EDUCAUSE Report on Undergraduate Student use of Technology

29 10 2009

The latest edition of “The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2009” has just been released by the EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research. This report provides insights into the ways in which students use, and would like to use, various technologies in their own lives and in their learning.

Some of the “m-learning” findings across 39 institutions include:

  • students are switching from desktop PCs (71% in 2006, down to 44% in 2009) to laptops (65.4% in 2006 to 88.3% in 2009).
  • one-third of students own and use Internet services from a handheld device, with another third of students owning or planning to acquire a handheld, internet-capable device in the next 12 months.
  • “Asked to select the three institutional IT services they are most likely to use, if available, from an Internet-capable handheld device, responents who currently own a handheld device and use the INternet from it selected as their top three e-mail system (63.4%), student administrative services (official grades, registration, etc.) (46.8%), and course or learning management system (45.7%).” (pg 11).

via Tony Bates’ e-learning & distance education resources

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Australian uni goes mobile!

23 10 2009

An article in the respected Australian newspaper has showcased the new mobile student support website recently implemented by Curtin University of Technology. Dubbed “CurtinMobile,” the service was developed in response to the growing use of, and demand for, supported mobile platforms and services:

Chief information officer Peter Nikelotatos said 99 per cent of Curtin’s students had mobile phones and 75 per cent of those phones were web-enabled.

“What we wanted was an application layer that recognised that our students were using netbooks and smartphone devices more and more and they wanted to be able to access a lot more information through these devices rather than desktop PCs,” he said.

In addition to the current provision of mobile student information and services, Curtin is looking into the future use of mobile devices for learning:

“Areas that we want to explore a lot more are integration opportunities with our learning management system and a lot more around emergency and critical incident management and integration from an international perspective,” [Mr Nikelotatos] said.

What is *your* institution or organisation doing to cater for the growing use of mobile, web-connected, devices? The mobile device industry is the fastest-growing sector in the IT and web markets, and making good use of mobile platforms will soon be as important for universities asmaking good use of the internet.





Microsoft iPhail released

7 10 2009

Apparently, Microsoft released their “answer” to the iPhone today: a refreshed version of their Windows Mobile operating system, skinned with an iPhone-like icon-driven navigation system, dubbed “Windows Mobile 6.5”. And here it is:

I have no idea how a company can be involved in software development for so many years and still mess up the fundamental principles of interface design. Those offset icons have “fail” all over them. There is a reason that good interfaces arrange icons into grids – it’s so that the eye can quickly scan across them, left to right, up and down, to find the information or application required. While offsetting them like that might look trendy, it’s terribly bad for actual use.

The rest of the system looks pretty much like vanilla Windows Mobile. C’mon Microsoft, you’ll have to do better than that if you want to claw back market (and mind) share!





Handheld Learning 2009

7 10 2009

This week, I have been keeping an eye on the Handheld Learning 2009 conference.  The Handheld Learning conference series is one of the two major international conferences on mobile learning, but unlike M-Learn, which is coming up later this month in Florida) is always held in the UK, and is run by the very strong community of mobile learning pratitioners at the Handheld Learning site.

One of the most interesting aspects of any conference I’ve attended has been the out-of-session discussions, and the Handheld Learning 2009 conference has done this through support for a number of social networking tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, as well as their own conference forum area, which already boasts some 4500 posts on 1500 topics.  There’s a lot of noise in all that buzz – but there are also some gems to be found.  Of particular note is the “Teaching for Mobile Learning” discussion area, where participants are sharing actual ideas for incorporating mobile learning strategies into teaching activities as well as actual case studies; from discussions with educators in the past, there is something of a divide between the theoretical potential of mobile learning and the practice of it, so some of the stories and ideas in this area are just excellent.

I’ll be reading through all of the online chatter and will try to bring you some of my very best finds right here on the Mobile Learning blog… stay tuned! 🙂