Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Torbay RTC: Personalised Pocket Learning

Live blog from #torbayrtc

Personalised Pocket Learning - making a distinction between handheld learning and netbook type devices. Studywiz uses a variety of interfaces to deliver their stuff. Can have Studywiz Mobile - browser based designed to work on mobile devices (e.g. iPhone) and also a portfolio iPhone App eLocker. Two way interactive products. eLocker and Mobile can be used as voting devices, camera, dictionaries, spirit levels... Teachers even saying they save on photocopying costs and can deliver content that might otherwise have gone on Interactive Whiteboards.

There is not a substantial body of research on mobile learning - partly because there is no stable mobile environment. Current mobile devices are convergent devices pulling in a range of functions and tools into one, pocket sized device.

Advantages include ubiquitous access - learning beyond the classroom. Includes home/school links and international links. See Travis Elis's (Ellen? - not sure of name) Travis Allen's YouTube video about the iSchool Initiative - he wants to see every school student with their own iTouch. {Update: Sorry about messing up Travis' name but I'm pleased he left me a comment that allowed me to fix it and add some other links. Clearly Louise's Australian accent threw me - "Allen" via Australian became "Ellen" :-) }

Children want to personalise their learning. Pupils want a space they can personalise and meet with other learners. Pocket Learning devices can increase motivation (speaker says the engagement lasts - not just novelty factor) and makes learning fun. Pupils are engaged but important to engage the wider community - parents and teachers need to know how the pupils will be using the devices educationally. It is not about goofing off in class to listen to music. Develop an Acceptable Use Policy and explain what you intend to do to pupils, parents, teachers, management...

Louise Duncan (the speaker) thinks that many paper handouts are lost or wasted but this doesn't happen to material delived to pocket devices.

Suggests that you implement in stages - don't try and do everything at once. Start small and build on successes. Asked how long it takes from discovering a piece of software to getting it installed and usable on school machines. It can take a long time! With pocket devices, such as iTouch, it is easy to get new apps onto all the devices - sync with teacher machine to share to all pupil devices. (As an aside, she said that searching YouTube with an application name often brings up video of applications in use - gives good idea of what they are like.)

Showed a slide with some iPhone/iTouch applications. Leaf trombone, classic books, story kit, Civilisation Revolution (history simulation), Wurdle, Geared (used in science classrooms). Strip Designer used to create activities based on screenshots and maps to create geography activities - three images side-by-side map/street view/pupil folder of same location. Google earth and virtual field trips, etc. Another simulation game for iPhone/iTouch is Virtual Villagers. Numeracy: iChoose random choice tool - great for probability. Timers, spreadsheets etc. Can also give gallery of images, e.g. coins, or images to represent fractions. Engaging students in science: TouchPhysics. Brushes: goes beyond the doodle - share and comment on other children's work. Also, can show animation with Brushes Viewer that plays back creation of picture. Literacy activities include podcasting, film as text, collaboration. Storynory allows ownload of audiobooks with online transcripts - words can be clicked on and defined. Etch-a-sketch lite.

Lyrics: tune wiki can bring up album art and lyrics as it is being played. Turn presentations to movies to the pupil's pocket devices. RSS feeds can pull relevant content directly n to pupil's devices. Can use flip style video recorders, bring into iMovie and then share out to pupil iPhones/iTouches. Sound recording directly onto device. Worth looking at iTunes U at least once a week {Must find chap from Cupertino who Tweets about good stuff happening on iTunes U - DDM}

The age we are does not determine how we use technology but it is our role as teachers to ensure relevant learning takes place and that pupils don't use devices simply to have fun. Worth integrating the devices with school admin system to deliver daily bulletins etc. Give teachers the devices six months before the pupils! Teachers at Louise's school found that pupils very quickly integrated into their lives and used much more effectively than textbooks/notebooks. Notebook and pocket devices have a three year lifespan so sustainability is an important consideration. Need configuration tools to make it easy to set up devices and add certificates to allow school internet access and filtering. More generally, a strategy to sync devices is important (e.g. ParaSync for iPods). Even basic issues like how will pupils charge their devices.

Louise has a blog that details loads of information and you can find her on Twitter at LouiseEDuncan.


Travis said...


This is Travis Allen founder of the iSchool Initiative, I just wanted to thank you for mentioning me and also correcting my name. Thanks!

Here is my video:

David said...

Thanks Travis

I'm impressed you found the post despite me mishearing your name. :-)

The iSchool idea looks interesting and you give some great ideas for possible education apps and uses.

Thanks again for your comment.

Sonu Gupta said...

This is such a wonderful thing to know. More power
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