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Posts Tagged ‘mobile learning

I shared this concept video a few months ago to illustrate just one broad aspect of mobile learning. But it has been misinterpreted by at least one administrator that I know.

Video source

The point of the video is not about knowing where you are. The point is is learning wherever you are and using what you (and your students) already have.

I think that of all the initiatives that the CeL has to seed and nurture, mobile learning will be the most difficult.

It won’t be difficult to sell. The idea of going mobile is already in the consciousness of some our student teachers. One of my team members forwarded an email query on why the mobile version of Blackboard was not active. Apparently, it was the third such email of the brand new semester.

I think the difficulties will be in 1) mobile app development and 2) the implementation of m-learning. The first is a technical obstacle while the second is a social one.

The technical issues include deciding what apps are needed, deciding which platforms to support, designing apps, creating apps, testing apps, integrating apps, etc. The social issues will probably include ignorance, fear, inertia, resistance, skepticism, a lack of buy-in and support, and more.

It sounds intimidating but we relish the challenge!

[image source, used under CC licence]

Gizmodo reported that the McDonald’s group in Japan would begin training employees with the Nintendo DS. Chris Dawson at ZDnet asked: Nintendo hardware in the classroom? Why not?

Why not indeed! I see these as two emergent trends combining as one: The rise of mobile computing/learning devices and gaming as a strategy for training and learning. It is not unusual for me to read a tweet, RSS feed or Facebook wall posting on something like this every other day. I look forward to the day that this “news” becomes “olds”.

What is exciting news for now is what Nintendo’s game guru, Shigeru Miyamoto, said in an AP interview [CBS link]:

Could Nintendo’s Mario be swapping his world of magic mushrooms and ravenous dinosaurs for the staid confines of the classroom?

The man behind the massively popular video game franchise thinks so, saying he’s working hard to turn Nintendo Co.’s brand of handheld consoles into educational aids and teaching tools.

“That is maybe the area where I am devoting myself (the) most,” Japanese video game guru Shigeru Miyamoto told The Associated Press in an interview.

His ideas are set to take root in Japan, but this is one Japanese invasion I would actually look forward to!

In the meantime, I am currently reading:

[image source, used under CC licence]

Education Week’s article, Mobile Learning Makes Its Mark on K-12, is mistitled. Mobile learning hasn’t made a dent!

The article starts by stating the need for large scale research to determine impact that will convince decision makers to adopt mobile devices so that they become the norm rather than the exception. It then outlines oft cited reasons for not adopting these technologies: the cost of mobile computing devices (MCDs), teacher training, curricular integration, and suitable instructional content.

But even if you handed these things for free on a silver platter at the end of a red carpet, teachers might not bite. If they do, they will have to change their pedagogy to suit the technology. Case in point?

As more educators have started to move beyond the simple mobile applications for education, such as multiple-choice quizzes, flashcards, and polling, they are learning that adapting existing lessons to the miniature viewing area of a cellphone or personal digital assistant does not always work.

On a related note, Steve Wheeler calls these MCDs “child friendly technologies”:

Such devices, including Nintendo game consoles (Wii and DS), mobile phones and iPod Touches can be identified as ‘child-friendly’ technologies, because they are fun and culturally relevant to children, yet they are perceived as either troublesome, or having little relevance in a formal education setting. Teachers often use technology to support their own teaching, but may often fail to see the relevance of child-friendly tools as a means to support children’s learning. Further, many schools have banned the use of such devices due to a perceived threat of misuse and abuse.

So these are some of the barriers for not adopting mobile technologies in meaningful ways. But what are the costs of not adopting mobile technologies logically and meaningfully? Somehow we collectively think of ways to maintain the status quo.  We react less quickly when implementing change (not for the sake of change, mind you, but for the good of our children).

In the Singapore context, I can think of one strategy to galvanize the troops. Parents recognize the importance of getting a head start, e.g., enrichment classes and tuition. If we could sell the idea that having and using MCDs (these child friendly technologies) in class is not just useful but critical for the education of their children, then half of the battle is won.

Yes, I am referring to the same parents who use their phones to arrange business deals, get information on where to eat and how to get there, monitor the stock market, receive the latest news, update Facebook, conduct online banking, ad nauseum.

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