Monday, November 25, 2013

mlearn conference 2013 - proceedings

Via Google Scholar alerts, comes the proceedings from the 12th World Conference on Mobile and Contextual Learning (mLearn 2013). Conference was held in Qatar from 21 to 24th October.

Several papers are pertinent to our current 'project surface tablet' projects and summarised here.

  • Exploring the impact of using tablet devices in enhancing students listening and speaking skills in tertiary education by Ismail Fayed,Amer Yacoub, and Ali Hussein from Qatar University. This reports on student's use of a range of mobile devices and apps to assist with communication skills in English.
  • Post Web 2.0 Media: Mobile Social Media with Thomas Cochrane (Unitec, NZ) and  Laurent Antonczak. Of interest as it extends on work completed at Unitec to build a community of practice with lecturers involved in technology enhanced learning initiatives. Use of mobile technologies assist lecturers to 'learn by doing' before they implement similar approaches in their classes.
  • Mobilogue – A Tool for Creating and Conducting Mobile Supported Field Trips with Adam Giemza. Mobilogue supports teachers and students to author and provide learning support with location awareness and guidance on mobile devices. Useful for field trips, museum visits etc. QR codes are used to provide access to information and GPS is used to pinpoint place and items for exploration.
  • Large Scale Deployment of Tablet Computers in High Schools in Brazil is a case study of introducing tablets into public education system on mass. Potentialitites, pitfalls and recommendations are detailed.
  • Creating coherent incidental learning journeys on mobile devices through feedback and progress indicators. An interesting article from a group of English researchers with Mark Gaved, Agnes Kukulska-Hulme, Ann Jones, Eileen Scanlon, Ian Dunwell, Petros Lameras and Oula Akiki. Recommends how timely feedback may be provided to learners through incidental or informal learning. Increasing learners' coherence of learning by bringing fragmented learning moments into a more cohesive learning journey for reflective learning.
  • Key Challenges Associated with Bringing Personal Mobile Devices to the Classroom. Ieda Santos discusses the pros and cons of BYOD.

Then two articles on ethical issues using mobile devices.
  • Poster by J. Wishart provides a good overview to the challenges
  • paper by Trish Andrews, Laurel Dyson and Jocelyn Wishart on how to support practitioners implementing mobile learning.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Educational and work settings forum -

Presentations are now on-line on the Ako Aotearoa website. The forum took place in mid-August in Wellington and focused on workplace-based education with a range of NZ based speakers and a keynote from Australia. Over the long weekend (show day was on Friday last week), I had time on the Saturday afternoon when it got too hot to get any gardening done, to look through the powerpoint presentations.

Of most interest are the two keynotes – one from Professor John Buchanan of University of Sydney and Professor Richard Coll from University of Waikato. Both covered the principles of education undertaken in work settings and the nexus between work and under/post-graduate degree curriculums.

Pertinent to present work is the work of Dr. Marion Sanders from Bethlehem Tertiary Institute and Liz Bowen-Clewey of Competency International.

Dr. Sanders presented on findings from the Ako Aotearoa National Project 'maximising dialogue in field based experiences' from work with social work and teacher trainee programmes.

Liz Bowen-Clewey  presented on a way forward with work-placed based competency assessments. Taking into account a more holistic structure to recognising professional competency through the use of 'professional conversations' and other whole-occupation evidence gathering approaches.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Digital literacy for Vocational (VET) students

Two articles come up this morning via Google scholar alerts which are relevant to current projects at CPIT - the pilot of our 'new' learning spaces and project surface tablet.

1) The first is 'Supporting new students from vocational education and training: Finding a reusable solution to address recurring learning difficulties in e-learning by Dai Fei Yang, Janice Catterall, and Janelle Davis of the University of Western Sydney in Australia. They propose the implementation of a 'educational technology preparation' (ETP) programme to assist students transitioning from the Australian vocational TAFE system into vocational degree programmes at university. The ETP is run through the Student Learning Unit, the Library, the e-Learning Unit and the IT Services and in effect, introduces students to the university's online and blended learning enviroments.

The above may be useful as my preliminary findings from evaluation of our 'new' learning spaces and work with tutors on project surface tablet confirms findings from previous projects (on situated technology enhanced learning and using videos to improve learning of dispositional skills). Digital natives bring digital skills which might not be aligned to academic requirements.

2) Second article from Switzerland 'Mobile Devices to Bridge the Gap in VET: Ease of Use and Usefulness as Indicators for Their Acceptance' by Elisa Motta, Alberto Cattaneo & Jean-Luc Gurtner. Provides some useful example in vocational education (automotive, pastry cooking and cookery) and uses quantitative analysis to establish apprentice / learner engagement is perceived to be linked to ease of use of hard and software.

This article informs our tablet project as use of a variety of apps and bringing these together into a coherent whole to achieve pedagogical goals is a complex process. The tutors and elearning advisors have good ideas but complicated systems mean students and other tutors may find it too unwieldy to apply in real-world practice.