The advance of mobile devices into our everyday lives continues, and doesn’t look to falter any time soon (if at all).
As educators and facilitators we talk and plan and design and write about implementing and using these devices (phones, tablets, etc.) as either part of the learning process or as an ancillary device, something additional, to where we want the learning to take place. But are we taking the students’ needs and hopes and desires into account when we do this, or do we think we already know and plough ahead regardless?
As I said in the ‘Improving Learning with Mobile Technology’ eBook “If children are spending more and more time connected online, then it stands to reason that some of this time will be in class. In your class? What are you doing about it?”. This is why the article in Research in Learning Technology - ‘‘I don’t think I would be where I am right now’’. Pupil perspectives on using mobile devices for learning – is relevant and important … it highlights the students’ perspective in a comparison bet ween two academies where mobile devices are encouraged in one and banned in the other.
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.
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 →
This article by Julie Tausend on the EdTech Magazine website – Distraction or Opportunity? A Guide to Embracing Technology in the Classroom – asks the question as to whether classroom technology, or the BYOD mentality, can be harmful or an opportunity to learning. It argues that it can (as I would agree) but specifies the limitations to this approach, on which I think we’d all agree:
“Engaged students use the opportunity to make additions and annotations, to downloaded slides or to transcribe the lecture using word-processing programs. The problem, of course, is that not every student is that engaged.”
One element of the article, however, I would disagree with, and this is:
“One downside of technology in the classroom is that it’s more difficult to get students’ to turn away from their computers to participate in discussion. Technology is not always a distraction in the classroom, but hiding behind computer screens can lead to minimal interaction with professors during lectures. If you want dynamic discussion and interaction with students, ask them to close their laptops.”
Instead of asking them to close their laptops or put their tablet away … Continue reading →
What App could you NOT live without? Whether it’s Dropbox for collaborative working, Angry Birds for brainless relaxation, WordPress for your blogging activities, Keynote for presentation creation and delivery, Blackboard Mobile Learn for course/material management, email or calendars for normal work use, or something else entirely … what App do you use the most or consider the most important in your working/daily life.
I’m not limiting this to iOS ‘apps’ but please consider any ‘tool’ you use on a mobile or tablet device.
Leave a comment below and share your App and reasons for it. If you’ve already written this up then link to your post and share your thoughts and preferences with us.
“As we move through the world, we have an innate sense of how things feel — the sensations they produce on our skin and how our bodies orient to them. Can technology leverage this? In this fun, fascinating TED-Ed lesson, learn about the field of haptics, and how it could change everything from the way we shop online to how dentists learn the telltale feel of a cavity.”
There there are those of us (me included) moan about the march of technological innovation over function, development for the sake of it. Few can argue that bringing technology into the fore for those with disadvantages is a bad thing, that developing and using technology to enable.
While Katherine shows a couple of uses and examples in the video what else can we do with this, how can this be used in education? By introducing touch in this way you can bring any substance or texture to the classroom where it would not be possible (or safe) to do so. What does moon rock feel like? What does hard enamel tell you about the integrity of a tooth? What does the surface of a scarf feel like when it’s frozen in liquid nitrogen? How do you spot a possible failure in an engine block when it’s running at 9000 rpm. To experience these things can bring the subject, the science, the learning alive where you would not always be able to?
What do you think, a worthwhile use of enhanced technology and something that can ‘add value’ to a classroom experience?
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?