JISC Mobile and Wireless Technologies Review presentation

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A presentation introducing the mobile and wireless technologies review I undertook for the JISC e-Learning team.

More at http://mobilereview.jiscpress.org

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  • I’m Doug Belshaw, a Researcher/Analyst at JISC infoNet which is a JISC Advance organisation. I was asked to undertake a mobile and wireless technologies review by the JISC e-Learning programme.\n\nI’d like to give a quick overview of the history of mobile learning (as far as I see it), how I undertook the mobile review, and then a quick overview of some key findings. All in ten minutes.\n\nThe QR code on the right will take you to http://mobilereview.jiscpress.org but I’ll give that URL again at the end.\n
  • The history of mobile learning is like the history of unicorns. Let me explain.\n
  • For those who don’t know, a unicorn is a mythical horse-like creature with:\n- A twisted horn\n- A billy goat’s beard\n- Cloven hooves\n- A lion’s tail\n\nContext is important. Bear with me...\n
  • Once up on a time there was a man who claimed to have found a unicorn.\n
  • He made sketches of the unicorn for people who asked him about it.\n
  • People got impatient waiting for people to bring back unicorns. \n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn horns, but they turned out to be from narwhals.\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be the cloven hooves from unicorns, but they turned out to be from cattle.\n\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be unicorn tails, but they turned out to be from lions.\n\n
  • People brought back what they claimed to be a unicorn’s beard, but it turned out to be from a goat.\n\n
  • People began to realise that unicorns probably didn’t exist. \n
  • People began to realise that the fact unicorn’s didn’t exist wasn’t important. It was the story of the unicorn that was important - what it symbolised: love, religion, purity.\n
  • People began creating their own unicorns. Some looked similar, some looked different. It all depended on context. \n
  • One day a man came down a mountain and said he’d found a unicorn. He took people on a special bus and showed them the unicorns. People were uncontrollably excited. But then they began to wonder why they could only see them on the special bus. What about if they wanted to really have a unicorn in their own context?\n
  • I’m new to the FE/HE sector, having worked in schools as Director of E-Learning and teaching History previously. I contacted Dan Sutch at Futurelab whom I know from previous projects. He put me in touch with key people and recommended some places to start with the literature.\n\nThis kickstarted an evolutionary process which resulted in the setting up of On The Horizon (http://onthehorizon.pbworks.com) for sharing ongoing findings, and finally the finished mobile and wireless technologies review at JISCPress.\n
  • This is a Wordle of the mobile review which stands at around 17,000 words. I’ve removed the words ‘mobile’, ‘wireless’ and ‘devices’. \n
  • These, I think are the key words. ‘Affordance’ can cause some difficulties unless people are aware of the literature.\n
  • ‘Affordances’ have nothing to do with money and everything to do with the interaction between user and learning experience, mediated by mobile device.\n
  • This is the way I see it. The specifications of a mobile device (e.g. GPS, touchscreen, 3G connection) combine to provide affordances. These, in turn, affect practices - and in some cases allow brand new practices.\n
  • In terms of key findings I think there are five I’d like to share with you.\n
  • Firstly, it’s a very fragmented landscape on the technical side. There are many different operating systems and even more types of devices. As Geoff Stead says, you can either go for more simplistic stuff that will work on most devices (SMS, Bluetooth, some web-based stuff) or rich media experiences for one or two types of device. \n\nAn example of an open-source, accessible approach is Mobile Oxford (http://m.ox.ac.uk) and the latter the University of Sheffield’s adoption of CampusM (http://www.ombiel.com/campusm.html)\n
  • At the end of the day, a mobile learning initiative is a change management issue and should be treated as such. Many elements of mobile learning require both a digital strategy and top-down, centralised control within an institutional environment. Otherwise, it’s fragmentation on top of fragmentation.\n\nThe trouble for universities is that if they don’t provide something, and quickly, mobile devices allow students to self-organise which, coupled with Open Educational Resources and the like, could render some institutions somewhat redundant.\n
  • It’s nice to have graphs and things showing that you’ll get back your investment in x number of years. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to calculate with mobile learning.\n\nAn illustrative example is BBC iPlayer. Functionality for users first, beta testing, accessibility, enhanced features, monetisation (globalised subscriptions mooted)\n
  • There are no such things as ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital immigrants’. Dave White’s ‘digital residents’ and ‘digital visitors’ is a better metaphor. Students often know how to use the advanced features of their mobile devices, but for socialising and entertainment, not learning. \n
  • There is no such thing as a perfect mobile device. There is only a good one in a particular context. Evolution is key, which means institutions need to start now.\n
  • There’s the web version where you can comment on individual paragraphs, a PDF, as well as ePub and Kindle versions.\n
  • These people kindly licensed their images for reuse. They are awesome.\n
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