Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why I study educational technology - its already happening

Have a look at this New York Time feature article and the accompanying videos on how technology is being integrated into classrooms.The videos are rather inspiring in what is and can be done when technologies are harnessed - all to promote learning unlike many would imagine.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Reflections on developing scholarly mobile learning outcomes

I am currently in the final stage of this semester, meaning that like most graduate students, papers are being outlined, drafted, and finalized. So the past couple of weeks have been rather busy. However, as I’m beginning to craft the final drafts of my papers, this is good time to reflect on emerging themes among my learning process.

Just for the record, my Fall 2010 courses are:
·      Dissertation Seminar – required for all doctoral students in my program
·      Design Based Research – my advisor teaches this course and also it is focused on the mobile learning project iAdvocate I have helped design
·      Planned Change – a change management course that uses Everett Roger’s Diffusion of Innovations text

Since mobile learning is my topic of focus, I have spent several months identifying and analyzing mobile learning literature and trying to figure out how to present my understanding of the topic in a cohesive form. For now, my thoughts on the topic have begun to gel into a ‘definition of mobile learning’ based on the literature, but its still a work in program. The most promising definition (based on peer feedback) is formed from the writings of Traxler. I write:

Traxler (2009) sees the potential of the technology in how it can support learning within a “mobile education” that is personalized (user-centered), authentic (relevant), and situated (p. 17). Of course, each of these aspects have also been examined independently of mobile learning, but when applied to the conception of mobility, they reveal a unique potential for matching teaching styles and learning styles with particular disciplines within a mobile education.

Getting to this point has been a challenge and so has writing my papers. What has struck me however are comments related to:
·      How my topic and problem presentation is ideologically biased since I am assuming that mobile learning is indeed the new wave of learning technologies
·      How my approach is overly broad and so I should focus research questions on specific pieces of mobile education
·      The challenge that the technology will change, so it might be futile to try to generalize from current mobile technological affordances

These are all valid concerns and definitely have influenced my analysis and writing. Below are the working titles of my papers
·      Planned Change course – Leveraging education change within a mobile learning context
·      Dissertation Seminar - Mobile Learning: Development of an instructional design model
·      Design Based Research – Applying Instructional Message Design Principles to a Mobile-based Learning Environment

Depending on which paper seems the best to me, I will post a copy in a later blog. 

Photo courtesy of Davide Restivo via Flickr:

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Education Week Article on Mobile Learning

This week is rather busy for me (aren't they all) in that I am having to prepare drafts of two papers for my courses. One is for a course called Planned Change, where we discuss Roger's Diffusion Theory. In this course my paper is focused on ways to leverage mobile learning in a learning system. The idea I am contemplating involves ways to implement change from a systematic level. Mobile learning should not so much be about injecting an intervention into classroom, lesson, unit, or subject, but instead should be about broader.

This means designing mobile learning devices that work to guide learners in both formal and informal learning, or among and between classes in the K-12 context.

This article from Education Week's Digital Directions reports on some examples of systemic level change: thinking about infrastructure, policy, and the stakeholders.
But superintendents and technology directors must consider what students are learning about technology use when they reshape mobile-device policies, ed-tech experts say. They must reach out to teachers and parents to explain how those policies forward students’ learning. And, most importantly, they must revise their thinking about resources to conceive of school-owned hardware and student-owned hardware as one fleet.
 In response to the article I wrote:
We are living in the age of mobility, with these mobile technologies becoming more and more common. However, what has occurred in school policy is restriction of a the devices, justified by perceiving a lack of control.

One solution, of creating mobile based instruction, works to a certain extent, but what can work better is adapting our ideas of teaching and learning towards this concept of mobile learning. This means focusing on systemic change among all the stakeholders and having conversation that can address issues such as classroom control and misuse.

Its nice to read how schools are exploring mobile learning from this level.
Thanks to Ian Quillen for the article.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A career aligned with e-learning trends

Thanks to the blog posting by Anne Lucas: for posting this earlier:

What are the trends in e-learning? 

Over the past 2 years now, since I began my instructional design studies, I have had the opportunity to work with or at least study somewhat most of these trends. Most notable are:

  • Mobile technologies - for instance my work with the iAdvocate 'App'
  • Simulations in e-learning - work with my main client SRC here in Syracuse in developing training that simulates new employees learning the culture of working with secure information
  • Serious Gaming & Augmented Reality - I designed a prototype mobile AR app that teaches students campus safety
The other trends which I have been watching closely include:
  • Open source e-learning tools - more Moodle type programs
  • Blended learning - its not so much of an either/or debate, but both. Mobile learning defiantly has potential as a blended learning tool
  • The changes to LMS - these technologies are one really just an iteration in e-learning and will hopefully change to fit into better learning design
One last prediction that Anne Lucus doesnt mention which I would like to add is the notion of e-portfolios or personal learning environments. These kind of depositories of coursework, thoughts, and collaborative reflections are, in my opinion, emerging as viable e-learning tools.