“It seems to me that in the last 2 1/2 years, Apple have pretty much already done the work needed to explain to most people what the iPad is. And now, there’s a mini version – it really is that simple. Yes you might want to know its not just mini, it’s super thin and only slightly heavier than most phones. This in itself makes it an important entrant in the tablet world where half the point is portability. You might also want to know that it’s a solid slice of aluminum and beautifully constructed.
Beyond this, I’d probably also point out that Apple has done well in their goal of continuing to try and make the hardware disappear until all that you notice is the screen and the portals that apps open up for you. The keyboard (one which I’ve typed this whole article) is a little awkward in portrait, but I fixed that using iOS’s split keyboard option (the first time I’ve found a use for it). I would just also mention that the stereo speakers are great – quite loud and unlike no speakers in any iPad before. For me, the fact that there is space enough to include them in the mini makes it clear why Apple has moved to a smaller dock connector.
WHAT ABOUT EDUCATION?
Apple CEO Tim Cook reported during the iPad mini launch that 2500 US classrooms are now using iPads. He also stated earlier this year that in the preceding quarter Apple had sold 1 million iPads just to schools. In Australia the Sydney Morning Herald (1.7.12) has reported that 60% of Catholic Schools in the Sydney area have deployed them, with large official trials having been run by almost every state Education Department as well. If the figures I see in my day job and Slide2learn.net roles are anything to go by, there could be more than 70,000 iPads in schools across the country. So, yes, iPad is big in education. But what then does the mini’s smaller size and screen mean for learning?
So far since Friday I’ve personally seen the mini in the hands of just one kid, my own 5 year old. She is very taken by it, and I must say that seeing her with it vs the larger iPad 1 she normally gets to use, I feel happier as a parent that its lighter and more ergonomic for her to hold. She hasn’t had any troubles with the smaller iPhone-sized touch points that the smaller screen has (and neither have I).
There is actually a group of young students in New Zealand…”
Preview: XO-4 Duo hybrid laptop/tablet from OLPC Australia
Based on use of an early XO with touchscreen prototype
Announced just recently but under development for sometime is the next hardware iteration of the ‘its an education program not a laptop program’ XO. Once hyped as the ‘$100 laptop’ at at time when such machines cost many hundreds more, the final manufacturing price of the XO-1 was closer to $200 plus – but even so the impact of the XO’s development was enough to shock traditional computer companies such as Intel and Microsoft into helping birth the netbook and focusing on emerging markers with new energy.
Since this time, well over 2 million XOs have been deployed worldwide, some successfully into sustainable programs that are still on going, and some not so successfully (the difference has often been the quality of teacher training and the level of partnership with education providers). An upgraded XO-1.5 with a faster processor and improved trackpad was released in late 2010, but since the original model with its unique Yves Behar child-friendly design debuted back in 2008, the world of computing has dramatically changed. No longer are cheap netbooks the frontier of computing. Instead, it is even lighter and longer-battery life tablets and smartphones with touch screens and accelerometers that fill Christmas stockings. So how is the XO design evolving to stay relevant in such a ‘PostPC’ era? And can OLPC continue to partner with existing education systems so that this new design can get into students hands?
Externally the design of the XO is staying unchanged. Like a classic car (or even Apple’s product designs that often don’t change much for years) the basic rugged green XO exterior that screams ‘made for kids not adults’ remains. I can personally attest to the ruggedness of the design, having seen it thrown across classrooms and known it to have been immersed in water with no negative effects. So its a good thing to know that this tried and tested design will be continued for the XO1.75 and XO4 Duo.
One thing that is being changed in the next versions however is the keyboard. While the rubberised keypad of the original certainly helped it maintain its water resistant reputation, typing anything more than a few words quickly becomes a pain – perhaps not for the littlest kids who haven’t known anything else, but from about year 3 many schools know that students can become as likely to pick the rubber apart as to enjoy a lot of typing. Partly because of this, and also because its responding to teacher request for the keys to feature upper and lower case letters, the keyboard has been redesigned. New XOs will feature a keyboard much closer to the standard plastic ‘chiclet’ keys of other laptops – still with a rubber membrane underneath I believe. Wether it can stop the keys being damaged is yet unknown, but typing I can confirm is improved by many magnitudes.
The other external item also being updated (for the XO4 Duo) is the screen. A Neonode touchscreen is being added in a move that allows the XO design to properly embrace the tablet mode it has always had (the ‘Duo’ branding to be used in Australia has been chosen to reflect this fact). Where the current model limits tablet-mode use to a few activities where the side controller buttons have been programmed to provide some control (Camera, Maze), the XO4 activities will all be controllable via touch, something which many schools who have deployed iPads have discovered is something students find inherently intuitive.
As far as responsiveness goes, I have found the early prototype I’m previewing to be good. A full analysis will have to wait for a production model probably when the software hopefully will have been updated and optimised (at the moment the prototype just enables touch but with the old, mouse and trackpad orientated interface). One other thing to note is that at least in the one I’m using, this change to a touchscreen has also dramatically improved the clarity of the screen. After the rubber keyboard, my biggest personal criticism of the XO has been that even though its screen has always been quite hi-res (1200×900 at 7.5 inches at a time when standard laptops had this resolution on 12inch or larger panels), something about the design of the new one (reportedly almost of ‘retina’ class at 300dpi) has removed the slight blurriness of the old one that meant for me at least that any prolonged use tended to involve eye strain.
Internally, the changes are much greater due to the change of the whole processor architecture to being ARM-based – the same kinds of chips that smartphones and tablets use. These chips use much less power but provide faster processing than the equivalent laptop or PC chips of larger devices. This means that even on this early prototype, the machine is noticeably faster at nearly all tasks, bringing it in line with the current laptops and smart devices. Bootup time in my testing is almost doubled, and opening and closing activities, which even on the XO 1.5 left students sitting idle for several crucial seconds, is also much better.
Apart from this, I can’t comment too much on the non-touch optimised software, however activities like Paint already work well. It will be very interesting to see how others get updated (and what a potential touch-friendly version of Gnome looks like) in the leadup to the XO4 Duo’s anticipated release date around April 2013.
Despite all these technological improvements, I want to highlight another development that I consider to be even more important – that being the partnering and training focus that OLPC Australia has developed to support its XO deployments, particularly the upcoming ‘One Education’ expansion that could see 50,000 XOs in student hands here by end of 2014. Where once OLPC has had a reputation for going-it-alone and seeing established Education systems as being part of the problem, the Australian arm has been able to change from also having this stance to partner and work with schools and education providers. In this way, its mandating of pre-deployment teacher training, its having schools contribute some of the support funds, and also its offering of post-deployment training and extension modules like XO Champions and XO Mechanics has been adopted and even advocated for by the state schools sector in a way that is already strengthening the sustainability of the program across the country. The challenge will be for OLPC to maintain this sense of partnership so that that their program can reach the current 50,000, and future 300,000 goals it has set.
In 2007 as a young mobile learning blogger who had been writing about digital voice recorders, Palm and Windows Mobile PDAs and dumbphones (although we thought at the time they were smart) I wrote about how the XO was the first major computing product that had been designed for children first, rather than just being corporate hardware requiring teachers to translate into schools. At the time I never dreamed I’d get the chance in 2009 to trial them at my own primary school, or help manage the deployment of thousands of them across Australia. With a continued focus on partnering, the training that comes with the One Education program, the classic tried and tested design, and soon the upgraded hardware, I, and many other teachers and students across Australia are gaining access to the potential of connected learning.
We (as in the education department I work for) don’t see the XO as being the entire solution itself however. Indeed some of our XO classrooms are also using iPads and other devices in tandem with their green machines. Committed teachers and schools are making the difference – but it is an advantage to have a ‘personal learning device’ built for education first.
[PS. As usual, opinions expressed are mine and not necessarily those of my employer]
(Disclosure: Assisting OLPC Australia to support schools has been one of my primary employment duties since mid-2009).
(Full PDF with higher res figures can be downloaded HERE).
There has been a new buzz word added to the education lexicon of late (as if one were needed) – the flipped classroom. This is an idea thats not so much brand new or revolutionary as it is one whose time has come. Technology now allows anyone (ie. any teacher or lecturer) to quickly and easily record and share lesson demonstrations online. Access to such a capability is now allowing teachers to schedule the content-consumption aspect of the curriculum as pre-lesson time work so students view it in their own time and come to a lesson already with a basic understanding. Thus the lesson is ‘flipped’ and class time can focus on discussion, interaction and tasks that build upon the basic content, rather than just on the content itself.
Case in point is Salman Kahn whose prolific creation of online science and maths lessons is often cited as one of the best examples of the flipped classroom. Salman is not a trained teacher, but through his creation and sharing of the online Khan academy, and indeed by using tools like a video camera and YouTube, or even a mobile app like ‘Explain Everything’, any teacher can provide students with content that prepares them for lessons that they can access in their own time, at their own pace. Indeed, students world-wide can also access (and create) such content themselves, without having been directed by a teacher to do so.
There is understandably much potential in this model thanks to the extra ease and accessibility current technology such as ubiquitous video cameras and internet access is providing it, but it is by no means an answer of itself. In fact, too much focus on the technological side of this model could be its downfall if educators use this aspect as a substitute for a solid curriculum and pedagogy underneath the learning itself. This is a trap that many ICT in education programs have fallen into in the past.
One high-profile example where the focus on the tech itself has at times become the problem rather than the enabler is the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative started by Nicholas Negroponte at MIT university in the United States. This project has five core principles: child ownership of devices; low ages as the target; saturation of whole schools; connected learning; and free and open source software. It has delivered over 2.5 million XO personal learning devices to countries across the world. But what does their strategy for supporting and nurturing the learning experiences that the XO can enable look like?
Some sense of the OLPC thinking in regards to this may be gained from the recent plan announced by Negroponte to deliver XOs by helicopter (‘I Want To Give Poor Children Laptops And Then Walk Away’, New Scientist, December 2011) and have no actual contact with those receiving the devices until one year later. Not to mention how many extra devices could be procured for the cost of the helicopter hire. If there is no local buy-in, planning or commitment – what is the purpose of such an exercise? A research experiment?
As my own experiences over the last four years supporting technology deployments here in Australia have shown me, the initial stage of getting the hardware out to schools can be such a massive job, and the excitement of the students when it arrives so rewarding, that its often easy to confuse this stage with what George Bush once called ‘mission accomplished’.
An example of this is a 2010 OLPC laptop deployment that I now have mixed feelings about having been a participant in. A remote community in Western Australia was taking delivery of 60 devices in the middle of a busy term. Teacher training that had occurred prior to delivery? None. Planning by the school on how such laptops fitted with their existing learning goals? None. Time until the school stopped returning our calls or replying to our emails? Three months. And yet this model of bringing the hardware, meeting with teachers for a few days, and then leaving has been a common one here in Australia whether it’s laptops or interactive whiteboards or any of the other technologies regularly deployed into classrooms.
Also known as ‘shiny object syndrome’ or ‘miracle transformation falacy‘, the belief that a new piece of technology is itself enough to ‘transform’ education is either an agenda of supreme hope or extreme negligence. Hope and belief are necessary traits for those working in difficult schools and regions, but placing that hope entirely onto a device, no matter how well designed (and the XO is one of the best education-tailored devices) leaves no room for investing in people, ie. those whose lives and futures are at stake.
So we’ve seen briefly that some of the best intentions of OLPC have foundered at the delivery stage, the ‘engaging with the very people expected to run, operate and learn with the XO’ stage. Indeed, the failure to provide teachers with appropriate guidance in a rural OLPC deployment in India led to the Write activity being used simply as a ‘routinised’ worksheet substitute almost to the exclusion of other XO tools such as “the group and community collaboration features, the Internet, the Chat activity, pedagogical activities such as Turtle Art, and the Hindi keyboard language feature”(2009, p154).
In ‘OLPC laptop: Educational Revolution or Devolution’ (2007) authors Bastiaens and Carliner own survey revealed that before there could be any guarantees regarding the XOs potential to provide an education, a deployment program that includes planning around curriculum and evaluation needs to be developed. Further, a 2009 review of global OLPC projects by the Australian Council for Educational Research suggested that all future projects needed to “embed an evaluation framework at the very beginning of a deployment, preferably at the project design and planning stage” because the paucity of evaluation conducted by deployments to that point meant it could not be known what impact they had had, if any.
Around the world however, there have been regional OLPC organisations that have recognised the need to flip the XO deployment model that early on assumed countries would sign up for 1 million devices without ever having run a trial – to move the emphasis from the pre-delivery to the post-delivery stage in much the way that the flipped classroom attempts to move basic remembering of content from being the centre of a lesson to just the setup for the lesson.
- Figure 1
OLPC Australia is one such regional arm, and they are accomplishing this ‘flip’ in several ways. The first is by putting school-based demand at the top of their deployment model (figure 1) such that the program is one done for schools rather than one done to them. A second is that remote and disadvantaged schools themselves contribute funds ($80 per device) to the project to cover training, spare parts and ongoing support. This local ‘skin in the game’ as it is called, means that the chances of schools abandoning their initial work are greatly reduced, while still allowing the program to exist at a low cost-of entry.
Another unique modification has been adding of two extra ideals – empowering teachers, and community engagement – to the five OLPC core principles. Take note that both of these could not be delivered on from a helicopter in the sky, nor from a delivery visit of a few days. Instead, it means that OLPC Australia interacts with schools over a longer term to initially provide training (through the laptop.moodle.com.au course) even before class devices are scheduled for delivery. This training (which is itself another major investment not often seen in technology deployments) is targeted not just at teachers, but includes tailored versions for local teacher aides and assistants, as well as for community members.
Following the pre-deployment training, which includes planning and lesson-creation, other training modules are available for staff to become local trainers so their use of the XOs becomes one that is driven by local knowledge and know-how (see figure 2). Even community members can now become an ‘XO-local’, while students now have targeted modules where they can become ‘XO Champions’ and ‘XO Mechanics’ as a way of recognising the skills they are developing. To further build on and support the knowledge staff in XO schools develop, the program in Australia also has a dedicated Yammer social network where support can be provided by OLPC Australia staff but also by other teachers and community members.
- Figure 2
Finally, OLPC Australia have begun to work closely not just with schools but with state education departments, (and in my case, the Indigenous Education and Training Futures Division) to ensure that the program can be aligned with existing education frameworks (such as the Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework in Queensland) rather then existing separately (and thus adding to teachers’ workloads). They are also partnering in training events such as the Learning@hand mobile learning forum to share what they have developed.
This engagement has also seen them develop localised versions of the Sugar OS that XO devices run which can be easily updated from USB drives, and seen OLPC Australia supply its own unique warranty for XOs as another sign they are supporting schools on a longer-term basis.
In starting with school demand, being committed to teachers and communities, providing pre-deployment training and post-deployment followup, as well as by working with education departments, OLPC Australia is now in a position where all their work on fundraising can translate to an ongoing project with a chance of sustainable connected learning in schools that in the past have often been the ones to miss out on the benefits of such an approach. Hopefully the flipped classroom movement can similarly learn from past experience to keep focused on the learning, not just on the technology that enables it.
Spanish Translation (only by Google Translate) for South American readers:
(Revelación: Asistencia OLPC Australia para apoyar a las escuelas ha sido uno de mis funciones principales de empleo desde mediados de 2009).
(PDF completo con mayores cifras de resolución se puede descargar aquí).
No ha sido una nueva palabra de moda añadido a la educación en el léxico de la tarde (como si se necesita) – el salón de clases vuelta. Esta es una idea eso no es nuevo tanto o revolucionario ya que es uno cuyo tiempo ha llegado. La tecnología ahora permite que cualquier persona (es decir, cualquier maestro o profesor) para grabar rápida y fácilmente compartir lecciones y demostraciones en línea. El acceso a dicha capacidad está permitiendo a los maestros para programar el aspecto de contenido el consumo del plan de estudios como el trabajo a tiempo antes de la lección para que los estudiantes que ver en su propio tiempo y llegar a una lección ya con un conocimiento básico. Así pues, la lección es “volteado” y el tiempo de clase puede centrarse en la discusión, interacción y tareas que se basan en el contenido básico, y no sólo en el contenido mismo.
Ejemplo de ello es Salman Khan, cuya prolífica creación de la ciencia y en línea las clases de matemáticas a menudo se cita como uno de los mejores ejemplos de la clase volcó. Salman no es un maestro capacitado, sino a través de su creación y puesta en común de la línea de la Academia Khan, y de hecho mediante el uso de herramientas como una cámara de vídeo y YouTube, o incluso una aplicación móvil como “explicar todo”, cualquier profesor puede proporcionar a los estudiantes con el contenido que los prepara para las lecciones que pueden acceder en su propio tiempo, a su propio ritmo. De hecho, los estudiantes de todo el mundo también se puede acceder (y crear) el contenido de tales a sí mismos, sin haber sido dirigido por un profesor para hacerlo.
No es comprensible que un gran potencial en este modelo, gracias a la facilidad adicional y las tecnologías de accesibilidad actual, tales como cámaras de video omnipresentes y acceso a internet que ofrecen, pero no es en absoluto una respuesta de sí mismo.De hecho, centrarse demasiado en el aspecto tecnológico de este modelo podría ser su perdición si los educadores utilizan este aspecto como un sustituto de un plan de estudios sólido y la pedagogía bajo el mismo aprendizaje. Esto es una trampa que muchas de las TIC en los programas de educación han caído en el en el pasado.
Un ejemplo de alto perfil donde el foco en la propia tecnología ha sido a veces convertido en el problema, más que el facilitador es el One Laptop per Child (OLPC) comenzó por Nicholas Negroponte en el MIT, la universidad en los Estados Unidos. Este proyecto consta de cinco principios básicos: la propiedad de los dispositivos de niños, las edades más bajas como el blanco, la saturación de las escuelas integrales, el aprendizaje conectado, y el software de código libre y abierto. Ha entregado más de 2,5 millones de dispositivos personales XO de aprendizaje para los países en todo el mundo. Pero, ¿qué hace su estrategia para apoyar y fomentar las experiencias de aprendizaje que permitan a la XO puede parecerse?
Algunos sentido de un pensamiento OLPC en lo que respecta a esto puede ser adquirida en el reciente plan anunciado por Negroponte para entregar XO en helicóptero (‘Quiero darle a los niños pobres Portátiles y luego a pie “, New Scientist, diciembre de 2011) y no tienen real póngase en contacto con aquellos que reciben los dispositivos de hasta un año después. Por no hablar de la cantidad de dispositivos adicionales podrían ser adquiridos por el costo del alquiler de un helicóptero. Si no hay participación local en la planificación o el compromiso – ¿Cuál es el propósito de este ejercicio? Un experimento de investigación?
Como mis propias experiencias en los últimos cuatro años de apoyo a las implementaciones de la tecnología aquí en Australia me han mostrado, la etapa inicial de conseguir el hardware a las escuelas puede ser un trabajo tan masivo, y el entusiasmo de los estudiantes cuando llega tan gratificante, que su a menudo fáciles de confundir a esta etapa con lo que George Bush llamó una vez “misión cumplida”.
Un ejemplo de esto es un despliegue de 2.010 portátil OLPC que ahora tengo sentimientos encontrados acerca de haber sido un participante in una comunidad remota en el oeste de Australia fue aceptar la entrega de 60 dispositivos en el medio de un término ocupado. La formación del profesorado que se había producido antes de la entrega? Ninguno. Planificación de la escuela acerca de cómo las computadoras portátiles de ese tipo con sus metas de aprendizaje ya existentes? Ninguno. Tiempo hasta que la escuela dejó de responder a nuestras llamadas o responder a nuestros mensajes de correo electrónico? Tres meses. Y sin embargo, este modelo de lo que el hardware, reunirse con los maestros durante unos días, y luego dejando ha sido muy común aquí en Australia si se trata de computadoras portátiles o pizarras interactivas o de cualquiera de las otras tecnologías de la regularidad desplegadas en las aulas.
También conocido como “síndrome del objeto brillante” o “falacia de transformación milagrosa”, la creencia de que una nueva pieza de la tecnología es en sí misma suficiente para “transformar” la educación es tanto un programa de la esperanza suprema o negligencia extrema. La esperanza y la fe son los rasgos necesarios para que las personas que trabajan en las escuelas y regiones difíciles, pero la colocación de esa esperanza por completo en un dispositivo, no importa lo bien diseñado (y el XO es uno de los mejores dispositivos de la educación a la medida) no deja lugar para invertir en las personas , es decir. aquellos cuyas vidas y futuro están en juego.
Así hemos visto brevemente que algunas de las mejores intenciones de OLPC han fracasado en la fase de entrega, el “compromiso con las mismas personas que se espera ejecutar, operar y aprender con la XO etapa. De hecho, la falta de profesores con la orientación adecuada en una zona rural de implementación de OLPC en la India llevó a la actividad de escritura que se usa simplemente como un sustituto de ‘rutinizada’ hoja de trabajo casi hasta la exclusión de otras herramientas de XO, tales como “el grupo y las características de la comunidad de colaboración, Internet, el chat, las actividades pedagógicas, tales como Turtle Art, y el teclado Hindi característica del lenguaje “(2009, P154).
En ‘OLPC laptop: Revolución Educativa o la devolución “(2007) Bastiaens autores y las encuestas Carliner propia reveló que antes de que pudiera haber ninguna garantía con respecto a las XO potencial para proporcionar una educación, un programa de implementación que incluye la planificación en torno a las necesidades del plan de estudios y evaluación que se desarrolló .Además, una revisión de 2009 de los proyectos globales de la OLPC por el Consejo Australiano para la Investigación Educativa sugiere que todos los proyectos de futuro necesaria para “integrar un marco de evaluación en el comienzo de un despliegue, de preferencia en el diseño del proyecto y la etapa de planificación”, porque la escasez de la evaluación llevada a cabo por las implementaciones de ese momento significaba que no podría ser conocido el impacto que había tenido, en su caso.
En todo el mundo, sin embargo, ha habido organizaciones regionales de OLPC que han reconocido la necesidad de dar la vuelta al modelo de implementación de XO que desde el principio asumió que los países en firmar para arriba para 1 millón de dispositivos sin tener hacer un ensayo – para mover el énfasis de la pre-entrega a la etapa posterior a la entrega en gran parte la forma en que los intentos de clase volteado para mover básica recordar el contenido de ser el centro de una lección a poco la configuración de la lección.
- La figura 1
OLPC Australia es uno de los brazos regionales, y que están logrando este “tirón” de varias maneras. La primera es poner la escuela basada en la demanda en la parte superior de su modelo de implantación (figura 1) de tal manera que el programa es un hecho para las escuelas en lugar de uno hecho para ellos. La segunda es que las escuelas remotas y desfavorecidas contribuir con fondos propios ($ 80 por equipo) para el proyecto a cubrir la formación, repuestos y soporte continuo. Este local de la piel en el juego “como se le llama, significa que las posibilidades de las escuelas que abandonan su trabajo inicial se reduce en gran medida, al tiempo que permite el programa a existir en un bajo costo de entrada.
Otra modificación único ha sido la adición de dos ideales adicionales – los profesores empoderamiento y participación de la comunidad – a los cinco principios básicos de OLPC. Tome en cuenta que ambas cosas no se pudo entregar desde un helicóptero en el cielo, ni de una visita de la entrega de unos pocos días. En su lugar, significa que la OLPC Australia interactúa con las escuelas de más de un más largo plazo para proveer inicialmente de capacitación (a través del curso laptop.moodle.com.au) incluso antes de que los dispositivos de clase se han programado para la entrega. Esta formación (que a su vez es otra gran inversión no se suele ver en las implementaciones de la tecnología) está dirigido no sólo a los profesores, sino que incluye versiones adaptadas para los asistentes de maestros locales y asistentes, así como para miembros de la comunidad.
Después de la capacitación previa al despliegue, que incluye la planificación y la lección de la creación-, otros módulos de formación están disponibles para el personal para convertirse en capacitadores locales de modo que su uso de las XO se convierte en uno que es impulsada por el conocimiento local y know-how (ver figura 2). Incluso los miembros de la comunidad ahora puede convertirse en un ‘XO-local “, mientras que los estudiantes ahora se han centrado en los módulos donde se pueden llegar a ser los Campeones’ y ‘XO XO Mecánica”, como una manera de reconocer las habilidades que están en vías de desarrollo. Para construir más allá y apoyar al personal los conocimientos en las escuelas XO desarrollar el programa en Australia también cuenta con una red dedicada Yammer social donde el apoyo puede ser proporcionado por personal de OLPC Australia, sino también por otros profesores y miembros de la comunidad.
- Figura 2
Finalmente, la OLPC Australia han comenzado a trabajar en estrecha colaboración no sólo con las escuelas, pero con los departamentos estatales de educación, (y en mi caso, la educación indígena y de la División de Formación de Futuros) para asegurar que el programa puede ser ajustado a los marcos de educación existentes (tales como el Smart Marco de las aulas de Desarrollo Profesional en Queensland) en lugar de existir por separado (y por lo tanto añadiendo a las cargas de trabajo de los docentes). Ellos también se han asociado en actividades de formación como el foro de Learning @ por el aprendizaje móvil para compartir lo que han desarrollado.
Este compromiso se ha visto también a desarrollar las versiones localizadas del sistema operativo de azúcar que se ejecutan los dispositivos XO, que puede ser fácilmente actualizado de las unidades USB, y he visto OLPC Australia suministrará la garantía propia y única para la XO como otra señal de que están apoyando a las escuelas sobre una base a largo plazo .
Al comenzar con la demanda de la escuela, estar comprometido con los maestros y las comunidades, proporcionando formación previa al despliegue y el seguimiento posterior a la implementación, así como mediante la colaboración con los departamentos de educación, la OLPC Australia está ahora en una posición en la que todo su trabajo en la recaudación de fondos se puede traducir en una proyecto en curso con la posibilidad de aprendizaje sostenible conectados en las escuelas que en el pasado a menudo han sido los que disfrutan de las ventajas de este enfoque. Esperemos que el movimiento del aula volteado de manera similar se puede aprender de la experiencia del pasado para mantener la concentración en el aprendizaje, no sólo en la tecnología que lo permite.
Visita www.laptop.org.au para leer más sobre One Laptop per Child es uno mismo.
Looks great, but I’ll need to see the software optimized for touch (can’t believe they demo’d it without this!), & an actual ship date… In the meantime, the XO 1.75 will be available from March (my brief hands-on with one showed it to be way faster).
Nearly two years ago, I closed down my Google top ten Mobile Learning blog after 3 years and over 10,000 hits. I felt that the time of calling from the roof tops that mobile learning existed was over. People had started paying attention to the rise of mobile phones etc as the preferred computing platform of those who education should be centered around, ie. students. Reports like New Media Consortiums ‘Horizon Report’ were including mobile learning as one of the top educational trends. Game-changing next-gen devices like the iPhone were just appearing, and when I went to write an mLearning paper for my Masters thesis, I discovered there were plenty already.
So I was forced to research where mLearning was going, and to think about what was the next phase that the world of education needed to be hearing about. It seemed logical after a time that of course as computing became more miniaturized and mobile, it would eventually become ubiquitous, or an unnoticed part of everything – invisible as all other technology that has proceeded it has after enough time has passed. So in a world such as that, what will ubiquitous learning need to look like?
I’m still not really sure exactly what it will look like, but as you know if you’ve been following this uLearning blog, I’ve been continuing to follow several mLearning developments as a way to track the overall journey. There are two in particular I’m most involved with here in Australia, and I’d like to detail whats been happening and what learning that takes them into account looks like.
1. Single use – multi-use – ubiquitous uses
The first is the continued convergence of the standard mobile device from being a phone or a mp3 player into one that does everything. Dedicated devices will always be around, but what has also occurred is that the average device, especially now that touch-screens have replaced buttons and mobile app stores are proliferating, is becoming ubiquitous-use devices. Its safe to say for instance that the 300,000 apps in the iOS App store provide at the very least thousands of potential uses, be it as a digital level tool for building, or a portable weather radar etc, as well as the more traditional phone, camera, GPS etc.
In Australia, the uptake of the iPhone is the highest in the world. That alone has to tell you something about how deeply entrenched these kinds of devices are here already. The state of Victoria is trialling 800 iPads, and I personally know of over 40 schools (there will be many times that number I don’t know about) here in Queensland who have deployed iPod touches and now iPads. In fact the second Slide2Learn conference focusing on these devices in education recently sold out 80% of its places in only 2 1/2 days.
Here are some links to explore more of what the actual practitioners are doing:
Also significant has been the spread of educational net-book programs into countries that have skipped the desktop PC era (for various reasons) and gone straight into the mobile computing one. In this category we have the One Laptop per Child XO laptop, as well as the Intel Classmate. OLPC has seen over 2 million XOs deployed, with many more ordered. Classmate numbers are harder to get a hold of, but large orders have been placed in addition to the many schools that have opted for standard netbooks.
Like the iPod touch and iPad deployments happening here in Australia, the OLPC XO laptop is much more in the complementary/ personalised learning device category. What this means is that most schools already have PC labs and other ICT infrastructure, but they don’t have mobile devices that allow students constant, anywhere access to the potential benefits of having connected, personal tools in student hands. The rugged nature of the XO device in particular makes it ideally suited to use by early and primary school aged students, especially in remote locations far from repair sites.
Here are some links to see more of what has been happening:
So, you’ve decided to give these new-fangled mobile devices a place at your 21st century education (a term I use because I know so many can’t stand it) table. Your students will thank you. During the initial planning and implementation phase of your work to tap into the potential benefits of mobile learning (such as portability, simplicity, agility and personalisation) I’d like to encourage you to turn your mind, and that of your students even, to problem solving.
Of course any successful integration of 21st century pedagogy (oops said it again) will require plenty of problem solving. But in this post I’m talking specifically about the physical environment into which these devices will need to fit. Is it one thats set up for large PCs and traditional content-transmission teaching? If so, you have a wonderful challenge ahead. And if your school has anything like the strained budget of mine, its a challenge that could be posed like this:
“How can we creatively adapt to the unique space and accessory needs of a mobile device project, without the total cost of ownership of the project making the whole thing too expensive?”
Questions stemming from this directly might be: “How will we manage all the cords for syncing and charging or storing styli?” and “is there a stand that works in multiple locations so we don’t have to buy many different kinds?”
Sounds like a great challenge-based or project-based learning task. And here’s where I suggest you start – at one of those cheap web stores full of gadget bibs and bobs – where a bit of creative thinking just net you what you need.
Example 1: the Cable clip
Despite the presence of wifi in more and more device that fall into the mobile learning category, most still require cables for charging if not for syncing as well. It doesn’t take too long before even a few devices means many cords and cables snaking around desks. Big potential workplace health and safety issue. Now, you could try cheap cable ties to group some of the cords or keep them tidy, but these have to be cut every time the cords are moved. Enter the cable clip. By peeling off the adhesive, you can stick it (and re-stick) wherever its needed for grouping power or syncing cables. I’ve also seen it used as a holder for a stylus if your art teacher wants students to use those with you mobile device. Even better, these can be had from some online stores for under $3.00 for a pack of six.
Example 2: The windscreen mount re-purposed as a multi-purpose stand and mount.
With the amount of apps available on many devices these days (wether they be iPod touches, tablets, phones, even Leapster devices), the best return on any schools investment naturally is if students have them at hand to be used as much as possible. Going on the out of site out of mind idea, its especially important in the early stages of a deployment when you and your students aren’t used to having the capabilities of your chosen device to draw on that they be visible. To this end, my idea is to repurpose a windscreen GPS-type mount for holding a variety of gadgets in place around a learning area, especially for viewing podcasts or playing and replaying voice recordings etc. This one that I found (simply called a ‘universal car windshield mount’) has three rotating sections and I’ve been able to angle it pretty much anyway I’d want for devices in both a portrait and landscape mode. Plus despite being cheap (ie. under $9.00), its quite sturdy and the holder can adjust from about 5cm to 10cm wide, meaning it can be used with a variety of devices.
Ok, so there is a couple of ideas. I’d love to hear what others come up with.
PS. I did my ‘creative thinking’ at budgetgadgets.com, which is also where the pricing in this post comes from.