Oh how I wish I could draw!

I came across this really cool free iPad app this morning – Paper by FiftyThree. I really, really wish I could draw! I can see so much potential for use with students – sketches can be tweeted or sent by text and you can get your virtual book of sketches printed for you! I guess it’s not much good without the pen though…and that costs about €60. Em. Only a very small catch for what you could produce though.

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Using Socrative to support the Flipped Classroom Approach

It has been a while since I’ve blogged about my work on the Mobile Mastery course – I’ve had the head down trying to get through the assignments to be honest! As part of those assignments I’ve planned a 3 week mobile learning course/CPD module, and fleshed out a lesson plan for week 1 of it. Now I need to work on and complete plans for the final two weeks and then see if I could run it to raise awareness amongst the staff at DIT of the power of using mobile devices in their teaching practice.

These last two weeks I’ve been searching for examples of how mobile devices can be used to support and facilitate formative assessment strategies specifically. One example is the work Simon Lancaster is doing in this regard. I was at a session recently where he spoke about his use of learning technologies to enhance learning, teaching and assessment and he was very inspiring. He encourages his students to tweet about what they are learning and tweet pics from their chemistry labs and share these with experts in the field who invariable get involved and retweet and/or reply. These ‘conversations’ are then archived by using Storify for future reference. He also uses and encourages the flipped classroom approach, but as well as flipping lectures he also flips roles and harnesses the power of peer instruction, assessment, and feedback. If you have a few minutes, read this article ‘Flipping Lectures and Inverting Classrooms’    – it’s a really great short article that explains how the flipped approach works in a practical way. But what I loved about this article is that they also explain how to build in a successful formative assessment strategy using a free mobile based audience response tool, like Socrative, and how that can enhance interactivity. But they don’t stop there – rather they go on to give an example of how the data gathered live via the audience response tool can be used to move the process on further and facilitate peer instruction.

 “When a cohort of students returned a range of answers to a multiple choice question, the students then found someone nearby they disagreed with in order to exchange explanations before the question was polled again…”

Mobile devices can play such a huge role in facilitating and encouraging learning, so why aren’t we using them more?!

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Mobile Learning Resources: All on one page!

Sometimes blog posts can be annoying to have to trawl through just to find that one link you remember seeing there months ago! So, I’ve created a new page on this site called ‘Interesting Resources’ (see menu bar above) and I’m going to copy in there every link I put into my blog posts as well as links to interesting apps that I come across while working with the mobile learning group @DIT, and on the Mobile Learning Mastery Series.

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Mobile Learning Mastery Series: Day 5

I’ve had the head down the last two days getting my first short continuous assessment done for the mobile learning mastery course. I submitted it at midnight last night and must begin tackling the next assessment now! I had forgotten the stresses associated with being a student!

I was reading an interesting article yesterday about a study done in a HE institute where each of the students and lecturers on a particular business course were given BlackBerry devices. Their use of the devices was tracked during one term of study, particularly their use of the devices as instructional and learning tools. The results were quite interesting, particularly for me given my involvement in the support and development side of things at DIT.

Eight issues related to student attitude and use of the devices, both inside and outside of the classroom, were analysed, namely:

  1. Technology experience
  2. Perceived use of the BlackBerry
  3. Ease of use
  4. Evaluating the device as a learning tool
  5. Classroom use of the BlackBerry device
  6. Off-task behavior
  7. Out of class use
  8. Use of the BlackBerry relative to other technologies

It was found that the students were self-directed in their use of the devices, finding ways to use them even when not specifically directed to do so by their professors. Although somewhat positive, the results were not overwhelming however. The devices were not used to any great extent in the classroom itself as instructional or learning tools. (They were, however, used by 23.7% of the students several times per class for non-class related activities.)

For me, what was discussed in the discussion section was the most interesting. In particular the fact that mobile technologies in higher education are being used more frequently as communication tools between peers than as instructional or learning tools directed by tutors, and the suggestion that the limited directed use of the devices within the classroom may be due to the lack of professional training and support around the implementation of mobile technologies as instructional and learning tools. It was noted that if such technologies are to be used to enhanced learning and teaching, then it may be that they need to be implemented along with more innovative, personalised and collaborative approaches to instruction both inside and outside of the classroom. Loads of food for thought there.

The article in question can be found at http://www.sciedu.ca/journal/index.php/ijhe/article/view/1254

I’ve also been browsing through the many resources listed in the course site. One that is definitely worth checking out is “40 Creative ways teachers are using cell phones in the classroom” . Did you ever think of using Foursquare to record class attendance?!

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Mobile Learning Mastery Series: Day 1

Since I registered for the Mobile Learning Mastery Series, the Sloan Consortium have changed their name to the Online Learning Consortium so all tweets from the participants of the course can be followed at #OLCmobile.

This is the kind of course that doesn’t just talk about mobile learning and the variety of apps that could be useful, rather from the get-go you’re forced to engage with these apps and learn by doing so the course itself if build on sound pedagogical principles. Already I’ve been playing with apps I knew about but hadn’t ever tried before. I’m going to try and engage with as many of the tasks and activities on my android phone and android tablet as much as possible. I downloaded the Moodle app to check out how to course looked there and it was surprisingly easy to navigate. I’ve also been playing with Instagram as well as an audio recorder app so that I could contribute a voice discussion posting. The app saved the file as a .wav though which was huge (almost 20MB) so I had to email it to myself, open it in Audacity on my laptop (a brilliant free audio editor and recorder available at http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ ), and then export as an MP3. That reduced the size of the file to just 1.8MB. I’m sure there are audio recording apps out there that create MP3s so they would definitely be the way to go if you’re trying to work solely on a mobile device. Any suggestions?

Reading through one of the weekly resources, the following quote caught my eye:

“Thanks to mobile technology, our current location can always be transformed into a classroom”. (Voxy, 2011)

Well, that just makes ‘mitching’ no fun at all!

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Mobile Learning Mastery Series

I have just applied to do the Mobile Learning Mastery Series run by The Sloan Consortium. It starts on July 11th and runs until September 19th 2014. It consistes of 3 workshops which are a week long each and which look at “Mobile Learning Research and Design”, “Mobile Learning Teaching and Learning Strategies”, and “Mobile Learning Assessment Techniques”. There are 3 weeks between each workshop to allow you time to complete some self-directed research and to reflect on what you’re learning. If anyone out there is reading this and is interested in it, more details can be found at here. Another series is starting in September and runs until November if you can’t make the July one.

I’m really looking forward to this course and it’ll help me support the Mobile Learning @DIT project participants. Sure what else are summers for?! I’ll blog my way through the course, share what I’m learning about and provide some tips and hints for mobile learning.

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And we’re off!

The 8 participants on this year’s Mobile Learning @DIT project met yesterday morning for the first time, and almost 2 hours later we were still talking! After I distributed the mobile devices to the group, each participant was given a €15 iTunes voucher to support their project. This was a big surprise as it hadn’t been advertised as being part of the ‘deal’ and I think that this will have a positive effect on their projects. Many of the group will need to download a variety of apps in order to evaluate them and now they will be more inclined to explore apps which have a cost associated with them, which may (or may not!) be better and more appropriate for the work they wish to carry out. They have agreed to blog about each of the apps that they download and to provide a comprehensive evaluation of each so keep and eye out for those on the individual participants’ blogs.

While each participant introduced themselves and highlighted the background to their mobile project, a huge amount of information and knowledge was shared during that conversation, which I think has already helped some of them to develop further their specific mobile projects. It also introduced many of them to learning technologies that they hadn’t already come across, and indeed alternative ways of using ones they already knew about. Some interesting discussions arose around, in particular:

Adobe Voice: Turn your story into a stunning animated video. In minutes!

Twitter and how Storify can be used with it to create tories or timelines. How Simon Lancaster has used it with his students to ‘store’ tweets, for example, was discussed. See an example here.

MyScript calculator: Perform mathematical operations naturally using your handwriting.

Wolfram Alpha: A computational knowledge engine.

Coggle : Create, collaborate on, and share creative mindmaps.

Screencasting softwares: Screenr, Screencastomatic, Jing

Polling/Audience Response apps: Socrative , Nearpod, Getkahoot , Voxvote

Since yesterday I’ve come across the Explain everything app. A great app that is a screencasting, and interactive whiteboard tool. Using it you can “annotate, animate, narrate, import, and export almost anything to and from almost anywhere” so well worth checking out. There is also a version on Google Play.

Many of the group are also interested in publishing results from their work with their students on this project and so I’ve directed them to DIT’s Research Ethics Committee webpages so as to access the necessary forms to apply for ethics approval.

They also expressed an interest in attending a workshop about app building so I’ll see what I can do to organise that.

Out next meeting in August is going to be a virtual one. We really should commit to doing that via our devices 🙂

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