Wednesday, October 28, 2009

BEd, Handheld Learning and Frozen Laptops

Today I intended to talk to the BEd 4 group about handheld learning. I was talking mostly about mobile phones but touched on Nintendo DS, iPhones and a few other bits and pieces as well. Unfortunately, the session started badly and went downhill from there! The ultimate fail happened when my laptop froze completely because the hard disc was full.

I said I'd try to note down a few of the things I talked about (or meant to talk about) and pass them on.

For information about Nintendo DS and handheld gaming, I of course referred them to Derek Robertson, the Consolarium as well as his Brain Training research and Nintendogs activities. I also talked about a couple of mobile phone based games that I like: Myst and Guitar Hero. For more information on Myst in education, have a look at the stuff Tim Rylands did and for the Guitar Hero, see the Guitar Hero @ MSG page.

I also talked about mobile blogging - or moblogging. I referred to some commercial tools but tried to emphasise how much could be done free (or next to no cost) with a moblog - see for example the PGDE(P) moblog as well as do it yourself solutions with Twitter and TwitPic.

I also spent a bit of time talking about how mobiles could be used as Interactive Voting Systems and demonstrated Poll Everywhere (with the students voting via Twitter) but should also have mentioned SMSPoll, Powerpoint Twitter Tools and TwEVS.


I also did a quick demonstration of QR Codes and described how you could use a QR Code generator to make codes for classroom posters, homework sheets and letters to parents. With the right software on your phone (I use i-nigma) you can use its camera to take a picture of the code to connect to an associated website. For example, the above code will take you to my Delicious page.

Towards the end of the session, I sent the students out on a "field trip". They were to find a janitor and send his or her name back by texting a message to Twitter from their mobile phones. I didn't spend long enough explaining the exercise so it didn't quite go to plan but we got a few messages before the end of the class.

Finally, some reading. For more details on mobile gaming, see TeachMeet08@SLF: Mobile Games and for advice on how to build a good personal learning network on Twitter, see Nine great reasons why teachers should use Twitter and Seven Ways to Find Teachers on Twitter.

So have I missed anything? What do you think the key aspects of handheld learning are?


mhawksey said...

One of the key aspects, for me, is the 'magic of the cloud'.

Google’s Eric Schmidt recently commented "mobile platforms, Android and the others, are so powerful now that you can ... do magical things that are connected with the cloud" Via TechCrunch

Probably the best example of this is augmented reality, using the phone's sensors to pull relevant information from 'the cloud'.

Adding a bit of magic to learning can only be a good thing ;-)

David said...

When I read you comment, I immediately thought of my favourite quote from Arthur C. Clarke. I then followed up the TechCrunch link... :-)

Thanks for this link. I did touch briefly on games that use GPS to mix activities in the real world with stuff in the virtual world of the handheld device. From the snippet on TechCrunch, it looks like the "augmented reality" aspects are something I will need to look at more closely.

writing assignment said...

Thanks for sharing your experience. Cyan Worlds, Inc., the makers of the Myst and Riven series of photo-realistic completely immersive adventure games, together with Mean Hamster Software, brings you all of the rich detail, sounds, music and challenging puzzles found in the original release version of Myst, but now in a very portable form designed especially for the Pocket PC.

sager said...

Very informative and well written post! Quite interesting and nice topic chosen for the post.

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