Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Feedback on Introduction to m-Learning Course

Can you unravel the words in the wordle above, which form a motto that was repeated during the course? Answer at the end of this post!

The fantastic 7-day short introductory course on mLearning (Mobile Learning) conducted by Nicky Hockly, Director of Pedagogy of The Consultants-E has just finished. The course was hosted by SEETA. I took the course, because I was curious to learn more about what mLearning entailed. It lived up to all my expectations and I have come out of it, feeling much more confident as to its current and future implications within a teaching context. This article from Nicky's EModeration Station blog has provided some great resources connected to this topic and also helped me to understand it more: Mobile Learning-6: Six key m-learning resources.

The practical daily mLearning tasks, which were manageable, included the following:

  • looking at current research journals
  • reading carefully selected articles
  • viewing blogs relating to the topic matter
  • references to academic papers
  • viewing videos
  • learning about mLearning projects around the world
  • reading case studies
  • contributing to forum posts relevant to the topic
I liked the structured outline of the course very much as it enabled me to reflect and then exchange opinions with the rest of the group. The global participants came from a huge variety of teaching backgrounds with different skills and technology-based experience. All of us, however, were united by one common goal. We all wanted to learn and share as much as possible in the 7 days. Luckily, the course content will remain open for the forseeable future and this will allow participants to review the contents and if they wish, continue to post in the forums.

From Newbies to Techies
I considered myself a newbie regarding the use of Smartphones, iPads, iTouches, Androids and all the various "apps" that are currently available on the market. A lot of the participants already had some experience of using mobile or handheld devices in class. In this respect, it was a fantastic example of a typical mixed ability class, and a huge one at that, with over 260 people on the course!! Despite the high number of people attending, our very experienced moderator Nicky was able to handle all our different levels and needs very skillfully.

Here is a feedback summary of the course from the tutor's perspective: MOOCS, mLearning and mobseeta. Don't worry if you are asking yourself "What on earth is a MOOC when it's at home??" All is explained very clearly in the article and more besides.

Below is a quick cartoon I created which partly sums up my impressions.

mLearning 2011

Not Just Mobiles!
Before the course, I thought that mLearning meant learning solely with the use of a mobile phone. Well, I discovered that mLearning is NOT just about using mobiles. It involves a multitude of different things. A mobile device is any device that can easily be carried ie "portable". "Learning on the go", being able to access learning possibilities on the move, whether it's via an iPod, Apple iPad Touch, Apple iPhone, mp4, cell phone, Smartphone, camera and other handheld devices. Using Flip cameras to video record students, asking students to do research with any of these means, all of these form a part of the mLearning revolution that is happening around the world.

A Tinkering Mind
I have come to the gradual conclusion that maybe I have already been experimenting or indeed "tinkering" with some basic form of mLearning for some time now by:
  • using a portable laptop with projector in class
  • getting learners to email me tasks from their laptops
  • advising different sites and tools for learners to explore OUTSIDE the classroom
  • allowing students to use their electronic dictionaries for translation if necessary
  • getting learners to do basic tasks in the classroom using their handheld devices (once!)
  • directing teachers to various ning groups and blogs on the web
  • directing learners to relevant web 2.0 tools
  • directing teachers to do cool e-courses such as this one!
  • advising learners how to develop their interest outside the class via their laptops
  • advising learners about Internet sites where they could expand and deepen their learning
Engage Me!
What I will remember from the course is that we as educators have to prepare ourselves for the Brave New Technology - based World of the Future. We cannot stop still and hope that this digital revolution will go away. It won't go away!! Let's embrace it and see where it takes us! It's here to stay. Young children nowadays expect their teachers to be up to date with what technology has to offer.

iPhone Info
The course has actually made me interested in finding out more about the different devices that I read about and in particular, the iPhone, caught my eye. I have started to build up a list of useful bookmarks for me to read, including the links below.

Larry Ferlazzo has just posted "The Best Sites For Beginning iPhone Users Like Me". It includes a list of great apps that can be added to the iPhone.

Here is an article found via my co-learner Lesley Ciocarelli comparing the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 3GS.

Further Bookmarked Articles
Cell Phone Computers or Mobile Learning Devices (MLDs).

Blackboards to Blackberries:Mobile Learning Buzzes across Schools and Universities"

Build an App for Nokia Phones by Free Technology for Teachers.

A Huge Thank You to Nicky, SEETA and my Fellow Course Participants!
I would like to say thank you once again to my fantastic tutor Nicky and also to SEETA for hosting this very special course. It has made me reflect about many new things and has directed me towards accepting that the future of mLearning has already arrived. Thanks also to all my co-learners on the course. It was great fun to share these 7 days with you all! Let's keep in contact.

M-learning motto which evolved via Lesley and everyone on the course! "Get ready, start slow, use what you have!"

Below is a video just done from my digital camera!! I have Kelly with me, who is recovering from being ill and Joey, who is very camera shy! In the background you can see Samantha viewing us with interest. I didn't realise she was there at the time. I am in front of my olive trees! The video quality isn't brilliant, and I'll have to learn how to improve on that if I can.


Chris Cattaneo said...

Dear Janet,

What a lovely post! I think you've encapsulated the essence of the mLearning course so clearly. You use word clouds, cartoon, embedding video, links and images wonderfully and now can make your own videos; stepping outside our comfort zones is such a stimulating and rewarding experience!

And what comes across is that you were already on your mLearning way beforehand, but it was the course that put that into perspective. I think we all misinterpreted what mlearning actually meant at the start but were pleasantly surprised to learn it covered a much wider range of learning devices and a huge number of apps and ways to use the devices. Personally, I especially liked how there were fascinating posts from participants located in different parts of the world - their comments and realities really opened my eyes and got me thinking.

I found you were one of the most supportive participants on the course. You were so active, encouraging and interested in what almost everyone posted! And I think you're spot on with your comments about Nicky, I agree with every one of them.

And what did you think of the wonderful concluding webinar? Didn't the hour just fly by? Nicky and Gavin make such professional presenters and moderators, don't they!?

And what about your super video? The location looks so idyllic, Janet - a perfect balance to technology and the mLearning world :-)

Really hope to see you around again soon, it was a pleasure studying with you!


Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Chris

Thank you so much for your really lovely and supportive comments on my blog. They mean a lot to me!! Everything I wrote came straight from the heart and it didn't take me long to write up the post as the words and sentiments just flowed freely.

I'd like to say how much I enjoyed doing the course with you and our fellow group members. They were all so enthusiastic and that made the course so much more involved and intensive. We packed a lot in within only 7 short days, didn't we?

I am going to update the post as soon as I can with a comment about the final webinar, as that was definitely one of the highlights of the course. Thanks for mentioning it here.

Thank you for all your wonderful support over the past week - we'll keep in touch via Twitter I'm sure!!

Best wishes


Lesley said...

Dear Janet

You've provided a fabulous and comprehensive summary and reflection of our mLeanring course. I had little left to say, so have linked to your post from my own - http://cioccas.blogspot.com/2011/02/mlearning-introduction-yet-another.html - lazy I know :-)

I owe you so much, as I wouldn't have know about the course if not for your tweet and blog post, and now count you amongst my most valued PLN friends.

Cheers, Lesley

Janet Bianchini said...

Hi Lesley

It was fantastic to learn on the mLearning course with you and all our course mates. The 7 days really flew past at great speed!! We were having so much fun connecting and exploring different perspectives of the topic and the after effects will be long lasting.

It was fab to see you at the CO11 webinar, all the way from Australia!! Thanks for all your support.

I look forward to keeping in touch.