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Archive for the ‘Mobile learning’ Category

There are two things I’ve been trying to wrap my head around lately.  The first is gaming.  (That’ll have to wait for another post.)  The second is mobile learning.

Today, I came across a video demonstration of QR codes.  This is a QR code for this site.

qrcode
If you take a picture of it with a cell phone that has the right software installed, it will generate a link to this site (or phone someone or send a text message depending on the link you’re creating).  You can generate your own QR code in a few seconds.

I was listening to a podcast the other day (sorry, can’t find the link but it came from a conference in Australia).  It was done by a teacher who tags plants with these codes and then sends learners out to study them in their natural habitat.

Or how about embedding QR codes in PowerPoints to give a convenient link to the handouts for a particular presentation?

The mind boggles.  Do you have experience using QR codes?  I’d love to hear about it.

UPDATE: Roger Smolski sent me a link to his site, 2d code.  Roger has a fantastic collection of news, art, marketing and discussion related to QR codes.  If you find QR codes, send them along to Roger.  If you have something to say, 2d code is the place to share it.  Thanks, Roger!

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ipod touch

While in Nashville last week, we heard a lot about mobile learning. So when a group of us dropped in to the Apple Store, we took the opportunity to take a first look at Apple’s new iPod Touch.

The iTouch was very easy to use. It was interesting to see how one person in our group intuitively pinched the screen to zoom in and out of a web page. No instruction needed.

There’s a lot of opportunity for mobile learning with tools like the iTouch. Potentially, these are learning environments that you can carry in your pocket, as a friend of mine has noted. Of course, students could use it to browse the web — the full web, not the miniaturized version available on most cell phones. They could share files, watch video, chat or check their email — which is more than students do in most online courses now. By clicking on any of the dozens of web apps that others have developed for the iTouch, students can also share what they’re doing, get organized, play games or check their Facebook. The iTouch is also customizable in a way that learning management systems aren’t and, as a result, integrates better with the other digital bits of our students’ lives.

What would you rather use to take your online course? This or this? Yep. Me, too.

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In September I went to Scotland for a family reunion. For a week, we lived in a castle that had been converted to a educational centre for school children. It was a fantastic place but there was only one computer in the castle connected to the internet. Unfortunately, the computer also had filtering software installed. The reunion was wonderful but, as I stood in line waiting along with the other dozen guests for my turn to check my email, I wondered about the ways we control technology for learners.

The internet is one of the most important ways I learn. I use it to stay in touch and participate in what’s happening in my field. I blog. I bookmark sites. I Facebook. I visit YouTube. I read feeds. I chat. I spend most of my time online using social software. That week, all the sites I use regularly to connect to my community and support my own learning were blocked. The internet turned into a completely useless place for me. It was like a car without an engine. Although I experience some blocking at work, I can’t imagine what it must be like for learners to experience this level of control.

ning blocked

Like a lot of other people, I wonder why we’re blocking instead of teaching. I wonder why we’re banning instead of finding constructive ways to use these tools to support learning. If we were honest with ourselves, we’d admit that security and privacy are less of a concern than our need to control. We don’t always see what learners see. We don’t take advantage of the fantastic teachable moments that learners sometimes give us through their use of technology, as scary or chaotic as they may seem sometimes.

I appreciate that it can be a challenge to teach while people are cruising Facebook. It can be especially frustrating when learners are chatting or text messaging on cell phones. I’ve taught in a classroom of email-checkers. I hate to say it but in a moment of total frustration I once threatened to flush a cell phone. (I’m so sorry!) But I was a lecturer. I was a stand-and-deliver teacher, and that approach just can’t compete with the connection and learning that happens online. Right now, there is no greater challenge to the traditional teacher-centered approach than the internet.

The great thing is we can all learn how to adapt. We can talk to people who are using technology effectively to engage learners. And, of course, there are some great resources online. Here are a few that I grabbed from my bookmarks:

Thanks for listening. I’m off my soapbox now. 🙂

UPDATE: Another point of view comes from Samuel Freedman writing in the NY Times about the new class(room) war.  (I like the line “present but otherwise engaged”.)

(Photo, Ning – Blocked, by Alexander Hayes)

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Mobile-based assessment

Here’s Gavin Cooney of Learnosity explaining how a phone might be used for assessment. Basically, you log in with your student ID, a recording asks you questions, you respond & your response is recorded as a voice mail for an instructor to mark afterward.

It’s interesting because this interview was actually recorded using a mobile phone which made me wonder if there weren’t other, more authentic ways to assess learning using a mobile phone. What do you think? Any ideas?

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The Twitter paradigm

“Most people don’t want to schlep their laptops around; they like phones. Ergo Web 2.0 will be more like Twitter long-term than blogs.”   (from a tweet by Hugh MacLeod)

What do you think?

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Too funny.

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I want one

iphone

And I’m Canadian so I can’t even pretend I’m going to get one in the near future.

Here are the stats so far …

And if you wonder whether mobile is the way the world is going

  • there are twice as many mobile phones as there are computers in the world
  • a quarter of all internet access is through mobile phones
  • twice as many people text message as use email

According to Jan Chipchase, mobile phones are one of the three things people never leave their house without. It doesn’t matter where you ask the question — New York, Kampala or New Delhi — the answer is the same.

Question is, why aren’t more of us designing courses that can be delivered over these things?

(Photo, Apple iPhone Dashboard, by Niall Kennedy)

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