Is it too early yet to mention Christmas? Well I’m afraid the word Christmas is one you’ll hear many times over the next 30 mins or so. This presentation is about the 12 apps of Christmas which is short free and open online faculty development opportunity or course that was run at the Dublin Institute of Technology for the first time in December 2014 and it will run again in Dec this year. 700 registered last year. Please tweet to #12appsDIT during this presentation with comments, observations, questions etc.
Mobile learning and the integratation of mobile technologies into teaching and learning practices is growing as a research field and this research is beginning to show up what we need to focus on if we are to really harness the potential benefits of mobile learning. One such study explored the mobile learning practices of students in higher education at the University of Central Florida. Amongst others things, they found that there was a gap between the number of students who owned mobile devices and those who used them for academic purposes, and that any learning that did take place via mobile devices typically happened outside the classroom with only limited guidance from instructors. It was concluded that instructors need help in order to adopt more effective learning and teaching practices and that they “must gain knowledge of these innovative technologies and integrate them into the curriculum with sound facilitation and assessment strategies, as well as be able to support the mobile practices of students”.
So, with that in mind, the 12 Apps of Christmas set out to: *raise awareness amongst educators of the benefits mobile technologies and mobile apps present for learning, teaching and assessment in this connected mobile enabled world that we like in; *upskill anyone interested in experiencing, exploring and learning more about integrating mobile learning technologies into their teaching, learning and assessment practices; and *help connect like-minded individuals and provide them with an opportunity to expand their personal learning networks and start powerful conversations with others interested in this emerging field.
Having gotten the idea for the overall design for this initiative from Chris Rowell at Regents university (and by that I mean, 1 app a day for 12 days for 10 mins a day), I designed, developed, built, advertised, ran, and evaluated this course. I was the 12 apps of Christmas! And so it means such a lot to me to have that work acknowledged at this level and shortlisted for an elearning award at this conference.
Clearly, the course met its aims with 54% (n=96) of the respondents noting that the course met their expectations with a further 41% (n=74) saying that it exceeded their expectations. As one respondent noted, it...“gave me some new ideas, in fact it changed my ideas, I had considered m-learning to be little more than a gimmick for kids…”. Being able to change even one participant's mind to see the potential mlearning has to enhance and/or modify their teaching, learning and assessment activities for the better, made the entire process worth it.
Can you take your phones and tablets out and look at what apps make up your virtual world. I’d imagine we all share a few basic or popular ones like a new app, a weather app, youtube, facebook, twitter, fitness trackers maybe, bus trackers etc.
What apps have you on there though that you use regularly in your teaching and assessment practices? If you don’t use mobile apps as part of you teaching tool kit, why not? As we go through this presentation I want you to think about your own teaching, learning and assessment practices. What apps for you use with students already. And most importantly, how to you use them? Are there apps mentioned here than you’d never heard of before? Is this a resource that might be or use to you? And maybe this presentation might inspire you to check out the 12 apps of Christmas website and try some of the ideas out. I’ll show you later some of the comments made by your peers after the course finished last year. Please tweet any observations to #12appsDIT during the presentation. The twitter feed is showing on screen here (it takes about 2 mins for a tweet to show up) and if I can a chance I can address any questions raise there at the end.
Infrastructure: go around the live site
Hosted for free on wordpress.com
Needed to be easy to navigate so: - homepage had intro video explaining how everything would work A short ‘about’ page to put a face to this for people I also wanted each page to have a structure and to be of real use, but also to give the participants a framework that they could take a way with them and use afterwards as they explored more apps so I focused on the SAMR model and provided an explanation of it here. 1 page on 1 app was released each morning for 12 weekdays from Dec 1st onwards. The apps covered were: (show dropdown) and each page was password protected until the course was over. They passwords were removed and the site remains as an open free resource now licensed under a creative commons licence. Every app chosen was available on both Google play and iTunes and they were as much as possible free Most pages followed the same structure ie a short intro about where to get the app, an explanation of what the app does, then a review of it what you could do with the app as against the SAMR model, before providing an optional task (2 of which were gamified), the any additional resources and a reminder to tweet
Whole experience was influence by social constructivist theory so as many opportunities as possible were built in to encourage discussion, collaboration and sharing Welcome email an daily emails Twitter – dedicated hashtag Twitter Feed embedded into the page Tweets with links storified and a link to the story provided on the site Comments were enabled on the wordpress site
I think the avenues for communication and collaboration work if the stats are anything to go by
Feedback from 181/700 participants = 26% response rate
There were three main challenges encountered and all were faced during the design and development phase of the course. These were: 1. what content to include and how much of it to include so that the participants weren’t overwhelmed each day 2. how to make that content relevant to their practice, and 3. how to motivate the participants and keep them engaged for 12 consecutive weekdays
Solutions: To address these three challenges TPACK framework (Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge) was turned to. This framework argues that there must be an understanding of the relationship between technology, pedagogy and content, in order to integrate any technology effectively. Influenced by this framework the following four decisions were made: 1. Just enough technical information was included to get the participants started with the app e.g. what operating system it was designed for; how much it cost; screenshots of what the app looked like; and some information on basic functionality. Links to further technical help such as guides, articles, and YouTube videos were provided where appropriate. 2. A page on the site was dedicated to the SAMR model, which, as mentioned above, guides our integration of technologies into our teaching and learning practices. Each day then the app in question was evaluated against the SAMR model in terms of its potential to enhance and redefine our learning, teaching and assessment practices. Included in this evaluation each day also was a practical example of how that app could be integrated at each of the levels within the SAMR model. In a few cases a short reflection from a DIT lecturer who was already using the app was included also. 3. An optional task was included each day as well. This gave those interested in the app of the day a chance to try out the app in a structured purposeful way and in many cases it provided a reason to interact with the other participants too. 4. In two instances the aforementioned daily optional task was gamified and those who took part were entered into a competition. This injected an element of fun too and helped motivate the participants to take part and share ideas. The morning email also helped connect with the participants and keep them engaged. The fact that the pages were password protect added a sense of mystery to the event also and again acted as a motivator.
Before 12 apps 2015 started I sent out short survey in an attempt to determine if there had been any long-term impact. Did people who said they intended integrating apps actually do it? What were their experiences and the experiences of their students? What kinds of things are they doing?
Q1. Since The 12 Apps of Christmas, have you started to integrate at least 1 of the mobile apps showcased during the course into your learning, teaching and/or assessment practices? If so, please select those apps from the list below, and if not, please choose the last option 'none of the above'.
Q2. Have you found, and started to integrate, mobile apps other than those showcased during the course? Is so, what apps have you found?
Q3. Could you give a short explanation of how you are integrating any of these mobile apps into your learning, teaching and assessment practices?
Q4. If you have been integrating mobile apps into your practices (either before or after the 12 Apps of Christmas course), did the course influence you or change how you would normally integrate such apps etc.? If so, please explain briefly, how?
Q5. What has been the reaction of your students to the integration of mobile apps?
Q6. Do you think that the integration of mobile apps into your learning, teaching and/or assessment practices, has 'augmented', 'modified', or 'redefined' learning activities?
Q7. If you haven't integrated any mobile apps into your practices, what are the barriers to integrating mlearning in your opinion?
As of last weekend, 27 people had replied to the survey – a very small return but given that a full year has gone by, that wasn’t bad really. (4% return)
Respondent 1: Using Evernote for everything with students - from recording their own observations while on teaching practice, to sharing these with their assessors, to keeping their own notes from classes sorted.
Respondent 2: iMindmap helps my students explain their understanding of computer networks, in particular the different "layers" of the network and their function. Instapaper is used by my third year students to share network security and hacking stories that they find Evernote being rolled out to first years to help them organise notes and resources
Respondent 4: Socrative as a feedback mechanism in the classroom. Aurasma- for poster. Voice Recorder HD for focus group interviews
Respondent 1: I'd been using Evernote myself, but hadn't thought of the wider application of it, or the simplest uses of it, and how useful it would be for students
Respondent 2: Yes, based on the SAMR model early adoption was simply substitution, but now those apps have freed up some of my effort to allow me to introduce extra material, concepts, and practice into classes. I now regard them as augmenting my teaching
Respondent 5: Totally it is not something I would have thought about prior to this course.
Respondent 6: Yes, it motivated me to use these particular apps, and started me on the continual search for educational apps
Respondent 8: The way the course was structured really helped to link technology to pedagogy and has made even more aware of the relevance of such linkages.
Respondent 9: Absolutely, I hadn't incorporate any mobile apps into my teaching before the course. And some of them have started to use Explain Everything when they do presentations.
Respondent 1: They loved it - the simplicity, usefulness and accessibility
Respondent 2: Very positive, the mobility and "personal" control of information seems to be a great motivator.
A few ‘buts’ and this overlaps with responses to Q7 which asks about barriers to mlearning – wifi / not all students have smart phones / use the apps sparingly to keep it novel and maintain interest / fear/ lack of resources (“I have a teaching lab I'd love to use Aurasma in but it has no wifi at all and just one ancient PC with an internet connection that is as slow as a boat.”) / The overall culture of non innovation
Respondent 2: Augmented mostly, with some modification - to qualify - the instapaper app has helped me to hand some of the control of teaching material to the students as they are helping to pick the stories to discuss in class.
Respondent 4: redefined - there is so much more that can be captured
Respondent 9: I would say augmented; I have always tried to be interactive and get the students involved, but the apps allow me to do this in a much better way.
And it’s now time for me to up up and way and let you get to lunch. If there are any questions I’m happy to answer some now if there’s time. All details are given in the case history anyway. And please, tweet to #12appsDIT.
If you’d like to follow the next 12 apps, feel free to email me your contact details and you’ll be send an email reminding you to register when the initiative is advertised next week!
Presentation for the eLearning Award at the 14th European Conference on eLearning Oct 29/30 2015
*raise awareness amongst educators of the benefits
mobile technologies and mobile apps present for
learning, teaching & assessment
*upskill anyone interested in experiencing, exploring &
learning more about integrating mobile learning
technologies into their teaching, learning & assessment
*help connect like-minded individuals & provide
them with an opportunity to expand their
PLNs & start powerful conversations with
others interested in this emerging
54% of the respondents noted that the course met
A further 41% saying that it exceeded their
“It gave me some new ideas, in fact it
changed my ideas, I had considered
m-learning to be little more than
a gimmick for kids”
34% of respondents said that they tweeted to
30% stated that while they didn’t tweet themselves
that they did read the tweets sent by others
16% of the respondents posted comments on the site
with a further 46% noting that while they didn’t post
comments there themselves that they read the
comments posted by others
50% agreed that they learned from reading
the tweets and/or comments posted
19% reported integrating some apps in their teaching,
learning and/or assessment practices already as a
direct result of the taking part in the course
A further 57% stated that they intended to integrate
apps during the following semester and academic
42% agreed that the examples helped them think
about how they might integrate apps, while they
helped 12% change the way that they
approach now the integration of apps
and/or other technologies in general
“Thank you for a great course, it was
informative, practical and bitesized,
ideal for the busy lecturer!”
“This is actually the first free short
course I have ever completed. Others
are usually too demanding of your
time...so you got this one just right.
“I really enjoyed being involved in the
course when I could take part. It was a
really innovative idea and I enjoyed the
pedagogical approach taken in
suggesting how to integrate the apps
into someone's teaching and learning”
“We need this so much to keep up with
our students...I think there is a huge
degree of ignorance among lecturers of
the potential of mobile apps and thus
we need regular training. Thank you for
getting me started.”
* Integrating, on average, 2 to 3 apps each
* Some had found alternatives to the apps showcased
* Discipline specific apps
Q3. Could you give a short explanation of how
you are integrating any of these mobile apps
into your learning, teaching and assessment
Q4. If you have been integrating mobile apps
into your practices (either before or after the 12
Apps of Christmas course), did the course
influence you or change how you would
normally integrate such apps etc.? If so, please
explain briefly, how?
Q5. What has been the reaction of your
students to the integration of mobile apps?
Q6. Do you think that the integration of mobile
apps into your learning, teaching and/or
assessment practices, has 'augmented',
'modified', or 'redefined' learning activities?
Dr. Frances Boylan |firstname.lastname@example.org| @boylanfm | http://www.linkedin.com/in/francesboylan