The Center for Global Curriculum Studies of Seattle Pacific University announces its Fifth Biennial Symposium: Educational Innovations in Countries around the World. The Symposium will be held on the campus of Seattle Pacific University and on Whidbey Island, located near Seattle on the Puget Sound. The dates of the Symposium are 1-3 July, 2013. Interested individuals are invited to submit proposals in the form of an abstract of 100-200 words in any of the following categories:
- Curriculum and Instruction
- K-12 Education
- Higher Education
- Educational Policy
- Educational Administration
- Comparative Education
- Global Education
- Educational Technology
- Distance Learning
Abstracts should be submitted electronically and are due no later than March 15, 2013. Submissions should be sent to:
Arthur K. Ellis, Director
Center for Global Curriculum Studies
Seattle Pacific University
Seattle Pacific University is located on Queen Anne Hill in the City of Seattle, Washington. Access to downtown with it world-famous Pike Place Market and other waterfront attractions is readily available through convenient bus service. Participants are invited to stay either at dormitory accommodations on campus or at any of a number of nearby hotels. Conference registration is $350, which includes dormitory accommodation and most meals. A cultural program is planned which includes a day trip by ferry to Whidbey Island with its pioneer settlements and beautiful ocean beaches.
In a recent post I wrote about eBooks being one of six emerging educational technologies to keep an eye on in the near future. Continuing with that theme, I would like to share about the current status of mobile learning or m-learning in higher education and at Seattle Pacific University. The 2011 Horizon Report predicted that mobile learning will move towards mainstream adoption during the 2011-12 academic year.
In this post, I will:
- Define mobile learning.
- Describe how it can be used in higher education learning.
- Share examples of how Seattle Pacific University professors are using m-learning with their students.
- Share an upcoming opportunity for SPU faculty to discover more about how mobile learning can be used with their students.
What is mobile learning?
Mobile Learning or m-learning definitions fall into one of two camps, tech-centric or learner-centric. Traxler (2005, p. 262) defined m-learning as “any educational provision where the sole or dominant technologies are handheld or palmtop devices.” This definition clearly focuses on the technology being used rather than the learning that takes place. Learner-centric definitions emphasize the location of the learner –anywhere, and the timing of the learning activity –anytime (O’Malley et al., 2003). I choose the second definition to stay centered on learning and keep “the tail from wagging the dog.”
How is mobile learning being used in higher education?
Quinn (2011) shares Four C’s of Mobile that can help educators stay focused on appropriate uses of this educational technology. First, mobile devices can be a great way to access learning Content. Students can watch videos, listen to lectures, and even read articles or books on their mobile devices. SPU’s iTunes U site was recently optimized for iPhone and iPad use. Second, mobile devices are great tools for Capturing content. Students can use their phones to take pictures, as well as record audio and video, all which can be used to document evidence of their knowledge and skills in a course. Third, students can use mobile devices to Calculate. Instead of purchasing and lugging around a separate calculator, students can buy a scientific calculator app for less than a dollar that is available wherever they carry their smart phone. Great computational apps like Wolfram Alpha can be useful for finding and sharing statistical data during classroom discussions. Fourth, mobile devices can be used to Communicate with others. Students can send emails, texts, and use voice and video technologies to interact with their peers and professors. The Four C’s promote anywhere, anytime learning, allowing students to engage in learning activities in places where they might not be carrying their textbook or have access to a computer.
How is m-learning being used at SPU?
Seattle Pacific University professors are experimenting with mobile technologies in both face-to-face and virtual settings. One example is from Assistant Professor of Economics, Geri Mason, who has students answer a higher-level question at the beginning of a class using cell phones as a personal response devices or clickers. She uses PollEverywhere to survey students, having them text answers to an online database where they display on the projector screen as they are submitted. Once all students have participated, she has them break into small groups and discuss their answers. When finished, she calls on students to defend a position from one of the responses. Professor Mason also uses this technology for short quizzes, taking attendance, and gathering feedback on data collection assignments. She has harnessed what many would consider to be a disruptive technology and uses it for active learning.
Education Professor Andrew Lumpe has recently experimented with Blackboard Mobile Learn on his iPad. Blackboard Mobile Learn is a native mobile app version of Blackboard available on Apple mobile devices, as well as Android, Blackberrry, and WebOS (formerly Palm) smart phones. He has used it to participate in discussions with students in an online graduate course. Professor Lumpe gives the app mixed reviews for now. He likes how easy it is to navigate around the course on the iPad. He also likes how discussion forums are graphically represented. However, he does not like that the Control Panel is unavailable to make changes to the course and wishes there was a feature to receive notifications when new discussion posts are made. For now professors and students may prefer to use the browser version of Blackboard on their mobile devices.
Are you interested in learning more about m-learning?
Instructional Technology Services will be hosting a workshop on mobile learning on June 15, 2011 at 2 PM in the Library Instructional Lab. Professor Mason will share about her experiences with PollEverywhere and I will share highlights from an invited presentation I recently gave in Syracuse, New York at the SUNY Online Learning Summit.
Photo Credit: Dominic Williamson, Senior Graphic Artist, Instructional Technology Services
Seven Steps to Free and Continuous
Professional Development Through Twitter
- Follow active and content-focused colleagues in your discipline
- Join a “chat” community
- Monitor hashtags related to your field
- Establish a social bookmarking account to store your “gold”
- Automate your social bookmarking posts
- Reflect on your learning
- Reciprocity – Give back
Part of an online workshop I participated in called Twitter in Edu.
Six Lessons One Campus Learned About E-Textbooks
Is it time to switch to ebooks? Not quite yet, according to Chronicle writer Jeffrey R. Young after he visited with Northwest Missouri State University faculty and students about their venture into the world of e-textbooks. NWMSU has been a leader in student communication technologies since the days of OTPDR (That’s one-terminal-per-dorm-room for those of you who have trouble remembering the great acronyms of the past).
Young shares six lessons he learned about the current state of ebooks in the classroom. Here are my thoughts on each of his points.
- Judge ebooks by their covers – All ebooks reading software is not created equal. Sony’s ebook reader is different than Amazon’s Kindle. There are lots of ebook reader options for laptops. Publishers have even created proprietary readers that work within an LMS (Blackboard, Moodle, etc.) The point here is that with this many options, you will need to do your research, and try before buying where possible.
- Learning curves ahead – Students have had years of practice learning how to learn from paper-based textbooks. Institutions should offer training as part of any e-textbook initiative.
- Professors are eager students – This may be puzzling to some but I’ve always been able to find professors eager to experiment with a new technology IF (and this is an important “if”) they can envision how it might be meaningful to teaching/learning.
- Dead batteries – Hopefully this problem that will go away as better battery technologies are developed. For now, we need to make sure that there enough power outlets in classrooms and learning centers (and hopefully not just on the back wall.)
- Subjects are not equally e-friendly – Some disciplines may be better suited to e-textbooks than others. I’m not sure that I agree with this statement, especially if we leave out Amazon and Sony, and just talk about the use of a laptop or iPhone (both support color) as the ebook reading device. Both would allow students to zoom in and query images for more information. Think about the possibilities with a subject like Geography. Maps within a paper textbook are static while ebook maps can be dynamic, allowing students to ask how borders or populations have changed over time. The result may be customized maps that help students understand current political issues.
- Environmental impact matters – Saving trees is an important consideration but a move to e-textbooks could ultimately reduce the cost (and amount of fuel used) to provide textbooks to students in developing countries. Textbooks are already expensive. Add the cost of shipping overseas and the price may double. Instead, these students could be outfitted with multi-use resources (laptop or smartphone) to access up-to-date content. Easy access to electricity is a major issue but one that can be eased with longer battery life.
While I don’t believe it is time to make wholesale changes to e-textbooks, it is time to begin experimenting with ebooks in individual courses and programs. What do you think?
(delicious tags: Education technology textbook academic college kindle ebooks)
Please read the linked article above and then let me know what you see as the advantages and disadvantages of using a blog (WordPress) instead of a learning management system (Blackboard)?
I’ll tell you what I think. First here’s my disclosure statement. I’m a huge fan of WordPress and I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Blackboard during my ten years as a user. (Has it really been that long?) That being said, I don’t see why an institution would choose to use an application designed for reflections (WP) when an application designed to manage courses (Bb) fails. It would make more sense to investigate why Bb is failing or evaluate another LMS like Moodle.
I like the commenting feature in WordPress but it isn’t a threaded discussion board. I like the ability to review blog stats in WordPress but it isn’t a gradebook. I can see how some professors could teach their courses using a blog but it won’t meet the needs of the many.
There are non-LMS alternatives to Blackboard (such as Drupal) but I don’t see WordPress as being one of them. Now if we want to talk about using WordPress as an alternative to an ePortfolio management system I am ready to talk. For now, I’m sticking with Blackboard as my LMS.
I’ll be attending the MERLOT International Conference in San Jose, August 13-16, 2009. I’m giving a presentation on Lecture Capture technology. MERLOT always puts on great conferences. If you are interested in eLearning I would encourage you to attend. Here’s a message from the MERLOT project director with more information about the conference.
Dear MERLOT International Conference Presenter,
As MERLOT Project Director for the CSU system and corporate coordinator for the conference, I want to thank you for your participation in the 9th annual MERLOT International Conference, August 13-16 in San Jose. Rarely do we have the opportunity to attend an international conference focused on pedagogy, teaching and learning innovations, effective application of academic technology within the beautiful state of California.
As my friend and colleague Dr. Cris Guenter, Professor of Education at CSU-Chico and Editor of the MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board, reminded me recently, “The MERLOT International Conference provides a chance for me to share and exchange recent technology trends, teaching issues, and simmering ideas with friends and colleagues from around the world. The inclusive atmosphere, the range of perspectives and the variety of approaches to how MERLOT is used by instructors helps me keep my face-to-face, blended, and online courses current and engaging.”
Given your appreciation of the value of the MERLOT International Conference, I hope you will make a concerted effort to spread the word on your campus about this wonderful professional development opportunity. To help you spread the word please send to your colleagues and friends the attached MERLOT International Conference flyer or refer them to the conference website http://conference.merlot.org/2009/
I know budgets are tight for us all and yet as people committed to teaching and learning we still must find effective ways to innovate, collaborate and develop new skills and insights to meet our students effectively.
As always, on behalf of the MERLOT, thank you for all you do to make MERLOT an effective resource. Your efforts are appreciated. I’m looking forward to seeing you in San Jose, CA this summer for the 9th annual MERLOT International Conference.
MERLOT Project Director, CSU
MIC 2009 Corporate Coordinator
The Opencast community is a collaboration of individuals, higher education institutions and organizations working together to explore, develop, define and document best practices and technologies for management of audiovisual content in academia. Through the mailing list, website and collaboration among its members, the community will strive to offer guidance and information to help others choose the best approach for the delivery and usage of rich media online.