Academic Technology Staff Blog

AT staff members post thoughts and ideas about educational technology

John Martin's picture

Mobile Notes from Educause event

Summary: Mobile Learning is not a new form, but a new medium that allows easier access and more face-time with learning content at times when students are ready and able to learn. As such, institutions can maximize learning (and therefore teaching effectiveness) by developing and supporting this medium. This means we need to integrate and standardize information so students don't have to waste time finding and organizing their own learning environments (e.g. departmental forms where students need to find, learn, and navigate practices specific to that department).

The EDUCAUSE ELI Spring focus on Mobile Learning was last week, and I've been compiling my thoughts and reactions to what I heard there. Much of it is not new, and I've been dreaming and blogging about many of the ideas since 2005. It was wonderful to see that mobile is catching on an institutional level across the nation.

One of the concerns that was addressed was that institutions sometimes see their "administrative side" as somewhat removed from their "teaching side" — that is, they see the development of student services, though (perhaps) crucial, as not being "real learning" but more like frills or bonus content. This idea was pushed back strongly by those in the backchannel (Twitter feed #elifocus) who typically saw learning as a lifelong 24/7 activity that has traditionally been weak in engaging and holding attention in the 23 hours outside of class. If course content and processes are available via the medium of mobile, students have the ability to have more of "impressions" — and advertisers (very motivated educators) have long known that more ad impressions = more sales. There's learning research to back this up as well (source coming).

I have much more to say about this, but in this post, let me just end by sharing the proceedings, and adding red stars (**)to my favorites:

( under each speaker's session.

Opening Session
* Judy Brown, A Revolution in Learning is Taking Place in Our Hands
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Plenary Session
*Aaron Wasserman, Your Campus on a Smartphone and the Future of Mobile Education
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Community Project Parlor
Alan Livingston, Beyond Emergency Notification
Shan Evans, MOCA: It's Not Just Chocolate Anymore
Douglas Johnson, Student iPhone App. Development and Institutional IT: The Story So Far
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Plenary Session
*Jack Shannon, Enabling Personalized Learning
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Content Project Parlor
Samantha Earp, It's Flipping Easy! How Easy-to-Use Portable Digital Camcorders Bring the Larger World and New Pedagogies into the Classroom
Chad Haefele, Low-Effort, High-Impact Mobile Development: Designing a Mobile Website with iUI
Daniel Bracken and Michael Reuter, Lowering the Barriers to Mobile Device Adoption
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Mobile Scavenger Hunt Wrap-Up and Daily Themes
Malcolm Brown and Veronica Diaz
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Google Form Scavenger Hunt Results: Day 1

Opening Keynote
Gary Marrer, Strategic Analysis: A Typical Community College Wondering How to Take Advantage of mLearning
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Plenary Session
*William Rankin and Kyle Dickson, Mobile Collaboration: Redefining the Classroom
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Collaboration Project Parlor
Gary Marrer, Assessment of Mobile Learning
Peyton Jobe, Student Engagement in the Age of Mobile Devices
Berlin Fang, Transforming Digital Toys into Study Buddies: Using Mobile Devices to Engage Students
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Closing Keynote
Nabeel Ahmad, Mobile Devices in Higher Ed ... for Learning? You Bet

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Mobile Learning Scenarios
A report out from the scenario activity.
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Carole Turner's picture

Wednesday Morning Musings: ComETS

At the ComETS Birthday party last week, the brochure described the ComETS membership. It is by far the "best blurb" that I have ever read.

 “Anyone employed by UW-Madison or other institutions within UW-System who, as some part of their position, support UW-Madison faculty/staff in the use of instructional technology is eligible to join.”

Why would I be so enthusiastic about this sentence? Well, 5 years ago, the members of the steering committee struggled, discussed, and debated in order to find the right words to describe our professional organization. We obviously wanted to be inclusive and welcoming, yet also focused and clear. It's always encouraging when some concept becomes clear after elluding the first ten people who tried!

I also wonder why so many new members are joining this year. The statistics pointed out that 40 new people joined the 250 plus membership count this past year! I talked to a library staff person who commented why she was there -- the lasagna lunch, of course, but she also wanted to get more involved on campus and wanted to hear about new trends and technologies.

Why do you think new people are joining now?  Any ideas on how to take advantage of all of this potential new energy? I'm curious. For the new members out there -- what are your ideas? 

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John Martin's picture

Bigger, Faster, Easier

"Yes, today you can chat with friends, collaborate on projects, read the news, play games, or share videos of your kids, all online. But you could do all that stuff offline before 1991. It’s just much easier and faster now. What’s different—what’s fundamentally different—is the size of your social space, and of course the size of everyone else’s. The Internet has made these spaces much, much bigger."

This is an excerpt from What Is Good Teaching? — and it in addition to what he suggests above, Joshua Fisher makes the point that this is ushering in an unprecedented level of participation (a point made my others), and that unless educators address it, this level of participation will bring about Clay Shirky's predication:

    This shock of inclusion, where professional media gives way to participation by two billion amateurs (a threshold we will cross this year) means that average quality of public thought has collapsed; when anyone can say anything any time, how could it not? If all that happens from this influx of amateurs is the destruction of existing models for producing high-quality material, we would be at the beginning of another Dark Ages.

Essentially, that we'd head to Idiocracy (2006). How can we save the world?


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Carole Turner's picture

Wednesday Morning Musings (on Thursday afternoon)

I just need to say -- I really love Herman Miller. I like their furniture, although I don't own any. I like their focus (on learning) and I like what they say, which is more about what they find out in their research, their collaborations with higher ed institutions, their surveys, etc. It's much more than a typical sales pitch.

For example, their most recent newsletter says: People+Pedagogy+Place=Possibilities.

Brillant. Simple. True.

Now Herman Miller has a contest for students, to video their favorite learning place and win cash!

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Carole Turner's picture

Resources for Using Google Wave

A few colleagues participated in a Sloan-C Google Wave webinar two weeks ago

Here is a link to some good resources given during the webinar. 
Maybe there is something to this wave?
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