MALT

Mobile Access to Learning and Teaching at the University of Northampton

Tag Archives: Science & Tech

The use of mobiles in informal learning

Description

In this paper, the authors surveyed a group of smartphone and PDA “enthusiasts” (users confident in using mobile technologies), to discover current learning practices that involve the use of mobile devices, and to identify potential learning activities made possible by the technology. The responses evidence a range of activities, supporting both intentional and opportunistic learning, from looking things up, to recording and taking notes, to (co-)constructing new knowledge.
The paper divides these learning applications into the following categorisations: referential, location aware, reflective, data collection, constructive and administrative, with the following qualifiers for each: individual, collaborative, situated, distributed and interactive.

Ingredients

There are no specific ingredients for this review, apart from a connected mobile device, but it might give you some ideas of the capabilities of the technologies, and the activities that your more technically confident learners might already be doing.

Reference

Clough, G., Jones, A. C., McAndrew, P. & Scanlon, E. (2007). Informal learning with PDAs and smartphones. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 24(5), pp. 359–371.
Available online at: http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1111/j.1365-2729.2007.00268.x [Accessed Jan 2011]

Advertisements

Mobile simulations

Description:

This paper reviews the use of mobile devices to run simulation activities – authentic scenarios that require learners to respond to information provided, and make judgements and decisions in real time. These scenarios create a “virtual context” where the simulated events take place, independent of physical location and social surroundings. The paper focuses on a flood disaster simulation, which used SMS (text messaging) to communicate with students. Students responded with decisions which altered the virtual environment, and then reviewed their decisions in a written assessment.
The project was evaluated using questionnaires and a small number of interviews. Responses indicated a high level of engagement, and an appreciation of the authenticity of the tasks.

Ingredients
You will need:

Reference:

Cornelius, S. & Marston, P. (2009) Towards an understanding of the virtual context in mobile learning. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17 (3), 161-72.
Available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0968%2d7769&volume=17&issue=3&spage=161 [Accessed Jan 2011]

Field trip support: dynamic visualisations for understanding biodiversity

Description

Students on a field trip to the sea were provided with mobile video devices (portable DVD players) with multimedia information about fish species. One group were provided with a DVD of dynamic visualisations, while another group used static ones.
The project was evaluated at three levels: micro (the usability of the devices in the context of the learning activity); meso (the impact on learning); and macro (practicability of including this type of activity into a course). Students were tested on their ability to identify species before and after the activity.
The students found the devices easy to use, and there is some evidence that having access to support materials in the field was both motivational and beneficial to students’ learning.

Ingredients
You will need:

  • Video content (develop your own, or check for existing clips you can re-use)
  • Mobile devices to play back the video (this could be handheld devices like iPods, or portable DVD players if you plan to supply the clips on DVD.

Tip: don’t rely on your students having access to the internet (e.g. to watch clips on Youtube or the video streaming server). Wifi and 3G connections can be unreliable and expensive in fieldwork situations.

 

Reference:

Pfeiffer, V.D.I., Gemballa, S., Jarodzka, H., Scheiter, K., & Gerjets, P. (2009) Situated learning in the mobile age: mobile devices on a field trip to the sea. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology 17 (3), 187-99.
Available online at: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&issn=0968%2d7769&volume=17&issue=3&spage=187 [Accessed Jan 2011]