Mobile Access to Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton

Tag Archives: podcast

Smartphones and mobile web 2.0


This paper reports on a range of pilot projects running at Unitec, NZ, from 2007 to 2009. The projects all focus on enabling students to use smartphones, along with familiar web 2.0 tools, to create, share and collaborate on resources across a range of contexts, and collect them in online e-portfolios for reflection and assessment.
The projects included:

  • a group project building a design for an international flower show (Diploma of Landscape Design), using blogs, photo and video sharing, and e-portfolios
  • groups working as product design teams for external manufacturers (BA Design), using communication tools, and blogs and e-portfolios shared with the companies
  • students testing and evaluating tools for music creation and delivery (Diploma of Contemporary Music), using audio and video sharing tools, and social networks
  • students on a field trip (Diploma of Landscape Design) recording and identifying findings, using photos and video and blogging tools

Findings include the importance of tailoring tasks to the affordances of the devices – both  the benefits (e.g. easy video recording and instant messaging/texting), and the challenges (small screens, slower text entry). Also the importance of scaffolding, as well as the possibilities for supporting informal or spontaneous learning, and an observed increase in peer collaboration and critique.
The papers also discuss the significance of Communities of Practice formed to help members of academic staff learn about the possibilities and share experiences with their peers, as well as time requirements, and scalability and funding issues.

You will need:

  • Wireless and/or 3G enabled mobile devices
  • Mobile enabled web tools

Tip: The great news is that many of these are already available (e.g.Youtube, Flickr, Google docs). The flipside is that because these services are provided by third parties, uptime/availability can’t be guaranteed, and there are potential data protection and security issues to address.


Cochrane, T. (2008). Mobile Web 2.0: The new frontier. In Hello! Where are you in the landscape of educational technology? Proceedings ascilite Melbourne 2008.
Available online at: [Accessed Jan 2011]

Cochrane, T. & Bateman, R. (2010) Smartphones give you wings: Pedagogical
affordances of mobile Web 2.0. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology 26 (1), 1-14.
Available online at: [Accessed Jan 2011]

Note: the second paper also includes links to a number of Youtube videos about the projects.


Short-form podcasts to support assessment


Lecturers on undergrad and postgrad Commerce programmes recorded a series of short podcast episodes (10-20 minutes long), covering requirements and guidance for assessments. These recordings were supplementary to the existing teaching materials, and the short format was deliberately chosen to allow a more flexible mode of consumption.
The project was evaluated using surveys, focus groups and interviews with staff. Most students used the recordings to revise and reinforce information, and there is evidence to suggest that it was useful for the large numbers of students for whom English is not their first language. It is interesting to note though that most students preferred to listen to the podcasts at home (rather than using a mobile device), where they had more control over their learning environment and could “concentrate” better.

You will need:

  • audio recording equipment (microphone, headphones) and software (e.g. Audacity)
  • a podcasting tool/web server to host your recordings (you can do this in the VLE)
  • your students will need either a portable mp3 player, or access to a desktop PC with a sound card, and speakers or headphones.


Sutton-Brady, C., Scott, K.M., Taylor, L., Carabetta, G., & Clark, S. (2009) The value of using short-form podcasts to enhance learning and teaching. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17 (3), 219-32.
Available online at: [Accessed Jan 2011]