Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mobile Learning: Delivering Learning in a Connected World

Why would I get up at 5.45am on a school holiday morning? 
The answer is simple - Webcast: Mobile Learning: Delivering Learning in a Connected World Delivered by ASTD. 800 registered for this webcast, sponsored by and hosted by Kevin Oakes from i4cp, and John Polaschek from Qualcomm 

As Kevin and John began talking I was alerted to the notion that 2012 really marks the beginning of truly mobile learning. Although hinted at from as early as 2000, it has taken til 2012 for affordability, accessibility, and user friendliness to align to enable a true mobile learning environment. The exponential growth of BYOD around the globe is testament to this. Research shows that 3.2 Billion was spent on mobile learning products in 2010. This is predicted to rise to 9.1 Billion by 2015. It is also predicted that 300 million Pre k-12 school children across the planet will be carrying personal learning devices by 2015. 

My question is – are we ready to maximise the learning potential? 

Overall cost of a mobile device is less than a laptop or PC, you only need a finger to manipulate and it is accessible to all. Sites like Khan Academy show the potential for sharing educational clips and making your own to enable learning on mobile devices. Worldwide the deployment of iPads has numerous benefits from reduced weight to carry around to expediency with hyperlinking. They are less expensive and deliver speed of access. 

Are we moving towards a world of ‘Tablet as Primary Device?” and again, are we ready? 

Developments are seeing us move from a mobile app space to a mobile web. “The delivery of internal content via mobile device is strongly correlated to learning effectiveness” ASTD Study 2012 The time to move forward is now! “I absolutely think we need to give people access to material when and where they need it”. ASTD Study 2012 This correlates with the Horizon report and Core’s Trends,  especially ubiquitous learning  For learners it is about getting the right information at the point of need. More and more content is being repurposed for mobile devices. With my BYOD class I am seeing a real need now for an app, a school or class app, as a portal to our resources…. 

Is it serendipity or RAS alerting that immediately alerted me to this posting on twitter! Thinking of creating an app for your school?  

Our focus moves to connectivity. We are focusing on connecting our learning, providing robust access to wifi to fully enable the potential of mobile learning. We move towards a greater contextualisation of learning, where learning is personal, relevant and natural, with ubiquity of connection and learning. One challenge I am aware of is ‘how am I assessing the effectiveness of mobile learning in our class?’ Sure I am gathering anecdotal evidence, sure I am aware the number of student owned devices continues to increase, sure the learners are connecting more than ever before, around the clock, sure we are loving the learning, BUT how do I gather actual data measuring the effectiveness? 

I will ponder that thought and would love your input. 

As serendipity, or RAS alerting or the MAGIC of twitter would have it, this post leapt to my attention soon after the webcast: Study finds benefits in use of iPad as educational tool: 
 I am sharing a couple of key points from the post… 
Among the key findings noted in the Executive Summary: 
 The overwhelming majority of teachers regularly use the iPads in their teaching 
 There is a high demand from the students for iPad use to be extended further 
 Teachers have identified significant benefits for their workload and have also identified cost savings 
 Students are more motivated when using iPads 
 The quality and standard of pupil work and progress is rising 
 Appropriate use of Apps aids learning 
 Students Want More 
Overwhelmingly, students wanted to make more use of their iPads and indicated a variety of activities that they felt should be further incorporated into their academic programs, including: 
 Photography editing and animations 
 Making videos/movies 
 Word games to help teach spelling 
 Use of the iPad in place of pen and paper 
 More writing assignments on the iPad 
 Taking tests on the tablet 
 Replacing text books with ebooks 
 Designing games 
 More science Apps 

Are we listening to and acting on the research?

And just for fun, I am including this great post “why do social networks matter in teaching and learning".  
As a committed campaigner for the value and virtue of social networks, especially Twitter, I commend social networking! 

I sure am grateful for the opportunity to leap out of bed early on a school holiday to soak up the MAGIC of this webcast. 

And in the words of Downes “to teach is to model and demonstrate, to learn is to practice and reflect.”  For me there really is no better place to be than a teacher and a learner….

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