Here’s the question … has anyone designed a Blackboard course purely from the perspective of working from the Mobile Learn App?
In my very unscientific approach I have seen differences between content I have loaded to a Blackboard (Bb) course and how it is displayed in the browser and in the App, but I’ve not seen what a Bb course looks like if it’s been designed purely for access and interactions through the App. Here’s why i’m asking:
I suspect that no one has built one yet.
I suspect that the course, designed for mobile, would not work well for anyone else.
I suspect that elements like tables and other “customization” approaches (as Bb refers to them) will not work pedagogically when we follow the Bb guide and the “suggest adding these content types as a PDF file”.
Can you create a good ‘design’ that allows for good pedagogy in the restrictions imposed by the App (images, files, layout, screen real-estate, etc.)?
I see plenty of resources that mimic the Bb help pages and resources, but none that actually explain and/or showcase good ‘design’. If you have examples, or links, or screenshots, or reports, or journal articles you can share with the rest of us then please leave them in comments below.
As part of my 2013 review I’ve been looking over some blogs and reports I read this year, and this one by Anthony Chivetta, whilst originally posted in 2008, still has so much impact today, some 5 years on – “21st Century Education: Thinking Creatively”
“Today’s world is no longer content with students who can simply apply the knowledge they learned in school: our generation will be asked to think and operate in ways that traditional education has not, and can not, prepare us for.” (Chivetta, 2008)
Just so you know, at the time of writing (Jan 2008) Anthony was 18 years old. We must also remember that in 2008 we didn’t have tablets like the iPad, we were still using desktops and laptops and netbooks, and we had only just received the first iPhone (June 2007). Yet this observant millennial had already seen the power and advantage a device like this could give a student, and that his teachers were lagging further and further behind their students. Continue reading →
Another infographic, this time looking into how we can tap into mobile learning. Some figures from the infographic for you:
Only 17% of surveyed schools state that children are required to use mobile or portable devices in the classroom, and only 16% allow BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Whether this is 16% of the previous 17% who allow the use of mobile devices or 16% of everyone surveyed is not clear.
Parents view the use of the use of mobile devices are used more effectively in early years classrooms to promote curiosity than in later years, but it is still significantly higher than for other uses, e.g. to foster creativity, to teach languages or reading.
Parents of children who are being encouraged to use mobile devices are more positive about the learning and educational potential of mobile learning. Notable differences in how parents view their child’s performance between those classrooms where mobile learning is required, to those where it is not, shows the biggest divide.
2/3 or parents think schools should help students use devices safely.
2/3 also agree that the very same mobile devices can distract children from learning.
If, like me, you like to watch your films or listen to music on more than one device (in more than one location) then you’ll have had to copy/digitise/rip it, which is not always legal.
But it can be done. For your CDs you need to just put them in your computer and iTunes or other music library software will offer to rip it for you. Connect your digital audio device and copy the file across and you can listen to your CD in the car, gym, bus, or at work or walking the dog. It’s slightly more difficult for your DVDs but there is software that can rip it into an MP4/M4V or MOV or WMV file which will play on your laptop, tablet, etc. and you can watch on the train, bus, plane, or in the shed or bath (wherever you want).
But what about your extensive library of books you’ve been collecting. If, like me, you also want to be able to read these electronically then it’s a lot tougher to digitise. So why can’t you get the electronic copy at the same time as the physical one? You can do this with your DVDs and with some CDs now (some DVDs come with the Ultraviolet digital copy), so why not books? Continue reading →
I will hold my hands up and say I want an experience of ‘good’ mobile learning.
I know there are (or rather should be, we’ve been talking about it for long enough now) examples out there, but I haven’t ‘seen’ them. I have tried using mobile devices and a browser, I’ve tried Institutional VLEs and downloadable ‘courses’ through iTunes and iTunesU. I’ve tried different Apps (some linked to VLEs and some not) yet none were particularly any good and certainly not good enough to stop me going back to a desktop or laptop PC. I look forward to seeing how FutureLearn works as it is supposed to be developed with the mobile learning at the fore, but do not necessarily want to limit myself to MOOCs, or indeed MOOCs from one provider.
“In the future, e-books will act just like social networks. We’ll use them on our phones, share and comment right inside e-reader apps, and publishers will use our data to help them make better marketing decisions. If you think digital reading is exploding now, just wait.”
“In the future, e-books are going to explode beyond just containing stories, becoming niche social networks where we discuss our favorite passages with other readers and even authors and publishers buy our data to make more informed decisions. So hold on tight, book lovers. Reading as we know it will soon change, forever.” Continue reading →
From the infographic above, “How Internet addiction is affecting our brain”, some of the figures are interesting – “is it a coincidence: as we get more connected, we seem to lose focus?”
Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD) is a recognised psychological diagnosis in China, Taiwan, and Korea, and expected to be listed in the US next year (and what of the UK?)
IAD will be added to the DSM-V (bible of psychology: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th ed.) with a definition of “preoccupation with the Internet or Internet Gaming” and “Use of Internet to improve or escape dysphoric mood”).
Internet ‘addicts’ have 10-20% smaller brain areas responsible for speech, memory, motor control, emotion, sensory input, and other information = brain atrophy.
Being totally open here how many of us have noticed some of the above traits? I have – in recent months I am aware that my memory isn’t as quick as it used to be, I often find myself hunting for the simple word or two that is on the tip of my tongue. I have just put it down to working too hard, being over-tired (I do have two young children, that’s my excuse), being stressed, etc., but perhaps it’s more than that. Perhaps I’m online too much (and here I am thinking “get off this blog post and go to do something more important instead! Anyone in the UK remember “Why Don’t You?” will remember the theme tune) and perhaps I need to go and find something to do that doesn’t include PC, tablet, phone, Internet, eBook, power lead, etc?
And what of the students? If we start to bring more and more online and social tools and networks into our ‘toolbox’ are we encouraging this kind of degraded ability to think and work? Do we need to consider how (and why) we introduce tools and computer systems to the students if they do or don’t “have” to have them, or do we take the view that as they’re more than likely online anyway we can make the most of that time and direct it properly into academic endeavours?
The BBC commented on the ‘web addicts’ research in that web addicts have “brain changes similar to those hooked on drugs or alcohol” (mind you, this research is based on a group of 35 students – not exactly comprehensive cohort?). This is not something that will go away, research will continue and what will we find?
Following on from previous posts on Augmented Reality (Does it have a place/future in education? and Augmented Reality on campus) I’ve spent a little time trying, and enjoying, the experience of using and creating Aurasmas, but have not got anywhere past the stage of just trying it out. So, if you plan it properly for a classroom environment, what can you do? Well, this TED Talk has some great examples, all it takes is an imagination and some planning, and proper implementation into a learning object:
So, what place does augmented reality (AR) have in the classroom? Here are a few ideas – if you have any of your own (or even already done some) then please leave a comment below):
Place posters on your walls of historical figures, writers, influential (local, national, international) people and have Aurasma overlays (Auras) of video material either from YouTube of those people or performances, record your own, or have your class record the introduction.
Record messages for parents and place the posters in the windows for parents to scan while they wait (hint: change them regularly, keep them guessing and coming back for more!) at the end of the day, or at parents evening.
Extra materials for a science project or presentation to augment the materials provided.
Learn a language by using an audio aura onto the word(s).
AR treasure hunt.
Personal messages from each student in their Year Book.
School newsletter with personal message(s) from the Head and/or staff.
If you present posters at conferences or teaching/learning events then a well placed AR / Aurasma Aura on your poster could be a way to bring moving images, graphical models, or recorded introductions to your work.
There is, however, one downside to AR that I can see right now – that we’re developing resources that encourage us to spend our time looking at the world through the lens on our smart phones.
For me it’s about time developments in technology like this are put to better use – by this I mean for information and learning and not basic mass-produced marketing and advertising: there is nothing particularly clever or innovative about how it’s being used there, it’s just an ad agency using something ‘neat’ for another way to say ‘buy this’ … and here’s a perfect example: O2/Telefonica in the UK has signed up as a commercial partner with Aurasma. This is good news as it mean that more people will be aware of AR (and subjected to it), so could become more widely known, and used. Is this enough to help it gain momentum for classroom use (look what happened to QR Codes)?
Is this using technology for the sake of it … have we just been shown “this is what you ‘can’ do, now work out why” instead of “I want to do xyz, how can I do it?”
The report summary has the following key points and recommendations:
Blended-learning environments are the norm; students say that these environments best support how they learn.
Students want to access academic progress information and course material via their mobile devices, and institutions deliver.
Technology training and skill development for students is more important than new, more, or “better” technology.
Students use social networks for interacting with friends more than for academic communication.
Look to emerging or established leaders (other institutions, other countries, other industries) for strategies to deliver instruction and curricular content to tablets and smartphones. Learn from their exemplary strategies for IT support and security with student devices as well as planning, funding, deploying, and managing instructional technologies, services, and support.
Prioritize the development of mobile-friendly resources and activities that students say are important: access to course websites and syllabi, course and learning management systems, and academic progress reports (i.e., grades).
Bridge the gap between the technologies that have seen the greatest growth (e-portfolios, e-books/e-textbooks, and web-based citation/bibliographic tools) and students’ attitudes about their importance. Focus training/skill-building opportunities for students, professional development opportunities for faculty, and support service opportunities on these emerging technologies.
Use e-mail and the course and learning management system for formal communication with students. Experiment with text messaging and instant messaging/online chatting, and don’t focus efforts on using social networks and telephone conversations to interact with students.
(See the 2012 report for a full list key messages, findings, supporting data, and actionable results.)
While it’ll take some time to digest the report and it’s findings/recommendations, they have also produced this wonderful Infographic:
“Do you recognise me? Very soon I will be your student, but I will not always sit in your classroom. I will not take out a pencil or open a textbook. You grew up with books, I read from a laptop, an iPad, a smart phone. I use a keyboard more than a pen. I’m a digital native, an “Active Learner” … why carry just a textbook when my iPad connects me to the world? I want to know things all the time, and right away!”
This is a good start to the video, but this next bit is what I liked the most:
“To learn, I look online because the classroom isn’t enough for me, not when I can see faces, hear voices, and chat with people on the other side of the world! My school has to keep up with me, not the other way round! I have more and more choices.”
If this is what students are saying (and most reports tend to point this way) then we, as educators or facilitators to education ought to respond to these students in their world(s) in order to make it relevant, engaging, stimulating, interesting, appropriate, and above all worthwhile?
The video closes with the same opening question, this time the answer is more about what students expect from us …
“Do you recognise me? Very soon I will be changing the world, but I need you. If you’re ready to help me I’ll find you, but it’s your challenge to keep up with me. I’m a digital native, an Active Learner. Listen to me, help me. Together we can create the future.”