Last year was a good one for me on Slideshare. In 2009, I uploaded 13 presentations and got:
- 6,969 views
- 536 average views per presentation
- 16 favorites
- 7 followers
That sets the goal for 2010!
digital policy, innovation and edtech specialist
Last year was a good one for me on Slideshare. In 2009, I uploaded 13 presentations and got:
That sets the goal for 2010!
I haven’t blogged here for a while … because I’ve been doing a lot of posting at mLearning Africa, which I started in May. It’s about news, projects and research about mobile learning in Africa. Check it out!
I also recently attended a mobile learning summit in Zambia called Go Mobile! Check out an interview, posts and images from that.
Last week I had the pleasure of lunching at Google in New York. My friend, Bruce Falck, who works there took me on a bit of a tour around the offices. He used to be based at HQ in Mountain View — aka the Googleplex — and showed me around there when I was studying at Stanford.
Alas, one can’t take photos inside, but this is what I can tell you:
When Bruce began working for Google there were 5,000 employees. That number is now around 20,000. It remains one of the most difficult companies to get hired at in the world. As I walked around the building — seeing the giant that is Google at work — I was reminded of a Nokia ad campaign with the tagline “intelligence everywhere.” These are bright people doing very cool, world-changing stuff.
What is impressive is how accommodating the company is: basically you can do what you like with your desk space, wear what you like or make extensive use of the games room. I even noticed a group of Jewish employees praying in one of the meeting rooms. As long as you do your work, and do it well, it’s all good.
My esteemed colleague. Steve Song, has written a blog post about an Annotate-ipedia, a shared mechanism to annotate content on the web. It is only an idea at this stage, but a damn good one. We first discussed this concept last year when considering submitting a paper to Innovate journal’s forthcoming special edition on the Future of the Textbook.
Over the holidays I read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. My copy has an introduction and notes by Richard Maxwell. While the book is brilliant, the notes really made reading it a richer, more enjoyable experience. They set the context, explained links to real people (the novel is historically factual), framed the theme within Dickens’ own personal struggles, etc.
But how much better if I could read notes from others? From school teachers, historians, Dickens’ fans and teens? How cool would it not be if I could ask a question about a particular historical point and have it answered right there, alongside the text? Then the book could become a resource for History students learning about the French Revolution as well as English language learners.
Bring on the Annotate-ipedia!
Note: The only thing that I’ve seen that is related to this is Trailfire, although it’s not exactly what is needed because it let’s users add notes to whole pages only, not to words or paragraphs within pages. (Still, it’s a nice way to create a web trail across different sites that you like, e.g. your 5 favourite blog postings about twitter.)
The Schools ICT conference was held from 1-3 October 2008 in Cape Town. In addition to my blog post about the conference, notes about other interesting presentations are below.
Thumb tribe tackles mathematics
Laura Butgereit, Meraka Institute. Download presentation (5.6Mb).
Types of competition: + – / *, prime factors, root of a straight line, real factors of a quadratic, real roots of a quadratic, etc. The kids choose which competition they want to enter.
Success in maths benefits social behaviour: as a player climbed from the bottom to the top of the score board, she changed her name from PIMP(*)STAR to QunOfMaths to smartyCAT
Ethics challenges and measures of Dr Math:
With a Gmail account, any teacher can talk to MXit subscribers (through Google Talk when logged into gmail) for after hour tutoring.
Forget about websites, schools need wapsites
Rodney Johnson, Rocklands High School, Mitchells Plain, spoke about how they’d used Kwikwap so set up a WAP site for their school. The site can be managed from the web or cellphone, and can be accessed via both.
Handheld Learning was held from 13-15 October 2008 in London, UK. In addition to my blog posts about the conference, notes about interesting presentations, papers and projects are below.
Putting Philosophy into Practice
At the Handheld Learning 2008 conference: Laurie O’Donnell, Director of Learning and Technology, Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), on Putting Philosophy into Practice.
|Philosophy A||Philosophy B
|Education||Broken but can be fixed (quickly)||Long term investment in the future|
|Technology||Drives change||Enables, supports and accelerates change|
|Teachers||Another problem that needs to be fixed||Supported professionals|
|Learners||The future workforce (so need to skill them up for that)||More than just the future workforce|
|Innovation||Let a thousand projects flourish||Got to be scalable and sustainable|
|Success||Input targets and attainment||Wider long-term benefits|
|Curriculum||Don’t trust the teachers||Guidance and support for teachers|
The problems that are constantly highlighted:
There is general consensus on what 21st century learning skills are. To carry on thinking of what the list of skills might entail is becoming less and less productive. The big challenge is how to bring the development of those skills into the schools.
She believes that we need to stop designing curricula for young people and start designing with them.
Headteacher and consultant for learning technologies presented the Learning2Go project (blog):
2001: 14 devices BECTA trial
2007: Over 3,000 devices — all with wireless and imaging — in the hands of learners in Wolverhampton. Parents contribute to cost of devices. Learners generally look after the devices.
Some learners, especially boys, will only read on screen: ebooks.
Because devices are wifi enabled:
Have now added social networking: Gold Star Cafe (for 7-11 year olds, safe and secure space)
To use the mobile in the classroom, need:
Focus on Scotland
One classroom uses Wii’s Endless Ocean, a game where the player is a scuba diver who explores the ocean. There is only one Wii console in the classroom. To workaround this constraint the teacher has created a number of activities that compliment actual Wiii game play, e.g.
Thus, the writing meets the following curriculum outcomes:
Matt Lock, Channel 4
When designing educational experiences, he is not interested in the technology but rather in the “spaces”. Each of these spaces have their own qualities and user expectations:
Example project: Battlefront (description of project)
How to get young peoples’ attention:
Turning attention into action:
mLearn was held from 8-10 October 2008 in Telford, UK. In addition to my blog posts about the conference, notes about interesting presentations, papers and projects are below.
Towards a pedagogy-driven account of mobile learning
This morning’s mLearn 2008 keynote was titled Towards a pedagogy-driven account of mobile learning by Diana Laurillard, Institute of Education, London Knowledge Lab.
Twentieth century learning theories, e.g. social constructivism, constructionism, etc., generally propose the same thing: that the “engine” driving learning is a process of iterative development of an idea by a learner, which he/she refines through proposing it, defending it, questioning it, etc., and ultimately can apply as a concept to other contexts.
Laurillard proposed a conversational framework that represents different learning approaches as a way to hold up digital technologies against.Teachers need to challenge what the technologies — which are first and foremost designed for business and leisure — really afford for education and how they support pedagogical requirements. To reverse the direction of purpose: from business- and leisure-driven to pedagogically-driven.
Learners’ needs go way beyond the learning offered by Facebook. The educational voice needs to be more powerful to articulate how technology should serve learners’ needs, instead of always thinking how we can use the technologies available for learning (typically with a question such as this: “Facebook is very engaging for learners, how can we use it for education?”)
Obstacles to mobile uptake in SA
The paper presentation of Obstacles and Challenges Encountered in South African Secondary School Mobile Learning Environments by Sumi Eicker and Machdel Matthee provided these valuable insights:
How to reach learners that don’t have teachers?
The Mobile Learning Kit (MiLK) enables games that connect students, curriculum and everyday environments using simple web and mobile technologies. A scaffolding to build narratives. Debra Polson, interaction designer and researcher, Queensland University of Technology, presented interesting MiLK projects that involve learners designing and playing games. The process for this is as follows:
We are considering running a MiLK project at next year’s SciFest Africa in Grahamstown.
Also see Cipher Cities and Scoot, a treasure hunt using lo-fi tech. Parents and kids play together.
Podcasting in higher educational institutes
In a pilot project, podcasts were found to help “connect” — emotionally — distance education students with a university. The real person voice helped to create a human connection between tutors and students, which reduced both student and tutor anxiety.
Engaging the learner through game-based mobile learning environments
Lisa Gjedde, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University. Background: mobile learning may offer contextual learning potentials. Games can create user engagement and motivation.
In this project, three mobile platforms were developed to help answer the research question: To which extent can MLEs support and enhance collaborative learning?
The mobile games include multi-modal learning tasks: auditive, visual, tactile, kinestetic. Player feedback: “You were the one doing it all the time, and not the cellphone … you walked around and did it.” Engagement through: fun, context, collaboration, movement, challenge-level. Learners said that the group work (4 member teams) made them feel positive about collaboration in the future. Gave real-world context to maths. Conclusion: need for further research.
Language learning “on the go”
LondonMet e-packs (online language learning materials repurposed for use on mobile phones) were developed for adult language learners at London Metropolitan University to support learners after-hours.
Pedagogical choices for mobile learning objects (MLOs):
Challenges in designing MLOs:
Designing for cellphones:
What did the students think of the e-packs? Liked them. One said they offered “freedom from the computer.”
mLearning offers small, bite-size learning opportunities. Language learning is comprised of many skills that need to be acquired: reading, writing, listening, comprehension, vocabulary, pronounciation, etc. Bite-size learning activities, which constitute a larger lesson, definitely have their place, especially when done in context.
Researching mobile learning
Giasemi Vavoula (email@example.com) presented on the challenges associated with researching mobile learning.
Challenge 1: Capturing learning contexts
Challenge 2: Capturing learning outcomes
Challenge 3: Challenging ethics
Challenge 4: Formal vs informal?
Mobile learning foresight: the future of learning is already here
Mark Kramer, University of Salzburg
What’s already here:
But with increased velocity in our exposure to information and communication, there is a technological burden.
Tech-enabled language learning: Making the link between noticing and learning
It is important that anyone learning a language notices when they are saying something incorrectly. Suggested process: Notice, record in a diary (consolidate), reflect in a group (hopefully). There is usually not much feedback to teachers about what language learners need “in the world.” This project shows teachers the gaps and how learners are progressing. After showing learners the benefits of noticing (through video examples), they are asked to use (mobile) diaries to capture what they notice when not in class. These diary entries are then discussed in class — physical or virtual.
Communications: anywhere, anytime
This morning’s mLearn 2008 keynote was titled Communications – anywhere anytime by Dr Mike Short, VP R&D, Telefonica Europe. 95% of 15-24 year olds in European countries have a mobile phone. More stats at GSM World — latest report. Mobile is not going to go away.
His thoughts on the future of the web:
Assessing the value of mobile learning: the evidence challenge
This afternoon’s mLearn 2008 keynote was titled Assessing the value of mobile learning: the evidence challenge by Vanessa Pittard, Director: e-Strategy, Becta.
Mobile ICT use in Britain not all rosy. 84% of teachers said that they rarely/never use mobile ICTs to allow learners to work together for school activities. Only 6% of schools have campus-wide wifi.
The cost/benefit analysis and the evidence challenge
Moving from nice-to-have to must-have: developing the business case for mlearning:
Quantified benefits are the hardest part (examples):
There’s a lot to say to stakeholders, but important to focus on learner and learning outcomes. Also, could the same learning have been achieved without the ICTs?
Miscellaneous bits and pieces
The Rural Education Project (REP) conference was held from 27-28 August 2008 in the Western Cape, SA. In addition to my blog posts about the conference, notes from the various sessions are presented below.
Clifton Frolick, Director, Cape Winelands Education District spoke about Rural education: Challenges and possibilities:
I can’t help thinking that many of these challenges also face urban and peri-urban schools that exist in under-resourced areas. A defining feature of the rural context, of course, is geographic isolation, which only exacerbates the perception, held by many teachers, of not being supported in their work. Any RE strategy must therefore have a local community focus.
Diane Hendricks: Changing hearts, changing minds at whole school level: Curriculum management as an entry point for whole school development. Below are interesting quotes and references that she gave about educational change as well as the role of the teacher.
Anthea Roberts: Why a text book series as a structured, systemic intervention approach? — regarding the SDU’s Maths for all textbook series:
Chester Davids, teacher from Citrusdal:
Gary Powell and Kaashief Hassan: Developing and sustaining effective learning and teaching using electronic media supported by an electronic communication network:
Gary and Kaashief often present at ACE classes. Interesting ideas above – will definitely keep in touch.
Brenda Sonn and Karen Collet, Teacher Inservice Project (UWC): Reflection on project implementation. They interviewed many teachers and principals — some key points below.
TIP is an independent education research unit at UWC.
Dr Ronald Cornelissen, Deputy Director General, Research Services, WCED: Contextualising the Grade 6 Diagnostic Test Results:
Panel: Towards quality teaching and learning:
Susan Meyer and Cally Kuhne: Research directions for REP:
ED-MEDIA 2008 paper: The Alternate Reality Game: Learning Situated in the Realities of the 21st Century.
Abstract: Even though the literature has long recognized the potentials of gaming for learning and implementations of games do exist in education, there appears to be a paucity of theorizing on the potentials of Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as effective learning tools for the 21st century. Looking through a constructivist lens, this paper is an introductory exploration of the needs of the current participatory society and how the educational utility presented by this genre can address them. As ARGs blur the lines between real and alternate realities, we come to a place at the edge of constructivism where the need for a more nuanced theorizing incorporating the ‘reality’ aspect of learning becomes apparent. As a point of departure for future research and contributions, Reality Situated Learning (RSL) is introduced as a new theoretical framework.
Current ARG: The Lost Ring.
Authors: Magda Dominik, University of British Columbia, Canada
Opening plenary panel remarks by J. Gee, C. Ondrejka, K. Salen, and K. Squire: