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Posts Tagged ‘mobile

 
The thing that irritates me the most about “mobile learning” is not questions about how m-learning is different from e-learning.

I would rather focus on what both words have in common: learning. The focus should be on how learners learn.

We should not focus on how we want to teach regardless of how learners learn. That is what irritates me the most about how some m-learning is designed.

It is not enough to make content even more bite-sized for consumption on mobile devices. The mobile devices have cameras, microphones, on-screen keyboards, and screens for drawing, marking, and annotating.

What are we designing so that learners create? How do we get them to learn by doing something more than passive consumption?

Don’t get me wrong. Wonderfully designed and skillfully chunked content will go a long way in keeping eyeballs on the screen. But how are we getting the learner to learn by doing, acting, recording, sharing, creating, critiquing, etc.? These are examples of actual mobile learning because you can see evidence of learning.

The other kind is passive consumption. How do we know they are actually learning? And if we do not know, let us not call it m-learning!

Screen time by erase, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  erase 

 
The American Academy of Pediatrics probably had the interests of kids in mind when they recommended that parents limit the amount of mobile screen time.

The policy is aimed at all kids, including those who use smartphones, computers and other Internet-connected devices. It expands the academy’s longstanding recommendations on banning televisions from children’s and teens’ bedrooms and limiting entertainment screen time to no more than two hours daily.

Under the new policy, those two hours include using the Internet for entertainment, including Facebook, Twitter, TV and movies; online homework is an exception.

But I wonder if they also have recommendations on limitations on TV watching and homework (both the necessary and unnecessary kind).

Did similar associations, if they existed the era of landline phones, Walkmans, and wireless radios, recommend kids not talk so much, rock out too often, or listen too much?

If I am to get snarky about the recommendation, I might add that I am relieved that the two hour limit does not include online homework. After all, some of the homework might actually be flipped and kids need to process content for class.

But heaven forbid that the homework be fun, entertaining, or leverage on collaboration via social media. Those things might just fall under the harmful and time-wasting category of activities.

I am not worried that there actually is a recommended two-hour “dose”. Reasonable parents will realize they need to parent and set limits that they determine with their kids. I am worried that other parents will take the two-hour limit as gospel truth.


Slideshare source

I tweeted this SlideShare last week.

It is a resource that lives up to its name: 21 inspiring quotes and thoughts on mobile learning. Quite a few people retweeted and favourited it.

I enjoyed slide 12.

stolen_moments

What Geoff Stead called “stolen moments” I have labelled “interstitial time” [1] [2]. Both are moments of relatively unproductive time (or time in between important events) used to do productive or important things.

If there is anything that makes mobile learning stand out from e-learning or other formalized online learning, it would be that mobile learning breaches the informal learning time and space.

I think this is important because research indicates that we learn from informal contexts 80% of the time. We put so much time, effort, and money into the formal 20%. Why are we not focusing on the 80%?


Video source

Today I share a longer than usual interview with Kevin of CoursePad.

Kevin’s other mobile solutions have been used at conferences and by corporations and tuition centres. He would break into schools if they were less risk averse (about the 4min 30sec mark).

If you missed the other interviews of folks I call edupreneurs, here are the links:

WHAT they have to say about their products or services is not nearly as important as WHY they do what they do. Three out of four of the folks I interviewed cited family.

Later this week I hope to share my own short story of what drives me.

android-ios

Ever since I started facilitated MLS118/125 (Managing ICT-Mediated Change), I have been collecting data from my participants to get insights on how best to design lessons around them.

One thing I collect from participants is their preferred mobile operating system.

Participants in my elective are typically more tech-savvy as they are more likely to be heads of ICT in their schools.

In Jan 2011, I was merely interested in how many of them had smartphones. Thereafter, I wanted to know what proportion were on what operating system.

The change is obvious and I make instructional decisions based on the data. For example, I used to be able to rely mostly on iOS-only apps for the mobile learning components of my course. Now I have to make sure there are options on both major platforms.

I can also make inferences based on their choice of platform. For example, recent market buzz or device cost might be foremost factors and this in turn could reflect mindset of use.

All these add up to the principle of making data-informed decisions instead of ones that merely feel good or ones based on bias.

Recently I read a CNET article, The changing face of mobile photography. As I read the article, I also saw lessons on the design of mobile learning.

The article described how taking photos with a smartphone has evolved from quirky habit to mainstream behavior. Such social and professional acceptance has been partly due to better technology and evolving mindsets.

In the early days of the smartphone, few people had them and the built-in cameras were terrible. Fast forward to today and more people have smartphones whose cameras rival point-and-shoots and even prosumers. Pro photographers can rely on smartphones as second cameras and lay folk can use them as main cameras.

But there are deeper reasons why people prefer smartphones. Che McPherson, design content lead at iStockphoto, says:

You’re getting real, authentic moments using a smartphone, because they are so unobtrusive and accessible.

I wonder if we can say the same about mobile learning. Unobtrusive and accessible. Learning that seems natural and is easy to get to when you need it.

In the competitive field of stock photography, plenty of international brands are seeking images that look and feel authentic. “Nowadays, people are engaging with emotion — a raw, authentic moment,” McPherson said. Apple is just one example of a company that has made the explicit connection between memories, emotion and mobile photography


Video source

Is our mobile learning making connections between what we remember, what we experience, and what we feel? If not, we can create mobile apps or courses but learners will not relate to them.

The expectations of what is acceptable have also changed. Purists believe that photos should not be manipulated. Instagram changed that with filters.

The popularity of Instagram filters or presets like VSCo make us react to photos in different ways, whether that’s evoking a sense of nostalgia or intensifying emotion and a sense of urgency through black-and-white processing.

McPherson is seeing a trend of stock photographers submitting filtered images that have been processed in such a way as to deliberately elicit an emotional reaction in the viewer.

Again, are we leveraging enough on emotions like awe, happiness, and excitement in mobile course design? Or are we still stuck with fear, anxiety, or exasperation with the tests we put at the end of courses?

We chuckle when we see someone using a slate device to take photographs. But the article points out how photos are easier to view and manipulate on such devices.

As we design for mobile learning, do we embrace a diversity of views and methods? Or do we pick topics and strategies that require fixed outcomes or answers?


Video source

Here are some snippets from an already short video.

  • Almost 15% of all Web traffic happens beyond the desktop or laptop.
  • It is important to respond by being multiplatform, holistic, end-to-end, real-time, predictive, and global.

These are things not just for marketers to do. Progressive educators should take action too!


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