Where is Australia at on the mLearning to uLearning journey?

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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.

Learning?

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:

http://epsipadtrial.globalstudent.org.au ,

http://www.applesforkids.net/Apples_For_Kids/Apples_For_Kids/Apples_For_Kids.html

http://louiseduncan.globalteacher.org.au/

http://slidetolearn.ning.com

http://www.slidetolearn.info

http://ipadtrial.posterous.com

https://ishare.plc.wa.edu.au/groups/mlearningplcperth

http://ipad.redlands.qld.edu.au

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.

Learning?

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:

http://laptop.org.au

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68p4kmKilyI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykzcQIh9-8c

http://www.olpcnews.com/countries/australia/journal_of_an_olpc_australia_d.html

http://www.olpcnews.com/use_cases/education/reflections_on_australia_class.html


So what are these super popular tablet computers capable of anyway?

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Its hard to deny that in the book that tells how computing has become more and more mobile such that its already almost ubiquitous, the current chapter would be titled ‘tablets’. While they have been around for some years in various forms, the recent maturation of mobile operating systems such as Android and iOS to match the slate style has seen an explosion in the adoption rates of tablet computers. The iPad is selling over 1 million devices a month, and it seems that conversely, about a million different Android tablets get announced each week. The Dell Streak, Asus EePad and Samsung Galaxy are all examples of high profile Android tablet computers that will be released in the next 4 months. There are also education specific initiatives around Android tablets in the shape of the Marvel/OLPC $99 project, and India’s $35 slate. Of interest also is what HP releases in the way of a ‘PalmPad’ tablet that will run the WebOS they bought along with Palm.

Ok, so enough about the hype of devices. What can they do? And specifically, what can they do for learning? Not having access to an Android tablet yet myself, my observations are based on the using the iPad. For a list of Android education apps though, go here.

I’m aiming then to post semi-regular articles on what these tablets can do, starting today with this example: iBrainstorm (free from the appstore). This app (an others like it) allow you to map out ideas, plans and thoughts visually. Where it really provides a new experience is that, being available on a tablet, all the work is done by direct touch, just as we would have once done pre-PCs. So we get to arrange notes and draw in a paper-like way, but with all the advantages that working digitally brings – such as instant sharing and storage of the brainstorm session. And, you also get to instantly collaborate. iBrainstorm allows other devices (iPhones or iPod touches as you’d expect from this platform) to connect via bluetooth and create their own sticky-notes which can be passed to the main iPad with a flick of the finger.

In a classroom, I can just see the group work possibilities. You could have four – five students summarising a topic, with up to four students creating sticky-notes of key points and flicking to a fifth student with the iPad tablet who then arranges them. I am really hoping that in near future the developers will add a video-out capability so the work could be projected to a big screen to show the brainstorm taking place live – that way the whole class could contribute.

If this is any indication of the kind of applications that tablet computers of any platform are capable, I for one am excited about the the kind of learning they will help enable. Of course it all depends on teachers facilitating their use – would love to hear from other teachers attempting to do so.

Moving at the speed of Learning: a case for mLearning and the iPod touch

moving

I recently had the great pleasure of presenting these slides both at the Slide2Learn event in Victoria, and for 80 teachers of students with hearing impairments on the recent pupil free day. The slides aim to show how mobile devices are able to help teachers and students to keep up with the speed of learning that should be a feature of any contemporary, complex classroom now that ubiquitous, everyware computing is almost upon us.

It draws on Blooms Taxonomy and challenges teachers to aim higher and to engage with how mobile tools are becoming an increasingly necessary tool for all of us as we seek to prepare students for a digital future (and present). Each slide includes notes explaining what the PDF files are showing. The slides basically fall into these three sections:

A. Assumptions about schooling, then and now, B. PART 2. Blooms Taxonomy, higher order thinking, and where the complex contemporary classroom and mobile devices come in, C. PART 3. Focus on the iPod touch platform in relation to how it fits the complex classroom – with actual examples from my school.

You can view the slides HERE thanks to slideshare.


Journal of XO learning device deployment to Warralong

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As I’ve blogged previously, I am currently privileged to be working towards bringing the ubiquitous learning benefits of 1:1 computing devices to remote schools in Australia as part of the One Laptop Per Child Australia initiative. I recently conducted teacher training and delivered XO devices to a school in the Pilbara in north west Western Australia as part of this role, and have written a journal of the experience for those interested in the project. Enjoy (right-click to download).

Warralong XO journal

Current thoughts on ubiquitous computing and learning

Well, I started this ubiquitous learning blog just over 12 months ago as a successor to a long-runing mobile learning blog. My reason was that while mobile learning (or mLearning) had finally started to catch on amongst educators, we are often a conservative lot, and I felt there was much more yet to be done – such as using the mLearning as a basis to start preparing for the real show – what learning would have to look like in a world of totally universal, ubiquitous computing.

Writing now some 14 months later, and being based in Australia as I am, I see currently three movements that indicate we as a country are further along the road to computing becoming just another human right/ utility in the same way as electricity say. The first is the rollout of the federal governments Digital Education Revolution (DER) – a catchy election promise that is becoming a reality such that all year 9-12 students will have 1:1 access to a computer by the end of 2011. The program is about halfway deployed at present, and its only 3 year timespan has meant that every high school in the country wether ready or not has had to adapt to suddenly embracing the digital world. Some are taking advantage of all the value-adds that 1:1 and digital environments can bring, others are struggling to take traditional pedagogy and make it work when students have such regular access information and the tools to re-shape and share it.

The second sign is at the opposite end of the Australia schooling system – remote primary schools. One Laptop Per Child Australia (with and partly for whom I am currently working) is at the very beginnings of deploying up to 400,000 XO learning devices to remote schools in Western Australia, Northern Territory, and Queensland. About 1500 have been deployed in proof of concept rollouts so far, all with the express philosophy of saturation – whereby every teacher, aide and student receive the same machine. Similar to the DER and high schools, this can be a shock at first – but all signs point to the ubiquity of the approach as being a key to its success – there is no going back or choosing to be the non-XO class so to speak.

Finally, I turn to a computing movement that doesn’t even qualify definitional-y as one. You won’t find it (yet) being supported officially through Education Departments – but it is one that grassroots educators are embracing exponentially just as their students have – I’m talking about the iPod touch, iPhone, and soon (for us non-US citizens) the iPad. What started first as individual teachers spending their own money on an iPod touch for their classroom has spread to school-wide deployments of 30 or even up to 200 iPod touch’s. In my state alone we have well over 200 educators active on our iPhone and iPod touch in education discussion list. They have been called the first computer you can use without instructions, and they and their ilk (we need more Android mobile devices here please Google et al) seem to be building up a momentum that even more than the many hundred of thousands of laptops mentioned in the first two examples may be bringing Australia towards a ubiquitous computing environment (apparently over 1 million iPhone’s have been sold in Australia for instance).

And what should an educator’s response be? Possibly you’re already in the middle of deploying one of these options – and if so, my biggest suggestion is – reflect. While our sector has stood still for so long, the current rush might make us forget our usual values of tying everything we do our learning vision first. So reflect first then on how these devices can enhance learning – don’t make learning fit to them. I’ll be sharing more shortly on a guide to the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch for educators that may also be useful if that is your area (you can check out the beta HERE)…

iLearn iPod touch personalised learning project Journal 2: Critical thinking via the App store

iLearn iPod touch personalised learning project, Week 2 & 3:

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This has been the part where the kids get very excited, something to do with the fact that they get their hands on the iPod Touch at this stage. Why do they get excited? Is it because the touch’s are so ‘cool’? Or is it in fact because they are so relieved to get to use something from the real world, something they are familiar with, when normally this only happens rarely at school? Up to this point, the students had not even seen the iPod’s; I’d made them wait so that we could work through some of the critical thinking goals of the unit first.
After a brief keynote demonstrating to the kids the basics of using the app store again and how to save a screenshot to record their choices, it was off to the space outside our admin block where we can access the wireless network. Obviously the wifi is crucial to this stage, and true to form, it was in and out, working fine for some lessons and not others. But they say that through trials comes learning and I was able to find couple of solutions to the wildest problems, although why the exact same settings work one hour and need to be re-entered another is still beyond me (3COM are you reading this?!).
Just as I’m asking the kids to continually be reflecting on the learning process, so am I attempting to do the same with the unit as a whole. So I’ve already made two adjustments, both arising out of conversations with members of my personal learning network. One was with a project officer who was interviewing me – the process of answering allowed me to reflect and also pick up on one of his ideas. So even though I had set verbal discussion moments up to occur every two weeks where the students reflected on their learning choices, I will now formalise this a little with set questions. The idea is that I can gauge their progress towards independent critical reflection by how much scaffolding they need to answer these questions, with the goal that they will need no help by the end of the unit. The second adjustment is that I found a free app where students can build T-charts to put down the pro’s and con’s of their initial app choice. This is how they will justify to me which ones need downloading (especially for the paid ones).
So that’s pretty much week 2 and week 3. The students have made their choice of a focus area based on their own learning data, and have narrowed down a choice of solutions (apps), with some even starting on completing T-charts to analyse these selections.
I’m still trying to get email setup on the devices so we can easily share content to and from them… But have been successful in getting assistance from our wonderful Principal and P&C to get some of the furniture resources (storage, lockable cupboards etc) that we desperately need.

iLearn project Journal 1

iLearn

There were three jobs I had for this week if this mobile learning project with learning support students was to get off the ground:

1. intro the personalised learning approach to students

2. explain concept to staff

3. physical setup of space and devices

photo 3

Here’s some reflection on each of these:

1. very silly of me, but introducing the philosophy of students taking responsibility for their learning (via personalised learning using the iPod touch) was probably the area I found I had least through through. Selling the use of the devices was easy – but helping students grasp what would be expected of them learning-wise is a bit harder to do. My first intro sessions (with students in levelled groups of four) didn’t go so well at explaining this – I had to create a short keynote and incorporate a group mindmapping exercise before these sessions started to achieve what I’d been after. Live and learn. – I must say that being able to use a projector has also transformed this intro. I project up an image (say of a mindmap) which shows students instantly what me drawing and talking about would take a few minutes to do as well.

I’ve also now compartmentalised the steps involved in this first part. Students have just completed part 1 where they are introduced to the personalised learning challenge and have chosen their focus area. Next week is hitting the app store to find an app that will fit with their chosen focus.

2. This has gone well – staff are used to me trying new things etc. And all are supportive of creating self-motivated learners

3. This is proving to be the hardest area as it relies on others… Not that that is a bad thing, and in fact the other staff involved are great. But getting one thing in place (say a lockable cabinet) involves many steps and I’m not even sure if I can get the devices in students hands until next week even though they are here! – I have been able to get a special email account setup (thanks Kate!) so we can open an App store account. – Need to get the devices security coded and get some furniture supplies sorted…

I aim to keep reporting on our progress, good and bad! Love to hear from others also seeking to add personalised and challenge-based ubiquitous learning to their school environs.

updated: TIME between TIMES: the joy of educating during a time of rapid technological change.

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In a few days, I get to present at a massive educational conference – Ulearn09 in Christchurch, New Zealand. This year there will be over 1700 educators present. I’m presenting the following paper. I publish it here now (and at Scribd) so attendees, but also the wider blogosphere and twitterverse can appreciate the great thoughts contributed by several distinguished educators from George Siemens and Stephen Heppell, to practicing classroom teachers. Enjoy! (UPDATE: slides of the presentation are now available at Slideshare HERE)

TIME between TIMES

: the joy of educating during a time of rapid technological change.


Which educator with even a vague interest in keeping pedagogy up to date hasn’t shaken their head when overhearing comments like these in staffrooms or education gatherings:

“I have a school provided laptop, but it just sits in my cupboard.”

“Our network is always down so I’ve just given up trying.”

“All mobile phones in schools should be banned.”

“I’m just a digital immigrant, so can’t be expected to learn that!”

“I’m retiring in 5 years, so I’m not going bother with technology.”

“You’re the guru, you do it!”

At my own large primary school with over 65 teaching staff, I sadly know of several for which the first comment holds true. Anyone reading this could probably similarly pick out the ones they have been exposed to. Day after day, and year after year of being an advocate for transformational learning in the face of these kinds of attitudes can have a pretty disheartening effect. Thank goodness that one of the benefits of the technology that so many educators still shun is that we can now access other colleagues via Facebook and Twitter who feel the same, but just as what is still most needed across nearly all Education sectors is not necessarily more money, but a total mindset change, so can we who are charged with leading change benefit from turning around our thinking.

The Digital revolution is a fast moving beast. Change is now a constant, not a once every now and then event. Mobile, wireless and cloud computing developments are leading very quickly towards a world of ubiquitous, or ‘everyware’ computing. Its no secret that Education has been slow to respond to rise of these technologies. In fact, a 2003 report into the ICT-intensiveness of 55 industries found that Education ranked … last. While its easy to get down about such a result, as well as the responses that many teachers still give today when invited to incorporate digital pedagogies into their students learning, there are plenty of great examples where educators have responded in wonderful ways to the digital revolution. I encourage you to seek them out, perhaps by visiting the sites of the distinguished educators you’ll find below who have responded to this:

Statement:

This is the time between times for educators working with technology. Before mobile, ubiquitous and everyware computing become the invisible norm, but after a time when educators could sit back and wait for the digital revolution to pass on by. As slow as some in education have been to respond to rapid technological change, this is however the most exciting and dynamic time to be an educator of the educators because …

George Siemens, Canada.

Founder of ‘Connectivism’, Associate Director with the Learning Technologies Centre at University of Manitoba.

www.elearnspace.org

“I believe that we are seeing, in educational technology, a rare convergence of technological transformation and ideological development. Twin trends of this sort are infrequent, last occurring with the industrial revolution when (rudimentary) concepts of democracy compounded the trends of industrialization. In education, the last century has provided growing consensus of learning as a social and participative process. While not always ideologically aligned, thinkers like Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget, Bandura, Bruner, Engestrom, Wenger, Lave, Pea, and others have emphasized the distributed, social, and multi-faceted dimensions of learning.

The last several decades has also produced an increase in technologies that enable participants to engage with information in a manner not seen in history. The rise of social networking services, participative web, and growth in mobile technologies and broadband access, provides a compelling argument for change. When the technological movement combines with the ideological shift in learning theory, the impact on education may be transformative. The future of education will be shaped by those who are able to anticipate and understand the impact of the dual forces of social learning and participative technology”.

Tony Vincent, USA.

Former teacher, now trainer and education consultant.

www.learninginhand.com

“What I love even more than teaching is learning. And in the changing digital and social landscape, I get to learn constantly and reinforce my learning by sharing it with others”.

Dr Tony Karrer, USA.

CEO/CTO of TechEmpower, a software, web and eLearning development firm.

http://elearningtech.blogspot.com

“My only real formal learning on the metacognitive methods and tools that are the heart of the value I bring as a knowledge worker was by educators.  But I learned in an era of card catalogs, microfiche readers, notes on paper. There were no laptops or mobile devices; no instant access to trillions of web pages; no networks of millions of people; nor free access to thousands of new tools.  Educators today are in the midst of one of the most interesting transformations where individual knowledge becomes devalued but the ability to teach new metacognitive tools and methods is more important than ever”.

Toni Twiss, NZ.

Former teacher, now a director of eLearning for secondary schools and a  lecturer at Waikato University.

http://tonitwiss.com

Of the opportunity we have to remind ourselves of and rekindle our passion for learning within a truly authentic context. We are forming our own new way forward, often through experimentation, and along the way are experiencing the feelings of satisfaction when something new is learned or achieved.  I think as teachers it is also a timely reminder of what it feels like to be a learner and perhaps at times a struggling learner.  We are put in the shoes of the very students we teach as we explore and experiment with the potential of new technologies and perhaps most importantly reconstruct and refresh understanding of our own pedagogy and practice rather than just doing what we have always done.

We are developing teaching methods to allow our students to be successful contributors to the world that they will be part of when they leave school.   It is exciting because by the choices we as teachers are making about what and how we choose to teach, we are helping to define the values and skills that we see as being key to the future”.

Shane Roberts, Australia.

Secondary HPE teacher, and Advanced Pedagogical Licence holder.

http://shanetechteach.edublogs.org

“The change in others that can be realised and witnessed is immense. This could be a time considered for preparation for anywhere, anytime learning and as such the phenomenon of educators learning from each other is a rising river. Innovators and early adopters can educate through means other than direct tuition which is impacting on the teaching and learning methodologies and practices experienced by today’s students. The range of devices available is also transforming ideas about teaching and learning, and the processes that distribute this teaching and learning.

Change is an exciting process, for me in particular as it means trial and experimentation are welcomed. Less effective or productive practices can be discovered, trialled and reported on without fear of being labeled incompetent – as long as learning is achieved and demonstrated. Accompanying this is the ability to gain feedback from a worldwide audience, leading to inspiration within one’s own practice.

Mathew Nehrling, USA.

Sr. Instructional Designer with a Fortune 500 telecommunications company.

http://mlearningworld.blogspot.com

“During a transition period like this, many minds are not in the box to solutions and ideas. Everyone is looking for how to integrate the new innovation (be it idea or technology).  After an innovation is standard, creativity is often stifled because people have the baseline as to ‘how it is’.

During the economic downturn as much off the world is having, it forces people to think about real, practical application.  It sharpens the focus like a sword.  How can you take the innovation and produce the greatest ROI?  It takes all the creative ideas and helps one hone in on what is practical.

We are at a point now where we have a perfect combination of the two. There is a technological revolution in anywhere, anytime computing, but with economic downturns, you have to focus on real, productive solutions, thus more energy is spent on what can be produced and static (data asphyxiation) is pushed aside”.

Emma Heffernan, Australia.

Manager Discovery Programs, eLearning Branch, Education Queensland.

“For the first time in history, students and teachers are consciously playing the same role; learners. Technology is a great democratiser of education. It is no longer expected that educators hold the knowledge to impart to their learners, rather that we are all learners. The role of the educator is evolving to one of true facilitator, guide and model learner. We have unprecedented access to people, information, resources and wisdom, and as we develop new ways of learning and working we are reshaping our view of education and schooling”.

Professor Stephen Heppell, U.K.

Founder, Ultralab and Think.com

www.heppell.net

“Because we are in a world recession. Every past recession has seen a step change for New Learning as Keynesian investment boost the new, rejects the old and favours public service; because we have moved from the flat start of technological progression’s exponential curve to the steep part. Where before we had good time to reflect on small changes, now we have little time to reflect on momentous changes – that means there is no time for a top-down quality control model and we must rely on people, practitioners and communities for judgement for what might be effective;

Because technology destroys cartels: music, automobiles, banks and more. Those who sought to build value from vast scale and barriers to new competition see their walls crumble as a people’s century erodes their foundations. It was people that called time on recorded music and rediscovered live performance; it’s small local mutual banks that have survived. Learning is about people, not corporations.

Because all the old certainties of a last century world of factory schools with its formulaic rigours of “met before” learning have palpably failed to meet the needs of a world full of surprises and the unexpected. It’s the death of factory education and, as I have often reflected before, the dawn of learning..

———————————————————————–

And the winner is … ? Based on all the above responses, and a word count/analysis, LEARNING is now king, and being a learner the key to educators finding a place in 21st Century learning. Many thanks to all the respondents for their key contributions.

- Jonathan Nalder, August 2009.

Why did I just buy new Nano’s to use with students? (updated)

Well, once I heard that the 5th generation iPod Nano had added a video camera, voice recorder, and a step-o-meter as well as dropping in price, I knew it was time to finally get two – for my school. Why for my school you ask? Well, one of my jobs is to encourage the uptake of the transformational learning that mobile and ubiquitous tech contributes to. Being able to shoot quite decent video anywhere, or record students anytime as well as storing gigabytes of podcasts, photos etc. makes this one useful tool. Add to these the ability to record your steps constantly and upload data to the web for tracking and evaluation, and you have potentially, when used within a well planned curriculum and ICT framework such as this one (Smart Classrooms), a very small and mobile, all in one learning machine.

So what did I try first? The video of course. Reportedly, the camera itself is sized only 3mm x 3mm in size. You can see the camera and microphone fitted onto the back. It took a minute to work out the best way to hold the Nano so as not to obscure the lens. Once I’d done this, I had the weird sensation of seeing a video capture window on – an iPod. Still seems hard to believe, but its just a centre button push to start and you’re off. You can watch a short clip I recorded (see link at end) to test the quality, but my opinion is, its highly useable, just make sure there is ok lighting. Video can be synced off the device in iPhoto on a Mac, or your usual photo program if on a PC.

UPDATED: I forgot to mention that the Nano has the ability to add fun effects to its videos! Applying them does degrade the quality slightly, but with careful planning, it means that videos students record can have a cinematic feel applied in device. A few people have asked if the camera can take stills, and the answer is no (its too tiny), but there’s no reason you can’t extract a still from the video once its on your computer (of 640×480 size, which is fine for student work and blogs etc).

- If you’d like a full analysis of the quality of the video, Macworld have done a comprehensive comparison of it with the Flip SD, iPhone 3GS and Kodak Zi8 HERE.

Next I tried out the voice recorder. The screens as you can see carry over from the iPhone app and functionality is just as simple as the video recording, and include the ability to come back and resume a previous recording, or to delete one you’re done with. Voice memo’s are tagged with the date and just sync over into iTunes automatically. Simple and easy, and quality again, is quite acceptable. Apparently it will also record from a plugged in mic too, something I will try out next. UPDATED: I forgot to mention that the Nano now has a built in speaker, meaning that a group of students can instantly listen to whats been recorded with no need to share headphones or plug in multiple headphones with a rockstar plug.

Lastly, I scroll-wheeled it to the new pedometer, and you can see from the pics that it allows you to set your weight for accuracy, decide if you want the pedometer to be always on, and also set a daily step goal.

The pedometer is well-tuned and only starts recording steps once you’re actually stepping, ignoring just shaking etc. The calendar is also a handy way to check you’re progress, and once plugged in to iTunes, you can further evaluate your fitness by syncing the data with the Nike+ website. Once again, its simple and brings this functionality to a whole new set of users – in my school’s case, to teachers and students.

So, I do consider this money very-well spent. I know I’ll use them extensively with my students and they will replace my 3 year old battered step-o-meter and 4 year old voice recorder very well. Even more exciting is the way it will enable me to introduce other teachers to the possibilities of mobile learning. Wish me luck!

Download sample video at actual quality by right-clicking download (ignore the non-playing quicktime icon) download (3.7mb, 11 secs).

Posted via email from Jonathan Nalder’s posterous

Review of the iPhone 3GS from a uLearning perspective

The iPhone 3GS is the most advanced converged mobile device and as such, is one that teachers and educators need to be familiar with. Its really a signpost on the road to ubiquitous computing, where mobile, miniaturised, wirless and cloud-based devices proliferate.

This review looks at how the 3GS is an update to the 3G – its faster speed, video recording, better camera, universal access tools, compass, Nike+ and improved battery all make a compelling case for this new model to find a home with educators. The review details what each of these improvements means for educators looking to advance 21st century learning.
Go here to view in 3 parts: http://www.youtube.com/user/jnxyz
or here to view in full (21mins) http://gallery.me.com/jnxyz/100260

Posted via email from Jonathan’s posterous

The iPod Touch for mobile learning: a presentation

I was recently fortunate enough to be able to present at the Innovative Technology in Schools Conference in Brisbane on the topic of mobile learning. Imagine my excitement at having a set of 30 iPod Touch’s available for the participants to learn on! This was a chance to show what the combination of current developments like ubiquitous mobile devices, wireless connectivity and cloud computing (via services like Evernote) will mean for learning in the near-future.

Despite various technical hurdles (ie. batteries being flat, proxies keeping us from using the wifi fully, twitter search being down!) the attendees seemed to have a great time discovering what possibilities mobile devices hold for education. So here are several ways that you too can experience what I was able to share:

Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=on1GNs3193w

Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net/jnxyz/ipod-touch-for-mobile-learning

Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/doc/16041976/iPod-touch-for-mobile-learning

21stC learning resources for ‘tech literacy’

 

Courtesy of eSchool News comes this fantastic collection of resources compiled ahead of the USA’s adding of ‘tech literacy’ to report cards from 2012.

Press release:
Our country’s global economic success in the future depends on K-20 graduates honing their “21st Century Skills.” Today’s tech-savvy generation has no shortage of user-friendly devices…and they know how to use them. But are they putting these tech skills to good use? You’ve heard of the 3Rs, but what about the 5Cs such as critical thinking, creative problem solving, communications, collaboration and cross-cultural relationship building?

Beginning in 2012, “tech literacy” will be added to our Nation’s Report Card. This means student proficiency in the application of technology will be measured for the first time. It isn’t just layering technology over traditional core competencies, though. It’s about totally integrating the two for success in an increasingly competitive world.

In preparation for the coming technology assessment, educational leaders are seeing heightened pressure to provide hard data on how well their students are progressing, how effective their teachers are, and how technology instruction is helping students solve real-world problems.

To help you prepare, eSchool News has compiled an extensive resource library that addresses all these issues and provides first-hand experience from educators who have successfully met the challenges. We invite you to access this free Educator Resource Center right now to find out how your students and teachers can pass the test on “21st Century Skills.”

– The eSchool News Editors

 


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Mobile, ubiquitous access to 1.5 million books

Any educators still doubting the power of mobile devices and web technologies really needs to see the following article. Not only is the around 1.5 million books that Google has scanned now available for searching and reading, but a new iPhone / iPod Touch / small-screen-optimized interface means it can now be done simply and easily from anywhere in the civilized (read cell-connected) world. Surely that must be useful for some students somewhere?
I was only discussing yesterday with my schools librarian about what he was planning to do about physical resources vs web-based (ie cheaper, less time and resource hungry) ones… TUAW.com link with more info:

Via TUAW.com

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New theory from Marc Prensky: Digital Wisdom

While it has often proved inadequate when pushed too far, Marc Prensky’s 2001 positing of Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives has given the world the terms needed to start many a technology in education debate. Now almost a decade later, Prensky has written a new article on where citizenship of a digital society now places us.

I’ll be honest, his talk of implants and controlling games with our minds does seem a little sci-fi – not even the characters in Battlestar Galactica can do that! As he states however, these technologies are not way off in the future, but are currently being trialled and deployed. So what will this mean for life as homo sapiens? What effect will all the automation available to us even now on a day to day basis have on our cognition? And where will those without access to such enhancements be left?

This is a significant article from one of Educational technology’s leading thinkers. Read the article at Innovate HERE (requires a simple registration).

Report says classroom walls and industrial-age schooling can go

As reported at eSchool News recently, a new white paper from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) says that while changing the curriculum, using digital pedagogies and training teachers are all important, it is the physical environment in which learning takes place that also needs urgent adjustment if the full advantages of the digital age are to be harnessed by schools. How far along the path to this kind of physically changing learning spaces is your school/ classroom/ campus? If its a new idea for you, don’t fret – all it takes is to read up on some universal design for learning (UDL) principles  (which while coming originally from a disabilities/ learning styles perspective, does now give relevant underlying strategies for transforming learning spaces), and then start experimenting.
From the article:
“Educators can’t truly deliver 21st-century instruction in schools that reflect Industrial-Age designs, with rigid schedules, inflexible facilities, and fixed boundaries between grades, disciplines, and classrooms, according to a new white paper from the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21).

Sponsored by Cisco Systems, the paper–titled “21st Century Learning Environments”–describes the kinds of school structures that have been shown to facilitate successful 21st-century teaching and learning: from flexible learning spaces that can be rearranged to fit different class sizes and subjects, to more malleable units of time than the typical 50-minute class period.”

 

READ THE REST:

http://www.eschoolnews.com/news/top-news/index.cfm?i=56922

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200,000 netbooks for NSW Education

If anything besides the rise of mobile phones illustrates the ubiquitous, everywhere direction that digital technology is taking, its the recent development of netbooks – small but generally-capable laptops that sell for between $300-600. The NSW department of Education obviously has detected this trend, and has announced a tender process for the purchase of 200,000 such devices. Even better, rather than just buy consumer hardware off the shelf, they have specified education-focused conditions – a wonderful but sadly rare example of this happening. You can go here to read more:
 
> http://www.australianit.news.com.au/story/0,,24934750-5013040,00.html

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Want an example of ubiquitous learning?

 

Our sister-blog mlearning-world has posted a great video depicting a ubiquitous learning project – harnessing the power of the mobile phones and downtime between on-field action at sports stadiums to deliver science lessons. This is a fantastic example of how to take advantage of teachable moments – but on a massive scale! Go here to see the vid:

http://mlearningworld.blogspot.com/2009/01/hot-lava-brings-science-to-100000.html

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