Posts Tagged ‘mobile’
The video above provides a couple of very good reasons why.
But there is one common theme: Put these devices in the hands of learners and put good ideas in the heads of educators. Then you enable learning by giving all sorts of learners the opportunities to discover and to express themselves.
This is one of the better articles on What it Takes to Launch a Mobile Learning Program in Schools. It is concise and comprehensive.
If there is any point that rises above the rest, I would cite #3 (professional development of teachers):
they must learn how to use mobile technologies to change teaching and learning, so that they are doing more than just replacing print resources with digital versions. A common pitfall in incorporating new technology into education is over-reliance on the technology itself to produce results. [Mobile learning researchers] Marie Bjerede and Chris Dede, for instance, found that podcasting in and of itself had little effect on teaching and learning. When played in the classroom, podcasts are just high-tech versions of age-old instructional practices of “teaching by telling, learning by listening,” previously accomplished with educational radio and portable tape recorders
I read this opinion in the ST forum a few times to make sure I was not missing anything or misinterpreting it.
Dr William Wan, General Secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, attributed the use of mobile phones to people being inconsiderate on public transport.
One might react emotionally by asking when minding one’s own business is being inconsiderate. But the fact of the matter is that not being aware of the people around you can be impolite depending on the context.
That said, why put the blame on the medium? Yes, the e-books, games, videos, and other mobile content are very engaging (a few folks have even tried participating in #edsg chats while on public transport!), but the mobile media are not the only factor.
If you blame that medium then I would also point out that reading paperbacks, playing cards, listening to a Walkman (way back then!), or just chatting intently are just as absorbing. The traditional newspaper is a magnificent wall to place between the reader and someone who needs the space or a seat.
You can take the devices out of the hands of users and they will still be rude or inconsiderate. They can pretend to sleep, take more room than they need, or talk very loudly. (Coincidentally, as I quietly type this draft of my iPhone, a group of four university students does not care if the whole bus can hear their incessant blather.)
If you are going to address a problem, get at its roots. Attacking the symptoms will get you nowhere and you risk alienating the very people you are trying to reach.
So what is the root of the problem? In this case, I agree with Dr Wan that it is the lack of a combination of good upbringing and schooling on the use of mobile devices in public places or face-to-face social contexts.
There are several reasons to use the new mobile Chrome browser for iOS over the default Safari. This site provides ten reasons, but I was sold on just one.
Like a growing number of fortunate people, I browse the Web on more than one machine: a Mac, a PC, an iPad, and an iPhone. If I cannot finish reading something on one machine, I like to continue reading it elsewhere on another.
While there are services like Pocket and even Safari’s Reading List, nothing beats leaving a Web page open in a tab on one device and being able to have that synchronized across devices.
This way I can start reading an article in my office in desktop Chrome on my Mac, bring my iPad to a meeting, and pull up the same resource up on mobile Chrome should a serendipitous need arise or if the meeting gets boring.
How might you do the same? First, get Chrome for iOS.
The problem with iOS is that you cannot change your default browser. But there is a solution if your device is jailbroken and a workaround if it is not.
With a jailbroken iOS device, search Cydia for Browser Changer and install it. Then go into your Settings, scroll down to the Browser Changer options, activate it (it is off by default), and select Chrome.
When you change the default browser, clicking on links in email, SMS, or other apps, or selecting Send to Safari, will launch Chrome instead.
If you do not have a jailbroken device, you can manually redirect sites called up on Safari to Chrome with a Safari Bookmarklet. This workaround is not as convenient as changing your default browser.
Chrome for iOS is not perfect though. It lacks the Twitter integration that Safari sports.
But the inclusion of this feature might only be a matter of time.
I wrote the paragraph above thinking that there was no solution or workaround for using Twitter bookmarklets. There is!
I have shared these videos at some point of time and on different platforms.
If you told me a few years ago that these would be shot and edited entirely on the iPhone and I would have questioned your sanity.
The videos are not TV or movie production quality, but then again, they do not need to be. The standards and expectations of the audience have changed. We must respond in kind.
If there is anything I dislike more than “interactive” white boards, it is computer labs. If there is an IWB in a computer lab, then a child-like neuron in my brain dies!
Both are relics in the edtech age because they do not attempt to create new learning opportunities and environments. Instead, they limit the possibilities due to old school rules, e.g., do X things in Y amount of time and submit it to Z, noise is bad, do only what the teacher says.
Here is what I think is wrong with computer laboratories:
- Teachers need to compete to book the venues because the labs are a shared resource. Some teachers have more access than others.
- The labs create and reinforce the mindset of lesson novelty for its own sake. You go to a special room for a special lesson under special circumstances.
- The novelty creates classroom management problems because the kids (young and old) get over excited. Just bringing them to the labs is disruptive.
- Once in the labs, the kids discover that the sessions may not be that exciting after all. They are what one blogger calls “sporadic and unspectacular engagement with technology”.
- The labs are sometimes misused. The occupants do not use the computers or are there to enjoy the air-conditioning.
- It is very expensive to maintain and upgrade the computer labs. You get stuck in the cycle of having to maintain them because they were so expensive to create and perceived as a waste to let go.
- Despite this expense, the labs in some schools become white elephants when their usage drops.
They also do not necessarily promote more progressive technology-mediated strategies, e.g., flipping the classroom, game-based learning, self-directed learning.
I think that the best thing about BYOD is that it forces teachers to think about ways to leverage on what students already own. If teachers do this well, they can work on passing the ownership of learning to the students. To do this, teacher must first own and use the devices themselves and then learn new instructional strategies.
If the teachers have wifi enabled classrooms, they do not need special rooms like computer labs. They just need to start with new mindsets and strategies. When these methods become more common, the technology and the pedagogy become natural, powerful, and transparent.
One of the better things I left for reading later was Web 2.0 Is Over, All Hail the Age of Mobile. It concludes:
If the Web 2.0 era isn’t dead, it is certainly in its twilight years. Just.Me’s Teare, a sociologist by training, has an interesting way of looking at it. He takes his cues from Hegelian philosophy. Hegel reasoned that the present always has components of the past and the future. The job of the observer is to disambiguate those elements of the present that have to do with the past (and are therefore dying) from those elements of the present that are part of the future (and are therefore being born).
“Almost always when you do that,” says Teare, “you exaggerate the future trends prior to them being clearly observable to everybody.”
From my point of view, the article is preaching to a choir member. It has the key facts and figures to convince if you are in the business of business. Mobility is not just for the future, but is already here now.
Those in the business of education, however, are still worried about allowing smartphones or other mobile devices into classrooms. The world of education seems to spin more slowly and is just reacting to being more mobile.
That said, I think that the “age of mobile” will just be part of a wider phenomenon, Web 3.0 (the semantic web). This version of the WWW still needs to be built on Web 2.0 (the age of user-generated content), but the interface for consumption and creation will be different. For now, the interface is the mobile phone. In the near future, it might look more like Google’s concept-in-action glasses.
I have come to the conclusion that one of the best strategies to sell mobile learning is the elevator pitch.
The elevator pitch is something that normally happens between an ideas person and a money-bags person. The idea is for the former to sell a concept to the latter in about as long as it takes to ride an elevator.
In February, CeL organized a whole e-Fiesta around the mobile learning theme. We also arranged for mobile-oriented workshops prior to that and we will continue to sell that idea. But I think that we should also use the guerrilla-like tactic of the elevator pitch.
One of the apps we featured during the e-Fiesta was NIE mGeo. It is a geo-tagging app CeL developed for photo and video data collection. During last week’s study trip, I encouraged my travel mates to use the app. None of us did.
All of us had our camera-enabled smart phones. They are convenient but they suck at taking big shots (like my panorama of the Great Hall in the University of Sydney). When an opportunity came up, I showed my group how to use Photosynth. It was as simple as launching the app, demonstrating its use, and saying, “Download it from the app store!”
And that it what they did. They learnt by trial and error how to use it and I did not have to sell the idea any more. If I wanted to extend the learning later, I could discuss how to take better panoramas or how to edit the shots to crop the unwanted bits out.
During last year’s study trip to the USA, we had a similar story with Dropbox. You can probably relate if a need arose and you bought the idea from someone selling the idea of Evernote or Whatsapp as a solution.
The elevator pitch. Short, sharp, and effective. We will try to do that by engineering the circumstances or taking advantage of them as they happen!
When I compare the types of devices I used to bring with me on trips, say, five years ago with that which I bring now, I can say that I have gone mobile.
I used to tote a DSLR and a point-and-shoot camera. Now I just use my iPhone. There are times when I wish I had my DSLR to get a shot I see in my head, but then I make do.
I used to bring a hefty laptop. Now I have my Macbook Air. On some trips, I leave that behind and rely on my iPad. After all, if I really need Windows or something that requires Flash, I only need an Internet connection and TeamViewer or LogMeIn to access a computer at home or my office.
Going mobile with photography means that I can shoot, edit, and upload on the go. I shoot with the iPhone 4′s built in camera (I rarely use Camera+), delete the ones I do not want, and edit with Snapseed. I can then upload to Picasa via Picasa PhotoSender or to Posterous via its app. Often I do this as I travel from point to point to reduce the amount of work I have to do when I am back in the hotel room.
I might still need to do some troubleshooting when I am chair-bound. For example, the Posterous app is not reliable. Sometimes it will not upload in a timely fashion and other times it will upload two copies of the same posting. I attribute this partly to an Internet connection that might form and break while I am on the move.
But it has been a few days since returning and I have noticed some photos getting “broken” in Posterous and I have to use a desktop browser to fix them. The silver lining is that I need not retrieve the photos from my iPhone because they are synchronized to my computer via Dropbox.
Is there less work to do? No, there might actually be more! But I can do more in more places. While I am still out in the field, I can retake photos or make decisions in context. I can also share moments as they happen via Twitter. I cannot do that if I am not mobile.
So here are my mostly mobile-shot, edited, and uploaded photos from our short study trip to Adelaide and Sydney. People and work do not feature prominently in my photos because a) some of the little people need their privacy, and b) I want the photos to tell stories outside of the pressures of work.
The event in a nutshell:
- Opening ceremony at 10.30am (keynote addresses and lucky draws)
- Three concurrent sessions in the afternoon (practitioner, research, and portfolio tracks)
- Fringe event (vendors who offer mobile platforms, products, and solutions)
During the practitioner track, CeL will showcase four mobile apps:
- DollarDash (game-based learning of financial literacy concepts via this web app)
- NIE mGeo (project-based and experiential learning via this location-aware photo and video data collection native app)
- NIE mVideo (enabling the flipped classroom and decision-tree videos via this native app)
- NIE Well Said (learn to speak standard Singapore English on your own or with others with this native app)
Some insider information: The mVideo app is only a proof-of-concept at the moment so it is visually rough. The next version promises to have a slick interface (think cover flow and swiping instead of just tapping and typing).
Here is a sneak: One other app that is not quite ready for primetime is our classroom observation app for the iPad. This app will provide photo and video recording, editing an observation form, sharing that form with others, and a Web browser to check resources.