas, come and check out my m-learning blog if you like: http://mlearning.edublogs.org. 🙂 Good luck with your presentation!

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