A collection of projects and resources i’ve found over the past few weeks. Mostâ€”but not allâ€”are directly related to mobile. A few cover general uses of ICTs in learning. Enjoy!
A collection of papers from the 2003, 2004 and 2005 MLearn conferences. Of particular interest are the “Book of Papers from MLearn 2003″ (3.5MB PDF) and “The Use of Computer and Video Games for Learning” (PDF) which outlines health and psycho-social issues surrounding games in schools, provides examples of existing games, discusses how students feel about this type of learning context; and provides recommendations for content creators.
The 2006MLearn conference is being held on October 22-25 in Banff, Alberta (Canada.)
EU M-Learning Project
“Mobile Technologies and Learning,” (PDF) provides a general overview of the European Commission’s m-Learning project. The project site also includes a good discussion of technologies and devices currently in use for learning as well as emulator-based examples (look for the links on the right nav) of some of their applications that target literacy skills. A great example of the work they’re doing is their Healthy for Life project:
“The materials were designed to provide accessible information and support to 40 pregnant teenagers, including those from ethnic minorities, to address their learning and support needs in a health education context, developing their self-confidence and motivation to learn. Close attention was paid to meeting the target groupâ€™s needs, following thorough user analysis, to ensure that only subjects of interest to them were dealt with (i.e. labour and birth, sexually transmitted diseases, nutrition, housing and benefits) using appropriate language and attractive illustrations (photo stories and cartoon graphics).”
“MOBIlearn is a worldwide European-led research and development project exploring context-sensitive approaches to informal, problem-based and workplace learning by using key advances in mobile technologies.” Of particular interest on their site is the Public Findings area which includes a variety of resources like “Guideline for Learning/Teaching/Tutoring in a Mobile Environment” and ” Best Practices for Instructional Design and Content Development for Mobile Learning.” The project seems (at first glance) to be a mobile version of the many internet based ‘Open Learning Object Repository’ specification projects.
“On these social and technological premises, the MOBIlearn project aims at improving access to knowledge for selected target users (such as mobile workers and learning citizens), giving them ubiquitous access to appropriate (conceptualized and personalized) learning objects, by linking to the Internet via mobile connections and devices, according to innovative paradigms and interfaces.”
Good luck to them. These projects are always very well meaning but tend to suffer from massive over-engineering of the learning object structure with little thought to the actual content creation or reuse by educators. [Some nice context on the learning object debate here from David Wiley]
Literacy, ICTs and Games
For information about ICT-related literacy and numeracy projects, check out the UK’s CTAD site. There’s also a good overview at “Can ICTs Help Increase Literacy?” with further links to a study by Vancouver based Commonwealth of Learning on ICT use in India and Zambia.
I also recently picked up “What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy” by James Paul Gee which is so far excellent. Not as gimmicky as it many of these types of books can be. As a matter of factâ€”not gimmicky at allâ€”and has some great discussion of the various types and contexts of literacy.
“When people learn to play video games, they are learning a new literacy. Of course, this is not the way the word “literacy” is normally used…in the modern world, language is not the only important communication system. Today, images, symbols, gra[hs, diagrams, artifacts, and many other visual symbols are particularily significant. Thus the idea of different types of "visual litercy" would sem to be an important one."
Prensky on Mobile
"Can cell phones really provide their owners with the knowledge, skills, behaviors and attitudes that will help them succeed in their schools, their jobs and their lives? I maintain the only correct answer to the â€œWhat can they learnâ€ question is â€œANYTHING, if we design it right.â€ There are many different kinds of learning and many processes that we use to learn, but among the most frequent, time-tested, and effective of these are listening, observing, imitating, questioning, reflecting, trying, estimating, predicting, â€œwhat-ifâ€-ing and practicing. All of these learning processes can be done through our cell phones. In addition, the phones compliment the short-burst, casual, multi-tasking style of todayâ€™s â€œDigital Nativeâ€ (PDF) learners."
A great article for any educator, parent or administrator trying to justify the use of technology in the classroom. There's more on Mark's site including a link to "Mobile Phone Imagination" (look for issues #14) from the Vodaphone Reciever magazine.
For those interested in some of the issues facing teachers who are currently using handhelds in the classroom, check out Learning at Hand, a resource blog for teachers using PDAs and Treos in the classroom. [I always forget that there are lots of teachers doing this. There are also lots of small (sometimes clunky but functional) learning applications for Palm and Pocket PC that help kids simulate scenarios in science, English and maths.]
Some of my favourites include Leonard Low’s Mobile Learning blog (“101 Ideas for Mobile Learning“,) the Finnish MobileED initiative (check out their great examples of students scenarios from South Africa) and Ewan McIntosh who spends his days helping students use technology (including iPods) in the classroom. [Note some recent discussions as well on QR-code usage in education.]
I recently ran into a wonderful research group in the UK by the name of Futurelab.
“A not-for-profit organization, Futurelab is committed to sharing the lessons learnt from our research and development in order to inform positive change to educational policy and practice.”
They do all sorts of interesting stuff (well worth a look!) but in the area of mobile learning they recently published a “Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning” which outlines the key findings of a larger study by the MLearning group at the University of Birmingham.
â€œlearning is mobile in terms of space, ie it happens at the workplace, at home, and at places of leisure; it is mobile between different areas of life, ie it may relate to work demands, self-improvement, or leisure; and it is mobile with respect to time, ie it happens at different times during the day, on working days or on weekendsâ€
Also of interest by FutureLab, “A comparison of young peopleâ€™s home and school ICT use.” (PDF)
I also bumped into “Language E-Learning on the Move” today from Japan Review
“In Japan, where more people own cell phones than PCs and language education is a huge industry, there is potential for a booming market in mobile e-learning. While education sites aren’t currently moneymakers, more sophisticated content may allow providers to charge more for bite-sized learning.”
The Review incidentally has several other mobile articles including an excerpt from Mimi Ito’s Personal, Portable, Pedestrian and and overview of Japanese mobile media services for journalism students.
And finally, a reading list within a reading list From Learning Light in the UK, a large page of mobile learning resources.
Enjoy! And please let me know if i’m missing something of note. I’ll try to update this list periodically.
[Addendum: As it happens, i'm going to be speaking to a group of Australian teachers about mobile learning next month in an online presentation with Leigh Blackhall for the Australian Flexible Learning Framwork group. They have a very good (and active) mobile learning mailing list (via Moodle.) Education Australia also has quite a few resources on their site.
And a few more resources from the UK. BECTA's Emerging Technologies for Learning PDF, and this video and PDF presentation from Geoff Stead of CTAD (mentioned earlier) entitled Benefits and Hazards of Teaching with Mobile Devices.]