Paper Blogging – more ideas!

30 04 2007

Sue Rockwood at the “No Matter, There” blog has had a go at the paper blogging activity, adding her own ideas to the activity such as a “blog board” which makes for a colourful and interactive display.  Her own insights into why paper-based simulations serve as a useful tool in demonstrating and explaining technology concepts, and her own ideas (e.g. for a paper-based “safe chat” simulation), are worth reading, and it’s great to hear her feedback on how the activity went for her classes.

Great stuff, Sue!  If anyone else is interested in having a go at a paper based simulation of social software, you might like to read Sue’s posts for some great ideas.

(Image: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Sue Rockwood, some rights reserved)

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Mobile Learning Ecologies

25 10 2006

I have just finished a (draft) paper on social aspects of mobile learning for the Knowledge Tree, in which I explore the connections between postmodern theories of socially constructed learning (such as social constructivism and connectivism), and digital mobile learning.

Entitled “Connections: Social and mobile tools for enhancing learning,” it draws on some of the latest research in the field of digital mobile learning in Australia – including the Learning On The Move conference at Queensland University of Technology last month, and last weekend’s Global Summit conference in Sydney.

George Siemens’ paper at the Global Summit, on “Connectivism: Learning and Knowledge today” was particularly interesting. Siemens’ models of “learning ecologies” aligns quite nicely with the learner-centric activity models of m-learning to illustrate the interrelationships of mobile learners and the integrated “nodes” of content and functionality provided by the social web (Web 2.0). Siemens posits:

“Learning is the process of creating networks (see Figure 2). Nodes are external entities which we can use to form a network. Or nodes may be people, organizations, libraries, web sites, books, journals, database, or any other source of information. The act of learning (things become a bit tricky here) is one of creating an external network of nodes—where we connect and form information and knowledge sources. The learning that happens in our heads is an internal network (neural).”

Here are some “Relate” aspects of mobile learning, structured as a learning ecology, illustrating the use of Web 2.0 tools to form nodes around and between learners:

How this mobile learning ecology differs from other learning delivery approaches is in its persistence. Whereas other delivery methods – classroom or computer based – differ from mobile learning is that the networks formed by other methods is transient; learners in a classroom interact for a brief period of time; online learners are only externally “connected” while physically located in front of an internet-connected computer.

Mobile learners have the opportunity to retain a persistent network of peers, mentors, teachers, and nodes of content and functionality – to add and remove nodes, and interact with them as and when convenient. This is quite similar to the way our internal neural networks operate: we create connections of information, and access knowledge from our memory when we need it. This illustrates the potential of mobile learning to extend or augment our internal process of learning with an external process of “node gathering” – setting up persistent, on-demand resources that can be called upon by learners as their situation or context allows or requires.

This exploration also helps to visualise the importance of social aspects of mobile learning, by illustrating the synergies that can operate between a number of mobile, social learners.

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Learner-Centric Design of Digital Mobile Learning

27 09 2006

Learner Centric Design of Digital Mobile Learning,” [doc] [pdf] (which I co-authored with my colleague Margaret O’Connell), received the Best Paper Award at Queensland University of Technology’s “Learning on the Move” conference which I attended yesterday (despite a raging flu!).

This paper provides a model for digital mobile learning approaches that are underpinned by sound educational design, developed using a learner-centric activity model of mobile learning, and implemented through best-practice considerations that are informed by our experience of delivering computer-based learning.

Many thanks to my co-author Margaret for her educational design expertise; our peer reviewers, for helping us polish the paper, and the conference organisers, for putting together a fantastic event and recognising our paper amongst so many excellent contributions.

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Four R’s Model and Mobile Learning Activities

11 08 2006

Repost of posting to EdNa forums, with other commentary here. A summary of previous theorisings on this model, here and here, supplemented with diagrams.

We can classify mobile learning activities using an activity-based model of the “Four R’s of Mobile Learning”.

In a reflection of the “Three R’s” of the essential pre-Net Generation skills (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic), the “Four R’s” of Net Generation learning reflect the current sociocultural shifts in thinking and learning for an increasingly mobile twenty-first century. Defined from a learner-centric viewpoint, these are:

Record : The learner as a gatherer and “builder” of new knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to capture, preserve, memorise, note, or create information.
  • The information recorded may be in response to a prompt from the portable device itself; or in response to a stimulus from a situated learning environment or their teacher.
  • The information may be recorded to the portable device itself; or the portable device could serve as a conduit for storing the information remotely.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • The learner may use the portable device to discover, process or enhance existing data so that it is transformed into new information, or “remixed” to enhance learning. In these conditions, the mobile device enhances or supplements the learner’s own senses or processing abilities.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • The learner may use a portable device to recall information, events, experiences or stories, stored on the portable device (e.g. iPod recording), or by using the device to access information remotely (e.g.on the internet).
  • Underpinned by a Connectivist/Instructionist theory of learning

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to communicate with other people; for example, with other learners, or with a teacher (i.e. in a learning relationship).
  • The learner can use the device to communicate directly and synchronously (e.g. mobile phone conversation), or access asynchronous communication services (e.g. web discussion board or weblog).
  • They can also recommend and share resources, for example, linking mobile devices (usually wirelessly) and sending a file from one to the other.
  • Communicative and collaborative: underpinned by a Social Constructivist theory of learning

Related activities include Mobile Assessment (self, formative and summative assessment), and Teaching and Learning Support (tools to help teachers and learners, such as mobile gradebooks, rollbooks, etc.)

Mobile Learning Ideas

Record : The learner as a gatherer and builder of new knowledge

  • Moblogging: (Remote Record) using a mobile device to record audio, video, or (most commonly) images and save them to the web in a reverse-chronological format with text annotations.
  • Database/Form Entry: (Local Record) inputting data into a mobile device that can later be reviewed or assessed. Example applications include:
    • Dance moves database demonstration – uses XSForms by Grandasoft (freeware)
    • Recipe database
    • List of vocabulary/glossary
    • Database of procedures
    • Generally done on a PDA
  • Recording media: learners can record audio and video to devices like mobile phones, audio players, and PDAs. Example applications include:
    • Recording a class or lecture for later review as an mp3 file NoteM demonstration
    • Recording a mock “interview” or interaction for review or assessment
    • Recording a video (e.g. “Changing a Tyre”)
    • Done on PDA, Phone, audio device, digital camera
  • Journal Using Calendar: If an online blog is not appropriate, Outlook Calendar can be used to diarise and record events, class notes, assessment deadlines, and more.
    • Why? Because this is what PDAs were originally designed for, they perform these functions well.
    • May also be possible (though less convenient) on some mobile phones.
  • Freehand Drawing: Ability to quickly sketch drawings, diagrams, and jot notes could be useful on PDAs. MobilePencil is a good product for this.

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • Accessing a local Learning Object: I’m using a very broad definition of “Learning Object” – includes learning video or audio file, a learning interaction such as a Flash activity, even a document. Some examples:
  • Accessing a remote Learning Object: as above,
    but not stored on the mobile device itself, but at another location in
    “cyberspace” – a network server, a PC, or the Internet.
  • Accessing an RSS feed: what’s awesome about mobile RSS aggregators is that they allow “real time” updates of information to a mobile device.
  • Mobile Web Search: Google mobile is an example – provides mobile web search from a connected mobile phone or PDA
  • SMS-based information service: these require a bit of preparation. A service is set up by a commercial provider that enables a student to send a text to a number, which then returns some information. For example:
    • a student sends an SMS with the word “impasto” to 131234
      (example only). They then receive a dictionary definition of the term
      back via SMS.

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • Ad-hoc networking: Programs such as “Proximity Mail” enable PDAs within Bluetooth range (approx 10 metres) to form an ad-hoc networks allowing instant messaging. Other products also allow file exchange, and operate on the longer-distance (100m) 802.11b wireless protocol. Examples of use:
    • Learners engaged in local text-based chat in a quiet environment e.g. art gallery, lecture
    • Learners share learning materials and resources in real time,
      as they discover them in their browsers or write down their own
      learning experiences
  • Instant Messaging: the preferred communication
    channel of the Net Generation. IM types include SMS/MMS between mobile
    phones, MSN Messenger (installed in Pocket PCs), and other IM products
    can be installed which operate over wireless Internet (802.11a/b/g).
    One of the most comprehensive is Agile Messenger, which supports five of the most commonly used IM clients on Pocket PCs: Yahoo, ICQ, MSN, AOL and XMPP.
  • Voice Chat: most commonly implemented in mobile
    phones, but also possible to accomplish from a PDA with a suitable
    Messaging Client installed. Some include “Press To Talk” functionality
    that allows PDAs connected to wireless internet to operate like Walkie
    Talkies.
  • Mobile Blogging:
    • Winksite demo (text), Moblog.UK
      demo (moblog)
  • Mobile Discussion: Asynchronous communication tool. Truly Flexible Mobile Learning – anywhere, anytime participation.
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Chat: Synchronous communication tool. Text-based group chat, allows group interaction using mobile phones (Winksite)/PDAs (ProximityMail)
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Wikis: Collaboration tool.
    • No free implementations (yet), but some well-documented reasons why these are/will be a Very Good Thing for learners.

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • Location-specific (potentially, situated) learning: PDA used as a processing tool to provide contextual information to learner. GPS, 2D-Barcodes, RFID tags connected with learning materials.
  • Data mining: searching a mobile database for trends and patterns in data
  • 2D Barcodes: a “bridge” between print/screen and mobile devices.
    • A QR Code could be a link to whole range of resources. Instead of a studentcopying down homework tasks, they can simply capture the information, or a linkto it, with a camera snap. When they get home, they gain access to, say, adel.icio.us (or mobilicio.us) page, wheretheir resources are assembled. Some of the resources might even be mobilethemselves, such as resources developed in mobileprep – a mobile phone flashcard creator.
    • This example links to a Wikipedia page on the video game Grand Theft Auto.With a click of their camera button, the user gets access to the information directly on their mobile device:

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Four R's Model and Mobile Learning Activities

11 08 2006

Repost of posting to EdNa forums, with other commentary here. A summary of previous theorisings on this model, here and here, supplemented with diagrams.

We can classify mobile learning activities using an activity-based model of the “Four R’s of Mobile Learning”.

In a reflection of the “Three R’s” of the essential pre-Net Generation skills (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic), the “Four R’s” of Net Generation learning reflect the current sociocultural shifts in thinking and learning for an increasingly mobile twenty-first century. Defined from a learner-centric viewpoint, these are:

Record : The learner as a gatherer and “builder” of new knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to capture, preserve, memorise, note, or create information.
  • The information recorded may be in response to a prompt from the portable device itself; or in response to a stimulus from a situated learning environment or their teacher.
  • The information may be recorded to the portable device itself; or the portable device could serve as a conduit for storing the information remotely.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • The learner may use the portable device to discover, process or enhance existing data so that it is transformed into new information, or “remixed” to enhance learning. In these conditions, the mobile device enhances or supplements the learner’s own senses or processing abilities.
  • Underpinned by a Constructivist theory of learning

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • The learner may use a portable device to recall information, events, experiences or stories, stored on the portable device (e.g. iPod recording), or by using the device to access information remotely (e.g.on the internet).
  • Underpinned by a Connectivist/Instructionist theory of learning

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • The learner may use a portable device to communicate with other people; for example, with other learners, or with a teacher (i.e. in a learning relationship).
  • The learner can use the device to communicate directly and synchronously (e.g. mobile phone conversation), or access asynchronous communication services (e.g. web discussion board or weblog).
  • They can also recommend and share resources, for example, linking mobile devices (usually wirelessly) and sending a file from one to the other.
  • Communicative and collaborative: underpinned by a Social Constructivist theory of learning

Related activities include Mobile Assessment (self, formative and summative assessment), and Teaching and Learning Support (tools to help teachers and learners, such as mobile gradebooks, rollbooks, etc.)

Mobile Learning Ideas

Record : The learner as a gatherer and builder of new knowledge

  • Moblogging: (Remote Record) using a mobile device to record audio, video, or (most commonly) images and save them to the web in a reverse-chronological format with text annotations.
  • Database/Form Entry: (Local Record) inputting data into a mobile device that can later be reviewed or assessed. Example applications include:
    • Dance moves database demonstration – uses XSForms by Grandasoft (freeware)
    • Recipe database
    • List of vocabulary/glossary
    • Database of procedures
    • Generally done on a PDA
  • Recording media: learners can record audio and video to devices like mobile phones, audio players, and PDAs. Example applications include:
    • Recording a class or lecture for later review as an mp3 file NoteM demonstration
    • Recording a mock “interview” or interaction for review or assessment
    • Recording a video (e.g. “Changing a Tyre”)
    • Done on PDA, Phone, audio device, digital camera
  • Journal Using Calendar: If an online blog is not appropriate, Outlook Calendar can be used to diarise and record events, class notes, assessment deadlines, and more.
    • Why? Because this is what PDAs were originally designed for, they perform these functions well.
    • May also be possible (though less convenient) on some mobile phones.
  • Freehand Drawing: Ability to quickly sketch drawings, diagrams, and jot notes could be useful on PDAs. MobilePencil is a good product for this.

Recall: The learner as a user of existing information and resources

  • Accessing a local Learning Object: I’m using a very broad definition of “Learning Object” – includes learning video or audio file, a learning interaction such as a Flash activity, even a document. Some examples:
  • Accessing a remote Learning Object: as above,
    but not stored on the mobile device itself, but at another location in
    “cyberspace” – a network server, a PC, or the Internet.
  • Accessing an RSS feed: what’s awesome about mobile RSS aggregators is that they allow “real time” updates of information to a mobile device.
  • Mobile Web Search: Google mobile is an example – provides mobile web search from a connected mobile phone or PDA
  • SMS-based information service: these require a bit of preparation. A service is set up by a commercial provider that enables a student to send a text to a number, which then returns some information. For example:
    • a student sends an SMS with the word “impasto” to 131234
      (example only). They then receive a dictionary definition of the term
      back via SMS.

Relate: The learner as part of a social context and a network of knowledge

  • Ad-hoc networking: Programs such as “Proximity Mail” enable PDAs within Bluetooth range (approx 10 metres) to form an ad-hoc networks allowing instant messaging. Other products also allow file exchange, and operate on the longer-distance (100m) 802.11b wireless protocol. Examples of use:
    • Learners engaged in local text-based chat in a quiet environment e.g. art gallery, lecture
    • Learners share learning materials and resources in real time,
      as they discover them in their browsers or write down their own
      learning experiences
  • Instant Messaging: the preferred communication
    channel of the Net Generation. IM types include SMS/MMS between mobile
    phones, MSN Messenger (installed in Pocket PCs), and other IM products
    can be installed which operate over wireless Internet (802.11a/b/g).
    One of the most comprehensive is Agile Messenger, which supports five of the most commonly used IM clients on Pocket PCs: Yahoo, ICQ, MSN, AOL and XMPP.
  • Voice Chat: most commonly implemented in mobile
    phones, but also possible to accomplish from a PDA with a suitable
    Messaging Client installed. Some include “Press To Talk” functionality
    that allows PDAs connected to wireless internet to operate like Walkie
    Talkies.
  • Mobile Blogging:
    • Winksite demo (text), Moblog.UK
      demo (moblog)
  • Mobile Discussion: Asynchronous communication tool. Truly Flexible Mobile Learning – anywhere, anytime participation.
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Chat: Synchronous communication tool. Text-based group chat, allows group interaction using mobile phones (Winksite)/PDAs (ProximityMail)
    • Winksite demo
  • Mobile Wikis: Collaboration tool.
    • No free implementations (yet), but some well-documented reasons why these are/will be a Very Good Thing for learners.

Reinterpret: The learner as an analyst of existing data to discover new knowledge

  • Location-specific (potentially, situated) learning: PDA used as a processing tool to provide contextual information to learner. GPS, 2D-Barcodes, RFID tags connected with learning materials.
  • Data mining: searching a mobile database for trends and patterns in data
  • 2D Barcodes: a “bridge” between print/screen and mobile devices.
    • A QR Code could be a link to whole range of resources. Instead of a studentcopying down homework tasks, they can simply capture the information, or a linkto it, with a camera snap. When they get home, they gain access to, say, adel.icio.us (or mobilicio.us) page, wheretheir resources are assembled. Some of the resources might even be mobilethemselves, such as resources developed in mobileprep – a mobile phone flashcard creator.
    • This example links to a Wikipedia page on the video game Grand Theft Auto.With a click of their camera button, the user gets access to the information directly on their mobile device:

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Models of Mobile Learning: Learner-centric vs Techno-centric

1 08 2006

A number of models of “mobile learning”, or m-learning identify it as a subset of e-learning, including the main Wikipedia entry on the topic. These models focus on how digital convergence and miniaturisation nowallows us to access electronic resources using small, portable devices such as mobile phones, iPods, and PDAs.

The risk to my mind, however, is that educators may view m-learning through the mindset of the devices with which it is now so strongly associated – what I term a”techno-centric” approach to m-learning. The focus becomes providing learners with PDAs or mobile phones, without an understanding of the learning methodologies and activities these devices enable.

In my opinion, the focus should be on the learning process, rather than the learning platform. This position is supported by the statement “it is the learner who is mobile – not the technology” (a reflective outcome of the European 2004 MobiLearn project, cited: Sharples, M. (2005) Towards a theory of mobile learning http://www.mlearn.org.za/CD/papers/Sharples-%20Theory%20of%20Mobile.pdf)

One way to understand this paradigm is to realise that mobile learning precedes e-learning by over a decade. E-learning became popular following an increase in the affordability of personal computers in the mid-to-late nineties.

A decade earlier (in the mid-eighties), we were

  • listening to audiobooks and lecture recordings on our cassette walkmans and car tape players,
  • calling up classmates on the phone to ask for help with homework outside of the classroom,
  • taking photos of relevant learning experiences, and
  • writing in portable reflective and visual journals – albeit on paper.

I posit that these mobile, learning activities (and many others) were no less valid than the “mobile learning” activities enabled by digital devices today.

What the new generation of mobile devices facilitate is more convenient, portable, and immediate access to very similar tools. Given this link between “new” mobile learning and “old” teaching practices, we can use our understanding of best-practice teaching and learning to stimulate and derive powerful ideas for education.

I’d like to explore the idea that practical mobile learning activities can be informed by, and derived from, our understanding of teaching and learning theory, mobile learning activities that have not previously been digitally based, and e-learning standards and practices.

————————————————————————————–

Originally posted at the EdNa forum, where the topic of the month is m-learning. Other interested educators are invited to join the forum and participate in the discussions on mobile learning.

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The Fourth R…

11 07 2006

While co-authoring a white paper for the “Learning On The Move” OLT Conference, I realised that there is, in fact, a “Fourth R” to add to my previous post on the learner-centric “Three R’s of Mobile Learning“.

Without recording or recalling any information, or communicating with others (“relating”), a learner can also use some mobile devices as a means of processing information – transforming it, performing calculations, or organising it in new ways. I’m initially inclinded to give this “fourth R” the mneumonic name “Reinterpret” – obtaining new knowledge from existing information.

Perhaps the simplest example of this “fourth R” is using a calculator: without storing or recalling any information, per se, a calculator can process input data to provide an informative result. Other examples of “reinterpreting” data include: “mining” a database for aggregate data, or using a mobile device to digitally interpret a 2D Barcode or aid or perform Optical Character Recognition (OCR) on text scanned with a mobile device.

Now, head over to Marg’s blog where she adds some excellent commentary from an instructional design perspective to our exploration of the Four R’s of Net-Generation Learning!

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